New release: The Legacy by Kirsten Tranter

The Legacy by Kirsten Tranter

Ingrid inherits a fortune, leaves Australia and her friends and lover, to marry Gil Grey and set up home amid the New York art world. At 9 am on September 11 2001, she has an appointment downtown, and is never seen again. A year later, searching for clues about Ingrid’s life, her friend Julie uncovers layers of mystery and deception …

EXCLUSIVE: Kim Miller Guest Blog

The influence of my life and work on my writing…

Being a prison chaplain is an interesting business. I work in a world that is unknown and misunderstood. People say to me, ‘How do you manage to work with those men after all the stuff they’ve done?’ I say, ‘It’s okay. I get to meet the people my mother wouldn’t let me play with when I was a kid.’

Well, I used to say that. Then I gave honesty a try…

See, I remember returning to my home town, and visiting the mother of a primary school friend, Robert.

I knock on her door. She answered, a bit belligerent – just as I remembered. ‘Who are you?’

‘I’m Kim. I used to live next door.’

‘Kim,’ she exploded. ‘You’re the boy who set fire to my yard and nearly burnt the house down.’

Mind you, this instant response is thirty-five years after I’d left that town as a teenager.

She goes on to talk about me as a kid as if I’m not standing in front of her: ‘That Kim was such a bad influence that we had to send Robert away to boarding school.’ 

So, maybe my work as a prison chaplain means I get to work with the people like me, the ones other mothers wouldn’t let their children play with. 🙂

My recent book, They Told Me I Had To Write This is a young adult novel about a boy named Clem. Clem is at war with the world and with himself. He’s in trouble with the coppers and is now attending a school for toxic teenagers. And in this environment, he starts to deal with the sexual abuse of his childhood. 

The abused childhood autobiography is fairly common. But fiction novels about child sexual abuse are not common, especially for teenagers. Perhaps publishers shy away from the area. Perhaps people don’t feel qualified to write about it. Perhaps authors are waiting for the vampire thing to fade and it will be the next fad. Perhaps I will now be inundated from readers who want to fill in my ignorance. 

All I can say is that one sleepless night on holidays this book put itself together in my head. I got up the next morning and wrote an outline. Then I started to write. Five days later I had the first draft. Some holiday, don’t you reckon?

Competent people cast their eye over it. Author Hazel Edwards mentored me for some of the way. It got knocked into shape and was accepted for publication. Three years after that sleepless night it was on its way to the printer. I’m a bit blown away by it. 

I sometimes wonder where the story came from. The answer is, from my own mind. It was in there already. I know about boys in strife. I’ve worked with them, as teenagers and adults, for many years. I was one myself. My book has been getting some pretty good reviews. I love that.

People ask me if I am writing anything else. Yes, I am. I’m currently writing a follow-up to this book. It’s not a sequel, but it has resonances. There’s a supporting character in They Told Me I Had To Write This named Bundy. I’m telling his story. It’s a darker work and there’s a more menacing undercurrent. Bundy likes burning things down. It’s the story of a firesetter. I wonder where that could be coming from…

They Told Me I Had To Write This by Kim Miller

Clem is a boy in strife. Blamed for the death of his mother, carrying a terrible secret from Grade 5 and in trouble with the police, he’s now in a school for toxic teenagers. And that rev-head school counselor wants him to write letters.Through his writing Clem goes deep into the trauma that has defined his life. Then he comes face to face with his mother’s death. In a rush of bush bike racing, the death of one student and the consequent arrest of another, an unexpected first girlfriend, and some surprising friendships, Clem’s story is the celebration of a boy who finds an unexpected future.Tackles multiple issues affecting today’s kids: bullying; family dysfunction; grief; mental illness; friendship with a fast-paced plot. Adults who are looking for insight into how to approach instances of deep teenage trauma will also find something here, as well as a good story, well told.

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.

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.

2. THE MAGIC FARAWAY TREE by Enid Blyton

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.

5. HATING ALISON ASHLEY by Robin Klein

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+.

The Lost Symbol Fever

The Lost Symbol sold 1 million copies worldwide in one day. While no-where near the numbers Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows raked in – 8 million in the US alone on Day 1 – there’s no doubting that Dan Brown’s latest is a hit. When a book has been as anticipated as this has, readers often find themselves at a loss after devouring it.

They need more.

Are you suffering from The Lost Symbol Fever / Withdrawals? Need your next conspiratorial fix? Well, check out these supplementary reads fresh off the press:

The Rough Guide to the Lost Symbol by Michael Haag
Dan Brown’s new thriller The Lost Symbol is the biggest global publishing phenomenon since his runaway bestseller The Da Vinci Code. The new adventures of mystery-solving Professor of Symbology, Robert Langdon have attracted huge global interest and fresh controversies concerning Dan Brown’s ideas, characters and thoughts on mythology and history.The Rough Guide to The Lost Symbol traces all the debates concerning religion and secret societies and the views of historians on Dan Brown’s plots and ideas. It casts an eye on the locations of the book and how you can visit them and explains how The Lost Symbol connects to Brown’s previous work and other books. Whether you are a Dan Brown fanatic, sceptic or agnostic there is no doubting the excitement generated by his exciting stories all of which are explored in this guide. This new Rough Guide has the key to understanding The Lost Symbol.

