Showing posts with label Australia Week. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Australia Week. Show all posts

Jun 25, 2015

Australia Week: Final Post


I enjoyed my Australia Week very much! It eventually even turned into a fortnight, because there was a lot to write about and I received quite many great reactions. This is the last post of the event. I want to thank everyone who has been part of it. I don't think I've ever posted so many times a day in two weeks time. Fortunately you can read through every article at your own pace by clicking this link

I'm very happy that I received all this friendliness and generosity from the Australian and Australia loving people who were part of my event. It was a wonderful surprise that almost everyone I contacted was positive and enthusiastic. I've had a lot of help from artists and authors and also from Australian bloggers. Tanya, Anniek and Eline have worked very hard to help me with the reviews. It was a real team effort, something I could never have done on my own.

I've learned a lot from this event, there were many things about Australia that I didn't know. I do know that there are still plenty of new things to discover, which I can't wait to make a start with. I loved these two weeks so much that it makes me want to keep reviewing Australian books on a regular basis and I'd also like to feature more Australian shops. I love Australia and its wonderful people!

Australia Week: Final Giveaway!


Enter this giveaway to win Natio Welness body butter, hand cream and moisturizing day cream gel worth over $50.


The winner will also receive a necklace made in Australia and an Australian book of choice worth $10. Good luck!

   I will contact the winner on twitter or via email. If I don't get a reply within 60 hours the prize will go to someone else. All of my giveaways are international.    

Australia Weekend: Fresh Beginnings by Iris Blobel

The small town of Hobart in Tasmania has witnessed many beginnings in recent years. At yet one more beginning, the wedding of a friend, Jared Fraser decides it’s time for some fresh beginnings to come his way… and he sets out for a holiday to the US to travel along the Route 66 in a motor home.

Ivy Bennett thought leaving her boyfriend would be the hard part. It doesn’t take long to figure out how wrong she was. As she struggles with making a new start in her life, the last person she expects to lead her to happiness is a laid-back Australian on holiday.

Then the arrival of family friend Mia Levesque and her boyfriend, Josh, turns Jared’s holidays upside-down when he’s forced to play arbitrator between the two teenagers.

Amazon USA Amazon UK Amazon Au

Jared's friends have all got someone to love, but Jared is still alone. He loves his work, but it's time for something else. That is why he travels to the United States where he plans to make a trip in a motor home by himself. At the beginning of his trip he meets Ivy, a hitchhiker who has just said goodbye to her alcoholic boyfriend and a life that wasn't going anywhere. He decides to give her a ride. She doesn't trust him at first, but soon they get along really well.

To make matters more complicated, Mia is supposed to accompany Jared on a large part of his trip because of a fight she had with her boyfriend Josh. Nobody asked Jared for permission, but he dutifully picks her up from the airport. To his surprise Josh is there too, but Mia is still not speaking to him. Jared's plans to travel alone are completely forgotten. The question is if he really minds or if he likes the company...

Fresh Beginnings is the third novella in the Beginnings series. The stories are fun to read. I recommend reading the first two parts before the third as it makes it much easier to understand the story. Ivy is the new character in this novella and I immediately liked her. She made a tough and brave decision and ended up being all alone. She's determined to make it on her own and that made her someone to admire. It was nice to read more about Jared and to find out some details about his life. Mia is seventeen in this story, it was really great to see her grow up. I loved this light and fun read as much as the first two novellas in the series. 

Australia Week: House for All Seasons by Jenn J McLeod

Bequeathed a century-old house, four estranged friends return to their home town, Calingarry Crossing, where each must stay for a season to fulfil the wishes of their beloved benefactor, Gypsy. Here they finally face the consequences of the tragic accident that occurred twenty years ago and changed their lives forever.
Sara, a breast cancer survivor afraid to fall in love;
Poppy, an ambitious journo craving her father’s approval;
Amber, a spoilt socialite looking for some purpose to life;
Caitlin, a doctor frustrated by a controlling family
At Dandelion House, each will discover something about themselves and a secret that will bind them forever. 


 After Gypsy's death four women have to come together after twenty years. Gypsy has left them the Dandelion House. There's one condition, they each have to spend a season at the house. Sara is the first one who's staying. She has some unfinished business in Calingarry Crossing. After so many years she finally has a chance to become friends with Will again. She was once madly in love with him, but she never got the chance to tell him. Now they have time to catch up and go out together, but their tragic pasts are making things difficult for both of them. 

