Monday, 30 November 2015

Around Adelaide (Street Art)

Fans of my novel Cats, Scarves and Liars will already be familiar with this beautiful work of art that decorates the four corners of Hurtle Square, on the intersection of Halifax and Pultney Streets, which spells out The Forest of Dreams.

Sunday, 29 November 2015

Off Topic: Socially Awkward Men

Okay, hands up! Who remembers that classic Bond film that opens with our beloved employee of Her Majesty's Secret Service singlehandedly shooting half a dozen powerful Russian spies before returning to headquarters where he encounters the plainish yet intelligent Moneypenny who is, of course, completely smitten with Bond, despite the fact that she's not really his type and their relationship is strictly professional. Of course, Moneypenny swoons when she sees Bond who--wait for it--stares at her, laughs and makes some vomiting noises before shouting, "Spew, Moneypenny wants me!" and running out of the room in complete and utter terror.

Of course, you have not seen that Bond film. Because such a thing would never happen. Bond is the ultimate fantasy of an alpha male. He's tough, smart and--perhaps this is the most important bit--Bond has class.

Bond is also not real, which may explain why some men have difficulty following his example.

It never ceases to amaze me how many grown adults actually fear the thought that somebody who they are neither interested in, nor attracted to, might be attracted to them. Granted, there are many, many more people out there would could not give a shit that someone is attracted to them, or who have the capability to take it all in their stride (ie like Bond,) but there are a chosen few who turn back their internal clock and start trying to resolve the matter by acting behaving like a confused and socially inept eleven year old who has just been placed in a particularly awkward situation. 

A few years ago, I had some vague crush on a man who did not return my feelings. I know that I never confessed my crush to anyone, let alone him, but I'm fairly certain that he got hint of it, because he went from being a reasonable man to a bumbling fool who would run away whenever he saw me. I never quite understood what it was that he expected that I would do if I did speak to him? Destroy every last shred of his street cred by, shock! Horror! Asking him out, an offer that is effectively a yes or no question and the answer to which is entirely at his discretion? 

The thing is, by running away, he effectively killed my feelings for him. And not only that, but he killed something else that I had for him. Respect. 

Friday, 27 November 2015

Friday Funnies: Bert's Chilling Discovery

Thursday, 26 November 2015

Review: This Girl by Colleen Hoover

In fiction, the course of true love never runs smoothly, not even when the heroine and her hero are on their honeymoon. In This Girl, the third and final book in the Slammed series, Will and Layken's honeymoon is spent talking, kissing and occasionally bickering, while Will tells Layken his side of the story about how they first met and those excruciating, heart wrenching few months when circumstance forced them to be apart. There are a few surprise confessions, but overall this one is everything that it promises to be--a retelling of Slammed from Will's perspective.

I enjoyed reading this one, though I suspect that I probably would have enjoyed it more had I waited for a while and not read it so soon after I had read Slammed and Point of Retreat--I think that I have definitely had my fill now of the characters and their story! Still, Hoover is very clever, and very much an artist, I think, in the way that she incorporates performance poetry into her writing. The story and writing itself remains very true to the genre.

If you've read and love the other two books in the series then chances are, you'll love this one. Recommended.

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Writers on Wednesday: Maggie Christensen

Welcome friends, readers, followers and guests to another great Writers on Wednesday post. This week I am chatting with Australian author Maggie Christensen ...

Tell me a bit about yourself …

I began teaching primary school in Scotland and emigrated to Australia in my mid-twenties lured by ads of a semi-naked man in gown and mortarboard and the slogan ‘Come teach in the Sun’ I’m still looking for that guy!

When I drew close to retirement from a career in education, I started to write the sort of books I enjoy reading – books which feature mature women facing life-changing events with a dollop of romance included and the inevitable HEA.

I’m often asked why a Scot living on the Sunshine Coast set a series of books on the Oregon Coast in the USA.