The Secrets of the Lost Symbol by Ian Gittins
Explores all aspects of the most talked about secret society in the world, from its most famous members to its infamous history, revealing the facts behind the fiction of Dan Brown’s new blockbuster. For centuries the Freemasonry has been the subject of rumour and intrigue. From its obscure origins to the suspicion that it exercises huge influence on government and multinational corporations, there has always been more than a whiff of controversy about the organisation. Secrets of the Lost Symbol reveals the truth behind the myths, sifts the facts from the fiction, and unveils the mysterious rites and ceremonies. Ian Gittins delves deep into the true origins of the society, its philosophy and practices, describes the rituals, and profiles a number of key figures. Along the way, he also shows where fact and fiction have fought, and fiction has won the battle.

Uncovering the Lost Symbol by Tim Collins
Delves into the mysteries Dan Brown writes about in his latest novel. The symbology behind the racy thriller will be unravelled and explained to all.

Joel Magarey guest blogs on life, death, and EXPOSURE

Since Exposure has come out, a few journalists have asked me what my most extreme travel experience was, which has got me thinking about death – always good for a new perspective on life. At first I thought the answer to their question had to be the experience I had in a Bolivian desert: setting fire to my hand and then my tent while still in my sleeping bag – then knocking over a full bottle of fuel to really get that blaze going. That was intense. Then I realised that, for intensity, I couldn’t go past nearly drowning in a glacier-fed Alaskan river that was busy freezing over.

A young inexperienced American called Troy and I had flown with a kayak into the remote Chigmit Mountains too late in autumn, when it was so cold the glaciers feeding our watercourse were only giving off a shallow trickle. We tore gaping holes in the kayak scraping to a halt on the constant gravel bars. Then Troy broke both our paddles trying to push us off the bars. Then, when the river finally got deeper and faster, we shot into some tree branches and capsized. In the 3-degree water I went into shock, my feet got stuck in the kayak and my head was forced under.

I digress. These memories have reminded me of not only how intensely alive a brush with death can make a person feel, but also a broader, parallel irony I discovered on my journey: that the passionate high road of our greatest desires runs close by the forest of our worst fears.

At 25, with a mind filled with dreams and post-Catholic sexual hang-ups, I had left my wise and beautiful love of seven years, Penny – along with a promising career in journalism – for a limitless global journey I’d imagined since childhood. I was also leaving behind a recent and unpalatable diagnosis, of obsessive compulsive disorder, and an unfinished course of therapy for it.

Very soon I’d got myself into some interesting pickles, such as a three-week compulsive nightmare involving Los Angeles, my terror of Alaska killing me, and many, MANY sleeping bags. Then there was the climb into Arctic mountains I undertook in November with almost no relevant experience. The cold was so intense it snap-froze the drips from my constantly dripping nose. To get food into my mouth I had to break foot-long stalactites from my nostrils.

I thought I was moving towards what I wanted – wider experience of love and women, a richer entry into life, and the mental cure I thought I could find for myself. And it was an astonishing journey, filled with wonders, intensities and joy — but also longing and illness. Two thirds of the way around the world, as I fell victim to another OCD attack in Zimbabwe, I saw in a moment that in some of the deepest ways I’d been heading far from where I’d thought I was going. I’d been risking madness but not health. I’d been risking death in a kayak and a Bolivian desert but not life with a woman I couldn’t stop loving.

I can’t give away how it all panned out for me; but death, life, and risk bring me back to that Alaskan river.

As Adrenalin finally kicked in, I wrenched my legs out of the kayak. Troy and I hauled ourselves out of the water and lay on top of the upturned kayak as it began to pick up speed. True, we still had problems. And we were heading towards more – like a white, frothing rapid just downriver – but that’s another story, another brush with death. For the moment, we were alive, and we knew it in every nerve.

Praise for Exposure

‘An extraordinary story . . . wry, honest, amusing and evocative.’ Eva Hornung

‘A striking and substantial book, at once compelling, scary, delightfully comic and moving.’ Tom Shapcott

BOOKS! BOOKS! BOOKS! August Book Giveaway

This month, Boomerang Books are giving you more chances to win! Alongside our regular monthly giveaway and our Facebook-exclusive giveaway, to celebrate August being the month of the Children’s Book Council Australia’s Book Week, we have a special children’s prize pack to giveaway.

AUGUST MAJOR GIVEAWAY

This month’s prize pack is an eclectic mix set to capture your imagination, touch your heart and tickle your tastebuds. While Judith McNeil paints an unforgettable portrait of Australian life in the 1950s, Angela Valamanesh’s art inspires, and Ben O’Donoghue and Mary Taylor Simeti share recipes that plot you on the path to becoming the Masterchef of your household. The pack includes:

Butterfly by Sonya Hartnett SIGNED
Here is Plum Coyle, on the threshold of adolescence, striving to be new. Her fourteenth birthday is approaching: her old life and her old body will fall away, and she will become graceful, powerful, at ease. The strength in the objects she stores in a briefcase under her bed – a crystal lamb, a yoyo, an antique watch, a penny – will make sure of it.
Over the next couple of weeks, Plum’s life will change. Her beautiful neighbour Maureen will begin to show her how she might fly. The older brothers she adores – the charismatic Justin, the enigmatic Cydar – will court catastrophe in worlds that she barely knows exist. And her friends – her worst enemies – will tease and test, smelling weakness. They will try to lead her on and take her down.
Who ever forgets what happens when you’re fourteen?
Butterfly is a gripping, disquieting, beautifully observed novel that confirms Hartnett as one of Australia’s finest writers.

