Tag Archives: Hachette

Kali Napier – Portait of an author

Welcome to my fun Q&A where you’ll discover new things about some of our favourite authors. I’m delighted to welcome the very talented writer, Kali Napier, to a blog series that celebrates another art form (as my new novel is a love story about a sitter and an artist!!)

Let’s start, Kali…

Q: As pose and composition are important factors for a portrait, choose what kind of ‘look’ would you like for your portrait.

  1. On a chaise lounge (Kate Winslet/Titanic style)
  2. Fully clothed in a rocker (Whistler’s Mother style)
  3. A close up of your face (Girl with the Pearl Earring style/Mona Lisa)
  4. In all your formal finery befitting your ‘authorly’ status (Regal style)
  5. Other

A: Other! My first thought was to be painted like Millais’ Ophelia, immersed in nature. Though not too immersed that I catch pneumonia. Maybe a blend of A and C? I dislike my smile, so I’d probably have a closed-lipped, enigmatic smile like Mona Lisa’s, and turn my head away like the GwtPE. And I would need big hair, to hide behind Cousin It-style. It would have to be a casual pose if I’m to sit still for a long period of time, and an antique chaise longue suits my ideal aesthetic (when the kids leave home and I can get rid of the grotty Ikea furniture).

Q: *Snap* I just took your photo as a reference for my portrait of you. Tell us where you are and what you’re wearing. (Be honest.)

A: Right now? As always, I am sitting in front of my laptop, wearing pyjamas though it is nearly lunchtime. The beauty and the drudgery of working from home – in all my incarnations, as a full-time student of creative writing, a novelist, and a work-from-home grants writer for a disabilities service provider.

Q: Given a choice, what precious item would you want to be included in a portrait of you?

A: For my portrait, I would need to be surrounded by books and plants. I don’t really hold onto ‘things’ – a product of a peripatetic lifestyle when young, and a flood that took almost everything else. (Except books. I am definitely a book hoarder.)

Q: With acquired savant syndrome* featuring in my next novel, I’m curious . . . If you were to wake up from a coma one day to find yourself totally obsessed and a genius (in something other than writing, of course) what would you want it to be? (music, painting, languages, maths, touching your toes while typing, etc)

A: I have always wanted to be a singer. As a child, I was tone deaf and spent choir practice in primary school in detention as they couldn’t believe I wasn’t singing so badly on purpose. In high school, I wanted to be an actress but those dreams were thwarted during auditions for the school musical. The school even paid to bring in a singing teacher for me as I’d been earmarked for a major role, but he said I was ‘unteachable’. I ended up being a puppeteer in that production.

As a 39-year-old engaged in a process of self-reflection following a redundancy, I remembered those early dreams and started singing lessons. At first, only air escaped my throat, leading up to a quiet whisper of my first notes, until sound came out. The singing teacher said I was an “alto soprano”. Just like that. As if I could sing. And I burst into tears for the rest of the lesson. After a year of lessons, I could hold a note and sang a reasonable version of Joni Mitchell’s “Blue”.

I’d love a voice that sent shivers down people’s spines so that they couldn’t tear their gazes away from my face as I sung. Just as I was riveted by the voice of a young teenage girl at my kids’ music concert last month, when she sang “Flame Trees”, accompanying herself minimally on guitar. She had an extraordinary gift. Tears spilled down my face and I had to consciously hold my facial muscles taut so I wouldn’t break down.

Q: If you happened to wake up one day and be a genius with a paintbrush, whose portrait would you want to paint and why?

A: Another one of my fantasies is to be an artist of some kind, but I think only in temperament, rather than having to practise my craft painstakingly. Of course, if I was a sudden genius with a paintbrush, I would want to sit myself on a bridge in Paris and paint passers-by for a living. (Obviously another fantasy, as I’ve never been to Paris, and I imagine this sort of lifestyle is not as romantic as La Boheme would have me believe.)

Q: Your preferred medium would be?

  1. Oil on canvas
  2. Watercolour
  3. Pencil/Ink
  4. Pastels
  5. Kiddy crayons

A: Pencil and ink so I could travel lightly, and whip out my implements when the muse strikes!