I’ve already written two novels in my Oregon Coast Series – The Sand Dollar and The Dreamcatcher. It all began over 30 years ago when I was working in Higher Education and took a forced transfer to teach in a country town university in Wagga Wagga, New South Wales. I didn’t want to go the country. I wanted to get back to the city – to the bright lights of Sydney. However to Wagga Wagga I went and there, to my surprise I met this hunk of a gentle giant who’d moved there from USA to teach in the same faculty as me. At the ripe old age of 37, I’d almost – but not quite – given up hope of meeting my soulmate. Here he was and still is. We moved to Queensland’s Sunshine Coast three years ago and love the laid-back lifestyle here.

Tell us about your most recently published book?

Broken Threads re-introduces the reader to characters first encountered in my first book, Band of Gold. It takes the reader into the shoes of Jan, sister to Anna from Band of Gold. It’s a little different from my earlier books – my beta readers suggested that readers should be provided with a box of tissues! It’s a story of loss, grief and the struggle to survive against adversity.
Jan Turnbull’s life takes a sharp turn towards chaos the instant her eldest son, Simon takes a tumble in the surf and loses his life. Blame competes with grief and Jan’s husband turns against her. She finds herself ousted from the family home and separated from their remaining son, Andy. As Jan tries to cope with her grief and prepares to build a new life, it soon becomes known that Simon has left behind a bombshell, and her younger son seeks ways of compensating for his loss, leading to further issues for her to deal with. Can Jan hold it all together and save her marriage and her family?
Living on the coast, surfing is a popular sport, and all too often we forget the dangers involved. Broken Threads examines how the tragedy of a young boy losing his life in the surf affects the whole family and their struggle to overcome their grief.

Tell us about the first time you were published?

Although I’ve written various things all my life, it wasn’t till I published my first novel in 2014 that I really felt I was a writer.  Now on book four my dream of being a published author has come true. There’s nothing quite like the excitement of seeing my words in print and holding my babies in my hands.

As writer, what has been your proudest achievement so far?

The pleasure which readers get from my books. It’s so rewarding to have readers tell me how much they enjoy my books, that they’ve been inspired by them and that they give them hope.

What books or writing projects are you currently working on, if anything?

I’m currently writing what will be book three in my Oregon Coast Series about a woman who flees Australia to settle in Florence. As yet it’s untitled, and readers will meet their favourite characters from the first two books in the series. This will most likely be the final Oregon Coast book. I’m also working on a book set in Noosa and featuring a minor character from The Sand Dollar, Rosa.

Which do you prefer? eBooks or Paper Books? Why?

Although I read both, I much prefer paper books. They’re so much more fun to cuddle up with. However I always have my Kindle in my handbag and it’s useful for travelling.

Indie Publishing, or Traditional Publishing?

I support and read both. I’ve gone Indie and enjoy the freedom and sense of control it gives me. That said, I feel it’s important for a self-published author to find a good editor and cover designer. I have both and am happy with my team.

Finally … is there anything you would like to say to your readers in Adelaide, Australia?

Keep reading. Recommend books to your friends. Write reviews. Support your local bookshops and libraries. And don’t be afraid to contact your favourite authors. We love to hear from you.



Twitter:                  @MaggieChriste33

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Review: Attachments by Rainbow Rowell

I am going to be brave and admit that, initially, when I read the first few sections of this book it did not really appeal to me. Because of the era that this book is set in--1999--it initially came across as very dated. Also, to me, Rainbow Rowell's books have been a bit hit and miss, I loved Fangirl, but I had difficulty relating to Landline and opted not to review the book on this blog after I finished it. I was worried that Attachments was going to follow the same path, but I was soon pleasantly surprised by how I soon got caught up in the story of Lincoln, a shy IT professional who works at a newspaper monitoring emails and the way that he admires Beth, a movie critic, who he has never spoken to, and who has her own relationship troubles with the irresponsible and (perhaps) unintentionally self-centred Chris.

Attachments proved itself to be a solid and surprising romance that centred around some fairly shy and introverted characters, whose problems proved easy to relate to. Lincoln was a bit of a late bloomer, and that certainly added to the charm of his character, and it was interesting when the reader finally gets to meet Beth, rather than just her emails, and see the differences between how she comes across as a person and how she comes across in her writing. This is a thoroughly likeable and realistic love story about two underdogs--Lincoln and Beth are neither rich nor conventionally beautiful--and nor are there any great dramatic moments and the story is better for it. The story also subtly captures some of the forgotten fears of the late 1990s, the Y2K bug and the paranoia over misuse of workplace email.