Outdoor by Ben O’Donoghue (Hardcover) SIGNED
In his first-ever cookbook, Ben brings the wide-sweeping world of barbecuing to your backyard via one of the most stunningly designed books around. No need to walk over hot coals to impress your BBQ guests, these divine recipes will leave a lasting taste in everyone’s mouth.
Try Grilled Lobsters from Norfolk, or Pork Loin With Bay And Balsamic from Italy or even a Thai-inspired dessert of Grilled Pineapple With Rum Ginger And Lemongrass Syrup. Yum! And while you grill, serve guests a Southern Cross Pimm’s barbecue-side. Fresh in every way, this cookbook is a summer staple.

Letters to Leonardo by Dee White
On his fifteenth birthday, Matt receives a card from his mother – the mother he grew up believing was deceased. Feeling betrayed by both his parents, Matt’s identity is in disarray and he begins writing letters to Leonardo da Vinci as a way to sort out the ‘mess’ in his head. Through the connections he makes between his own life and that of Leonardo, Matt unravels the mystery that his life has become and discovers his mother’s secrets and the reasons behind his abandonment.
A unique and powerful story about a fifteen year old boy who tries to deal with his mother’s mental illness by writing letters to Leonardo da Vinci. Ages 12+. 

A True History of the Hula Hoop by Judith Lanigan
A beguiling and utterly original debut novel about two women born centuries apart but joined by the spirit of adventure and a quest for true love.
Catherine is a hula-hooping performance artist, a talented and independent individual plying her trade on the international burlesque stage. Columbina meanwhile is a feisty female clown and a principal in a 16th-century Italian commedia dell’arte troupe.
As Catherine and Columbina struggle to make sense of an increasingly nonsensical world – and to assert their rights as performers and women during times of profound change – their lives, as if by magic, seem to interact.

No One’s Child by Judith McNeil
Judith takes you on a journey back to her childhood – as a ‘railway brat’, growing up in small towns along the tracks while her father worked on the lines. Judith’s life was one of hardship and poverty. The eldest of six children, she soon took on the role of provider and carer, while desperately craving affection from a mother too tired to give it and a father who resented her because she wasn’t a son. Yet there was still joy to be found: in the vibrant Gypsy camp, full of laughter and love in the eyes of Tom, the engine driver who believed in her and fed her thirst for knowledge and in the friendship of Billy, the boy who could see into her soul. No One’s Child is an unforgettable portrait of Australian life in the 1950s. With a vivid cast of characters and set against the backdrop of the ever-changing outback landscape, it will leave you marvelling at the indomitable spirit of one little girl who was determined to forge her own destiny.

Angela Valamanesha: About Being Here by Cath Kenneally (Hardcover)

Sicilian Food: Recipes from Italy’s Abundant Isle by Mary Taylor Simeti

Another Way To Love by Tim Costello and Rode Yule

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

AUGUST FACEBOOK GIVEAWAY

As always, we have a great prize pack to give away to one of our Facebook Group members, which includes: Letters to Leonardo by Dee White, Shakespeare: The Most Famous Man In London by Tony Thompson, Third Transmission by Jack Heath, A Tale of Two Women by Christina Slade, Samurai Kids: Shaolin Tiger by Sandy Fussell, Another Way To Love by Tim Costello and Rode Yule.

Shakespeare Third Transmission A Tale of Two Women Shaolin Tiger

Boomerang Books is fast becoming one of Australia’s biggest book groups on Facebook, so what are you waiting for? Join Now!

BONUS AUGUST CHILDREN’S GIVEAWAY

Entering this bonus giveaway is easy enough. All you have to do is email me a review of the last children’s book you read. You could’ve read it last night, last year, or even back when you were a kid. The catch? It has to be in 20 words or less. When entering, mention which prize pack you’d like to be in the running for – picture book or fiction for ages 10+. Entries close August 31, 2009.

Section A: ‘Book Safari’-Themed Picture Books: The Little One: The Story of a Red-Tailed Monkey by Kaitie Afrika Litchfield, The Gorilla Book: Born To Be Wild by Dr Carla Litchfield, The Chimpanzee Book: Apes Like Us by Dr Carla Litchfield, The Penguin Book: Birds In Suits by Dr Mark Norman, The Antarctica Book: Living In The Freezer by Dr Mark Norman, The Great Barrier Reef Book: Solar Powered by Dr Mark Norman, When No-one’s Looking: On The Farm by Zana Fraillon and Lucia Masciullo, When No-one’s Looking: At the Zoo by Zana Fraillon and Lucia Masciullo.

The Little One The Chimpanzee Book Penguin Book At The Zoo

Section B: Fiction 10+

Samurai Kids: White Crane (SIGNED), Samurai Kids: Owl Ninja (SIGNED), Samurai Kids: Shaolin Tiger (SIGNED), Samurai Kids: Monkey Fist, Letters to Leonardo by Dee White, The Zoo of Magical and Mythological Creatures by Sam Bowring.

