A big welcome to Heather Garside. I had the pleasure of reading Colonial Daughter a few months ago and it was one of the most enjoyable reads of 2016 for me.
The cover is fabulous and the buy links are at the bottom of the page.
My Writing Journey
I have always dabbled in writing, since composing my first poem at the age of seven. Growing up on a 47,000 acre cattle station with only the company of my two brothers and sister, encouraged us to rely on our own resources and to develop lively imaginations. I completed my primary schooling through correspondence, with my mother’s help. That, and being an avid reader, formed a strong basis for writing.
I have written four complete novels over the years and have another in progress, as well as participating in a number of other collaborative writing and publishing projects. I’m by no means prolific and am too easily distracted to be a full-time writer, but my involvement in the writing world has enriched my life in many ways.
Colonial Daughter, originally published as The Cornstalk, was my second novel and was written very much from the heart. The plot was inspired by my parents’ stories of their pioneering ancestors, and the setting came alive for me after reading a book published to commemorate the centenary of a tiny Central Queensland town called Banana.
Banana was a busy teamsters’ hub in the late 19th century and the wealth of detail in this little book fascinated and inspired me. Now, having honed my skills since I originally penned Colonial Daughter, I hope this new edited version with a fresh cover and new title will do the story justice.
Anna Jacobs is the fourth most borrowed author of adult fiction in the UK library system. She was thrilled to pieces to hear that news recently, and I'm thrilled to have her in my chair today!
Please welcome Anna to the chair!
I’ve been thinking about what a ‘brand’ is lately. The word is tossed around in writing circles as if it’s the key to heaven, ie getting published and staying published. (The latter is as hard as the former, by the way.)
To my mind the main component of authors’ brands is their voice ie how they tell their stories and the sort of stories they choose to tell. That’s what readers go for.
It’s exactly like training for a sport: you become good by doing it and working hard at whatever training is needed. For writers, the need is to write and (except in extremely rare cases) write a lot! One book isn’t usually enough to develop good story-telling skills. And notice that I call it story telling. That to me is the crucial element in a novel.
Twenty years ago industry wisdom said you need to write half a million to a million words to learn your craft and settle into your own style. I don’t see that mentioned these days but I think it’s still true. Instead, people talk about PR/brand and being on social media, as if they give you some golden key. They may help as you go along but IMHO only if you have developed your skills and style first.
So . . . good luck with your writing – how close are you to having written your first half million words?
You can find all of Anna's books here:
What an amazing achievement!
Her most recent release is A Stranger in Honeyfield. Click on the cover below.
Welcome to my chair, Bernadette!
I think there is little of me in all of my heroines, whether it be my young idealistic self, as in Princess Avenger, the healer, as in The Lady’s Choice or the leader, as in Esta from The Lady and the Pirate.
My heroes are a little more difficult to track down. They come to me out of the blue or suggested by conversations I have sometimes. One of my author friends mentioned a pirate when they saw the ship on the front cover of The Lord and the Mermaid. I realised Samael, my pirate, would be the ideal addition to the Wildecoast series. And Samael’s looks are based on my son Sam.
As my books are all in a series, sometimes the characters just develop out of a previous story. You never really know which secondary character might get their own story down the track.
I guess it’s lucky my stories are only around 70K long so it’s no as daunting as working on something over the 100K.
Of course, I’ve already admitted that some of my traits have crept into each of my ladies. They can all stand up for themselves, are feisty, not afraid to get into a fight and will usually say exactly what they feel. Passion is a common ingredient whether it be for a cause, or for a favourite horse or, yes, their hero.
Join Romance Writer’s Australia or a similar organisation so you can learn your craft. Try to improve all the time.
Working with an editor is one of the best learning opportunities I’ve ever had. I’ve had the pleasure of working with six editors and they’ve all pushed me to be a better writer.
There’s nothing like escaping – and one of the best ways I know how is by sitting down and writing. Of course the best escape is a real one but when that’s not possible, disappearing into a virtual world, one where you can create your own setting, characters, events and emotions is, for me, the next best thing.
I started writing books set in idyllic country places is because I lived in the city – or at least, the suburbs - but in my heart I wanted to be sitting on a veranda gazing out at the bush. Luckily I did get to do that fairly often, at our holiday home near beautiful Milton on the NSW south coast. The time I spent there fuelled my engines – writing and otherwise – and gave me the inspiration for my first novel Blackwattle Lake.
Since then I’ve written three more books, all set in or around country towns – my visit to the Queensland outback last year gave me ideas for my latest release The Crossroads.
The setting is only one element. Creating strong characters, coming up with complicated emotional plots centered around family and relationships and being drawn into the story as I write all help me to escape in the same way I hope my readers do when they sit down with one of my books.
What do you do to escape when you can’t do the ‘real thing’ ?
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 first novel, Blackwattle Lake, was published in 2012 after being selected for the Queensland Writer’s Centre/Hachette Manuscript Development Program. Her following novels were Essie’s Way (2013) and Close To Home (2015) and her fourth book, The Crossroads, is due for release in December 2016. 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. When she’s not writing she wastes as much time as possible riding her handsome quarter horse, Morocco.
Pamela loves to connect with readers both in person and online. You will often find her lurking in one of these places:
Welcome back, Darcy Delany!
Does Valentine’s day give you a sinking feeling?
Darcy Delany hears you!
Sweet Revenge is an anti-Valentine’s Day offering from Darcy Delany. Here’s the blurb:
Revenge is a dish best served cold according to Pierre Choderlos de Laclos, but Darcy Delany turns up the heat in Sweet Revenge.
Murderous grandmothers, harried husbands and bullied employees take matters into their own hands in this entertaining collection of short stories from a sassy storyteller.
Darcy dropped by today to tell us a little more about this book:
Valentine’s Day is not a day everyone enjoys, so I wanted to create a collection of stories for those feeling cranky with cupid on February 14!
Ever since reading the The Count of Monte Christo I’ve become intrigued by stories of revenge, particularly in relation to love. For those who haven’t read that book, it’s the story of one man’s intricate retribution on those who had him falsely imprisoned, resulting in his fiancé marrying another. What struck me about the story was how easily the passion of love can be turned in other directions, and how devastatingly effective that redirected energy can be.
My characters in Sweet Revenge are every day people who have been pushed to their limits, are sick of waiting for karma to start working, and take action in entertaining ways. We’ve all had those moments, whether we want to admit it publicly is another matter! They’re stories to make people smile when they’re having a bad day - letting them take revenge vicariously, without the stress of plotting and planning!
You can buy Sweet Revenge from Amazon.
About Darcy Delany:
Darcy Delany writes fiction with sassy heroines and heroes you love to love!
She makes a mean sangria and loves karaoke.
You can find out more about Darcy and her work on her website at www.storieswithsass.com.au.
If you’d like to keep in touch, you can connect with Darcy on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest, or subscribe to her newsletter, Sassy Snippets.
Annie loves sharing her writing chair with special guests! If you'd like a turn...please email her! firstname.lastname@example.org