Monday, 23 November 2015

Around Adelaide (Street Art)

Some more bright and colourful seats (and a colourful pavement) on Pirie Street

Saturday, 21 November 2015

Review: Bittersweet Dreams by V.C. Andrews

One of the most surprising--and successful--literary phenomenons to emerge from the twentieth century is, without a doubt V.C. Andrews. A wheelchair bound and softy spoken artist who lived with her mother, who had a penchant for writing shocking yet sympathetic novels that featured taboo subjects, V.C. Andrews found a second career as a best-selling author during what was to be the final--and perhaps happiest--decade of her life. But what followed her death was equally surprising--her books had become so popular, and so loved by readers--that they continue to be written and released twenty-nine years after her death with the assistance of a ghostwriter. Ghostwriter Andrew Neiderman (a successful author of horror and romantic suspense in his own right,) has written anywhere between 69 and 74 of the novels released following the death of V.C. Andrews (the true author of Garden of Shadows and the final three books in the Casteel series, remains hotly debated by fans.) Many of these ghostwritten novels have gone on to be bestsellers, some have been loved and embraced by fans and others are well ... 

Well, every author has their off days.

Bittersweet Dreams tells the story of Mayfair Cummings, an exceptionally gifted teenager who has an IQ of 180. Mayfair has trouble relating to the people around her, particularly her vile classmates and her stepmother who appears to be as abusive as she is vapid and vain. When Mayfair is taken advantage of by a sleazy teacher, she vows revenge and finds a way to punish everyone who has hurt her.

I found that this novel was big on ideas, but the ideas were not executed as well, as cleverly, or as sympathetically as they could have been. What could have been a literary version of the MTV series Daria was let down by a heroine who lacked empathy for others (and who had an irritating habit of correcting other people's speech, with a complete disregard for the concept of colloquial irregularities,) and a cast of supporting characters who remained as undeveloped as they were completely unlikeable. (Consider that one of the main themes of Daria is of the heroine learning to accept the people around her, and that most of the other characters are basically good people, though somewhat flawed and that only one or two--such as Ms Lee--are genuine and unredeemable arseholes.) 

There are some real gross out moments--such as (spoiler alert) Mayfair getting revenge on her stepmother by telling her psychiatrist that her stepmother bought her a vibrator. 

Mayfair's ultimate--and final--act of revenge involves her taking advantage of her thirteen year old stepsister so that she can humiliate a number of other people who have hurt her overlooks the question of whether the means justifies the ends, rather than addressing it. 

Fans of the Wildflowers series will be amused to know that Dr Marlowe makes a surprise appearance in the novel as a minor, but important, character.

While Bittersweet Dreams may provide readers with a few so-bad-it's-good moments, this novel was not a winner for me.

Recommended only to die-hard fans.

Friday, 20 November 2015

Friday Funnies: Cartoon Physics

Don't look down.

Thursday, 19 November 2015

Review: Murder on the Ballarat Train by Kerry Greenwood

Murder on the Ballarat Train opens with exactly what the title promises and we find the lovely Miss Fisher heroically coming to the rescue when the occupants first class carriage of the train that she and Dot are travelling on are poisoned with chloroform. The reasons that the occupants of the train would be poisoned are not clear at first and neither is why there is no one willing to claim a young girl who was travelling on the train. But in true style, Miss Phryne Fisher gets to the bottom of the mystery, uncovering a sordid secret along the way.

Miss Fisher books are pure fun and there is never any need to analyse them too much. That said, I rather enjoyed this one and it was nice, now that I am up to the third book, to revisit characters who are starting to feel like old friends.

Highly recommended.

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Writers on Wednesday: Keith Austin

Welcome back to Writers on Wednesday. This week I am putting my questions to Keith Austin, author of Grymm, Snow, White, and Jago ...

Tell us a bit about yourself …

Well, I’m from East London originally (so a Cockney born and bred) but I’ve lived and travelled all over the world. I’ve been living in Australia for the past 20 years. I have been a journalist for 37 years and have wanted to be a published author since I was about 11.

