REVIEW: Naughty or Nice by Lauren K McKellar

 

Published: 12th October 2019

Publisher: Escape Publishing

Pages: 70

Format: Ebook (courtesy of the publisher and Netgalley)

RRP: $1.99

3/5 Stars

One promotion, two dedicated employees, one very inconvenient attraction…

Claire Roberts wants one thing this Christmas: to land the big promotion at work and finally shake free of the office gossip that haunts her. What she doesn’t need is more competition, especially from a man who is nothing but trouble.

Hamish Christianson’s Christmas wish is to get that same promotion so he can support those he loves. What he doesn’t need is for his ‘nice guy’ personality to get in the way, or even worse, to fall for his biggest rival.

With everything on the line, will Hamish and Claire discover what it truly means to win? Or will their naughty games ruin everything?

A delightful holiday novella from our favourite Australian storyteller Lauren K McKellar.

I’m a long time fan and reader of Lauren K. Mckellar’s work, so when I stumbled across this title accidentally on Netgalley, I thought Christmas had come early.

Naughty or Nice is a short and sweet Christmas novella that is the perfect quick read this busy holiday season. The narrative itself is a mix of feel-good-vibes and drama-angsty, making it a little bit fun, a little bit sexy, and a little bit too dramatic for the length. All in all, it’s a fun, and mostly light read that is sure to get you in the Christmas mood this festive season.

The main story revolves around two colleagues who have instant chemistry and feelings for the other, but due to personal reasons, are having trouble acting on them. When the pair are thrown into the chaos of office politics, Christmas work parties, Secret Santas and the intense pressure of vying for the same promotion, their worlds are irrevocably turned upside down.  Amid all the pressures of everyday life and work, can Hamish and Claire find their happy ever after? You’ll have to read the book to see 🙂

Continue reading

Let’s Talk Books With Tea Cooper, Author Of The Currency Lass

letstalkbooks

Today I’m super excited to be hosting a chat with a local Australian historical author, Tea Cooper. Tea is a relatively new-to-me-author, having only discovered here last year. Since then I’ve devoured all of her books and absolutely adore her effortless writing and vibrant characters.

Tea Cooper

 Tea Cooper is an established Australian author of contemporary and historical fiction. In a past life she was a teacher, a journalist and a farmer. These days she haunts museums and indulges her passion for storytelling. She is the bestselling author of The Horse Thief, published by Harlequin in 2015 and The Cedar Cutter published in 2016

 

Hey Tea, thanks for chatting with us today.

Hi Jess – thanks for the invitation to visit The Never Ending Bookshelf.

What are you currently reading?

I’m reading The Birdman’s Wife at the moment, by Melissa Ashley, which I have to admit is the very first book I have ever bought on cover alone! It’s proving to be a fascinating story.

What was the last book you bought?

The Arsenic Century by James C Wharton – yes, I’m researching my next story!

Do you prefer to read books in print or electronically?

A bit of both – I love old books but often they’re only available electronically. I bought the hard copy of The Birdman’s Wife because I adored the cover. I find research books easier to reference if they are electronic – it saves me a fortune in post-it notes!

What do your bookshelves look like? Do you have an organisation system (genre, colour, author…) or are you just happy to go with the flow?

My bookshelves are organised in my head and I defy anyone else to crack the system! I’ve converted the garage into a library, (my car is not happy) and have some serious books shelves in there but I also have an old ladder, crowded window sills, bedside tables – the house is full of books. Did I mention that I love books?

How often do you read?

Everyday, often, all the time! It actually depends where I am with my writing. Obviously I read a lot when I’m researching but I also like to read fiction that has nothing to do with the type of story I’m writing.

Describe what you would expect to find in your dream book?

I actually found a dream book while I was researching The Currency Lass. I had to rush out and buy it. It’s a coffee table book called Circus – The Australian Story by Mark St Leon. It’s not only a fascinating story but full of the most amazing photographs and drawings.

How do you choose what to read next?