White Crane Owl Ninja Letters to Leonardo The Zoo of Magical and Mythological Creatures

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

Interview with DEBORAH ABELA

Last weekend, I was lucky enough to be a speaker at the NSW Writers’ Centre’s 4th Annual Kids and YA Festival, able to rub shoulders and exchange quips with authors infinitely more famous than I. With all the events leading up to the main Saturday, I was bumping into authors at a frequency I’m not quite used to. One of those authors was Deborah Abela. I took the seventh time I ran into her in as many days as sign enough to pull her aside for a quick interview.

For those that don’t know, Deborah is the author of, among other things, the wildly successful Max Remy series, which only recently came to a close. Not long ago, she was being asked, “What’s next?” Well, now, she’s released it – a fun, quirky novel whose jacket illustration I’m secretly insanely jealous of, The Remarkable Secret of Aurelie Bonhoffen. I sat down with Deborah to discuss books past, present and future.

The Max Remy series spawned ten books… How hard was it to say goodbye to the franchise?
I knew the series was going to end at Max Remy Part 10: The Final Curtain. I had great fun writing it, but found that over the next few weeks, I felt despondent and irritable and wanted to crawl into corners to sleep or cry. Not being like this usually, I eventually worked out that I was grieving for my characters, especially Max and Linden, my two young superspies I’d sent all over the world to save it from multiple bad guys. I’m okay now, though.  
 
Which of the characters in the Max Remy universe was your favourite?
Max will always have a special place in my heart, because the idea for the series came from this young feisty but clumsy girl spy who is the hero of each book, but her cute spy partner Linden, who is calm, smart and funny, is my fav. I’ve had letters from readers wanting to be his girlfriend, so I guess other people feel like I do. 
 
In a sentence, pitch your new book, The Remarkable Secret of Aurelie Bonhoffen.
Aurelie Bonhoffen adores living on a seaside pier amusement park with her family, but on her twelfth birthday, she discovers that some of them are ghosts.  

What’s the hardest thing about writing for children?
I love writing for kids! Apart from trying to find enough time to write, one of the hardest parts is getting the tone of the book right and finding the voices of the characters. This can be very fast as with my soccer legend, Jasper Zammit, but sometimes, as with Aurelie in The Remarkable Secret of Aurelie Bonhoffen, it can take its good sweet time.

What’s next for Deb Abela? Another Aurelie Book?
At the moment I am working on a book where a major city has flooded. Most people managed to escape but a group of kids were left behind and have to find new ways to survive in this world of floating building tops. There are sea monsters, flying machines and evil harbour lords. Its been soggy but lots of fun.
 
Sounds great. Of your books – which one has the best opening line?
I like the opening line from The Remarkable Secret of Aurelie Bonhoffen:

The girl lay in her coffin with a faint smile on her powder-white face.

Its a quirky, comic novel by the way.
 
Who would you say were (and are) your biggest influences?
Children’s authors, books and the kids themselves. More and more I love hearing authors speak. There is so much to learn about writing. I also love getting kids excited about books by speaking to them during author visits and at festivals. Of course, I love reading and always get excited by a well-written, well-told kids story. 
 
If you could claim any other writer’s work as your own, whose would it be?
I think, perhaps in a previous life, I was Norman Hunter who wrote the Professor Branestawm book about a wacky, inventive professor whose inventions often went terribly wrong. Either that or we’re related. I loved those books as a kid. 
  
The last Australian book you read?
The Reformed Vampire Support Group by Catherine Jinks. Very funny, twisted and seriously subversive as far as all those other vampire books go. 

What is the most valuable piece of advice you were never told?
The more you write sometimes the harder it gets, but oh how sweet it is when it all clicks into place. I was also never told how wonderful and generous and supportive kids’ book writers are… This has been an especially sweet discovery.

July Book Giveaway

Another month, another giveaway. July’s is Ashes-tinged and filled to the brim for cricket fans and avid readers alike, so be sure to register HERE for your chance to win copies of:

Cricket Kings by William McInnes  SIGNED
Step into the lives of a team of regular middle-aged men who meet each week to play cricket in their local park. With these characters William will make us laugh and cry. And never again will we think that someone is just a regular bloke – everyone can be a king or a queen in their own suburb.

 

Glenn McGrath: Line and Strength by Glen McGrath SIGNED
From working the land in Narromine to winning cricket’s World Cup three times, Glenn McGrath has always faced life with fierce determination and an unerring will to succeed despite the odds. Now, following his retirement from international cricket, McGrath shares the story of his life – in cricket and off the field.
 

The Cricket War by Gideon Haigh SIGNED
It was the end of cricket as we knew it – and the beginning of cricket as we know it. In May 1977, the cricket world woke to discover that a businessman called Kerry Packer had signed 35 elite international players for his own televised World Series Cricket. The Cricket War is the definitive account of the split that changed the game on the field and on the screen. In helmets, under lights, with white balls, and in coloured clothes, the outlaw armies of Ian Chappell, Toney Greig and Clive Lloyd fought a daily battle of survival. In boardrooms and courtrooms Packer and cricket’s rulers fought a bitter war of nerves. A compelling account of the top-class sporting life, The Cricket War also gives a unique insight into the motives and methods of Australia’s richest man.