Poppy is a journalist who wants nothing more than her father's pride. It's the only thing she's ever wanted to achieve and the one thing she never received. Even when she wins a prestigious award she can't be happy because her father isn't there to celebrate with her. Poppy has a wonderful boss who takes good care of her and she needs him. When she goes to the Dandelion House she's all alone. There's only a friend of her father to talk to. She learns more about the background of the man whose approval she craved and also that it's good to need someone who cares for her.

Amber seems to have it all. In the eyes of so many people she has the perfect life. She's married to a rich man, she can do whatever she wants and she has a beautiful daughter. Her father plays an important role in her life and she used to adore him. Amber's stay at the house is necessary for her confidence and well being. She's always done what other people wanted her to do and she has lost herself in the process. Being on her own with animals to take care of and a visit to her mother every now and then she finally has the chance to find out what she wants. 

Caitlin is the daughter of a successful doctor. Her father's work is legendary and she had to follow in his footsteps. He has passed away and that's giving her the chance to go to the countryside and feel free for a while. Caitlin is a good doctor, but she'd rather care for animals instead of people. While she is in Dandelion House she discovers a terrible secret, something she has to share with her childhood friends.

Because of something that happened in their past Sara, Poppy, Amber and Caitlin are no longer friends. They drifted apart, because they couldn't cope being together. There were too many memories. While being at the house they have to face their past. The house used to be a safe haven and Gypsy wanted them to have that also after her death. I loved that idea. House for All Seasons is a beautiful story about four very different women. They're as different as the seasons. They are all strong, but somehow stuck and they need their life to change. I liked to see the developments in their character during the time they spent at the house. It has a healing effect and it also make them see things more clearly. I think Jenn J McLeod has written a fantastic book. House for All Seasons is very special, it's such a warm and wonderful story.

Australia Week: Suze Loves Boho Bird Jewellery! & Giveaway



I love Boho Bird Jewellery. I found this stunning jewelry on Facebook and now the owner, Melissa, has started a brand new Etsy shop, so I'm the first one to feature her.



There are a few items in Melissa's Etsy shop, she'll add more jewelry the coming days, and she also sells via Facebook.



Melissa has a great market stand. I love that her customers can see all the jewelry on display.



I think Melissa's jewelry is fantastic. It's colorful and cheerful and she uses the most beautiful beads.



Melissa has a great blog where you can read about her creations, inspirations and everything she likes.



I've asked Melissa a couple of questions to find out more about her and her shop.

Where did you learn how to make jewelry?

I took a class at my local bead shop when I first started making jewellery five years ago, just to get the basic techniques. But since then I’ve mostly taught myself. Now and then I take a class, usually in some form of metalwork, but I’ve yet to put much of that into my work. One of these days …



What inspires you?
I love to do blog hops and design challenges, which may be based around a picture or colour palette, a theme or even a swap of beads chosen by someone else for me to work with. You can read a lot about my design inspirations on my blog (beadrecipes.wordpress.com). I like to tell a story with my designs, whether that is capturing a feeling or a more literal interpretation. I love to work with handmade beads made by lampworkers, ceramic and polymer clay artisans and metalsmiths—each bead is a tiny work of art! I’m also a huge lover of colour and texture. It’s fun to choose unexpected combinations of colour that work well together. Texture, whether it comes from mixing different kinds of beads or adding in textural elements like leather or waxed linen cord or sari silk ribbons, really adds an extra dimension to a design.



When did you first start selling it and how did that adventure begin?


My first foray into selling was at a craft market at the school my children attend. I mostly targeted the kids, with a series of necklaces for little girls featuring lockets and mysterious keys and flowers, but I sold a few pairs of earrings too. I’ve since started selling regularly at a little handmade market that runs monthly, which is literally around the corner from where I live. I occasionally book into other markets too. I also have an Etsy shop that I am trying to build up.



What are your plans for the future?


I’d like to get some confidence with metalwork so that I can incorporate it into my designs. And I’m hoping to do a bit of ceramic bead-making with my mum, who is a potter.



What's your favourite place in Australia?