Books tend to lead me to books although I’m not very good at series. Sometimes I’ll read two or three books by the same author other times I read on recommendation or because of a review – and sometimes it’s because of the cover!

So you’ve started a book and discover it’s not for you. Are you more likely to discard it or finish it?

I don’t finish a book I’m not enjoying.

If you could read any book again, for the first time, what book would you choose?

The Lord of the Rings – not a very original answer I’m afraid.

What is it about books that appeals to you so much? What is your favourite part about reading?

I love to lose myself in a book, to see the world through someone else’s eyes and I love to experience the past.

Can you tell us a bit about your writing style: are you a pantser or a plotter? Do you prefer to write in 1st or 3rd person? Are you an early riser writer or a late night owl writer?

Yes, to all of the above!

Panster or plotter … something will take my interest (Circus – The Australian Story is a great example). I’ll wander around for a week or two thinking ‘what-ifs’ then I write a very brief Once upon a time story…just a few paragraphs, telling all the way. After that I usually write myself into the characters, maybe five or ten thousand words until I realise I have two characters, massive holes and no plot at all – so the plotting begins and everything changes constantly. If that sounds complicated, you’re right, it is! I have no idea how I end up with a finished manuscript!!

My stories are usually written in the third person but if I’m writing an emotional part of the story or something close to my heart I’ll write it in the first person and then ‘translate’ it.

I’m more productive in the mornings but I tend to write when the words start dancing regardless of the time of day, or night.

Was there any particular book that inspired you to start writing?

Writing came first! I’ve always written, apparently before I could read … I can still remember the belting I got for ‘writing’ all over my bedroom walls.

Do you have any advice to other writers out there?

Cultivate patience, (I’m still working on it) and I can’t improve on Shakespeare: To thine own self be true. There is no magic formula.

And lastly, what are you currently working on?

I’ve just started a new story called The Curio Shop of Wonders. I’m at the I-have- two-characters-massive-holes-and-no-plot stage!! I can tell you it involves arsenic and a Baron but the rest is in the lap of the gods!

My latest book The Currency Lass releases on February 20th 2017 and I have submitted my next book The Great Platypus Hoax to my publisher. More of that another day, I hope!

I love those titles and look forward to seeing them on the shelves in the future. Thanks for stopping by Tea Cooper.

 

To learn more about the fabulous Tea Cooper, visit the following social media pages:

Tea Cooper’s Website | Facebook | Goodreads | Twitter | Pinterest

To purchase a copy of The Currency Lass, visit the following online retailers:

Harlequin Australia | Angus & Robertson’s BookworldBooktopia | ibooks AUS | Amazon AUS | Amazon US | Kobo | Dymocks | Google Play |

Australian Authors – Romance

The genre of romance is SO BIG that I had trouble with this list. If an author writers more than what I’d classify as simple straight romance I’ve added their sub-genre in brackets (e.g. Rural Romance, Romantic Suspense, Historical Romance etc..)

A

ANDREWS, Amy (M&B, Sports, Contemporary)

ARCHER, Fiona

 

B

BAILEY, Rachel (Romance, Contemporary,New Adult)

BELLAMY, Susanne

BELLE, Kate (Romance, Erotica)

BOSTON, Claire

 

C

CAHILL, Rhian

CAMPBELL, Anna (Historical)

CHRISTINE, Lee (Romantic Suspense)

COOPER, Téa (Romance, Historical Fiction)

 

D

DOUGLAS, Michelle (Sweet Romance)

 

E

 

F

FITZGERALD, Emma (Contemporary Romance)

FOSTER, Zoe (Contemporary Fiction, Romance, Chic Lit)

 

G

GAYLE, Natalie (Paranormal elements)

GOLLAND, K.M (Erotica)

GRACIE, Ann (Historical)

 

H

HAMILTON, T.J (Erotica)

HEIN, Cathryn (Rural)

HILL, Keziah (Romance, Gay & Lesbian)