Picasso once asked the question: “Are we to paint what’s on the face, what’s inside the face, or what’s behind it?” In my next novel, the artists says to 58 y.o Ava, “A mature person has depth of character and it’s their layers, built from life’s lessons that interest me the most—when wisdom replaces curiosity and experience replaces youthful exuberance.”

Q: What two traits would you hope an artist captures in a portrait of you?

A: I always think that I wear my heart on my sleeve and that I have no filter. But the person I feel I am on the inside is never what I see in photographs – I suppose everyone feels this way. I would love an artist to capture the better version of myself I yearn to be: happier, more content, laughing and living life to its fullest, and connecting with others. Certainly not someone stuck in front of a laptop most hours of the day.

I still feel like the me I was at seventeen, and I would want that person to also show through in my portrait – an idealist, who only saw open horizons.

Q: Because every fireplace deserves a portrait, in whose house would you hang a portrait of you as a surprise and what would they say?

A: I would want it hung in my children’s houses after I’m turned to ash, so that they come to know me as a person rather than as just a parent.

Q: Keeping in mind that lucky recipient of your portrait, how would see yourself framed?

  1. Minimalist or no frame at all – just the canvas (take me as I am)
  2. Modernist – chrome, nothing too fancy
  3. Sophisticated – warm, wood, old world
  4. Flamboyant – go all the way and gilt edged!

A: I would go with warm, wood, and old-world. I have nostalgic tendencies.

Q: Finally, if someone was to add a plague/title your portrait, how would it read?

A: I would leave it blank. The people who are important to me would have their own words for who I am and what I mean to them.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Kali Napier is the author of The Secrets at Ocean’s Edge, released by Hachette Australia in February 2018. Based in Brisbane, she is an MPhil candidate in Creative Writing at the University of Queensland, and lives with her two children in a house that is slowly being reclaimed by the bush surrounding it.  Fid her and her book:

Goodreads (where you’ll find my review of Kali’s wonderful debut) or, do what I do and connect with Kali on Facebook

Before you go, I have some more author portraits to celebrate the release of my 5th novel (March 19 in Australia/NZ and April 5 overseas) so you might want to subscribe to my blog (right) or check out my Book Room for info about A Place to Remember.

*Acquired savant syndrome, in which a person acquires prodigious capabilities or skills following dementia, a head injury or concussion, epilepsy or other disturbances.

Author, Pamela Cook, gives her 21 y.o. self some advice

So, Pamela…

You’ve just turned 21 – happy birthday! Look at you in that cute little Shirley Temple outfit at your ‘S’ themed party. 🙂

I’m well over twice your age now and it makes me smile when I think back to how young and naïve you are – in a good way. Life has so much in store for you – travel, love, children and some harder things too – loss, grief, ageing. It has a few surprises lined up, which you won’t even be able to imagine right now. Knowing what I know, I thought I’d share a few things I’ve learnt. It won’t change what happens to you of course but it might be useful to those three beautiful daughters you will raise.

So, here goes …

Stick to your plans to travel. The world is a huge, wonderful, awe-inspiring place. Meet people, learn from them, take as many photos as you can and store up the memories. They will last you a lifetime. Keeping a journal is probably a good idea too.

Cherish your friends. Take every opportunity you can to spend time with them, connect with them, love them. Some of them will come into your life for a while, then leave. Others will stay but only if you nurture the friendship. Nothing can replace the value of a good friend or the memories you make together.

Follow your passions. You may not be able to earn a living from them but that doesn’t make them any less important. Choose a job you love and can be of service in but don’t ever give up on your dreams. If there’s something you want to do, start now, keep at it and learn as much as you can along the way. Your time will come – but only if you make it happen. And believe.

Family is important. You’ll move house, travel to other places, fall in and out of love, have fantastic experiences and some horrible ones, but your family will always be there and have your back. Make sure you are always there for them in return – their love is unconditional and yours should be too. Some of your ‘family’ won’t be related by blood.

Be strong. Not just physically but in your principals, beliefs and love. Your body has to carry you into old age so take care of it. Stand up for ideals and people you believe in, speak up for those who can’t speak for themselves. Be there for the people you love – in whatever way they need. Muster the courage to do things that need to be done.