Tell us about your most recently published book?

JAGO is the horror story of two street urchins – Demelza Cotton and Jago Quinn - in 19th century London who find an iridescent, rainbow-coloured lizard and what happens to them when certain rogue elements want to take it off them. Those rogue elements include the underworld crime figures the Cray twins and the mysterious Adamina Wollondilly and her army of Eyeballers. Then it turns out the lizard isn’t exactly what it seems.

Tell us about the first time you were published?

I was first published by a traditional publisher (Random House UK) in 2012 when my book, GRYMM, came out. It was the achievement of a lifelong dream so I was a very happy bunny.

As writer, what has been your proudest achievement so far?

Well, being published was pretty cool. And getting a two-book deal for GRYMM and SNOW, WHITE. It’s hard to say really. I was proud when a reviewer said he’d never before read anything quite like GRYMM, which was exactly my aim. I didn’t want people to say ‘oh, it’s like Harry Potter, or Hunger Games, or Twilight’. I wanted to write something nobody had read before so it was nice to know I had succeeded.

What books or writing projects are you currently working on, if anything?

I’m halfway through a book called SURREAL and have ideas for at least 4 or 5 others. It’s just finding the time outside of writing journalism to pay the bills!

Which do you prefer? eBooks or Paper Books? Why?

I prefer paper books. As a medium for reading they are just perfect. You can drop them, spill coffee on them, even drop them in the bath, and they survive. Try doing that with your Kindle. Also, I spend all day staring at a screen – no way I want to keep doing it when I’m reading.

Indie Publishing, or Traditional Publishing?

I’ve done both now (JAGO is self-published) and both methods have their ups and downs. I like trad publishing for their reach and distribution. You have more chance of ending up on the shelves of your local bookshop that way. And that’s a great feeling.

Aside from your own books, of course, what is one book that you feel everybody should read?

To Kill A Mockingbird. Brilliantly written, with lessons for us all about morality and being a good person in the face of hatred and inequality.

Finally … is there anything you would like to say to your readers in Adelaide, Australia? 




Twitter: @ozkeef

Monday, 16 November 2015

Around Adelaide (Street Art)

This is a street performer that I snapped in Rundle Mall back in about September. The concept was simple--members of the public were invited to paint a short message or picture, on or around the performer, whatever they deemed appropriate. 

Saturday, 14 November 2015

Review: The Art of Effective Dreaming by Gillian Polack

The Art of Effective Dreaming is about Fay, a public servant from Canberra who finds her life incredibly dull, but lives a deeper and richer second life through her dreams about a fantasy world. 

I enjoyed reading this one, though I am finding it very difficult to write about. Perhaps in many respects, the novel is just fine as it is and it is really a journey that interested readers need to make for themselves. Or perhaps that is just a cop out. Anyway, the writing is very clever, with its shifting narratives (real world Fay is told through first person narrative, while fantasy world Fay is told through third person,) and it is interesting how the focus shifts further and further away from Fay's mundane real world and deeply into her fantasy world where she becomes far more interested in the people and things that are around her. 

I would be very interested to know what other readers make of this one.


Friday, 13 November 2015

Friday Funnies: The Black Cat (From Play School)

Anyone who grew up in Australia in the late 1980s/early 1990s, should remember this! For those of you who don't, this clip featuring The Black Cat was a regular feature on Play School. 

PS--Contrary to the title of the clip, the cat is not named Barbara. However, the song was performed by Barbara Frawley.

Thursday, 12 November 2015

Review: Devastation Road by Jason Hewitt

Devastation Road was a novel that caught me completely by surprise. When I picked it up, I expected quite a different book to the complex--and better--story that was told. The setting is Europe in the spring of 1945. Owen has lost his memory, though he knows his name and that he can remember joining the British army while the second world war was in its early stages. Now a war that he cannot remember has been won and he knows that he needs to find his way home. Meanwhile, his two unlikely travelling companions have their own tragic stories and their own reasons for making the journey across Europe--Irena is a Polish Jew, who fell pregnant after being raped and wants to hand the child to its father and leave it there, and Janek is a teenage boy who wants to be reunited with his family, who were captured by German soldiers. In their own way, each of the characters shows how Europe was changed--and left devastated--by the second world war. This is a story of people who are displaced and who are looking for people, and for places, that may not exist any more.