HILL, Loretta  (Rural)

 

 

I

IRWIN, Michelle (Fantasy, Romance, Contemporary Fiction, New Adult)

 

J

JANU, Penelope (Rom-Com)

JEWEL, Bella

JOHNS, Rachael (Rural, Contemporary, M&B)

JONES, Jennie (Rural, Contemporary)

 

K

K.E, Whitney (Rural)

KEITH, Megan (Erotica, Romance)

 

L

LANE, Karly (Rural)

LEVINE, Nine (MC)

LONDON, Stefanie (Contemporary)

LOW, JA (Rockstar)

 

M

MADDISON, Juliet (Romance, Rom-Com, Contemporary Fiction)

MAGRO, Mandy (Rural)

MALONE, Lily (Contemporary)

McCARTHY, Kate (Contemporary Romance)

McCONAGHY, Charlotte (Fantasy)

McKellar, Lauren (Young Adult/New Adult)

McLEAN, Jay (Romance, New Adult)

McCULLOUGH, Colleen (Historical Fiction, Romance, Crime)

MONTGOMERY,Alyssa J.

 

N

NASH, Charlotte (Rural, Science Fiction)

O

O’NEILL, Ellie

OSBORN, Margareta (Rural, Romance, Contemporary Fiction, Women’s Fiction)

P

PARRY, Bronwyn (Romantic Suspense, Rural, Crime)

PERRY, JL (Erotica)

 

Q

 

R

RYDER, Jennifer

 

S

SAVAGE, River

SCHWARTZ, Jennie (Contemporary, Romance)

SCOTT, Eva (Rural)

SEATON, Annie

SCOTT, Kylie  (Romance, Dystopian, Science-fiction/fantasy)

SHIRIVNGTON, Jessica (Young Adult, Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance)

SINCLAIR, Alli

ST. GERMAIN, Lili  (Romance, Contemporary Fiction)

STARK, Lola

STRINGER, Tricia (Rural)

STUART, Bronwyn (Historical Fiction, Romance)

SUMMERS, Eden (erotica)

 

T

TAYLOR, Virginia

TREASURE, Rachael (Rural Fiction, Contemporary Fiction, Romance, Inspirational Wisdom)

U

 

V

 

W

WEST, Annie (M&B_

 

X

Y

YOUNG, Helene (Romantic Suspense)

Z

 

REVIEW: Does My Head Look Big In This? by Randa Abdel-Fattah & Narrated by Rebecca McCauley

Published: 1st January 2005

Publisher: Bolinda Audio/Publishing

Format: Audio book – Hired from the Library

RRP: $29.95 ( for audio book on cd)/ $16.95 (Paperback)

4.5/5 Stars

The slide opened and I heard a gentle, kind voice: What is your confession, my child? I was stuffed. The Priest would declare me a heretic; my parents would call me a traitor …The Priest asked me again: What is your confession, my child? I’m Muslim. I whispered. Welcome to my world. I’m Amal Abdel-Hakim, a seventeen year-old Australian-Palestinian-Muslim still trying to come to grips with my various identity hyphens. It’s hard enough being cool as a teenager when being one issue behind the latest Cosmo is enough to disqualify you from the in-group. Try wearing a veil on your head and practising the bum’s up position at lunchtime and you know you’re in for a tough time at school. Luckily my friends support me, although they’ve got a few troubles of their own. Simone, blonde, gorgeous and overweight – she’s got serious image issues, and Leila’s really intelligent but her parents are more interested in her getting a marriage certificate than her high school certificate! And I thought I had problems.

I read this book earlier this year now (back in late April/Early May to be exact) and it tackles some major and rather topical issues that the world was facing then, and still is today, despite having been published in 2005.