I grew up in Perth (WA) and I live on the other side of the country in Melbourne (Victoria) and there is so much beauty in both places. Overall, I think I’m drawn to the beaches, they are spectacular whatever time of the year you visit. I think Perth has the best beaches in the world, as well as a really special island just off the coast (Rottnest Island) where our family regularly goes for holidays. Another favourite holiday spot is on the south western coast of Victoria, in a place called Wye River.



Where does your shop name come from? And what attracts you so much about the Boho style?


It’s funny, but I’m not sure how exactly I came up with my shop name! I was playing around with bird names (magpie and bowerbird were two I tried to incorporate but there were too many shops with similar names) and eventually I found something that resonated with me. As for the Boho style, I like its freedom from rules! To me it’s all about using colour and texture to create something beautiful and unique.



Check out Melissa's amazing jewelry.



Feel free to contact her if you're looking for something in particular or if you want to know which pieces you can see on Facebook are available.



Enjoy browsing and have fun shopping!



Melissa has a great giveaway for one very lucky reader of my blog. She will make the winner a surprise pair of earrings, good luck!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
I will contact the winner on twitter or via email. If I don't get a reply within 60 hours the prize will go to someone else. All of my giveaways are international.

Jun 24, 2015

Australia Week: Eugenia's Top 10 Australian Reads! & Giveaway

Eugenia’s Top 10 Australian Reads

Hi everyone! I’m Eugenia from Genie In A Book here to share my top 10 Aussie reads for you all. There are some fantastic books out there by Australian authors, and it’s definitely difficult to narrow it down to just ten, but here you go:


1. Disruption by Jessica Shirvington

This is a fast-paced almost dystopian/sci-fi novel in a duology in a version of the world similar to our own which absolutely blew me away! There’s action, some romance, and a kick-ass female protagonist who knows how to set things right.

What if a microchip could identify your perfect match?
What if it could be used against you and the ones you love?

Eight years ago, Mercer Corporation’s M-Bands became mandatory. An evolution of the smartphone, the bracelets promised an easier life. Instead, they have come to control it.

Two years ago, Maggie Stevens watched helplessly as one of the people she loves most was taken from her, shattering her world as she knew it.

Now, Maggie is ready. And Quentin Mercer – heir to the M-Corp empire – has become key to Maggie’s plan. But as the pieces of her dangerous design fall into place, could Quentin’s involvement destroy everything she’s fought for?

In a world full of broken promises, the ones Maggie must keep could be the most heartbreaking.


2. Beautiful Malice by Rebecca James 

Rebecca James is always at the top of my list when it comes to writing an amazing YA thriller – this is just one of my favourites, and others she’s written include Sweet Damage and Cooper Bartholomew is Dead.

Who is Katherine Patterson? It is a question she hopes no one can answer. To erase her past, Katherine has moved to a new city, enrolled in a new school, and even changed her name. She’s done the next best thing to disappearing altogether. Now, wary and alone, she seeks nothing more than anonymity. What she finds instead is the last thing she expected: a friend.

Even more unlikely, Katherine’s new friend is the most popular and magnetic girl in school. Extroverted, gorgeous, flirtatious, and unpredictable, she is everything that Katherine is not and doesn’t want to be: the center of attention. Yet Alice’s enthusiasm is infectious, her candor sometimes unsettling, and Katherine, in spite of her guarded caution, finds herself drawn into Alice’s private circle.

But Alice has secrets, too—darker than anyone can begin to imagine. And when she lets her guard down at last, Katherine discovers the darkest of them all. For there will be no escaping the past for Katherine Patterson—only a descent into a trap far more sinister . . . and infinitely more seductive.


3. Bitter Greens by Kate Forsyth

This is a simply stunning rendition of Rapunzel – taking it right back to its origins, weaving in historical details as well. Kate Forsyth’s writing style is beautiful, and this story had me drawn in from the first page.

French novelist Charlotte-Rose de la Force has been banished from the court of Versailles by the Sun King, Louis XIV, after a series of scandalous love affairs. At the convent, she is comforted by an old nun, Sœur Seraphina, who tells her the tale of a young girl who, a hundred years earlier, is sold by her parents for a handful of bitter greens...