As I said, this one caught me by surprise and rather pleasantly. Although it is set in a very particular time and place, there was an odd sense of timelessness to the story as well, which made it quite relatable. It also made me stop and think about current world events--leaders and technology may have changed, and different wars are fought, but there are still many, many people who are displaced and are searching for their families and homes much like the characters in this book. 

Highly recommended.

Thank you to Simon and Schuster Australia for my reading copy. 

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Review: The Enchanted Island by Ellie O'Neill

Contemporary Ireland and folklore combine in The Enchanted Island a fun and eccentric new novel by Ellie O'Neill, author of Reluctantly Charmed. Maeve O'Brien is a nice girl who does a bit of a nasty (or more to the point, selfish,) thing and finds herself kicked out of her flat and sent back to live with her widowed mother. And if that was not bad enough, her work is sending her off to the dreary island of Hy Brasil to finalise some boring paperwork. But nothing on Hy Brasil is as it seems and Maeve's welcome to the island is less than warm ...

The Enchanted Island is a perfect fit for readers looking for something light, romantic and fun. In many respects, Maeve O'Brien reminded me of a slightly wicked version of Rebecca Bloomwood from Sophie Kinsella's brilliant Shopaholic novels, though through her time on the island Maeve learns her lesson well. The mixture of ancient myth and contemporary Ireland work well--I loved O'Neill's interpretation of the mythical island of Hy Brasil. The writing remains light and easy to read throughout, though it never quite matches the clever, self-depreciating humour of Reluctantly Charmed and felt to me to be a bit rushed in places. (But don't let that put you off--it's a great read as it is.)

The Enchanted Island really is a the perfect novel for those times when you want something a little bit light and you just want to be entertained with a good yarn.


Thank you to Simon and Schuster Australia for my ARC. 

PS Interested in knowing more about the myth of Hy Brasil? Find out more here.

Monday, 9 November 2015

Around Adelaide (Street Art)

Every year in Adelaide, in the days following the Christmas Pageant, the road and pavements are covered randomly with these colourful creations. As they wait for the Pageant to begin, the children are supplied with chalk and are given a free run to decorate the local roads and pavements. It's a great way to relieve boredom and to make the city colourful in the lead up to Christmas!

This photograph was taken shortly after the 2014 Christmas Pageant, outside the Supreme Court building on King William Street. I can't wait to see what colourful designs will be there after the 2015 Christmas Pageant. 

Sunday, 8 November 2015

Sunday Unfunnies

Does this happen to anyone else?

Friday, 6 November 2015

Enchanted Island Blog Tour: Q&A With Ellie O'Neill

Hi everyone and welcome to the final stop on The Enchanted Island Blog tour. I've been following the tour closely and there have been some excellent posts, and now I'm massively, massively excited because it's my turn. Today I'll be chatting with Ellie about her new book, Hy Brasil the success of Reluctantly Charmed and some lovely surfers ...

Hi Ellie and welcome back to Kathryn’s Inbox. When we last spoke, you were preparing for the release of your debut novel Reluctantly Charmed, which went on to be the fourth highest selling Australian debut novel of 2014. (And congratulations on that, by the way.) Were you blown away by the success of Reluctantly Charmed, or were you quietly confident all along … ?

Blown away is putting it mildly!  I couldn’t believe it.  To put it in context, this was a book that had taken me years to get published, had been rejected countless times and had been recommended by one particular agent that it should be thrown on the scrap heap.    To say I was shocked was an understatement, not only to be published, but to get rave reviews and then to actually have a best seller on my hands was mind numbing, it still is actually.  It’s an incredible feeling to know that my story is out there, hopefully making people smile and bringing enjoyment to their day.    

And now, of course, the purpose of this interview is to talk about your new novel The
Enchanted Island, which I have just finished reading and enjoyed. Can you tell us a little about the novel?