Does My Head Look Big In This? Was Randa Abdel-Fattah’s début novel back published in 2005. More than ten years on this book is still not only astoundingly perfect, but it’s extremely relevant and topical and I honestly urge everyone to pick it up and read the book. We always talk about the books that changed your life, but I seriously believe this one not only holds the power to change your mind, but your heart, as it tackles the heavy topics of racism, culture, religion and teenage expectations and life in current society. It’s a book that made me understand a culture and religion that is so pushed down and harshly judged for the actions of a few radicals who are so far off book.

With Does My Head Look Big In This?, Randa Abdel-Fattah has crafted the most wonderful and moving story that will not only entertain you, but it will capture your heart and mind, allowing you to glimpse a very misunderstood culture and it’s people in the most relaxed way all within the safety of your lounge room.

Amal is just a typical Australian teenage who has a love/hate relationship with school, loves her best friends, loves fashion and shopping and has a crush on the guy in year 11. But she is also Muslim, and just as she prepares to start her third term of year 11 she makes the personal decision to wear the hijab ‘full-time. Feeling she is ready to take on this role and everything it represents Amal believes she is strong enough to endure everything society can and will throw her way; but her parents feel otherwise and warn her constantly how hard the transition and reality can be. Not one to be persuaded, strong headed Amal powers through misconceptions, mistreatment and plain religious and ethnic prejudices is the most remarkable and uplifting way. No, Does My Head Look Big In This? Is not a story for the faint of heart, or prejudice. But it is a story that is humbling, uplifting, and at times quite confronting. It’s a story that has the power to turn your world on its head and leaves you wanting to know more … to find a person in similar circumstance and hug them and tell them you are on their side.

What’s astounding about this book, is the way that Randa Abdel-Fattah has balanced the light heartedness of every day life with the serious and comical teenage years, as well as dealing with racial difference and prejudice. Does My Head Look Big In This? Could have so easily have been a frustrations rant or dressing down, but Randa Abdel-Fattah was able to take the story and make it so much more.

Simply put this book was inspiring. It opened my eyes to another culture in such a humours but down to earth way, all the while maintaining it’s beliefs, integrity and most importantly respect. I really enjoyed Amal’s insights and loved her gutsy and take no-prisoners approach to life. Amal is a character that demands your acknowledgement, if not your respect and I loved how true and hard she believed in everything. Her conviction and faith made me stop at times and contemplate my own beliefs and perceptions and whether I would be strong enough to endure what Amal does for her hard earned beliefs.

I highly recommend this book to everyone no matter their nationality, ethnicity or religious background. Regardless of whether you are 12, 42 or even 102, Does My Head Look Big In This? Is a universal book that everyone should and needs to read at least once within their lifetime.

 

To learn more about Randa Abdel-Fattah, visit the following social media sites:

 Author Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook |

To purchase a copy of Does My Head Look Big In This? visit the following online retailers:

Print –  Booktopia | Amazon US |

Ebook – Booktopia | Amazon US | Amazon UK |

Audio –  Booktopia | Amazon UK | Amazon US |

2016aww

Let’s Talk Books With Dianne Blacklock, Author Of The Secret Ingredient

Let's Talk Books

 

*Excuse me while I fan girl not so quietly in corner*

Today I’m chatting books with Australian author Dianne Blacklock. I’ve been a massive fan of Dianne for years; in fact I’m almost certain that when I transitioned from teen to adult books years ago, it was one of Dianne’s books that I first picked up. I’ve never looked back since. With that in mind, to be hosting this chat with Dianne Blacklock today on the blog is kind of a dream come true. Not to mention my mind has reverted to giggly school girl;  I’m that excited!

Dianne Blacklock is the author of Call Waiting, Wife for Hire, Almost Perfect, False Advertising, Crossing Paths, Three’s a Crowd, The Right Time, and in November 2011, The Secret Ingredient.

When she’s not writing she goes on rampages through the house, cleaning and emptying out cupboards and making everyone do extra chores. Needless to say, the family prefers it when she’s writing.

Before we jump right into the interview here, I highly recommend that sign (if you haven’t already) up for Book Chat. A newsletter Dianne Blacklock and her two writing pals, Ber Carroll and Liane Moriarty run. It’s brilliant and a fantastic way to keep up to date with three of Australia’s fantastic authors! Click here to be taken to the most recent newsletter.

