EXCLUSIVE: Karen Tayleur Guest Blog

Karen Tayleur, author of Chasing Boys and the newly-released Hostage, talks about an author’s relationship with her characters.

Spend enough time with characters from a book and they become real to you. They don’t belong to the author anymore, but are entities in their own right. As a young reader I counted Katy (What Katy Did), Jo and all her sisters (Little Women) among my group of friends. As an author, I find the same thing. Originally, the characters are my creation, my pawns to do with what I choose. Soon enough, though, they flesh out and become real people, which can interfere with my plans. ‘Oh, no, Tully would definitely not ask the parking inspector for help, she has a lifelong aversion to authority figures.’ Sometimes we don’t see eye to eye.

Tully, the main protagonist from my latest book, Hostage, was a slippery character to pin down. However, in an echo of real life, if you take the time to get to know a person, the more empathy you can have for them — even if you never really like them. I grew to like Tully, though. I thought I knew her — well as the author, I had the best chance of knowing her — but as the months progressed, I finally really knew her, understood her motives, and the story became easier to write.

Not that Hostage was easy to write. It took two corkboards of coloured cards to plot out what was happening, when and where. And it was satisfying to finish. There are several high points in the writing process that I enjoy. One is finally understanding my main character in depth. Another is waking up after grappling with a knotty point in the plot and having the solution. The greatest high point is pushing that send button and watching the first draft whiz off to my editor, with the full knowledge that there will be redrafting but that this is actually a miracle that the first draft is finished. It’s not until later, a month or so after the book has gone to press, that I find myself thinking about my main protagonist again. Wondering what he or she would be doing beyond that final page.

I’ve had requests from some readers for a sequel to Chasing Boys. It was never my intention for it to be a series, but I understand their need to continue the relationship with the characters. In a compromise, I gave one of the characters a cameo role in Hostage.

I sometimes catch myself thinking about Tully. Wondering about her life. What she will make of it. As with the friends we make in real life, some come and go, while others remain forever. I may never meet up with Tully again, but we will always have a connection.

I wish her all the best.

Surf Ache by Gerry Bobsien

First, praise for what this story is not. It is not about vampires and werewolves, does not feature a dysfunctional family, there is no strong sexual theme and no time travel. All of this is refreshing in the teen-girl-fiction scene. There is a reference to marijuana use and dealing, but both are condemned. Gerry Bobsien has written a good story about interesting people centred on a very Australian character. Ella, who is in year 9, starts the book sadly, transplanted from Melbourne, where she had ballet, a bestie and a boyfriend, to Newcastle, where only surfing matters. Eventually she begins to shine as a dancer, then on a surfboard, on which she proves a natural.

Review by Jill Rowbotham, Weekend Australian, November 28, 2009

EXCLUSIVE: K. Overman-Edmiston Guest Blog

K. Overman-Edmiston, the author of The Avenue of Eternal Tranquillity writes about the genesis of her novel.

I love to travel, and I often use experiences from my travels in my writing.  For example, when flying from Vienna to Moscow a few years ago, I had a bout of food poisoning so, on reaching the hotel in Moscow, I was in bed for about 36 hours.  I awoke in the wee hours on Boxing Day and went to the window, it was still dark outside.  Down in the snow in the car park between the hotel and River Moskva a man had got out of his car, taken off his hat and coat and laid down in the snow.  He looked as though he had simply gone to sleep, curled on his side.  The police came, took notes, and left the body under a piece of matting.
Some time later I boarded the trans-Siberian train for Siberia and China, but I couldn’t get the image of the man in the snow out of my mind.  Why would a person do such a thing?  He would have known that taking off his warm clothes and choosing to lie down in the snow in such ferociously low temperatures would mean certain death.  Oddly enough, he looked quite peaceful and resigned to his action.
The Avenue of Eternal Tranquillity is a sort of fictional history leading up to that moment.  An attempt at an explanation as to why someone would choose to die and why, perhaps, they would seem so comfortable in making such a choice.
I know it sounds a bit depressing, but it’s actually a very uplifting story!  We are a culture, I think, that deals badly with death, particularly if the event is unexpected.  I wanted to write a story that would provide some comfort or reassurance to those who have lost someone they love.  I hope this book is reassuring, especially for those who have quieter voices.
The intertwining story involves a couple travelling the trans-Siberian from Beijing to Moscow in the present day – full of fascinating insights for those who love to travel!  The other couple, Pyotr and Yuliya, live in Moscow in the 1960s.  The couples’ stories plait throughout the novel but come together at the novel’s end.

The landscapes traversed really provide a backdrop to the more important internal landscapes of each of the characters.  The book is simply an ode to tenderness, to the kindness people can offer to one another. Kindnesses that seem small but really are the essence of being alive; living a full life.

The Avenue of Eternal Tranquillity by K Overman-Edmiston

In the arctic conditions of a Moscow winter, a man drives to the car park of a city hotel. He takes off his hat and coat, lies down in the snow, goes to sleep, and dies. Why? From a window high up in the Hotel Rossiya, a couple looks down upon the figure lying in the snow.

Hannah and Luke have just arrived in Moscow after travelling across Mongolia and Siberia. They had not seen the Russian leave his car, but they did see the police arrive, take notes, cover the body with a piece of matting, and then leave. This book tells the story of Pyotr and Yuliya, living in the Soviet Union of the 1960s. Their tale is interwoven with that of Luke and Hannah travelling the trans-Siberian railway from Beijing to Moscow in the early years of the new millennium. Their paths collide during the festive season in Moscow, 2002.