This story is set on a mythical island off the west coast of Ireland.  The island, Hy Brasil is a strange and isolated place that has gone under the radar for hundreds of years.  The inhabitants of the island will stop at nothing to protect their happy, contented lives from any external influences. What transpires is that it’s not just their lifestyle that they’re protecting they’re also harbouring a devastating secret. 

When my main character, Maeve O’Brien gets sent there for work, she has no idea what’s going on but is more than a little put out by the hostile reception she receives.  It’s as if the island itself wants her gone, but overtime she too gets seduced by this magical treacherous place.  What unfolds is a story of love, protection and the price of happiness.              

Did you have fun mixing the myth of Hy Brasil with a contemporary setting?

Yes, absolutely.  Hy Brasil doesn’t exist, but there are some beautifully bleak and isolated islands off the coast of Ireland that I have visited and used for research purposes.  Places that have developed their own identities unique from mainlanders, their own traits and characteristics, stories, heroes and histories.  It’s always interesting to see how communities develop independently, so I drew on those places for inspiration while developing a mythical, slightly magical place, if that makes sense.  

No good story is complete without a swoon-worthy hero. Can you tell us a little about Killian …

Isn’t he fabulous?  He is a straight forward uncomplicated man, he doesn’t play games.  He knows the life that he wants to live, and what’s really important to him.  He’s not into a superficial lifestyle, he likes peace, and serenity, and did I mention how handsome he is, with his sexy green eyes.    

What has been the best part about your journey as an author so far?

There have been so many highs I can’t even begin to count.  One really special moment that sticks out was about a week before Reluctantly Charmed came out, I was in Melbourne with my Mum and we randomly called into WH Smith, just to see if it had popped onto the shelves a little early, we really didn’t expect to see it but there it was.  We screamed hysterically, jumped up and down, and bear hugged the staff.  It was incredible to see my book propped up side by side with authors I knew and admired, it was a real book, not just a dream in my head.  It was so so lovely that I got to share that moment with Mum.       

Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers in Adelaide, Australia?

A long time ago, I had a massive crush on a very blonde, sexy, surfy guy from Adelaide, so now anytime I think of Adelaide a parade of drop dead gorgeous men scoot into my imagination.  It’s a pretty good word association to have!  But that asides I hope people get to the beach this summer and tuck a copy of The Enchanted Island under their arm, and enjoy the read.  I would absolutely love to hear from you 

Thursday, 5 November 2015

Review: Point of Retreat by Colleen Hoover

After enjoying Slammed so much, I could not resist picking up a copy of the sequel and finding out what was in store for Layken and Will. Would they get their happy ever after, or were there bound to be many bumps along the way.

The answer is, of course, the latter. Switching narrators from Layken to Will, the novel examines the difficulty the pair have developing a relationship when they are both college students and full time guardians to their respective younger brothers. And there might just be a manipulative former girlfriend in there as well. Eddie and Gavin are back, with some heavy duty problems of their own and Kel and Caulder have a new friend in the form of their precocious neighbour Kiersten who I found to completely butterflyingly annoying. (Sorry.) 

Anyway, this one is a sweet and enjoyable follow up to a book that completely took me by surprise,. Though it never quite hits the same heights as Slammed, it was an enjoyable enough, clean romantic read and it was lovely to see what the author had planned for a young couple who already had so much responsibility.


Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Q&A: Sean Williams, author of Twinmaker (and many other great novels!)

Hi everyone! Adelaide author Sean Williams was kind enough to take some time out and answer a few questions from me recently, which resulted in a brilliant interview. Check it out below! 

Congratulations on the publication of Hollowgirl (or Fall as it is known in Australia). Can you tell us readers a little bit about what to expect from this, the third and final novel in the Twinmaker trilogy?

Thanks, Kathryn. I’m hugely excited to have reached the end of this series--not because I’m over it, but because the ending was one I’d been looking forward to writing for years. Fall brings together a lot of threads left dangling for a long time, at least one of them from the opening of book one, Jump. (To whit: not until this book do we meet the real Libby.) Generally, I like to know where a story finishes before I start, so I’ve always known that this book would contain the all-stops- out fun of copied people, artificial reality, and rampaging AIs. Plus friends reunited, tragic love stories, and the end of the world averted once and for all. It’s a humongous ending, as befits the most ambitious series I’ve ever written. That Fall has been getting such great reviews is a huge relief. Even if the journey is fun, you really want to arrive somewhere satisfying.
How long did it take you to write the Twinmaker trilogy, and what inspired the books?