What are you currently reading?

My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante, the first of the highly acclaimed ‘Neapolitan Novels’. I’ve had it for a while and have been trying to get into it, but to be honest, it hasn’t grabbed me yet. However, these books have so much buzz around them, I’m going to persevere for a little longer.

What’s the last book you bought?

A Spool of Blue Thread, by Anne Tyler. Loved it.

Do you prefer to read books in print or electronically?

I like both. I like how I can press a button on my ereader and have a book moments after I’ve read a review, or heard a mention, and had my interest piqued. But after I’ve read a few books in a row electronically, I crave a paper book. Not for the smell or the feel of it, or other nostalgic reasons, but because I like the architecture of a book – that you can make your way around it easily, know how far you’ve got to finish a chapter, or how long the next chapter is, to decide whether you’re going to stay up and keep reading! You get a better feel for where you are in the story.

What do your bookshelves look like? Do you have an organisation system (genre, colour, author…) or are you just happy to go with the flow?

Definitely go with the flow! I guess I do put books by the same author together, but that’s about as far as my organisation goes. I’m actually not keeping as many books as I used to, since I moved from my long-time family home that had abundant bookshelves, and downsized to an apartment. I had to cull a lot during the actual move, and I’ve realised lately that it’s time for another cull – the shelves are starting to overflow. I have to be honest and accept that no matter how much I enjoyed a book, if I’m not likely to read it again, there’s no need to keep it. As an author, I’d rather my books were out there in the world … even though I get no further remuneration if they’re shared or sold secondhand. But readers can’t always risk spending money on a book they don’t know if they’ll like, so I’m happy for them to come across them in other ways – as long as they buy a copy sometime in the future!

How often do you read?

I’m reading all the time, because I’m an editor as well as an author. So sometimes when I’ve been working intensively on a manuscript, right into the evening, I’m not as inclined to read in bed that night, which is my favourite time to read otherwise.

Describe what you would expect to find in your dream book?

Characters I instantly relate to, or am intrigued by, and want to spend time with. Some humour, lots of heart. I love when I read a book that says something about human nature, something that’s so right, so obvious, but you’ve never thought about it that way until that moment.

How do you choose what to read next?

I’m a bit of a mood reader, so as I said above, that’s why I like my ereader – I can strike while the iron’s hot and be reading a book right after I’ve heard about it, which may have been through word of mouth, or a review or article, mostly online.

So you’ve started a book and discover it’s not for you. Are you more likely to discard it or finish it?

I used to think I had to slog through a book no matter what, once I’d started. Now I know life is too short, and there are too many books to read! I’ll give it a fair chance (see Question 1!), but I certainly don’t feel I have to persevere with a book when I’m it’s not engaging me.

If you could read any book again, for the first time, which book would you choose?

The first book that popped into my head was Pride and Prejudice. After mulling it over, I still think it’s the one. When I’ve reread it over the years, I’m always struck by how fresh and relevant it still is. It may be about the vagaries of the marriage market in 18th century England, but it contains sharp, enduring insights about human nature. It’s also very very funny.

What is about books that appeals to you so much? What is your favourite part about reading?

Reading a book is a totally individual, unique experience. No one else will read a book the same way I do, or any other reader. You create the world of the novel in your own head – that’s why readers are often disappointed with screen adaptations of their favourite books, because it’s not how they pictured it. I love movies, but I love that books provide something no other medium can. I love that readers will pick up entirely different things in my books, and see things from their own perspective, so it’s like I’ve written a different book for every individual, because of what they bring to it. It’s a little bit magical.

Can you tell us a bit about your blog and how long have you been blogging for?