After Margherita's father steals parsley from the walled garden of the courtesan Selena Leonelli, he is threatened with having both hands cut off, unless he and his wife relinquish their precious little girl. Selena is the famous red-haired muse of the artist Tiziano, first painted by him in 1512 and still inspiring him at the time of his death. She is at the center of Renaissance life in Venice, a world of beauty and danger, seduction and betrayal, love and superstition.

Locked away in a tower, Margherita sings in the hope that someone will hear her. One day, a young man does.

Award-winning author Kate Forsyth braids together the stories of Margherita, Selena, and Charlotte-Rose, the woman who penned Rapunzel as we now know it, to create what is a sumptuous historical novel, an enchanting fairy tale retelling, and a loving tribute to the imagination of one remarkable woman.


4. Every Breath by Ellie Marney

If you’re looking for a YA spin on Sherlock Holmes then this is it! This is the first book in a trilogy, and one you wouldn’t want to miss!

Rachel Watts is an unwilling new arrival to Melbourne from the country. James Mycroft is her neighbour, an intriguingly troubled seventeen-year-old genius with a passion for forensics. Despite her misgivings, Rachel finds herself unable to resist Mycroft when he wants her help investigating a murder. And when Watts and Mycroft follow a trail to the cold-blooded killer, they find themselves in the lion's den - literally.

A night at the zoo will never have quite the same meaning again... 


5. A Waltz for Matilda by Jackie French

This is still my favourite book of all time – it’s set in the early period of Federation in Australian history and is both heartwarming and beautifully told. Jackie French is also my favourite author, so I’d definitely recommend other books she’s written as well (there are lots to choose from!).

In 1894, twelve-year-old Matilda flees the city slums to find her unknown father and his farm. But drought grips the land, and the shearers are on strike. Her father has turned swaggie and he′s wanted by the troopers. In front of his terrified daughter, he makes a stand against them, defiant to the last. ′You′ll never catch me alive, said he...′

Set against a backdrop of bushfire, flood, war and jubilation, this is the story of one girl′s journey towards independence. It is also the story of others who had no vote and very little but their dreams.

Drawing on the well-known poem by A.B. Paterson and from events rooted in actual history, this is the untold story behind Australia′s early years as an emerging nation.


6. The Rosie Black Chronicles: Genesis by Lara Morgan

This is a book set in Perth 500 years into the future, and I love sci-fi which is actually set in Australia. Another favourite of mine, this trilogy is one you have to read – action, loyalty, friendship, romance, drama – it has it all!

Five hundred years into the future, the world is a different place. The Melt has sunk most of the coastal cities and Newperth is divided into the haves, the “Centrals”; the have-nots, the “Bankers”; and the fringe dwellers, the “Ferals”.

Rosie Black is a Banker. When Rosie finds an unusual box, she has no idea of the grave consequences of her discovery. A mysterious organisation wants it – and will kill to get it.

Forced to rely on two strangers, Rosie is on the run. But who can she trust? Pip, the too attractive Feral, or the secretive man he calls boss?

From Earth to Mars, Rosie must learn the secrets of the box – before it’s too late.


7. Shadows by Paula Weston

And now we move to paranormal – As it turns out, Aussie writers are really good at that too! This first book in the Rephaim series is a hit, and has been getting positive hype overseas as well.

It’s almost a year since Gaby Winters was in the car crash that killed her twin brother, Jude. Her body has healed in the sunshine of Pandanus Beach, but her grief is raw and constant. It doesn’t help that every night in her dreams she kills demons and other hell-spawn.

And then Rafa comes to town. Not only does he look exactly like the guy who’s been appearing in Gaby’s dreams—he claims a history with her brother that makes no sense. Gaby is forced to accept that what she thought she knew about herself and her life is only a shadow of the truth—and that the truth is more likely to be found in the shadows of her nightmares.

Who is Rafa? Who are the Rephaim? And most importantly, who can she trust?

Fast-paced and gripping, Shadows, the first book in the Rephaim series.


8. Walking on Trampolines by Frances Whiting

This novel really tugs at the heartstrings and demonstrates how friendships can change over time. It’s a lovely coming-of-age novel, emotional and thought-provoking.


Tallulah de Longland,' she said slowly, letting all the Ls in my name loll about lazily in her mouth before passing judgement. 'That,' she announced, 'is a seriously glamorgeous name.'