The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas SIGNED
A novel about the relationships between children and adults, and the new Australian multicultural middle-class from the controversial cult author of Loaded and Dead Europe.

 

 

 

Starting An Online Business For Dummies by Melissa Norfolk
Turn your dreams into profitable reality with this straightforward guide to setting up and running an online business. Including strategies to help you identify your market, set up a website and promote your business online.

 
Just Macbeth by Andy Griffiths
Take one Shakespearean tragedy: Macbeth, add Andy, Danny and Lisa the Just trio, whose madcap exploits have already delighted hundreds of thousands of readers for the last ten years. Mix them all together to create one of the most hilarious, most dramatic, moving stories of love, Whizz Fizz, witches, murder and madness. Ages 9+.

 

Brief Encounters: Literary travellers in Australia 1836-1939 by Susannah Fullerton
Throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries, countless distinguished writers made the long and arduous voyage across the seas to Australia. They came on lecture tours and to make money, to sort out difficult children sent here to be out of the way for health, for science, to escape demanding spouses back home, or simply to satisfy a sense of adventure. In 1890, for example, Robert Louis Stevenson and his wife, Fanny, arrived at Circular Quay after a dramatic sea voyage only to be refused entry at the Victoria, one of Sydney’s most elegant hotels. Stevenson threw a tantrum, but was forced to go to a cheaper, less fussy establishment. Next day, the Victoria’s manager, recognising the famous author from a picture in the paper, rushed to find Stevenson and beg him to return. He did not. In Brief Encounters, Susannah Fullerton examines a diverse array of writers, including Charles Darwin, Rudyard Kipling, Stevenson, Anthony Trollope, Mark Twain, Arthur Conan Doyle, DH Lawrence, Joseph Conrad, HG Wells, Agatha Christie and Jack London, to discover what they did when they got here, what their opinion was of Australia and Australians, how the public and media reacted to them, and how their future works were shaped or influenced by this country.

Good Night & God Bless: Volume One by Trish Clark
This is the modern traveller’s bible. Travellers and pilgrims seeking a unique experience can now uncover the ancient secrets of convents and monasteries around Europe. We reveal these atmospheric and affordable places that accommodate tourists or those pursuing a pilgrimage or spiritual retreat. Convents, monasteries and abbeys have always been places which generously welcome weary travellers. That tradition continues today and Goodnight & God Bless takes you on a tour of religious hideaways offering tourist and pilgrimage accommodation throughout Europe. Suitable for the traveller, the pious and the curious alike, this user-friendly travel guide provides invaluable information, travel tit-bits and anecdotes against a fascinating backdrop of history and religion.

Nemesis and the Fairy of Pure Heart by Ashley Du Toit SIGNED
Enchanted by Bella, the Fairy of Pure Heart, Prince Arthur follows her into the immortal world. Angered by this, the powerful dragon Nemesis captures Arthur. To rescue her prince, Bella must complete the Great Dragon’s Hunt, and collect five magical tokens. As Bella and her butterfly friend Teague carry out her quest, they meet many mystical creatures, including a witch and a werewolf, elfins and leprechauns, and two very forgetful goblins.

A big thanks to our friends at Allen and Unwin, Pan Macmillan, Hachette, Random House, Melbourne University Press, John Wiley & Sons, Dragon Publishing and Paratus Press for supporting our monthly giveaway.

To go into the draw to win this month’s prize, complete the entry form HERE. Entries close 31 July, 2009. Don’t forget, it’s a monthly giveaway, so be sure to favourite that link and keep visiting every month. Please note, entrants will be automatically subscribed to our fortnightly Boomerang Books Bulletin e-newsletter.

… A bonus for our Facebook Friends

Need an incentive to join one of Australia’s largest book group on Facebook? Well, we have a great pack of books to give away to one of our Facebook Group members this month, which includes copies of Nemesis and the Fairy of Pure Heart by Ashley Du Toit (SIGNED), Mascot Madness! by Andy Griffiths and Good Night & God Bless: Volume One by Trish Clark.

The Better Woman By Ber Carroll

A STORY OF TWO REMARKABLE WOMEN, THEIR ILLUSTRIOUS CAREERS, THEIR FAMILIES, THEIR FRIENDS, AND THE MEN THEY LOVE Sarah Ryan is self-reliant and ambitious, with a head for business inherited from growing up in her grandmother’s shop in a remote Irish village. Jodi Tyler was raised on Sydney’s Northern beaches and from a young age pushed herself to excel at both sport and her studies. From different ends of the world, Sarah and Jodi have more in common than they’ll ever realise. Fast forward to the present day, and Sarah and Jodi have their sights set on the same job.

Both of them have something to prove; to themselves, their families, their friends and the lovers they left behind. The new job represents status, power and the ultimate achievement in their respective careers. It also represents how far they’ve come to triumph over the tragedies of their pasts – but at what cost to their personal lives? And so now it’s up to fate to decide who is the better woman for the job.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ber Carroll was born in Blarney, County Cork, and moved to Australia in 1995. She worked as a finance director in the information technology industry until the release of her first novel, Executive Affair. Her second book, Just Business, was published in Ireland and Germany and these novels, plus her third, High Potential, were released in Australia in 2008. Ber lives in Sydney’s Northern Beaches with her husband and two children.