My blog is a disgrace! Seriously. I started in September 2011 – that’s 5 years ago! – but I’m afraid it’s too far down my list of priorities, behind writing books and editing. I have all these plans to start regularly blogging, but I never follow through for very long. A couple of years ago I decided to run a series of conversations with writers to guarantee interesting content for my followers, but that has since fallen by the wayside as well. It’s all about time, and I just don’t seem to have enough of it.

Do you have any advice to other bloggers out there?

I wouldn’t dare. Do any of them have advice for me?

And now on to your writing, can you tell us a bit about your writing style. Are you a pantser or a plotter?

A bit of both. I start off with a few characters and a premise, and go from there, by the seat of my pants. The writing actually gets the story going. The end comes reasonably soon after, of its own accord, I don’t work on that. It may change as the novel progresses, but at least I have an end point in mind. Then at a certain stage I realise I have to plan out the remainder of the novel – it may be a few chapters in, or it may be halfway through, but at some point, I have to plot out what still has to happen, how I’m going to get there, how I’m going to fit everything in.

Do you prefer to write in 1st or 3rd person?

I’ve never written a book in 1st person, so I guess that means I prefer 3rd person! I wouldn’t mind trying 1st person, but it would have to be a very compelling voice, and a story that suited being told in that limited perspective. I often like to include more than one perspective, so that’s why I use 3rd person – it’s much more flexible.

Are you an early riser writer or a late night owl writer?

Definitely not an early riser, it’s not my natural time of the day. My most productive working hours are probably from sometime in the afternoon until about 8 in the evening. If I’m on a roll I’ll work on, but I know myself that I lose coherence if I work too late.

Was there any particular author/book that inspired you to start writing?

I’ve always written, since I was a little girl, so I suppose all the books I read back then inspired me. However, in high school I remember being totally in awe of Charles Dickens – the richness of his characters in particular. I still have a picture perfect image of Miss Havisham in Great Expectations, my favourite of his.

Do you have any advice to other writers out there?

Read, read, and then read some more. If you want to be a practitioner in any area, you have to keep up on your reading to stay informed and relevant. I’d suggest that’s even more on point for a writer. That doesn’t mean that you only read in your genre, in fact, I’d recommend you read widely, well out of your comfort zone. Until you have absorbed in your bones what good storytelling is, you can’t be expected to reproduce it yourself.

And lastly, what are you currently working on?

Hm, can’t say a lot about it right now, but it’s set in and around the vineyards in the Hunter Valley, and involves three generations of women. Funnily enough I’m toying with a 1st person voice for one of the characters, but it’s early days yet, so we’ll see if it takes!

To learn more about Dianne Blacklock, visit the following social media sites:

Dianne Blacklock’s website | Facebook | TWITTER | Goodreads | PAN MACMILLIAN WEBSITE | BOOK CHAT WITH BER CARROLL, DIANNE BLACKLOCK AND LIANE MORIARTY

 

Let’s Talk Books With Kerrie Paterson, Author of Return To Jacaranda Avenue

Let's Talk Books

 

Today I’m super excited to introduce you all to a wonderful and bright new voice in contemporary rural fiction, Kerrie Paterson.  Some of you who have read the Bindarra Creek Series might recognise Kerrie’s name,  but Kerrie’s publishing journey started not all that long ago in early 2015 when she first published a collection of short stories titled Moonstone Cottage. Since then she has published a further four full length novels and has many more on the go. With the world as her oyster and a promising future ahead, I really can’t wait to see what Kerrie Paterson puts out next.

Kerrie Paterson writes contemporary women’s fiction and small town / rural romance – mainly stories about women in their 40s and above who have reached a crossroads in their life. She loves to write about women’s relationships with their friends and family, as well as their romances.

 

 

 

 

  

What are you currently reading?

I always have a couple of books on the go. Currently it’s Victoria Purman’s Hold On to Me and Jill Mansell’s You and Me, Always. I’m enjoying them both!

 

What was the last book you bought?

Natasha Lester’s A Kiss from Mr Fitzgerald. I haven’t read it yet, as much as I want to – I’m saving it up until I have a free day and can enjoy it in one sitting!