From the day Annabelle Andrews sashays into her classroom, Tallulah 'Lulu' de Longland is bewitched by Annabelle, by her family, and their sprawling, crumbling house tumbling down to the river.

Their unlikely friendship intensifies through a secret language where they share confidences about their unusual mothers, first loves, and growing up in the small, coastal town of Juniper Bay. Their lives become as entwined as Annabelle's initials engraved beneath the de Longland kitchen table.

But the euphoria of youth rarely lasts, and the implosion that destroys their friendship leaves lasting scars and a legacy of self-doubt that haunts Lulu into adulthood.

Years later, Lulu is presented with a choice: remain the perpetual good girl who misses out, or finally step out from the shadows and do something extraordinary. And possibly unforgiveable.

It's not how far you fall, but how high you bounce.


9. The Intern by Gabrielle Tozer

Now if you want a light and funny contemporary YA novel which will literally make you laugh out loud, then you can’t go past The Intern and the sequel Faking It. Everyone has Josie Browning moments, and these books are great for fans of The Devil Wears Prada.

Josie Browning dreams of having it all.

A stellar academic record, an amazing career in journalism - and for her current crush to realise she actually exists. The only problem? Josie can’t get through twenty-four hours without embarrassing her sister Kat or her best friend Angel, let alone herself.

Josie’s luck changes though when she lands an internship at the glossy fashion magazine Sash. A coveted columnist job is up for grabs, but Josie’s got some tough competition in the form of two other interns. Battle lines are drawn and Josie quickly learns that the magazine industry is far from easy, especially under the reign of powerful editor, Rae Swanson.

From the lows of coffee-fetching and working 10-hour days, to the highs of mingling with celebrities, scoring endless free beauty products (plus falling for her cousin’s seriously gorgeous flatmate James) this is one year Josie will never forget.

Totally fresh and funny, this debut novel from industry insider Gabrielle Tozer reveals just what is behind the seeming glamour and sparkle of the magazine industry. 


10. Masquerade by Kylie Fornasier

Historical fiction set in the glamorous city of Venice? This is a debut from Kylie Fornasier, and is just as gorgeous as the setting.


It's the Carnevale of 1750 and Venice's ballrooms, theatres, palazzos and squares are filled with delicious gossip, devilish fun and dangerous games. In this glittering masked world, everyone has a secret...

Set in an age of decadence made famous by Casanova, Masquerade uncovers the secrets of seven teens, from the highest aristocrat to the lowest servant – their dreams, desires, loves, loyalties ... and betrayals.

All the world's a stage. Let the show begin.

Thanks again for having me here on your blog Suze, hope you guys get to checking out some of these Australian gems soon!

Giveaway

Enter this giveaway to win a paperback version of The Intern 
 
 I will contact the winner on twitter or via email. If I don't get a reply within 60 hours the prize will go to someone else. All of my giveaways are international.     

Australia Week: The Wild One by Janet Gover - Review & Giveaway

Can four wounded souls find love?
Iraq war veteran Dan Mitchell once disobeyed an order – and it nearly destroyed him. Now a national park ranger in the Australian outback, he’s faced with another order he is unwilling to obey ...

Photographer Rachel Quinn seeks out beauty in unlikely places. Her work comforted Dan in his darkest days. But Quinn knows darkness too – and Dan soon realises she needs his help as much as he needs hers.

Carrie Bryant was a talented jockey until a racing accident broke her nerve. Now Dan and Quinn need her expertise, but can she face her fear? And could horse breeder, Justin Fraser, a man fighting to save his own heritage, be the man to help put that fear to rest?

The wounds you can’t see are the hardest to heal...