I’ve always loved the humble teleporter, which was invented in 1877 and made famous by “Beam me up, Scotty” in the 1960s, but is largely forgotten by science fiction writers these days. As a device, it’s so much more versatile than a rocket or a raygun, I reckon, and you can use it to create massively powerful metaphors for the human condition. If someone copied me in one of these machines, which one would be the real me? If anything can be copied, would the original Mona Lisa retail any value? If we can be reduced down to data and back again without feeling any different, what does that say about the existence of the soul? And so on.

I’ve been pondering these questions for years. My first (unpublished) short story addressed some of them. My second novel, The Resurrected Man, took them even further. Ever since that book came out in 1998 I wanted to do more, but the idea of combining urban myths with the beauty myth didn’t come to me until six or so years ago. I guess it was around then that the series started to take shape, although the actual writing took three and half years, all up. As well as the three books, there are about forty bonus short stories set in the same universe. It’s a hard idea to let go of, once you get a grip on it.

As a reader, the situation that intrigued me the most is the unlikely friendship between Clair and Q—which brings me to the shocking, but very believable twist at the end of the first book. Was it difficult ‘killing’ Q off, even temporarily?

Oh yeah, and a difficult thing to do to readers as well. Q was very popular. A book largely without her (not obviously, anyway) was always going to be difficult to pull off. Thankfully I had Devin to take her place in Crash. Clair’s friendship with this prickly character is another unlikely one, and what happens to him at the end of that book is designed to be equally shocking.

Sorry about that, by the way. Cliff-hangers suck. But at least the whole series is out now, so that problem has gone away for new readers.

I like to think that if you go back and read Crash a second time, this time knowing where Q actually is, you won’t miss her anymore because she’s hidden on just about every page.

Something that really appealed to me about the series was its take on future technology—in particular the d-mat. If you had your own d-mat, where would you travel to and why?

I’ve discovered that there are people out there who would never, ever use d-mat, and I can see why not. After all, being stripped back to nothing and then built up again from scratch, by machines over which you have little personal control, does sound pretty dangerous. Is it as dangerous as a car, though? Hundreds of thousands of people die in traffic accidents every year, yet we still drive everywhere. Some people (like the Abstainers in the series) will never take the chance. But I would.
Where would I go? Everywhere! Probably Antarctica, first of all, then to visit my editors in New York (I had two). They made this series what it is. I figure I owe them a drink.

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

Lots! I have a list of 10.5 commandments that I keep for just this occasion. :-) Basically, though, it all boils down to writing what you love most. Don’t worry about what anyone tells you to write. Follow your gut and make it up as you go along. Worry about editing and the market after it’s done. There’s only one of you, but there are lots of readers. If you can find a way to connect with them, you’ll be set.

Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers in Adelaide, Australia?

Sorry for (spoiler alert) destroying our home again. I do love it here. I’ve lived here most of my life, and I have no plans to live permanently anywhere else. But I do keep destroying it in my stories (such as this early one). It’s nothing personal, honest!


link on “forty bonus short stories”:
link on “great reviews”:
link on “10.5 Commandments”:
series link:
author website:

Monday, 2 November 2015

Around Adelaide (Street Art)

Fancy a seat? This colourful pair of wooden benches (who are accompanied by a beautifully decorated pavement,) live just outside the Adelaide City Council headquarters on Pirie Street (next door the Town Hall.) 

Sunday, 1 November 2015

Did the Great Squash Show Up Last Night?

And did the Great Pumpkin show up this year? In all seriousness, I love the way that Marcie gets this one wrong and suffers a severe reprimand from an already embarrassed and humiliated Linus, who has yet again missed out on seeing the Great Pumpkin. Basically a metaphor for a false belief based on greed, Linus believes that the Great Pumpkin will supposedly rise up one Halloween and deliver presents to all the children in the world.