Do you prefer to read books in print or electronically?

In print. While I buy ebooks, it takes me forever to get around to reading them because I prefer a printed book. Ebooks are good for holidays though – they take up far less space in the suitcase!

What does your bookshelves look like? Do you have an organisation system (genre, colour, author…) or are you just happy to go with the flow?

Messy 🙂 I need several more shelves as they’re currently overflowing! I do have some vague order – mostly by genre and author, but I’m not pedantic about it.

How often do you read?

Every day. I usually try to take thirty or so minutes while I’m eating lunch to relax with a book, as well as a few chapters before bed to unwind. If I don’t read (or get interrupted while I’m reading), I get very grumpy!

Describe what you would expect to find in your dream book?

Great female friendships, a sexy beta hero and a strong, independent heroine. Characters that stay with me long after I close the book. I prefer a small town setting but I don’t care what country. Oh and it has to be a satisfying, happy ending

How do you choose what to read next?

I borrow from a couple of local libraries each week (it’s an addiction – I borrow even if I have far more than I can read!), so they usually get priority, followed by ones I’ve purchased. But from those it’s whatever I’m in the mood to read – hence why I usually have several books on the go at once.

So you’ve started a book and discover it’s not for you. Are you more likely to discard it or finish it?

Discard. I used to be the type who had to finish any book they started, but I decided some time ago that life is way too short to read a book you’re not enjoying!

If you could read any book again, for the first time, what book would you choose?

Oh this is a tough question! Maybe To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. I read it while I was in school and loved so much about it. I’ve read it again a couple of times as an adult and still love it. I can’t see myself ever reading Go Set a Watchman though because I don’t want to spoil Mockingbird.

 

What is about books that appeals to you so much?

What is your favourite part about reading? Losing myself in another world. Learning about different places, different people, different points of view.

 

Can you tell us a bit about your writing style. Are you a pantser or a plotter? Do you prefer to write in 1st or 3rd person? Are you an early riser writer or a late night owl writer?

I’m a rough plotter but I usually start out with the characters in mind before the plot. I generally plot out the turning points (very roughly) and then pants it from there. However I often have to write the first 25% or so of the book to get to know the characters before I can plot it out in too much detail.

I definitely prefer writing (and reading) in 3rd person. I occasionally write a background for my characters in 1st person, but I can’t see myself writing a whole book like that.

At the moment my writing has to fit in around my family and other responsibilities, like many authors, so I’m in a routine of writing most weekday mornings. Not too early though! I’m not an early bird, as much as I wish I could be!

Was there any particular book that inspired you to start writing?

Not that I can think of. From my early days of the Famous Five Enid Blyton books (and possibly even earlier!), I’ve always been a bookworm and happiest with my head stuck in a book. It was always a dream to write a book.

Do you have any advice to other writers out there?

Don’t stop! Each time you write you improve your skills. And find other people who understand the voices in your head – writing can be a lonely business, and having fellow writers to brainstorm, commiserate and celebrate with, makes all the difference!

And lastly, what are you currently working on?

I’m on the home stretch of the second book in the Jacaranda Avenue series. It follows on from Return to Jacaranda Avenue but can also be read as a stand-alone book. This one features pet shop owner Toria and sexy history teacher Cameron – and a stalker!

To learn more about Kerrie, visit the following social media sites:

Author Website | Facebook | Author Facebook | Twitter

 

To purchase one

 

REVIEW: Mad Men, Bad Girls And The Guerilla Knitters Institute by Maggie Groff & Read by Georgie Parker

Published: 3rd March 2012 (print)/6th August 2012 (audio)

Publisher: Pan Macmillian Australia (Print) /Bolinda Audio (audio)

Pages: 364 pages/7 dics

Format: Audio book hired from the library – Read by Georgie Parker

RRP: S19.99 (print)/$44.95 (audio)

4/5 Stars

When a secretive American cult moves to the Gold Coast, freelance journalist Scout Davis’s investigative antennae start quivering. She sets out to expose the cult’s lunatic beliefs and bizarre practices, but when she learns the identity of a recent recruit, her quest becomes personal. And dangerous.