Amazon USA Amazon UK Amazon Au

Review by Tanya
The Wild One is the second in the Coorah Creek series but can be read as a standalone as I found out. The book centres around four main characters who each have problems of their own, but are trying to work together to save a group of  brumbies (wild horses) from being shot in the effort eradicate them of the national park of Tyangi.
Dan Mitchell is the ranger of the park and is ordered to shoot the horses. He does not want to obey the order and the act of shooting and orders brings back unwanted memories from his time in the army. He is struggling with PTSD and bad flashbacks of an act he was asked to carry out whilst in service. He likes the freedom of the national park and knows that if he does not obey the orders to shoot the brumbies he could lose his job.
Rachel Quinn is a photographer who is spending some time in the local village of Coorah Creek and becomes interested in the plight of the brumbies and sets out to save them from being shot. She has her own secrets and works hard and being independent. She also hates to be tied down and often lives in her Humvee which is set up for camping. She is a famous photographer and tracks the story of the capture of the brumbies through photography in the hope of producing an article.
Carrie Bryant is a jockey that has a bad accident and is no longer able to bring herself to go near a horse. She is approached to help with the rescue mission and agrees but with a lot of trepidation and not intending to handle a horse in the process. She lacks a lot of confidence in herself and feels like people are laughing at her.
Carrie approaches Justin Fraser with important information that will help to save his Stock Horse stables after a big fire caused the loss of many great horses when his father was running it. Justin is a big admirer of Carrie’s and is there to help her through her fear of horses.
There are love stories that arise between the characters, but they each have to come to terms with things that have happened and to accept them. I feel that through the effort to save the brumbies they  learn a lot about themselves and become a lot wiser from the action. 
The town of Coorah Creek contains the type of people that everyone would want to call friends.  They are there to help each other through the tough times and there to celebrate the good. This is what Dan, Carrie and Quinn need and you can see by the end of the book how important the town becomes to them. 
I don’t know which character I liked the best and think that as a foursome with edge characters and a great plot you cannot go wrong with this book. In fact I am off to get the first Coorah Creek book and have already downloaded more books by Janet Gover. This is why I love these weeks by Suzanne as it introduces you to new authors.  

Giveaway

The very lucky winner of this giveaway will receive a fantastic prize, a signed copy of Flight to Coorah Creek from Janet Gover!
I will contact the winner on twitter or via email. If I don't get a reply within 60 hours the prize will go to someone else. All of my giveaways are international.     

Australia Week: An Interview with Janet Gover


This is the first time Tanya and I have done a duo interview. We interviewed Janet Gover together and it was a lot of fun. Janet Gover is the author of the fabulous Coorah Creek novels and several other great romantic books. We asked her a lot of questions and love her answers.

1) Could you tell a little bit about yourself?

Hi. I’m an expat Aussie living in London. And before you ask, the reason I left the sunshine for England is about 5ft ten inches tall, has green eyes, plays guitar and yes, reader, I married him. We also lived in New York City for a while. We now find ourselves pulled between families and friends in all locations. Airlines do well out of us. When I am not writing, I work as a technology and workflow consultant in the TV industry, which is as much fun as it sounds.

2) Suze: Horses play an important role in The Wild One, is that because you have a history with them and what do you like so much about them?


I grew up loving horses. My first pony was a shaggy brown gelding called Dino – who later made an appearance in one of my short stories. I have competed in show jumping and one day eventing in Australia, and have bred and trained Arabian horses and Australian Stock horses. I love that they are so strong and powerful and beautiful, and so willing to form a partnership with us. It really is an amazing feeling when you are in harmony with such a wonderful creature.

3) Tanya: A few of your books are set in the outback although some are set in Australian cities. Do you have experience of living in both these types of areas and which do you prefer?


I grew up in a very small bush town, not unlike the town of Coorah Creek, but much smaller. There were 18 houses in my town. Honestly. That was all. 18 houses, a post office, one shop and a pub. There was, however, a wonderful sense of community, and that’s what I have tried to capture in the Coorah Creek series.

Right now I live in London – totally the other end of the spectrum – and I love it here too. There is culture and history, music events and art shows and restaurants and…

I don’t think I prefer one or the other. Both are wonderful in their own way. Did I mention I spend a lot of money on airline tickets?

4) Suze: I love your website and you share a lot of free stories on it, what inspires you to write them?