Silasand the Winterbottoms by Stephen M. Giles

Silas and the Winterbottoms is a fabulous gothic tale of three young cousins who are summoned by their evil Uncle Silas to spend the summer with him at Sommerset – his grand gothic estate perched on a mysterious island surrounded by an alligator-infested swamp.  Silas Winterbottom, who has had virtually no contact with his extended family for decades (except to insult them or refuse their requests for money), is dying. It is his intention to select an heir from among his nieces and nephew – Isabella Winterbottom (13), Adele Fester-Winterbottom (12) and Milo Winterbottom (12).  The Winterbottom children have very different backgrounds but each of them have motive for accepting Silas invitation: Adele’s family have been forced into exile in Tipping Point, Tasmania due to her mother’s unethical experiments with prize-winning poodles; Isabella and her father are accomplished criminals living a fraudulent life among London’s social elite and finally; Milo, orphaned after his parents were lost in a volcanic eruption, lives with his grandfather the Maestro in a tiny basement apartment in a London. One of the Winterbottoms believes Uncle Silas is a murderer; two of themwill do anything to win his favour and his fortune … and only one of them will be chosen. About the author                                                                                       

Stephen M. Giles is 36 and lives in Sydney. He describes himself as a “market researcher of staggering mediocrity”. Silas and the Winterbottoms is his first book.

New children’s book releases from Pan Macmillan – March 2009

Mascot Madness! (Schooling Around Book 3)
Andy Griffiths
9780330424868
$14.99 B-format paperback

The Mascot Madness! Test:

1. Northwest Southeast Central School have never beaten Northwest West Academy at their annual track and field challenge because A: they’re better at knitting than they are at sport. B: they are losers. C: Northwest West Academy will stop at nothing to win.

2. Mr Brainfright dresses up in a banana suit and dances around because A: he’s bored. B: he goes bananas. C: he thinks it will inspire the students of Northwest Southeast Central School and lead them to victory.

3. When Henry McThrottle attempts the triple jump, instead of a hop, step and a jump he does A: a burp, a dribble and a sneeze. B: a twirl, a spin and the splits. C: a stumble, a trip and a fall.

4. Mascot Madness is A: a new type of dance. B: when a mascot gets angry. C: a very funny book about running, jumping, throwing, winning, losing, cheating, chasing, biting and really hard squeezing.

The answers to these questions – and many more – are contained between the covers of this very funny book about running, jumping, throwing, winning, losing, cheating, chasing, biting and really hard squeezing.

The Zoo of Magical and Mythological Creatures
Sam Bowring
9780330424752
$14.99 B-format paperback

An imaginative and hilarious fantasy from an exciting new voice in children’s literature.

Twelve-year-old Zackary is the seventh son of the King and Queen of Solaris, and a most reluctant knight. He would rather put anchovies in the knights helmets or use his sword to cut sandwiches than learn courtly ways. In despair, the King and Queen assign him to the castle administrator, Barnabas, who sends him on an errand to the Zoo of Magical and Mythological Creatures, established by Zackary’s grandfather.

Mistaken for a job applicant, Zackary starts working at the zoo with the resident sorcerer, Acacia. Powerful magic is needed to control some of the extraordinary creatures in the zoo: from the Stymphalian birds of Greek mythology and the nine-headed hydra, to manticores from India and the squonks – Drufflefuster, Gobblesnocks, Snivelsnork and Grimelgrout. These are the ugliest, most endearing, little creatures that will be encountered in a children’s book in 2009.

But just as Zackary is settling in to his double life, a shadow is cast across the entire kingdom with the news that a strange creature is expected at the zoo-a creature which spreads evil and destruction in its path.

Allie Finkle’s Rules for Girls 3: Best Friends and Drama Queens
Meg Cabot
9780230700147
$14.99 B-format paperback

The third fabulous book in bestselling author Meg Cabot’s funny and sassy series for tweens!

Allie is excited when Cheyenne joins her class-now she won’t have to be the “new girl” any more! But Cheyenne wears zip-up boots, likes boys, thinks imaginary games are for “big babies” and tells everyone what to do. Still, Allie won’t be bossed around – it’s time to teach the “new girl” some tough rules! Such as…

1) Friendly people don’t tell other people that their games are babyish;

2) Snowboots may not look as good as high-heeled zip-up boots, but they will never let you down; and

3) Friends are all you need.

Interview with William Kostakis – author of Loathing Lola

Jack: What’s the best thing you’ve ever missed out on because you couldn’t stop writing? Sleep? A sibling’s wedding? Boston Legal?
Will: I’ve missed a few birthday parties, I know that. The angry, drunken “THAT’S IT . . . WE’RE OVER! O-V-A-H!” text messages/phone calls are never fun, but I always make sure their pressie is twice as good to make up for it. Oh, and sleep. Half of Loathing Lola was written in a sleep-deprived haze. Granted, most of the stuff I wrote at 3am was cut at 10am the next morning when I realised that making up words like “gjdhfdscdas” wasn’t so much me being inventive and postmodern so much as it was me falling asleep on top of the keyboard. I’ve yet to find the balance between having a life and writing, but I’m still young. I’ve got heaps of time to find it.