… I could go on and on but I don’t want to bore you and you’re probably off to see a pub band or heading to a party with your friends. Enjoy that city life because (spoiler alert) one day you’ll be sitting on a verandah in the country taking in the fresh air, the gorgeous views, watching your horses (yes, horses!) graze while you work on your latest novel.

Be kind and take care,

Pamela x

Pamela Cook is a city girl with a country lifestyle and too many horses. Her rural fiction novels feature feisty women, tangled family relationships and a healthy dose of romance. Her latest book, The Crossroads, is out now. An eclectic reader, Pamela also enjoys writing poetry, memoir pieces, and literary fiction and is proud to be a Writer Ambassador for Room To Read, a not-for-profit organisation that promotes literacy and gender equality in developing countries. She also teaches creative writing through her business www.justwrite.net.au. When she’s not writing she wastes as much time as possible riding her handsome quarter horses, Morocco and Rio.

Pamela loves to connect with readers both in person and online. You will often find her lurking in one of these places:


[bctt tweet=” What advice does author @PamelaCookAU give her 21 y.o self? #LetterToMyself https://www.jennjmcleod.com/blog/a-letter-to-myself-author-list” username=”jennjmcleod”]


 This is the last letter of my 2016 blog series. Pamela tops off an awesome list of authors who each wrote a letter of advice to themselves. To see the list of contributing authors: CLICK Stand by for a fabulous new blog series in 2017.

Wanting to honour the lost art of letter writing through this blog series, I also opened my fourth novel with a character writing a letter. And not just any letter. It’s a story — perhaps the most important he’ll ever tell.

The Other Side of the SeasonReady for a sea change

Life is simple on top of the mountain for David, Matthew and Tilly until the winter of 1979 when tragedy strikes, starting a chain reaction that will ruin lives for years to come. Those who can, escape the Greenhill banana plantation on the outskirts of Coffs Harbour. One stays—trapped for the next thirty years on the mountain and haunted by memories and lost dreams. That is until the arrival of a curious young woman, named Sidney, whose love of family shows everyone the truth can heal, what’s wrong can be righted, the lost can be found, and . . . there’s another side to every story.

BUY now from Amazon, KoboiTunes, or



Jenn’s #WriteRoundOz Book Tour – NSW

The long way to Mudgee Readers Festival – a big literary event in a small town.

Mudgee 2016 opening drinks

Opening night: with organiser Portia Lindsay

And what fun! From opening night drinks and mingling with *warning: name-dropping ahead*: Kate Forsyth, Charlotte Wood, Jane Caro, David Dyer, and more) books and bookish types took over the pretty streets of Mudgee, where every second shop is a cafe and every second person a book (or wine) lover.

Officially, I was there as a presenter and I talked ‘Books With Heart’ with Amy Andrews, Alissa Callen and Charlotte Nash (about how the heart finds its way into all sorts of books: fiction, memoir, medical, sporting stories, even . . . cook books!! A robust cab sav is required in such instances! That’s ‘offal’ I know! ) We stuck mostly to fictional hearts: hearts that flutter, bang, burst, pound, race, tear, rip, break, swell, jump, thump, beat, bleed and skip and love, hate, ache, sigh, melt, palpitate, sink, shatter, somersault, radiate, glow, embrace, adore and feel. We discussed how hearts talk to us and betray us; become our weakness and our strength; and make us spontaneous and (according to the character in my next book) sometimes makes us wait.

Laughing about serial killers in the outback!

Laughing about serial killers in the outback!

Then, for something a little different, I had a few laughs with Candice Fox about outback serial killers and psychopaths. In fact I asked Candice for her thoughts on the most effective means of warding of potential psychopaths from my caravan door while free camping. I offered her a list of strategies:

  1. Leave out a pair of size 11 work boots and an empty box of bullets?
  2. Set up a chunky dog chain and a big, empty dog bowl—the words STILL HUNGRY visible on the bottom?
  3. Or a sign that tells the truth: “Beware – two angry, menopausal women on board?”

(Yes, she thought #3 might work, too.)

While the welcome was warm (the atmosphere too) the temps were a tad chilly. (Minus 2 over night.)