Set in Russia and China, this story traces two deeply founded relationships that provide insights into love’s gentle and tenuous beginnings to its richness, rewards, complexities, and potential for tragedy.

Keep a look out for The Avenue of Eternal Tranquillity in next month’s giveaway.

Boomerang Books Re-Launch

As frequent readers will no doubt know, we are extremely excited about the upcoming launch of Boomerang Books’ new website on 1 November 2009. But what exactly have our developers cooked up for you?

Well, we can say that it’s an industry-leading online bookstore platform, and we can tell you how great we think it is, but sometimes, the features need to speak for themselves.

  • It’s much faster – searches are completed in milliseconds
  • The design is contemporary, slick
  • Search results are presented in multiple formats, allowing you to find what you’re looking for faster
  • New social networking features, including an RSS feed of ‘what’s happening’ on the site at any one time
  • Smart Web 2.0-style gadgets, pop-ups and drop-downs to make your experience more enjoyable
  • A new loyalty program called Boomerang Bucks.  Buy books at Boomerang and earn Boomerang Bucks towards your next purchase
  • Integrated with Google Books, allowing you to ‘look inside’ books that have been digitised by Google
  • Integrated with Abebooks, giving you the option to purchase second-hand copies of selected books
  • A new wishlist, where you can store books that you might wish to purchase later on
  • A much-improved book review system, allowing users to submit their own book reviews and to rate books
  • More payment options, including PayPal, BPay and bank deposit

And there are more improvements on the way!

So, thank you for all your support, thank you to our beta testers, and thank you for your feedback. We look forward to an exciting step forward, alongside you, our faithful Boomerang customers. 🙂

ANDREW MCDONALD Guest Blog: Classic Books As Blogs

Books based on blogs seem to be the flavour of the moment. The blog-turned-book Stuff White People Like did incredibly well and we now have the first movie based on a book based on a blog in Julie and Julia. In light of this blogging/authoring/filmmaking trend I’ve looked back at five classic books to see what they would have looked like had they started life as blogs as well. 

1. THE TRIAL by Franz Kafka

Blog Title: Der Internetprozess
About The Blogger: Josef K. is a blogger and is currently on trial. He is uncertain how he came to be either.  
Blog excerpt: This morning I was not allowed out of my room for breakfast. Two goons outside told me I am under arrest but would not say why. So whilst I am understandably upset I have resolved to sit down at my computer and blog as I wait for word on what shall happen to me from here. Perhaps I will jump on answer.yahoo.com to try to find out exactly what is happening to me.


Blog Title: The Wireless Woods
About The Blogger: Bessie is a girl who has recently come to live on the edge of some woods. Sometimes she calls herself Beth to sounds more modern.
Blog Excerpt: Today when we go back into the woods that seem to whisper, I am going to take my lappy with me and blog from the depths of the forest. Although Jo thinks there won’t be any wireless coverage in the woods. So we might have to climb to the top of the tallest tree we can find to get coverage.

3. DRACULA by Bram Stoker

Blog Title: Collective Ramblings About A Count Called Dracula
About the Bloggers: Jonathan, Mina, Lucy and Dr Seward.
Blog excerpt from Dr Seward: The case of Renfield grows more interesting the more I get to understand the man. As it turns out the man eats flies and spiders and bugs. Kind of like this guy:

4. ROBINSON CRUSOE by Daniel Defoe

Blog Title: Help!
About The Blogger: Robinson is a victim of shipwreck and circumstance. But mostly, shipwreck. He blogs from a deserted isle somewhere.
Blog Excerpt: Another long day on the island. But I think I am maintaining my sanity. One must remain clear-headed in case some possibility of rescue should make itself known. In the meantime I shall shove another S.O.S. message inside a bottle and throw it out to sea. And then after that I think I’ll check Facebook. And think of something else to blog about.


Blog Title: I Hate Alison Ashley
About the Blogger: Erica Yurken wants to be a star. Also, she hates Alison Ashley.
Blog Excerpt: I hate Alison Ashley. I would like to say more but I am afraid of the consequences if I am caught ‘cyber bullying’.

Andrew McDonald is the author of The Greatest Blogger in the World

When the school mascot is stolen and a multinational corporation tries to take over the school formal, Charlie Ridge has his chance to Be the Hero, Get the Girl, and Save the Day. That’s got to give him a leg up on the quest to be The Greatest Blogger in the World, right? Age 10+.

October Giveaway


Variety is the spice of life, and this month’s prize pack’s spicy indeed! Spend a year in Girl Hell,  search for truth, live a hilarious life alongside a comedian, and learn to cook for a growing family on a shrinking budget, in a pack that includes:

The Ghost’s Child by Sonya Hartnett SIGNED

A Year In Girl Hell: Dumped by Meredith Costain

Liar by Justine Larbalestier

A Nest Of Occasionals by Tony Martin

Woman Speak by Louise Nicholas and Jude Aquilina

On A Shoestring by Samela Harris


To go into the draw to win these books, just complete the entry form here. Entries close October 31, 2009.


When you join our Facebook Group, not only do you become a part of one of Australia’s fastest growing online book groups, you also go into the draw to win prizes! This month, one lucky member will win a pack that includes:

Nemesis and the Fairy of Pure Heart by Ashley Du Toit SIGNED

After by Sue Lawson

Elephant Dance by Tammie Matson

Dragon Keeper by Carole Wilkinson

On The Case by Moya Simons

Elephant Dance Dragonkeeper

A big thanks to our friends at Allen and Unwin, Black Dog Books, Dragon Publishing, Hardie Grant Egmont, Pan Macmillan, Penguin, Wakefield Press and Walker Books for supporting our giveaways this month.