But Scout has her secrets too. In the dead of night she sneaks out with an underground group of yarn bombers to decorate the locality with artworks. The next mission ticks all the right boxes – it’s risky, difficult and extremely silly. However, Scout has a sneaking suspicion that the local police sergeant, Rafe Kelly, is hot on her tail.

 

I have a confession to make. Mad Men, Bad Girls and the Guerilla Knitters Institute came highly recommended to me by a good friend and publishing guru back in 2012 when the book was first released. I remember distinctly smiling at her and nodding my head. Promising to read it soon, while secretly not at all interested in the book. So when I came across this as an audio book in the library I thought it was about time I gave it a go. Turns out I should have listened to my friend years ago.

Mad Men, Bad Girls and the Guerilla Knitters Institute is kind of a complex book to describe. So much so that I’m struggling to sum it up in a quick and concise matter. It’s set mostly in the exotic, and much sought after location of Byron Bay Australia and follows a freelance investigative journalist Scout Davis as she deals with work, her family and the eye of a local men that she shouldn’t have feelings for. It’s part crime novel, part contemporary, part epic saga for Scout Davis does not live a simple life. While Scout’s boyfriend is overseas covering a story in Afganistan, Scout chases down the local (and not so-local bad guys and GIRLS), dealing with everything from randy policemen, teenage bullies and religious cult movements that threaten the very nature of society. It’s an epic and somewhat fun journey that is sure to see you moaning out loud (at some of the characters actions, or hot cop RAFE, your choice) and screaming in frustration and agitation at others.

Like I mentioned above I didn’t expect to like this book. I’m not a knitter and know nothing about it and the title implied to be that knitting would play a bigger part in the book. I kind of wish it did to be honest, even despite my reservations, as I really loved hearing about the secret beautification projects the Guerilla Knitters Institute got up to!

While I really enjoyed getting to know most characters that feature in the book, I really loved Scout. She’s witty, she’s sarcastic and hellauva smart and independent woman. She’s conflicted at times, but head strong regardless and she has a heart of gold. I also liked the fact that Groff made the deliberate choice to give Scout diabetes and actively had that condition feature heavily throughout the book. it got plenty of air time with it’s complications and everyday hassles, but I never felt like Groff was cramming the issue down our throats.

My biggest issue with this book is the pacing towards the end. It seems like everything is coming hard and fast and all of Scout’s ‘cases’ are coming to a head that it’s kind of rushed and wrapped up almost too neatly with a pretty little bow. Well a slightly off-centred pretty little bow none-the-less. While I don’t believe the story was sacrificed too greatly for this, I just felt like a bit more time could of been spent with the free fall towards the end. That rush of adrenaline and race to read faster was great, but it was over almost as quick as it begun; quite a contrast to the books slow and lazy Byron Bay start.

Georgie Parker was a surprise choice for narrator for this book. Mainly because I didn’t know she’d done it I guess though. Given Parker’s acting background it makes logical sense for her to narrate and read the book and she does a mostly fantastic job. But even Parker couldn’t save the slow slog of the books opening and her voice grated on my nerves in sections. But that’s more personal taste then anything else.

As a whole Mad Men, Bad Girls and the Guerilla Knitters Institute was a complete surprise read for me. I had no idea what to expect going in, not that it mattered because I was right there with Scout on her journey for 3/4 of the book. In writing this review, I just discovered there is a sequel to it – Good News, Bad News – which I’m actively tracking down now. I want more Scout Davies and her crazy, but epic discoveries.

 

To purchase a copy of this book, visit the following online retailers:

print – Booktopia |PAN MACMILLIAN AUSTRALIA | ANGUS & ROBERTSON |

audio book – Booktopia | Book Depository |ANGUS & ROBERTSON BOOKWORLD |

2016aww