Despite it being winter, Mudgee was a great destination. But …

Of course my book tour of NSW started well before Mudgee. We took the long road, starting with the launch of book four – The Other Side of the Season – at my home base – The Coffs Coast and after that a whole lot of small towns.

Nambucca was niceCoffs Advocate_2 TOSOTS

May 19, 2016
Author talk: Nambucca Library
Lots of lovely local media.

Coffs Harbour was commemorative The Book Warehouse 2016

May 25, 2016
Library Event/Official Launch
Book number 4 of my Season Collection with more
 great PRINT MEDIA and a book signing at The Book Warehouse.

MOREE was magnificent

Catching up with Nicole Alexander and Greg Barron.

Catching up with Nicole Alexander and Greg Barron.

July 9, 2016
Library Event and a catch up with Nicole and Greg

DIGITAL MEDIA Moree Champion

and Local businesses got on board.

Big Sky Libraries online newsletter

Moree Plains Shire Council (online)

 Moree Champion (print and online)

COONABARABRAN was a little crazy

July 19, 2016
Only because I gatecrashed the local book club discussion! What fun!

TAMWORTH was terrific

Tamworth crowd

Tamworth crowd

July 23, 2016
Library Event – huge turnout. They made me feel like a star, even without a guitar!
RADIO CHAT ON 88.9 FM (Pulse)
TV News coverage – NBN: NSW Western District CLICK to Play
Articles: PRINT and DIGITAL MEDIA: Northern Daily Leader article and Northern Daily Leader f/u story

DUBBO was adorable (I’m talking meerkats at the zoo!)

August 6, 2016
Book Store/Book Signing: The Book Connection: SOLD OUT of stock!Dubbo phot news 2

PRINT MEDIA (two pages): Dubbo PhotoNews Magazine Dubbo photo news 1

Advertorial mention by The Book Connection

August 7, 2016
Special Author Event: Jenn J McLeod – In conversation @ Red Earth Vineyard (yes, there was wine). (Dubbo retweets)

Meerkat on log

Meerkat with no idea I was a famous author

Dubbo Tweets

Dubbo Tweets

MUDGEE READERS FESTIVAL was amazingMudgee mention

August 13 and 14, 2016
PRINT/DIGITAL MEDIA: : Guardian Festival features Jane Caro and Jenn J McLeod
And pre-event PRINT MEDIA: Discover Magazine
Massive social media coverage by MRF

NEWCASTLE was noteworthy
(I mean, seriously, look at the size of the poster!)

THAT's not a poster...

Now THAT’s a poster…

August 20, 2016
Book signing: Big W, Charlestown (biggest shopping centre EVA!)



Elizabeth's Turning Pages on 2NVR Radio

Elizabeth’s Turning Pages on 2NVR Radio

August 25, 2016
RADIO interview: 2NVR Radio – Elizabeth’s Turning Pages.

So, there you have it.




And home in time to remember Mum on her birthday and share Father’s Day with Dad.

Oh, and by the way… If you are into stats, we did around 3,200 kms and fed the beast about $650.00 in diesel. While it was a great experience and fun, I do hope my tour helped to get my name out there and I found some more lovely readers. Word of mouth is the best compliment. (Have you told someone today about the last great book you read?)

#WriteRoundOz w/ Author – Charlotte Nash

I’m dropping in on Charlotte Nash and her resident lizard  in Queensland

ImageImage 1

Hi Charlotte,

Thank you for letting me park my rig … 

… half up on your kerb? (Hmm, not much room in this street) 😉

What’s that I see written on your ‘welcome mat’, Charlotte?

Beware the Lizard! (we have one that lives under our stairs – he’s got three legs and I love him)



The one thing I really miss in a caravan is my HUGE refrigerator. If I looked in your refrigerator right now, what would I find?

Water bottles, fruit, and lots of left-overs, awaiting the next cull!

Downsizing my life into a 24 ft caravan meant leaving lots of things behind in boxes. What (or who!!) would you have trouble leaving behind if you took off in a caravan?

Actually that sounds heavenly. ‘Stuff’ makes me anxious – I love a good clear-out! In fact, I’m in the middle of one right now. Please mind the boxes.