Thanks Suze. My husband and I designed the website. I was determined to have free stories there – as a bonus for my visitors. The first short stories I ever read as a child were by the great Rudyard Kipling – the Just So stories and his animal stories. I love the form. It’s really hard to write short stories, because you have so few words in which to develop your story and your characters. I think it’s a great way to improve your writing skills. It’s also fun. I will see a person on the street, or in a shop. I will overhear a snatch of conversation and suddenly an idea will pop into my head. It’s not a book – it’s just an idea. Short stories are a wonderful outlet for them

5) Tanya: A lot of your titles of your books remind me of songs is this deliberate? Also how do you choose the title of your books?
I do listen to a lot of music, and go to a lot of concerts, so I guess it shouldn’t surprise me if song lyrics prompt my titles. Some titles jump out right from the beginning – Flight To Coorah Creek was always going to be called that, from the moment I conceived the story. The Wild One didn’t come to me until I was nearly finished writing the book. But I knew it was the right title. Sometimes I can’t think of a title at all, and I toss around ideas with my editor and publisher and husband and friends until everyone is sick of me… but I always get there in the end.

6) Suze: You’ve travelled a lot and are now living in the UK, what/where do you call home and what do you miss most about Australia?


I grew up in Australia – I do miss the wide open spaces and the weather. I miss having a mango tree in my garden and horses in paddocks around me. But I love London too. I love the sense of history and the wonderful architecture.

I call both home – did I mention the number of hours I spend on planes between the two places?

7) Tanya: As an avid traveller which three countries do you recommend should be on my must visit list?


Every country I have visited (I stopped counting at 60) has its own unique appeal. I have never been to a country that didn’t leave me with some pleasant memories. As a bit of a history buff, I have to say my favourite places were The Great Wall of China, The Taj Mahal and the Pueblo Cliff dwellings in the New Mexico desert. As a lover of wild places – I also loved the glaciers in Iceland, the savanna in Africa and the mountains of Kazakhstan.

8) Suze: You worked as a journalist for many years and you’ve met a lot of different people because of it. Who’s the most interesting person you’ve met?

That’s a tough one Suze. I’ve met famous people who were not terribly interesting, and ‘ordinary’ people who were just amazing. Possibly the scariest interview I ever did was with Professor Julius Sumner Miller. He was a physicist and seemed a bit crazy to me. He hosted an old children’s science show on TV in Australia. He always asked his audience ‘Why is it so?’ I was always afraid I’d get it wrong. When I interviewed him years later, he questioned my understanding of a couple of words I used in a question. I almost fainted with fear – but I got the answer right! I was so relieved. There’s a video of him here. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LIfxV7uNZXQ See what I mean – scary!

9) Tanya: I read that you enjoy knitting and read on your website that you recently visited the Welsh National Woollen Mills, a place I regularly visit with my family. When you are visiting these types of places are you constantly thinking of how you can use the knowledge and experiences in a plot. If so can you give examples?

Isn’t the wool museum a fabulous place? I just loved it. I am always looking for places and experiences and people to use in stories. My very first published short story was based on a visit I made to the Gower Peninsula, which I thought was quite beautiful. I once wrote a short story because of a screaming child running wild in my local supermarket. Be careful – anything is grist to the writers mind.

10) Suze: You thoroughly research your stories, what’s the best part about learning new things to write about?


I am insatiably curious. I think it was instilled in me by my father. I love it when I am researching something and discover a word or an expression or activity that is unique to that thing. I immediately store it away in my head and use it. When I was quite small, my Dad bought us a set of Children’s encyclopaedias. I devoured them. I got to M before anyone told me that you’re not supposed to read an encyclopaedia from cover to cover like a book. I read the rest anyway, for the sheer pleasure of finding out new stuff.

11) Tanya: I did my dissertation on the writing process for children. As an author what writing process do you follow?


I think about my characters and their story for quite a while before I begin a book. I’m usually talking to the new characters as I finish the previous book. I always know what I am writing about – for example the book I’m working on now is all about what happens when the wrong person is actually the right person. I always have a broad plot outline in my head – very very broad. Then the book starts to play in my head like a movie. I write down what I see and hear.

12) Suze: What’s special about Coorah Creek, why do people come there to heal?


I love the sense of community in the town. People care about each other. I think that’s something unique to small towns, particularly town on geographically remote and tough places. There’s not a lot of money. It’s a tough life. Emotions run close to the surface. I’ve had readers tell me they would like to go and live there. That’s a huge compliment.

13) Tanya: Do you base the characters in the book on people that you know or have come across?

I am an insatiable people-watcher. I love observing how they act and interact. I use those observations to give my characters realistic personalities, strengths and weakness, hopes and dreams. None of them is an actual other person – but every one of them has traits that I have seen in real people. That gives the characters realism and depth.