Jack: Indeed. Are any of the characters based on or inspired by people you know? And if so, did you reveal anything embarrassing about them?
Will: I’m sure some characters inherited something from people I know, but on the whole, I tried to keep my real-life friends and family separate from Courtney’s friends and family. Well, except the grandmother character. I don’t think I even attempted to disguise that inspiration. Yiayia Susie is mannerism-for-mannerism, word-for-word, an identical replica of my grandmother, Yiayia Susie (see what I said before about not even attempting to disguise it?). And she loves it. She’s got her copy of the book, and every time someone comes over, she flicks it open to one of the ear-marked pages Yiayia Susie’s featured on and forces people to read to her, one, because she’s insanely proud, and two, because she can’t read. As for revealing anything embarrassing about her, I wouldn’t dare . . . she’s a deceptively strong woman. But yeah, I’m considering just sending her around to do all my publicity. She’s a riot and plus, get her started on the “My grandson . . . ” tangent and she won’t stop.

Jack: Been there. Which do you spend more time daydreaming about – the plot of your next book, or the glory when it’s published?
Will: There’s something so exciting about plotting another book. I guess that’s the most important thing to daydream about, without the good plot, there’s no glory. But, I’m guilty of thinking about the glory WAY more than the next plot. My bad.

Jack: It’s cool, I do that too. If someone totally ripped off your idea and wrote a book just like Loathing Lola, would you be flattered, or would you come down on them with the fury of a thousand suns?
Will: I’d send Yiayia Susie after them.

Jack: (laughs) Now that you’re a huge success, are you going to drop out of uni? Or does education have some value other than procrastinating while you wait for your real life to start?

Will: Huge success? *William feels his head inflate so much that his nose is now in proportion with it.* Honestly, I love uni. Not the workload so much as everything else. All my friends are there, the bar is cheap, latenight assignmenting can actually be fun on account of said cheap bar.

Jack: Ever get good marks on those late-night cheap-bar assignments?
Will: Actually yeah, not bad.

Jack: If you ever had to write an autobiography, what bits would you exaggerate? And what bits would you leave out entirely?
Will: See, I’d never trust myself with my own autobiography. I have this idea where, if a publishing house is really desperate for a biography, I’ll round up ten friends and ten people who can’t stand the sight of me, and have them each write a chapter about me. That stops me from being a revisionist about the whole thing and smoothing over the bumps in the road, and I think it’s the only way it can be a truly honest representation of my life.

Jack: Do you ever live vicariously through your characters? Make them say things you wish you’d said, and so forth?
Will: I have this horrible habit of shooting straight from the lip, so sometimes, characters are just repeating some of the inappropriate things I’ve said. Or at least, that’s what they used to do, but the more I wrote Loathing Lola, the characters developed further . . . into people who weren’t me, and they developed different mannerisms and speech patterns, and they weren’t just mouthpieces for me to say whatever I wanted through them.
I like to think that they say whatever they want through me.

Jack: Okay. Harry Potter – so good, or no good?
Will: Azkaban is brilliant. Also a great movie. The rest are a little hit-and-miss. I mean, they’re all great the first time through, but Azkaban stands the test of re-reading. Pheonix . . . not so much. As a whole though, the series is great. I hated the epilogue though.

Jack: I thought it was okay. But I’m a sentimental old fool. So who’s your favourite writer? Is it you? Better yet, is it me?
Will: Sorry, Jack, but at the moment, it’s Terry Pratchett. The man can do no wrong. He mixes magic with side-splittingly funny innuendo. ‘Nuf said. But you ain’t too bad yourself . . .

WILLIAM INTERVIEWS JACK
Will: If you had to describe yourself, without alluding to the fact that you are both an author and freakishly young to have three books out, what would you say?
Jack: At parties I often lie about my occupation and say that I’m a concrete mixer or an etiquette consultant or a zoo enclosure analyst. But if I was being truthful, without mentioning the books, I’d say I’m just a somewhat shy uni drop-out with a lot of ideas but very little follow-through. Ironically, it’s likely no-one would believe me.

Will:The Lab and Remote Control – both action-packed, adrenaline-pumping rollercoaster rides with strong characters – which do you prefer writing . . . the mindless explosions or the character-building high-browy stuff?
Jack: Ooh, that’s a tough one. It’s hard to separate the two – the explosions are boring if the characters aren’t developed, but even well developed characters are boring if they never explode. Or nothing explodes near them, or whatever. Since you’ve forced my hand, I’d have to say I enjoy writing the action scenes most. Because I can read them again and really feel the excitement. Whereas when I read my own character-development passages, I’m just getting told things I already know.

Will:Is Money Run more of the same, genre-wise and stylistically? If not, what’s in it for fans of Agent Six of Hearts?
Jack: Money Run has the same core goals – exciting action, intricate characters, nail-biting dilemmas. But the sci-fi angle has been replaced by gritty realism, and there’s more focus on the villains. The language is more experimental, as well, and the story is told from several points of view, which is something I’ve never done before. So yeah, it’s different. Agent Six fans will just have to trust me.