Do you REALLY have room at your house to park a fifth wheeler caravan and do you mind visitors? Oh, sorry, you don’t have to answer that one!! 😉

I’m in a block of flats at the moment. I figure I’ll blame someone else 😉


Country curiosities…

My latest novel, Season of Shadow and Light, has a strong horse theme. (I love what horses can teach us). If you were an animal what would you be?

I love horses, too, and spent most of my childhood riding. To actually be an animal, though, I’d pick something with wings. Probably a parrot, like the New Zealand alpine Kea. They’re pretty mischievous – suits me.

You’re cooking and your food is going up against the best cooks from the CWA (Country Women’s Association). What would be your winning dish?

My secret fudge. Or custard tart. Or lemon delicious. Or pumpkin scones – Flo’s got nothin’.


About you…

What is the hardest part of writing for you?

Remembering how hard it was for the last project. You tend to forget, then panic because the next first draft is bad.

If someone was to write your biography, what do you think the title should be?

Work in Progress!


Fun Favourites…

Favourite place in Australia: Great Keppel Island

Favourite holiday destination (anywhere): Sunshine Coast.

Favourite movie: It’s a toss-up between Aliens, Watchmen, Bridesmaids and The Prestige.

Favourite quote: “The irony of the Information Age is that it has given new respectability to uninformed opinion.” — John Lawton


If I said to you, “Just entertain me for five minutes, I’m not going to talk,” what would you do?

Would you like to see my stamp collection? Oh, what, you’d rather talk? That’s cool. *grin* (I can’t juggle – it’s probably better we talk)


Here is how you can find out more about Charlotte:


Aspiring doctor Christina Price has worked hard to rise above an upbringing filled with neglect and the assumption that she would never amount to anything. She promised herself she was never going back – could never go back – to Townsville, where she’d been bullied and betrayed as a young teenager. But when a twist of fate lands her on practical placement in a clinic on the Townsville army base, she must confront past hurts if she wants to succeed and, just maybe, find love.
Captain Aiden Bell is used to hard work, and to the life of an army officer: base-hopping and deploying overseas. His career has taken an emotional toll that he hasn’t dealt with, until meeting Christina stirs memories, desire – and hope.
At Crystal Creek, can facing your past give love a chance?

Bar Yarns w/ Author Pamela Cook

Pamela CookFirst a Facebook friend,  more recently I had the pleasure of meeting Pamela in person at a NSW Writers’ Centre event, sharing a drink afterwards – a real one. Now, here we are sharing a cyber beer at the Calingarry Crossing pub and having a yarn. Okay, Pamela, here’s a beer coaster! Take a minute to jot down the blurb for your book.

A young woman on the brink of marriage uncovers a family mystery and heads off on a road trip in search of answers to the past and a missing piece of herself.

Miranda McIntyre thinks she has it all sorted. A successful lawyer, she’s planning her wedding and ticking off all the right boxes. When searching for something old to go with her wedding dress she remembers an antique necklace from her childhood, but her mother denies any knowledge of it.


Miranda is sure it exists. Trying to find the necklace, she discovers evidence that perhaps the grandmother she thought was dead is still alive. Ignoring the creeping uncertainty about her impending marriage, and the worry that she is not living the life she really wants, Miranda takes off on a road trip in search of answers to the family mystery but also in search of herself. Ultimately, she will find that looking back can lead you home. A captivating story of family, love and following your heart, from the author of Blackwattle Lake.

Well, don’t just stand there. Grab a pew. What can I get you to go with your beer nuts? (Shandy? Wine Spritzer? Pink Lemonade?) A: Since it’s summer I’ll have an ice cold shandy thanks Jenn. And make it a schooner 🙂

(That’s my girl!)

Hey, did you hear the one about … 

A: I’m absolutely hopeless at remembering jokes so I’ll pass on that and leave it to those who are actually good at it.

I’m a beer nut nut! What bar snack would you be and why?

A: Definitely a potato chip. Salty with plenty of crunch.

Ahh, that shandy hit the spot. Let me slip a drink coaster under your glass while you tell us—on a scale of 1 to 10—as a writer are you a messy desker or tidy desker?

A: Don’t even have to think about that one. I’m a very messy desker, probably around an 8 Essie's Wayout of 10. There’s a small space in front of the computer that’s clear but a couple of growing piles on either side and the rest of my office isn’t any better. But I do occasionally go on a rampage and clear some space. Usually when I’m procrastinating. I’m in between books at the moment (writing them, that is) so I’ve gone way past procrastination!

The publican offers you free drinks all night if you will:

  • Dance to Gangnam Style
  • Sing John Denver’s ‘Take me Home Country Roads’ on the Karaoke machine
  • Spend an hour washing dishes

Which do you choose?

A: The karaoke option. Although I’d probably have to down more than a couple of shandies to work up the nerve. I’ve never done karaoke in public (although it is on my bucket list!) but I do love a good singstar session. And John Denver takes me way back. Love that song!

(Let me get you another drink, then!)

Time to liven the place up. Got a buck? We can crank up the old jukebox in the corner. You get to pick three songs.

  1. Leave Me Alone or Funhouse by Pink. I adore everything about her – music, lyrics, looks and attitude!
  2. American Pie by Don Mclean. Because everybody knows the words and after a few drinks will definitely sing along.
  3. Khe Sanh by Cold Chisel. Takes me back to my youth and great nights listening to classic Aussie rock at local pubs.

The pub is the heart of a small town and most locals would be lost without one. What are three things you’d be lost without?

  1. My horse, Morocco. I’ve had him for 8 years now and although I’m still not that confident a rider, hanging out with him is one of the joys of my life. When you’re riding a horse you need to be totally focused so it’s a great way to leave everything else behind and just escape.
  2. Although I initially resisted the whole mobile phone thing I now have to admit I’d be lost without my iphone. It’s rarely out of my hand!
  3. My bathtub. There’s nothing better than soaking in a long hot bath with a chilled glass of white and a great book. The perfect way to relax.

There are a few good prizes up for grabs in the bar jackpot. Do you have a lucky number? Since I have three beautiful daughters I’d have to say 3 is my lucky number.

Last drinks, my friend! It’s been great. But before we go, tell us how we can find out more about you and your writing/books.

Hachette: http://www.hachette.com.au/books/9780733632082/
Website: www.pamelacook.com.au
Facebook: www.facebook.com.PamelaCook/Author
Twitter: @PamelaCookAU

[Tweet “@pamelaCookAU is at the bar having a yarn about her latest @hachetteAus release: Essie’s Way”]

In the meantime, watch out … It’s on the way …

This storm season, in Calingarry Crossing, a perfect storm is heading Maggie Lindeman’s way.  

Find out more, right hereSimmering Season: April 1, 2014

For emergency alerts and warnings for Simmering Season, subscribe to Jenn J McLeod’s blog before you go, or LIKE her Facebook Page.

Writers reveal their writing process

Larissa_EdwardsIt’s great to be taking part in this blog hop on The Writing Process in which different writers answer the same questions about their writing process.

The picture to the left kind of sums up my writing process. Firstly, there would be no writing process without Larissa Edwards, the wonderful Head of Publishing at Simon & Schuster, Aust, who once uttered those words “I love your story”. But look behind her: integrity, confidence, difference, passion and belief. They are all part of my writing process.

Thanks to Pamela Cook, rural fiction author of Blackwattle Lake and Essie’s Way (Hachette), for tagging me. Here is Pamela’s post from last week in case you missed it. Or why not connect with this teacher, mother of three gorgeous daughters, manager of dogs, rabbits, birds, fish and horses, on her website: www.pamelacook.com.au, Twitter: @PamelaCookAU and on Facebook. Pamela lives in the southern suburbs of Sydney and spends as much time as possible at her “other” home in Milton on the south coast of NSW. Her favourite pastime (after writing) is riding her handsome quarter horse, Morocco.

So, it’s my turn now…

1) What am I working on? 

PhotoFunia-930aa9_s user

It’s unbelievable and mind blowing to think I am still being asked to talk about House for all Seasons after 12 months, while about to launch and talk up Simmering Season (April 1), just typed THE END on book 3 in my Seasons Collection – contracted for April 2015, and now plotting book 4 ready for 2016! Yes, this is the glamour life of a published author – NOT! I’ve also fit in a short story for an anthology, a couple of articles for the Queensland Writers’ Mag, and designed some workshops. No one warns you about the crazy hours and deadlines. But I LOVE it.
2) How does my work differ from others of its genre? 
While House for all Seasons reviews have made (humbling) comparisons to Monica McInerney and Maeve Binchy, the thing people comment on the most about my ‘Come home to the country’ stories (friendship, family relationships, and small towns keeping big secrets) is the way I balance humour with high emotion, making readers smile and cry and laugh and cry and laugh … but always with a contented sigh at the end.
3) Why do I write what I do?
It just happened. I tried writing romances, but I think my novel’s wry-humoured inhabitants (thx Rowena Holloway for that delightful description) got in the way. (I was giggling in all the wrong places!) Romantic comedy, maybe – which is where I was headed back in 2009 when my characters – filled with guilt and regrets and facing life’s challenges – had other ideas. So now it’s more “Laugh, Cry – Cry, Laugh  Kleenex” genre.
4) How does my writing process work? 
I usually start with an opening sentence and a title and wonder how I can make a story from them. I play around characters, a tag line and a blurb and away I go.
Unfortunately, my opening sentence in Simmering Season is NOT going to go down too well with some House for all Seasons readers. I can only say this…. Give it a chance. I promise you, I will not disappoint.
Well, that’s it from me. Coming up next week, answering the same writing processquestions, is three fabulous authors. I high recommend you look up and follow: Helene Young, Natasha Lester and Zena Shapter. They all love connecting with readers, as you can see, so check them out.

SafeHarbour_cover-1-low-res-676x1024Helene Young – multi-award winning romantic suspense author of Wings of Fear, Shattered Sky, Burning LiesHalf Moon Bay and her next release: Safe Harbour.

Ever wondered what a plane crash feels like? It’s all in a day’s work for multi-award-winning author and airline pilot, Helene Young.  A check captain with Australia’s largest

regional airline, her job is to ensure aircrew can handle all inflight emergencies. It comes in handy for writing fast-paced suspense novels starring feisty women and sexy men. When she’s not writing or flying Helene’s sailing the seas with Capt G and Zeus, aboard their catamaran Roo Bin Esque.

Helene’s twice been awarded the RWA RuBY and was voted Most Popular Romantic Suspense Author by ARRA in 2010 and 2011.

Website: http://www.heleneyoung.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HeleneYoungAustralianAuthor?fref=ts

WILOA web sizeNatasha Lester – award winning author of two novels, If I Should Lose You and What 
is Left Over, After. She also teaches creative writing through the Australian Writers Centre, and when she’s not teaching and writing, she spends her time playing dress-ups with her three children.

ZenaShapter300dpiZena Shapter – a British-Australian author who loves putting characters inside the most perfect storm of their lives, then watching how they get out. She likes wild rides through the gulches of adventure that spit you out breathless, and close-to-reality books of the unexplained. She’s won seven national fiction writing competitions (all blind judging), has been published in magazines such as “Midnight Echo” and anthologies like “Award-Winning Australian Writing” (Melbourne Books, 2012). She is represented by literary agent Alex Adsett.

Website: http://zenashapter.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ZenaShapter
Twitter: https://twitter.com/ZenaShapter
Google+: https://plus.google.com/+ZenaShapter/posts
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/ZenaShapter/

writers 2



Author Harvest ‘bales up’ Dawn Barker

Author HarvestFRACTURED_left

I’m so excited about  Dawn’s debut novel – out NOW – I’m putting the blurb right up front so you don’t miss it.

  Fractured – all their dreams have shattered.

Tony is worried. His wife, Anna, isn’t coping with their newborn. Anna had wanted a child so badly and, when Jack was born, they were both so happy. They’d come home from the hospital a family. Was it really only six weeks ago?

But Anna hasn’t been herself since. One moment she’s crying, the next she seems almost too positive. It must be normal with a baby, he thought, she’s just adjusting. He was busy at work. It would sort itself out. But now Anna and Jack are missing. And he realises that something is really wrong…

What happens to this family will break your heart and leave you breathless

Just reading that sends shivers up my spine, so you’d best feed me because food comforts… (Not that there’s anything wrong with that, doc!)

What treat have you whipped up for me today, Dr Dawn?Dawn Barker

Jenn, I’m very much a tea person, served in a pretty pot.

(I like tea. I like how the tea leaves  after you’ve drained your cup create shapes. Sometimes I see rabbits and faces… Kind of like ink blots. Not that there’s anything wrong with that — right?)

So about that comfort food, Dawn?

For special guests, I show off my Scottish background by baking a pretty good  – if I do say so myself – shortbread. Sprinkled with lots of sugar of course…Fractured - both

(Ock, mon! A wee bit o’ Scottish shortbread never hurts. Sorry, that’s the McLeod part of me coming out! Not that I have a split personality or anything – okay?  Speaking of split (or Fractured!), Hachette is very clever designing your covers with alternate sides of the face.) 

At home …

My mum says garden gnomes make a house a home! Are you loud and proud in your love of garden gnomes at home, a closet gnomer or with a strict ‘no gnomes’ policy at your place?

There are no gnomes in our garden, I’m afraid, although my three little girls tell me there are fairies in amongst the bushes. I think that beats gnomes any day.

(I think fairies win, hands down!)

What vegetable (or fruit) have you always wanted to grow at home?

We have lots of fruit and veggies growing at home, although very few of them survive the hot Perth summer! At the moment – it’s 37c outside – the only things still going are grapes, lemongrass, cherry tomatoes, chilli, mint and lemons. Actually, that sounds like a good combination. Thai prawns and a mojito anyone?

(Yes please!)

Whose home would you like to housesit and why?

Anyone whose house has a balcony, a view, a playroom and a full time nanny so I can sit and read a book with a pot of tea without my children clambering all over me!

Country curiosities…

The big question… Why did the chicken cross the road?

You should know better than to ask a psychiatrist a question like that! I’m interested in why you ask that. Why do you think the chicken crossed the road, Jenn?


About you…

Your turning point: when was that point in your life that you realized that being an author was no longer going to be just a dream but a reality and a career?

In 2010, my manuscript for Fractured was chosen for the Queensland Writers Centre/Hachette manuscript development programme. In some ways, this was more significant than the day that Hachette offered to publish it, as it was the first acknowledgement by the industry that I wasn’t just dreaming, that there was something in my writing and that my story that was worth pursuing. Of course, since then there have been many moments in my publishing journey where I’ve had to remind myself that I am actually now doing what I’d only dreamed of before!

(I’m so excited Fractured and House for all Seasons are coming out together. Not ‘coming out’ as in … well, you know… Not that there’s anything wrong with that!)

What is the hardest part of writing for you?

I have three very young children, and so for me, finding the time and space to write is a constant challenge. I try to write every day, but there are some days when I have to remember that I can’t do it all.

Fun stuff…

What does your protagonist think about you? Would he or she want to hang out with you, the author, his/her creator.

The protagonist in Fractured is very similar to me in many ways. I deliberately created a main character that readers could relate to and see elements of themselves in, because the experiences of the family in my novel really could happen to any of us.

If you could trade places with any other person for a week, famous or not famous, living or dead, real or fictional, with whom would it be?

I’d love to be Truman Capote at his prime: living a literary life in New York when writers were really celebrated, hosting The Black and White Party, hanging out with the jet set. But a week would be long enough. I like peace and quiet. I’m usually asleep by 10pm, and I don’t think Mr Capote was…

(Not that there’s anything wrong with that!)

How weird are you? Rate yourself on a scale of 1 (not) to 10 (very).

I’m afraid I’m not very weird at all. I spend my day playing with the children, running a house, and trying to fit in some writing and exercise. I think on that scale, I’m a 1.

(Hmm, I reckon only a psychiatrist can say that and get away with it!)

Dawn says you can buy the book in all the usual places: Booktopia, Dymocks and Fishpond! But she likes people to try their local bookshop first.

For the ebook version: http://www.booktopia.com.au/fractured-dawn-barker/prod9780733629853.html

Catch Dawn on Facebook, Tweeting as @drdawnbarker and on her website: www.authordawnbarker.com