14) Suze: In one of your short stories (Fairy Kiss) you write about finding something great when you least expect it, do you have an example of when this has happened to you?

OK – true confession here. I met my husband on the 40th floor of a warehouse building in the upper reaches of the New Territories in Hong Kong. He had come from England and I had come from Australia to work on the same project there. With a week, we knew that something special had happened to us. After that, how could I not believe in finding the best things when you least expect it?

15) Tanya: What do you hope to achieve in the future?


There are so many stories in my head and I want to tell them all! In the shorter term, though, there is one thing for which I have all my fingers and toes crossed. I have been shortlisted for the RUBY Award – that’s the Romantic Book of the Year awarded by the Romance Writers of Australia. I’m flying back to Melbourne in August for the awards ceremony. People always say it is an honour just to be shortlisted – and it is. But oh – how wonderful would it be to win….

Australia Week: Paper Daisies by Kim Kelly - Review and Giveaway

As 1900 draws to a close, Berylda Jones, having completed her university exams for entry to medicine is heading home to Bathurst for Christmas. Tragically, 'home' is where she and her beloved sister Greta live in terror, under the control of their sadistic Uncle Alec.

But this summer Berylda has a plan - borne out of desperation - to free herself and Greta from Alec for good, if she can only find the courage to execute it.

Then, on New Year's Eve, just as Alec tightens his grip over the sisters, a stranger arrives at their gate - Ben Wilberry, a botanist, travelling west in search of a particular native wildflower, with his friend, the artist Cosmo Thompson.

Ben is at first oblivious to what depravity lies beyond this threshold and what follows is a journey that will take him and Berylda, Greta and Cosmo, out to the old gold rush town of Hill End - a tumbledown place with its own dark secrets - in search of a means to cure evil and a solution to what seems an impossible situation.

Against the tumultuous backdrop of Australian Federation and the coming of the Women's Vote, Paper Daisies is a story of what it means to find moral courage, of a crime that must be committed to see justice done and a sweet love that grows against the odds.

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Review

Berylda Jones wants to become a doctor. It's 1900 and it isn't common for women to study. She's done all the exams she needs to do to be able to start and is heading home for the holidays. She dreads going there as it means she'll have to be under the same roof as her uncle Alec. Alec has Berylda and her sister Greta in his power. He's in charge of everything and has the authority to make all the decisions. Unfortunately he's creepy and mean. Berylda can escape in her studies, but it means she has to leave her sister behind with a psychopath. It's something she keeps struggling with, because she doesn't want to do that.

When she meets botanist Ben Wilberry and invites him and his travel companion to spend New Year's Eve with them Berylda sees a great opportunity. She asks Ben to accompany her and her sister to a Chinese doctor who has miraculously cured a man who had cancer. Ben and his friend Cosmo are traveling with the sisters. Ben wants to find rare daisies and he's excited about the trip. Not only because of the flowers, but also because it gives him the chance to spend time with Berylda. Only Berylda finds herself in an impossible situation and she only sees one solution...

Paper Daisies is a beautiful story about a woman who wants to have the freedom to do what she likes. She wants to be able to study and she also thinks it's unfair that an evil man has so much control over her and her sister simply because they are women and they can't have access to their own money. Berylda is smart, she's really smart, and she comes up with a plan, but it's something that will destroy her inside if it will ever be carried out.

Ben is such a sweet man. He has a good heart and he's loving and caring. He's awkward around women, but for Berylda he's doing his very best. He wants her to like him and hopes they will have a future together. Berylda doesn't want to depend on a man and she doesn't want to fall in love. Ben is a good man, but will she see it? I couldn't wait to find out. I loved this story, it's got a wonderful setting, a little bit of mystery, great main characters and a lot of fantastic descriptions. Kim Kelly has done her research so well. I was transported to a different time and it was like I could see the whole story, it felt like I was there. I think authors who are able to write like that have an amazing gift. I highly recommend this wonderful book.

Giveaway

Kim Kelly will send the winner of this giveaway a copy of her book. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
I will contact the winner on twitter or via email. If I don't get a reply within 60 hours the prize will go to someone else. All of my giveaways are international.     
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