Will: We all know that you spent a long time writing and perfecting The Lab . . . what was the process of writing Money Run? Were you working on it while you developed the others, or is it a fairly recent project?
Jack: I actually started Money Run when I was 17, before The Lab was published. When I was offered a contract, I put the project on hold while I edited The Lab and wrote Remote Control. That was good, because Money Run is more complex than the other books, so the break gave me time to plan. It helped the ideas mature, like a fine wine, or like a bottle of milk left out in the Sun.

Will: How do you write? Do you set time for writing, lock yourself in the attic with a bottle of wine, a pen and a stack of lined pages, or do you just wait for the bursts of creativity – usually resulting in frantic note-taking on napkins / limbs?
Jack: I set some time, and then I switch on my laptop and unplug it. It has a 90 minute battery, and I don’t get up until it shuts itself down. If I have no ideas, I do push-ups or go jogging to chase some down, and that usually gets the job done. Every now and again I wake up in the middle of the night with a great idea, and so I get out of bed, find a pen and scribble it on myself before going back to sleep. Unfortunately, in the morning, these midnight gems are usually either incomprehensible or crap.

Will: If you had to rewrite one well-known book or movie . . . which one would you choose, and what would you do?
Jack: I’d love to do a novelisation of a video game, like Portal or Metal Gear Solid. In the former I’d give the mute main character a back story; in the latter, I’d get some of the overly talkative minor characters and take their back stories away. As for movies, I’d like to rewrite something that had a good story but a bad script, like Swordfish, or Silent Hill.

Will: Say you cooked up the ideas for The Lab, Remote Control and Money Run, but were an absolutely horrible writer . . . and you could choose one writer to write them for you, who would you choose? Would they all be written by the same person?
Jack: Matthew Reilly, of course. No one else writes with that much raw energy. But I guess it would depend on which ideas I already had, because different writers are good at different things. If I’d planned out the action scenes but I needed someone to make the characters interesting, I’d choose Chuck Palahniuk. And if I had the characters already but wanted to make the book scarier, I’d pick Dean Koontz. And if I had pretty much everything but wanted to turn the books into comedies, I’d choose Scott Adams, the author of Dilbert. I think together we could make the funniest and most surreal sci-fi series in history.

Will: Something a little less mind-numbingly complicated . . . what were you doing right before this interview? Was it fun, and do you wish you were still doing it?
Jack: I was cooking. I have very little talent for it, but I make up for that with enthusiasm. Or at least, I think that makes up for it – but my friends don’t come over anymore. Not since I cooked them nachos made with cornflakes instead of corn chips.

Will: The Twilight series . . . what do you think?
Jack: I don’t like fantasy, or romance, or vampires (they’re just zombies for pansies. Diet-zombie. Zombie-lite.) As such, I’ve avoided reading Twilight – but enough people are talking about it now that maybe I should give it a chance. I liked Buffy, after all. So yeah, I’ll have to get back to you on this one.

Will: What’s next for you? Do you envision Money Run as a one-off thing? Are you interested in a sequel? Have fans of Agent Six of Hearts read the last of him?
Jack: I try to treat each book as a stand-alone thing. But the characters of Money Run all have good reason to be mad at one another by the end (those who survive, anyhow) and it’d be a shame to let that conflict go unexploited. Maybe they’ll have a chance to get even in a future book. And as for Agent Six, well, you can’t keep a good character down. I know this is a cliche, but he sometimes seems to have a life of his own – and if I stopped writing about him, he might reach out of the page and break my neck. (Never mess with a superhuman.) So I don’t think the City has heard the last of him.

A touch of magic

The magical world of Enid Blyton has been reimagined for a new generation with the ‘Enchanted World’ series (from February). Hardie Grant Egmont’s marketing manager, Natasha Besliev, says: ‘This is not just a new fairy series. The classic Blyton magic, solid storylines, well-rounded characters and strong elements of friendship are the perfect recipe for a new collectable series on which both parents and children can agree.’

A comic adventure story of a reluctant knight, a fantastical zoo, and a sorcerer’s assistant is The Zoo of Magical and Mythological Creatures by Sam Bowring (Pan, March). Also in March from The Five Mile Press is a companion to the bestselling Dragonology called Dragon Diary (Dougald A Steer).

A&U is ‘very excited’ to welcome Justine Larbalestier with the ‘hilarious, original, enchanting’ How to Ditch your Fairy—‘urban teenage humour at its best’.

Maryann Ballytyne from Black Dog Books says ‘We have the beginnings of a fantasy trilogy—“The Strangers of Paragor”. The first book is Arrival (March). The trilogy is written by an extremely talented young woman Charlotte McConaghy and is really pushing all the fantasy genre buttons.’

William Kostakis on SKY NEWS Book Report – LOATHING LOLA

Fifteen-year-old Courtney Marlow didn’t exactly think it through. She thought the offer to have her life broadcast on national television was the perfect solution to her family’s financial troubles. She was wrong. Mackenzie Dahl, the show’s producer, promised to show Australia a real teenager. Courtney was going to be a positive role model, someone on television without a boob job and an eating disorder. But as events in her life are deviously manipulated to create drama, Courtney begins to realise that ‘ordinary’ does not translate to ‘entertaining’. Everyone wants their 15 minutes of fame via a little bit of Courtney – especially her conniving friend Katie, and her stepmother, Lola. But Courtney is not the pliant teenager everyone seems to think she is…A funny, edgy, completely compelling novel.

Here’s a free extract from the book: