Exciting Publishing News!

Welcome! And thank you for indulging your curiosity and following my sneaky teasers all the way to my page, home of my writing.

2019 was a huge year of conquering writing goals. I had my first story printed in a publication, as a finalist in the Audrey Daybook short story competition. Audrey are running the competition again this year and I urge any emerging writers out there to give it a go. It’s lots of fun and free to enter! What’s not to love about that?

I also attended my first Romance Writers of Australia conference where I spent a blissful weekend talking to other authors and publishers and learning all about the writing and publishing industry. Out of that weekend, I got the skills and courage to begin the arduous process of submitting my first manuscript to publishers for their consideration.

Another huge (and surprising) achievement for my writing last year, was to be long listed for the 2019 Richell prize. This was such an honour, and a wonderful validation of the work I’ve put into my writing to date. The buzz from that recognition still tingles all these months later.


But now to 2020, and the big secret I’ve been holding onto and teasing you with over on social media. 2020 is the year my publication dreams come true! I have teamed up with three other incredibly talented Historical Fiction writers, Clare Griffin, Ava January and Nancy Cunningham. Together we are publishing an anthology of stories, set in the first half of the twentieth century, due for release Easter Weekend.

Our anthology, titled Easter Promises, has stories from 1912, 1916, 1925 and 1943. Four different women, four different stories of hope, humour, faith and, of course, love. I can’t wait to share more about it with you, so stay tuned for some more teasers as we release more details about it, and share the (exquisite!) cover with you.

How to Write a Female


A regular theme on Twitter this year (and possibly every year, I’ve only really been paying attention this year) is how poorly some male authors write women. I haven’t noticed it myself, except when the writing in general is poor, but I thought I’d write this post to help demystify the female thought process somewhat. This blog presupposes that you are familiar with the ‘girl with the nail in her head’ clip. If not you can watch it here.

What follows is a behind the scenes look at what is actually going on in the minds of the two characters in the skit.


Male: There’s a freaking nail in your head. Of course you feel pressure. Take it out. Are you an idiot?


Female: Thank you genius. I know there is a nail in my head, I am not an idiot (I can’t believe you even thought that, is that what you really think of me? I thought we had a better understanding and more mutual respect than that. Sometimes I feel like you don’t even know me at all). And I’m a girl, moron, I do look in the mirror occasionally. But why is the nail there? Is that all that’s causing the pressure, or was it put in to help alleviate the pain? How far in has it gone? Has it pierced my skull, or, dear Lord, my brain? I can’t just pull it out, what if it has hit an artery and that small piece of metal is all that’s stopping me from haemorrhaging?

I should get an MRI. Except I can’t. no metal in an MRI machine, which means I have to have a CT scan and I’ve heard those things give you like a ton of radiation, what if I get cancer, or can’t have children after going in one of those machines? Not that I’m ready for children, because I’m not, I mean I need to graduate and then work for a while and really establish myself, you have no idea how competitive my field is, I can’t be distracted by kids right now. But after a few years, for sure I want kids. Maybe a bunch, I don’t know. But I guess I can’t have kids if I die of a brain infection thanks to this stupid nail in my head, so I’ll just have to have the CT and hope for the best. Maybe if I do some yoga or something beforehand it’ll help.

I may even have to have surgery. And they’ll keep me awake while they’re messing around in my head and that is so freaking weird I can’t even begin to think about that right now. And when it’s out, what then? I’ll have a hole right in the middle of my forehead. I’ll have to have plastic surgery, and don’t think I don’t know where they’ll get the extra skin from, the place they always get it from. The butt. So I’ll be a butt head. Great. I don’t need you to tell me there is a nail in my head and that it needs to come out Captain Obvious, I need you to listen to me and understand how terrifying this is for me, and give me the support I need to get through this. I don’t need you to solve anything; unless you’re some kind of brain surgeon suddenly, you can’t. So stop stating the obvious and please just listen and help me through the emotional stress of this whole ordeal.



Male: Wait – you want kids?


2018 Dates for the book-lover’s diary.

Welcome to February! That bittersweet moment when work and school resume and life kicks off in earnest for another year.  I have always liked returning to the gentle rhythms of routine come February, a more predictable week means more a predictable word count. Also it’s nice to sleep again once the tennis is done (Go Fed!).

But – if you find it hard to get enthused about the prospect of returning to work and the end of summer (although I’m pretty sure all the writers out there are rubbing their hands in glee as Autumn approaches) then I have an antidote for you. If you have used up all your leave over the summer and now face eleven long months of nose-to-grindstone then I have the solution for you. Or, if you just love books, then this is the post for you. Read on, dear reader.

Here is a list of some of the brilliant books that are being released in the first quarter of this year. A couple are already out, and I can personally vouch for the lyrical beauty of The Sisters’ Song by Louise Allan since I am part way through it. (Actually I am sacrificing reading time to revive my blog right now. A moment’s appreciation for my resolution, please.)

The rest are books that I have been (im)patiently waiting for (Natasha Lester, A.L. Tait, Kirsty Manning, I’m looking at you) or that have caught my eye with their fabulous covers or intriguing blurbs.

There are also some books that don’t feature because I couldn’t find any concrete release details, but Wendy Orr, author of Nim’s Island and Dragonflysong has another Minoan tale coming later this year and I’m pretty sure Kate Morton must be publishing this year based on the amount of editing I’ve seen going on on her Instagram. That may just be wishful thinking.


sisters song

January  2018 : The Sisters’ Song by Louise Allan

Set in rural Tasmania from the 1920s to the 1990s, The Sisters’ Song traces the lives of two very different sisters. One for whom giving and loving are her most natural qualities and the other who cannot forgive and forget.

As children, Ida loves looking after her younger sister, Nora, but when their beloved father dies in 1926, everything changes. The two young girls move in with their grandmother who is particularly encouraging of Nora’s musical talent. Nora eventually follows her dream of a brilliant musical career, while Ida takes a job as a nanny and their lives become quite separate.

The two sisters are reunited when Nora’s life takes an unwelcome direction and she finds herself, embittered and resentful, isolated in the Tasmanian bush with a husband and children.

Ida longs passionately for a family and when she marries Len, a reliable and good man, she hopes to soon become a mother. Over time, it becomes clear that this is never likely to happen. In Ida’s eyes, it seems that Nora possesses everything in life that could possibly matter yet she values none of it.

Set in rural Tasmania over a span of seventy years, the strengths and flaws of motherhood are revealed through the mercurial relationship of these two very different sisters. The Sisters’ Song speaks of dreams, children and family, all entwined with a musical thread that binds them together.

the secret at oceans edge

January 30 2018: The Secret at Ocean’s Edge by Kali Napier

1932. Ernie and Lily Hass, and their daughter, Girlie, have lost almost everything in the Depression; all they have keeping their small family together are their secrets. Abandoning their failing wheat farm and small-town gossip, they make a new start on the west coast of Australia where they begin to build a summer guesthouse. But forming new alliances with the locals isn’t easy.

Into the Hasses’ new life wanders Lily’s shell-shocked brother, Tommy, after three harrowing years on the road following his incarceration. Tommy is seeking answers that will cut to the heart of who Ernie, Lily and Girlie really are.

Inspired by the author’s own family history, The Secrets at Ocean’s Edge is a haunting, memorable and moving tale of one family’s search for belonging. Kali Napier breathes a fever-pitch intensity into the story of these emotionally fragile characters as their secrets are revealed with tragic consequences. If you loved The Light Between Oceans and The Woolgrower’s Companion you will love this story.

this is a tale of secrets, and one of the great achievements of the novel is that the author knows how to keep a secret, how to betray a secret, how to pass on a secret and how – and when – to divulge a secret.

— Cass Moriarty, author of The Promise Seed and Parting Words

water under the bridge

February 2018: Water Under the Bridge by Lily Malone

Ella Davenport hasn’t been in a swimming pool since a bad decision ruined her chance of Olympic gold. So when Ella decides on a new career selling property, she chooses Chalk Hill. The country town is a long way from the water, with no pool in sight. Perfect!

Jake Honeychurch doesn’t want to sell his nanna’s house, but circumstances force his hand. Listing the property with the rookie real estate agent in town and asking a hefty price means it shouldn’t find a buyer. Perfect!

But determination and persistence are traits Jake admires, and Ella has them in spades. After all, no one ever made an Olympic team by being a quitter.

When news breaks of a proposed waterski park, a local developer starts sniffing around Honeychurch House. Ella’s first sale is so close she can taste it, until a sharp-eyed local recognises her. Between sale negotiations with Jake that keep getting sidetracked, and a swimming pool committee hellbent on making a splash, Ella has more to contend with than kisses and chlorine.

Can she throw off the failures of the past and take the chance of a new start? Or will her dreams of a new life be washed away?


March 27 2018: The Paris Seamstress by Natasha Lester

How much will a young Parisian seamstress sacrifice to make her mark in the male-dominated world of 1940s New York fashion? From the bestselling author of A KISS FROM MR FITZGERALD and HER MOTHER’S SECRET.

1940. Parisian seamstress Estella Bissette is forced to flee France as the Germans advance. She is bound for Manhattan with a few francs, one suitcase, her sewing machine and a dream: to have her own atelier.

2015. Australian curator Fabienne Bissette journeys to the annual Met Gala for an exhibition of her beloved grandmother’s work – one of the world’s leading designers of ready-to-wear clothing. But as Fabienne learns more about her grandmother’s past, she uncovers a story of tragedy, heartbreak and secrets – and the sacrifices made for love.

Crossing generations, society’s boundaries and international turmoil, THE PARIS SEAMSTRESS is the beguiling, transporting story of the special relationship between a grandmother and her granddaughter as they attempt to heal the heartache of the past.


Also March 27: The Ateban Cipher by A.L. Tait.

An orphan in exile. A band of rebel girls. And a prince whose throne has been stolen. Come on a journey full of danger, intrigue, adventure and incredible secrets.

‘The Ateban Cipher,’ Lucien continued, ‘is also known as the Book of Answers.’
‘Answers to what?’ Eddie asked.
Lucien sighed. ‘Everything.

In the second gripping Ateban Cipher novel, Gabe and his companions journey to a remote mountain citadel where they learn the secret of the mysterious, encrypted book that Gabe has been tasked with protecting. But their enemies are close behind them, and new dangers lie ahead.

As Eddie seeks to regain his crown, and Merry and Gwyn race to free their father, Gabe will discover the answer to his own great mystery – his true identity.

jade lily

April 24 2018: The Jade Lily by Kirsty Manning

‘…compelling, passionate and admirable.’
Australian Women’s Weekly

In 2016, fleeing London with a broken heart, Alexandra returns to Australia to be with her grandparents, Romy and Wilhelm, when her grandfather is dying. With only weeks left together, her grandparents begin to reveal the family mysteries they have kept secret for more than half a century.

In 1939, two young girls meet in Shanghai, the ‘Paris of the East’: beautiful local Li and Viennese refugee Romy form a fierce friendship. But the deepening shadows of World War Two fall over the women as Li and Romy slip between the city’s glamorous French Concession and the desperate Shanghai Ghetto. Eventually, they are forced separate ways as Romy doubts Li’s loyalties.

After Wilhelm dies, Alexandra flies to Shanghai, determined to trace her grandparents’ past. As she peels back the layers of their hidden lives, she begins to question everything she knows about her family – and herself.

A compelling and gorgeously told tale of female friendship, the price of love, and the power of hardship and courage to shape us all.

you wish

Also April: You Wish by Lia Weston

Sometimes imagination is not enough.

Thomas Lash grants secret wishes . . . on-screen, that is.White wedding gone horribly wrong and need to swap the groom?
Never went to university but must have a graduation photo?
Need to create a fake family for that job interview?

Problem solved with expert Photoshopping and Tom’s peculiar ability to know exactly what you desire. Tom never says no, even when giving grieving parents the chance to see what the lives of their lost children may have looked like.But where do you draw the line . . .
and what happens when the fantasy Tom sees on-screen
starts to bleed into his real life?

I hope you found something to keep you company and warm your cockles during the long working year ahead.  I have every intention of keeping this blog a little more active this year. And to that end I have already been given a helping hand (or pen) by my sister (also a writer – a secret one, so shhhh) who was horrified to find that this blog was not celebrating the 200th anniversary of the publication of Frankenstein. She has rectified that oversight by writing a guest post for me (actually she wrote two) about Mary Shelly, her scientist and his monster. The quality of my sister’s writing is much higher than that usually found on this blog, so be sure to look for that post next month. I got a lot of joy from reading it.
Until then, happy reading, happy writing, happy life.
Sarah x


Writing advice, research tips and how to fight creative self doubt: An interview with Kirsty Manning.

From medieval France to contemporary Tasmania, two remarkable women discover their strengths, passions and loves.

Travelling between lush gardens in France, windswept coastlines of Tasmania, to Tuscan hillsides and beyond, The Midsummer Garden lures the reader on an unforgettable culinary and botanical journey.

1487 Artemisia is young to be in charge of the kitchens at Chateau de Boschaud but, having been taught the herbalists’ lore, her knowledge of how food can delight the senses is unsurpassed. All of her concentration and flair is needed as she oversees the final preparations for the sumptuous wedding feast of Lord Boschaud and his bride while concealing her own secret dream. For after the celebrations are over, she dares to believe that her future lies outside the Chateau. But who will she trust?

2014 Pip Arnet is an expert in predicting threats to healthy ecosystems. Trouble is, she doesn’t seem to recognise these signs in her own life. What Pip holds dearest right now is her potential to make a real difference in the marine biology of her beloved Tasmanian coastline. She’d thought that her fiance Jack understood this, believed that he knew she couldn’t make any plans until her studies were complete. But lately, since she’s finally moved in with him, Jack appears to have forgotten everything they’d discussed.

When a gift of several dusty, beautiful old copper pots arrives in Pip’s kitchen, the two stories come together in a rich and sensuous celebration of family and love, passion and sacrifice.

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Kirsty Manning‘s debut novel, The Midsummer Garden is a masterpiece of historical and contemporary storytelling. From the wild Tasmanian coast line to the mellow midsummer garden of a French Chateau, the settings of this novel are drawn with a richness that entices the senses (and quite often the taste buds).

I devoured The Midsummer Garden, then stalked Kirsty’s  Instagram and emailed her with far too many excited questions which she very graciously answered.  I hope you enjoy reading her answers as much as I did!

When did the idea for The Midsummer Garden first occur to you?

I was on holidays in France and walked past an old chateau (Chateau de Brie http://www.chateaudebrie.fr/fr/) that really looked quite forgotten. It lay solid in a field, past the brambles and hedgerow. I went for a tour of the chateau and walked up some old, worn granite stairs and thought ‘who lived here?’ The stairs led to a tiny room at the top of a turret that looked over a walled garden. Quite suddenly, I had the idea for a cook and a herbalist, Artemisia, who was set to prepare a midsummer wedding in the garden, who hid a secret of her own …


herb bouquets

The setting and idea for the last scene for The Midsummer Garden came to me fully formed. I just had to work out what happened for the rest of the book. That’s when I settled upon two timeframes. So I could compare and contrast a medieval women contained within garden walls, against a contemporary woman and the metaphorical walls that constrained her.


I see from your Instagram account and your blog that you did a lot of travel for the research of this book, what was your research travel highlight?

The first book I didn’t travel specifically for. It came from a series of travel experiences I’d had over the years. For instance, we regularly go to Tasmania and spend time along that coastline foraging for clams and pippies, hiking and fishing. My husband did do vintage outside Lucca, Tuscany,  at Tenuta di Valgiano (http://www.valgiano.it/en/diary/) and we holidayed around Chalus.

tuscan pot

The ideas from my second and third books have also stemmed from holidays. Sometimes it takes an idea a while to brew, other times it just hits you on the spot. I can imagine someone who lived there, or an incident.  But then I travel back to the area to research and speak to people about specific incidents and special sites.


You also mention in your acknowledgements all the professionals that you were in contact with to keep the facts of the story right. How did you go about finding and contacting all these specialists (asking for a friend…)?

I really started to google the topics I was writing about, looking at interviews, research papers and noting who the subjects and authors were. I then tracked them down and emailed them explaining what I was trying to write about, and asking if they would be willing to answer some quite specific questions via phone or email.

What was the biggest learning curve you had writing The Midsummer Garden?

That it isn’t about the inspiration, it is all about the work. I had no idea how much focus it took to get to the end of a draft. And then to go back and rewrite all over again!

What was the biggest surprise about writing The Midsummer Garden? What is your favourite thing about being a writer?

It’s a bit like having a baby. Nothing prepares you for how absorbing the work can be. It’s a particular kind of magic to spend a day daydreaming and trying to work out how to get that dream down onto the page in the best way possible. Now I am a writer, I can’t imagine doing anything else …

And your least favourite?

Since starting to write in earnest, nothing prepared me for the deep wells of self-doubt that I’d stumble across in any given week.

No-one can do the writing for you, so you really have to push aside the nerves and what-if’s and just focus on the writing and rewriting (and there will be plenty of re-writing!). When all else fails, break it down to a single scene. Or even a piece of dialogue. Polish that tiny piece until you feel ready to pop back out and look at the bigger picture.


I’m like that in my garden too. It’s 2 hectares and some days it feels like way too much. My garden will never be finished or look like the perfect vision I have in my head. But I’ve earmarked just one area to be planted out this winter. So I’ll do that this season and come spring it will be a little piece of magic that blooms along with all the other areas I’ve already planted.

I really enjoyed the food creations in your story; food is something I find very tricky to write. Was it difficult to come up with so many diverse and fabulous dishes?

I had a lot of fun with the food. I’m that person who tries pretty much anything on the menu when I travel. I’m always looking for interesting local dishes. I had a ball researching the medieval dishes and attempting to cook things like the green herbal sauce to go over meat at a family barbecue (my children not so much …) We are a family who loves to grow food, eat food and cook food, so it is really just a part of our lives. Like gardening.


I don’t want my books to be just about the gardens or the food, but for me they are a way into the narrative to talk about the culture. It’s my way of giving meaning to a place …  my way of bringing that place alive for the reader.

How do you manage to juggle your family, your work, your incredible garden and your writing?

My work gets rather intense. My kids are tweens and teens and so they have a rather hectic extra-curricular life. I write a lot beside swimming pools and in basketball stadiums and even in the car sometimes. I try to contain my work to school hours, but that last draft, and during the editorial phase I tend to get lost in my story. It’s anything goes and all semblance of a structured life goes out the window.

My husband is a great help ferrying kids to sport and taking them on outings so the house is quiet. My kids are good cooks so that sometimes buys me an hour as they will often cook dinner. My family just seem to rally and get on with life around me until I pop up from my writing and daydreaming and join in. I’m not sure I have the perfect balance, but writing is a life of extremes and they get that. I tell myself that I’m teaching my kids how to work hard to achieve their goals.

steps and flowers

When I’m not writing, we have all the time in the world for hiking, sport, dinners and curling up with books together.

As for the garden, it’s actually pretty low maintenance. The kids help with the raking and some of the maintenance stuff, but I’ve had to relax and realise that I only have so many hours in the day. I have a lull between projects, so I plan to do some translating, pruning and raking to put my garden to bed for winter …

I see from your Instagram account that you are working on the next book, are we allowed to know a little about what’s coming next?

Hmmm, I’m keeping it a little close to my chest at the moment as I just finished and sent it to my publisher. It’s a far bigger, more powerful, story and I’ve undertaken an overseas research trip plus lots of reading and interviews from people who lived through this event to make my book hit just the right note.

It is another family mystery, set in two different eras (the first of which is just before WW2). There’s some new locations, plus lots of food, gardens and travel on the path to self-discovery.

The food in The Midsummer Garden made me feel equal parts hungry and impatient to expand my cooking repertoire. Can we be expecting any Midsummer Garden inspired cooking courses any time soon?

No, no cooking courses! But you are all welcome to come to our wine bar, Bellota (http://bellota.com.au/), in South Melbourne and enjoy the food and wine. We have a new chef, Nicky Riemer, and she is superb! I have set a cheeky scene in my next book in cool suburban wine bar …

And finally, what are your top three tips for writers?  
  1. Finish the damn book! ‘Can’t edit nothing’ has become my mantra. You don’t know if it is a book, or what the problems are until you’ve really wrestled with it to the end. You also don’t know how to solve the problems until you see how you do it.
  2. Get yourself some good readers and mentors. Be tough, don’t ask  Jan down the street who always says nice things. You need people who will be straight with you. (But it is crucial to be gracious with that feedback. Don’t throw a tantrum and behave like a toddler. You asked for the feedback, remember!)
  3. Do your research. It will give you something to cling to when there’s nothing else!


To find out more about Kirsty, her writing and her fabulous garden, check out her website. If you would like to get lost in the adventures of Pip and Artemisia, you can buy The Midsummer Garden here or head over to my FaceBook page and enter the giveaway to win a signed copy.


Celebrating 200 years of Jane Austen: An interview with Susannah Fullerton

‘There certainly are not so many men of large fortune in the world as there are pretty women to deserve them’

Mansfield Park

If you’ve spent more than five minutes on this blog you’ll know that I love Jane Austen. Her novels are like old friends, we know each other, and yet they are constantly surprising me. The subtlety of her wit, so gentle and yet so sharp is, as a reader delightful, and as a fellow writer, quite depressing, frankly.

Pride and Prejudice has always been my favourite, the comedy, the romance and, as I get older, the social commentary,  make this a story that never bores or disappoints.  And the characters! I have met them all in my own life, as one of five siblings I’m convinced I’ve lived with most of them. We all have a Mr Collins in our life, a Charlotte Lucas and a Mrs Bennet.

‘There are few people whom I really love, and still fewer of whom I think well.’

Pride and Prejudice

I have always loved the elegance of Elizabeth Bennet’s manners. Even though her family quite often drive her mad and her neighbours make her laugh, her criticism of the other characters in the book is never displayed by bad manners or rash words. Her patience in refusing Mr Collins and foiling Lady Catherine is praiseworthy, and I remember, even as a young reader, being impressed by her forbearance when speaking about her parents. She can love her mother, even without thinking well of her, and her sense of filial duty, as well as her sister Jane’s, is something that has always made an impression on me.

‘I cannot make speeches, Emma…If I loved you less, I might be able to talk about it more. But you know what I am. You hear nothing but truth from me. I have blamed you, and lectured you, and you have borne it as no other woman in England would have borne it’


July 18 marks the bicentenary of Jane Austen’s death. Two years (and two children) ago I went to listen to Susannah Fullerton speak in the Blue Mountains. Susannah is a literary lecturer, author, and President of the Jane Austen Society of Australia.  Her wealth of knowledge about all things Jane and the regency period is incredible and it is an absolute joy to hear her speak. Susannah is speaking at many events over the month of July as part of the bicentenary celebrations. If you have the chance to go and hear her speak, make sure you take it!

Jane Austen is to replace Charles Darwin on the £10 note 200 years after her death.


I emailed Susannah recently and asked her some questions about Jane Austen, Australian literary history, and research. I hope you enjoy reading her responses as much as I did.

To begin with, an easy question, although perhaps not an easy answer; who is your favourite Jane Austen character?

My favourite Jane Austen character is Emma Woodhouse. She has faults and virtues and is so wonderfully human. I have learned so much from Emma, I admire and love her, and feel, just like Mr Knightley, that she is “faultless in spite of all her faults”.

What do you think is Jane Austen’s most important legacy?

Jane Austen hugely developed the progress of the novel. She was the first writer in English to use the technique of free indirect discourse, something soon taken for granted in fiction, and she made other writers realise that the domestic scene could be a good subject for fiction. She also set a standard for the novel which, in my view, no other author has ever matched. She balanced humour and seriousness, gave us characters to love or to hate, and she made every single sentence work – Jane Austen never wasted a word!

What has been the most astonishing fact you have come across in your research? 

When I wrote my book ‘Jane Austen and Crime’ I came across many things that astonished me about crime in the Georgian era, and the ways Jane Austen used crimes in her writing. It is amazing to note that some of her characters commit hanging offences in the novels and juvenilia. I began that book as the subject for a short talk, but found so many crimes in her fiction and such interesting ways of using them, that the talk turned into a book that took me 7 years to write. I felt very proud that I was showing modern readers things Jane Austen’s contemporaries would all have taken for granted when they read her novels. 
 in vain notebook

In your book Brief Encounters: Literary Travellers in Australia 1836-1936 you delve into the visits of a diverse array of writers to Australia. Who do you think is Australia’s biggest literary legend? 

I had a wonderful time following 11 different authors in their travels around Australia – Darwin, Trollope, Conrad, Kipling, RL Stevenson, Twain, London, Conan Doyle, DH Lawrence, Agatha Christie and HG Wells – and writing ‘Brief Encounters’. It was fascinating to view this country through their eyes and to see how the visits they made here influenced their future writings. When it comes to Australia’s own literary legends, I guess it has to be Patrick White who is the only Australian Nobel Prize winner, but I am not a Patrick White fan, nor do I know many people who really love his novels and return to them again and again. I think ‘Seven Little Australians’ is a wonderful Aussie classic.

And finally, for all of us writing historical fiction, what are your top three research tips? 

I adore historical fiction, but lack of research can so easily cause some awful blunder which immediately collapses any conviction on the part of the reader. I think the most important advice is READ, READ, READ – books about the era, other novels set in that era, biographies of people who lived then. And a good dictionary is an essential tool, so you can make sure that words you use are not anachronistic. 


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Who is your favourite Austen Character?

Thank you Susannah, I tried out one of my many dictionaries on anachronistic, and I’m pleased to report that it is up to the job. Readers, tell me, who is your favourite Jane Austen character? What is your favourite quote? Do you agonise over the language in your historical writing?  What is the most interesting thing you have read in the name of research?

And just like that, my blog and I are back from maternity leave. It’s nice to be back. Next month I have another interview, this time with Kirsty Manning, author of The Midsummer Garden. Until then, make sure you keep in touch and come say hi to me over on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. Stay warm everyone, I’ll see you all in a month.


Image credits for header illustration AG Doyle.

How Motherhood has Allowed me to Write

Having Children has allowed me the time to write.

Not the physical time — I honestly don’t know what I did with all those hours in the days before kids — but the mental time. I’m very lucky in that I haven’t had to go back to full time work since having children, the few hours a week I work are stimulating rather than draining, and that means when I’m spending an hour and a half walking 500m down the road, or endless hours at the park, or doing the dishes, or playing Lego, or cooking, my mind is fresh and sharp and eagerly plotting its way through the next hurdle of my story.


And being short on time means I don’t waste a free second. If the children are happily distracted, or even asleep, I sit down and I write. Even when I’m exhausted and feel like my three-year-old could come up with better material, I write, because I don’t know how long it will be until the next opportunity comes along. And this has been a valuable lesson in what I am capable of, even from the depths of exhaustion. If I write, something eventually will come out of it.

The children are all at an age where they constantly crave my attention.

I keep reminding myself to embrace this period of unconditional love and desire for my approval. I know it’s not going to last. This isn’t always easy, and I’m often not as gracious about it as I would like to be. When my 3-year-old asks me if I need a lie down, I know I have not been winning at the so-called peaceful communication, but I have learnt that if I can give them my attention in full, at regular intervals, I can ask more of them down the track.


For instance, we are a household of book lovers. Occasionally there are rare, glimmering moments of domestic bliss when all of us are bunkered down in the loungeroom with a book — even the 17mo who likes to identify as many dogs as she can in any given book. The girls emulate the thousands of times they have heard us read to them to facilitate their own reading experiences, usually with quite hilarious digressions. These moments last twenty minutes at the outer limit, but during these times I feel so much love for my family, so much gratitude for my blessings, and not a little smug at my household management abilities. Inevitably these moments will end abruptly and catastrophically in a potty-training incident or something broken, or someone in tears, or all of the above, usually before I’ve even properly enjoyed my smugness.

Motherhood is an incredible blessing.

Having this time at home, watching my children grow, getting to be with them every moment of the day is a blessing not everyone has, and I am daily grateful for it. Even when I’m an emotional wreck, even when it’s hard, even when all I want is for everyone to shut up for five minutes. I know how blessed I am to be given this chance.

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Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

 Also, I am grateful for the pause in my professional working life that has allowed me to give myself permission to follow my creative desire. And I am especially grateful to my husband for all his love and support. He doesn’t necessary understand the havoc my imaginary world can wreck on my day, but he understands that it is important to me, and has been an unfailing support, and a quiet encourager through the slow journey to creative ownership, even if he often falls asleep when I’m nutting through a plot problem with him at 11:30pm (at least I know the story won’t be spoiled for him when the book comes out).

Above all, the biggest thing that my children have taught me is that I really want to do this. It’s hard. Keeping little people alive day in day out is hard enough, trying to carve time out of that to write a novel is, emotional. But I love it and want it too much to quit, so I will make it work — hopefully without turning completely nuts and damaging my children beyond repair in the process.

 Last week we welcomed the newest member of our family into the world. Our first little boy, bringing our clan to a total of 3. Needless to say, he is an adorable little bundle, all snuggles and beautiful new-born smells and cute little pops and squeaks.

Which brings me to a massive thank you I must give.

This blog post is brought to you courtesy of my fabulous mother, who has given up weeks of her time to come and cook, clean, wash, mediate, grandmother and basically take charge while I take time out to get to know our little man and create. She is incredibly untiring and it is so wonderful to have this time with her all to myself (and my children) and I am so grateful for her support. Thanks Mum. You are the absolute best.

The all-important question of balance.

I mentioned back in January that I would pass on any tips I had for achieving an elegant breast-feeding-1582923_1280motherhood/creativity balance. I would have to say the biggest lesson I have learnt (and I learnt this the hard way with little cherub number two) is that you have to let go of expectations. If I try to plan my day around a certain word count or to do list, I will inevitably end up stressed off my nut, cranky, exhausted and all without having achieved my target. It’s like the kids can sense when you have an ulterior motive and do their darnedest to interrupt your plans. If I resign myself instead to taking all the stolen moments I can and doing my best with those, my mind (and my heart) are free to devote my attention to the kids with more joy. This is the way that works for me. I tried the other way and it was messy, emotional and detrimental to the entire family.


 This way, I can still work towards a goal, but in a more relaxed fashion (and it is surprising how much you achieve with those stolen moments), and, more importantly, I am not missing those precious moments of the childhoods that are all too fleeting.

Where I’m at.

I’ve spent the time granted to me by Mum’s visit beginning the first round of re-writes for my manuscript, I’m excited by the direction the story has taken, and enjoying the improvements! I’ve also been doing some research for my upcoming blog posts. Next week marks 100 years since the beginning of the Russian revolution, and I had planned to write a historical post on Russia, but it evolved into a European history post, with a twist of political musing, something a little different from me. To make sure you don’t miss it, or any of my posts, be sure to subscribe to my blog using the box at the bottom of the page. If you’d like to get in touch between posts, or take a peek into the world of my writing, reading and mothering, then you can find me most days on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. Happy autumn everyone (every writer’s favourite month), I’ll see you next week!





The Research Question: Will I Ever Get it Right?

We have a book in our children’s collection called Mouseton Abbey, and it drives me insane.

It’s a sweet book, the pictures are all made up of knitted mice dressed in cute outfits having adventures against the backdrop of their illustrated abbey. There are ‘upstairs’ and ‘downstairs’ mice, and the whole thing is an entertaining parody of Downton Abbey.

My problem with the book isn’t the writing, or the pictures, or the story. It’s a tiny detail, so small to be of almost no significance, but it is wrong and it bugs me like you wouldn’t believe.

The Housekeeper’s name is Miss Swiss.

Housekeepers are never Miss. Nor, for that matter, are cooks. They are always Mrs, regardless of whether or not there is a Mr Swiss on the scene.

Why? I don’t know. I could look into it, but frankly, I’m spending enough time on the internet at the moment researching the different suburbs, or quarters of Rome, mapping the Allied advance through Italy during the second world war, and trying to get a handle on how the black market operated in Rome in 1943-44.

Research for one’s writing is a funny thing.

There is so much I can tell you about occupied Rome. For instance, the occupation happened on the 10th of September two days after the Italian’s announced that they were switching sides of the war, and 45 days after the Italian’s deposed their long-standing dictator, Mussolini.

Food was scarce in Rome in the initial days after the occupation due to the looting that occurred while the city was in chaos. A ration system was in operation, but with the southern part of the country in the hands of the allies, certain products became near impossible to obtain. Salt and sulphur both came from Sicily, which was in the hands of the allies, and so matches with their sulphur tips became scarce, which was a problem because gas was only available for short periods three times a day, and so you needed three matches a day to light your stove to cook.

Reading the facts is one thing, trying to keep track of them an entirely different story!

There was no coffee, but people attempted substitutes, one of which was barley, roasted and ground (an apparently very unsuccessful imitation). No milk, half a pound of sugar per person per month, 150g of bread per day and no tea.

But even though I can tell you that the curfew was originally set from 9pm-5am, and that by January it had shifted to 5pm-6am (with shops and cinemas and cafes closing at 3pm), there is still so much left unknown, so much room for tiny, inconsequential Miss Swiss type errors.

This is the conundrum of the writer.

Will I ever get it right? Will I ever do enough research to make this story plausible? What if I’m found out? What if someone loves the story, the characters, the writing, but can’t forgive the fact that the wrong tree was flowering in chapter three?

And then there are the truly great works of fiction that inspire and cause despair all at once. I just finished reading the incredible Wild Island by Jennifer Livett. Historical fiction done to perfection, however I read in the afterword that she’d been working on that novel for forty years. And Hannah Kent, when she was researching Burial Rites travelled to Iceland and spent months translating documents from ancient Icelandic into English to use for her research. Is that what it takes to be truly great at this genre? Because I would rather not spend forty years per book, and I don’t speak ancient Icelandic (or for that matter Italian, which would be much more useful for my novel).

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At what point do you say enough is enough, and just write the thing?

My Strategy So Far:

I’ve collected diaries and memoirs, watched documentaries and movies, spent a heck of a time on the Australian War Memorial website, talked to them briefly on the phone, nagged my arts-student sister for pointers, and have been gathering about myself people who can read over my manuscript (when it’s fit for human consumption) to give me tips on different topics. I feel like slowly, slowly I’m creeping towards a credible story.

But still the fear is there that it will not be enough.

What is your pet peeve as a reader? And for the writers out there, how do you approach the research question? Advice, tips, and complaints welcome!

Next Week on the Blog

Actually, this month I’ll be taking a break from my weekly blog posts. A new little member of the family is due to arrive any day now, so my hormone-saturated brain and I will spare you our mumblings and I’ll spend February putting in some quality time with my little people. I’ll be back in March with an update on the family and my manuscript (currently halfway through first edit. Lot of slashing happening, a lot of re-writing on the cards). I’ll have three little darlings under three at that point, so if I have managed to come up with some winning methods of balancing the motherhood/writing lifestyle I’ll be sure to share. Or — and this is the more likely scenario — if I’m a raging, weeping, sleep-deprived, under-achieving mess, that could be quite fun to read about too.

Glamourous and serene motherhood goals for autumn.

To make sure you don’t miss this, or any of my posts, you can subscribe to the blog using the box at the bottom of the home page. If you’d like to get in touch between posts, or take a peek into the world of my writing, reading and mothering, then you can find me most days on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. Enjoy the last month of summer everyone, I’ll see you in autumn!

5 Surprising Facts from Australian History

I read the above quote as a fairly accurate description of our hurly-burly, courageous, messy, spectacular and sinister history. Below are five snippets of that history that I have come across in my reading that have both surprised and amused me.


Royal Assassination Attempt


While Queen Elizabeth II is the only reigning monarch to have visited Australia, there have been plenty of visits from members of the British royal household in the history of Australia. The first was made by Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh in 1867 and included an attempt on his life. Queen Victoria’s second son was picnicking on the beach at Clontarf (Sydney) when he was shot by Henry James O’Farrell, an impoverished Irishman suffering from mental illness.

Henry James O’Farrell. There were rumours of a Fenian conspiracy after the Irishman’s attempted assassination attempt.

The Duke was wounded but not fatally, and hospitalised for two weeks. Prince Alfred tried to have the life of Henry O’Farrell spared, but the latter was executed in April of 1868.


Franco-Prussian Media War


Vietnam has often been referred to as the TV war, but the Franco-Prussian War has been dubbed ‘the first media war’. This conflict erupted in Europe in 1870-71, the first major conflict to break on European soil since the end on the Napoleonic wars, and the first to take place after Europe and America were connected via the telegraph. For the first time, people in Britain and America could know the outcome of a battle on the same day it had been fought.

The Franco-Prussian war: the first media war.

The Australians had yet to be so closely connected to Europe as the Americans, and the quickest way to receive up-to-date information on the war was via the fastest mail boats from the US. This caused quite an air of anticipation as the people of the colonies awaited each fresh snippet of information.

‘The entire population was in upheaval until the whole town was in possession of the news. The War Intelligence was the subject of animated discussion in the business marts and under the veranda in the afternoon, and in the evening the clubs, cafes and bars resounded with varied comments on the credibility of the telegrams.’

Sensational Melbourne: Reading, Sensation Fiction and Lady Audley’s Secret in the Victorian Metropolis. Susan K Martin and Kylie Mirmohamadi


Russian War Ships in Adelaide


The ‘Russian threat’ was a very real concern in nineteenth century Australia. There was a feeling in the late 1870s that war was imminent between England and Russia, and the Australian Colonies were terrified of becoming a victim of this potential conflict, lying vulnerable, undefended and wealthy at the bottom of the globe. Therefore, when the residents of the seaside town of Glenelg in South Australia awoke to find a Russian fleet anchored on their doorstep in February of 1882, the initial reaction was one of panic.

Port Adelaide in 1888 from The Picturesque Atlas of Australia 1888

The Civic Authorities, however, were in a pickle. War between Britain and Russia had not been declared, so they had no choice but to invite the unwelcome visitors ashore, and throw a ball in their honour.

As the Russians sailed away a few weeks later (without having plundered Adelaide) it was decided that perhaps some defence measures ought to be put in place along the South Australian coast.


The Block


It seems incredible to any twenty-first century resident of Melbourne, but in the late nineteenth century, the Saturday AFL game took second place to another social institution. This was known as ‘the Block’.

‘Doing the Block’ was a social must for the upper classes of Colonial Melbourne, and took place on Thursday and Saturday afternoons between two and four o’clock.

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‘Doing the block’ c1905 from The Streets of Melbourne by Joe Murray and Peter McIntosh


The Block was essentially a promenade that was enjoyed along the North side of Collins street, between Elizabeth and Swanston streets, and one ‘did the Block’ in order to see and be seen (preferably arrayed in the latest fashions) and to meet friends and beaux (under the strict eye of a chaperone of course). The beaux even had a fashionable lamppost, on the corner of Swanston and Collins streets, that they gathered under as they appraised the fair parade that passed by.

Japanese Invasion Currency


In the museum of the small Northern Victorian town of Benalla, I came across a Japanese Australian one shilling note. This money formed part of what was known as the ‘Japanese invasion currency’, currency issued by the Japanese Military Authority as a replacement for local currencies after conquest was achieved during the second world war. According to the Australian War Memorial website, the philosophy behind the currency was ‘to maintain stability within the occupied country and to abolish all traces of Western influence and establish Japan as the dominant economic influence’.

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Japanese Invasion Currency: Japenese-Australian one shilling note

I must admit, I was impressed by the confidence and organisation of the Japanese, even while being grateful that the currency, in Australia at least, never got the chance to be used.


This list could be a whole lot longer.

The history of Australia is nothing if not interesting. If you have any facts of your own that you’d like to add, post them in the comments below, or let me know on Facebook or Twitter.

Next week on the Blog

I’ll be sharing some more research with you-this time on the limitations and restrictions of life in Nazi occupied Rome. To make sure you don’t miss this, or any of my posts, be sure to subscribe to the blog using the box at the bottom of the home page. If you’d like to get in touch between posts, or take a peek into the world of my writing, reading and mothering, then you can find me most days on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. Happy Australia Day everyone, I’ll see you next week!



The Letter Allure

‘Sarah, my love for you is deathless… the memories of the blissful moments I have enjoyed with you come crowding over me, and I feel most deeply grateful to God and you that I have enjoyed them so long. And how hard is it for me to give them up; and burn to ashes the hopes of future years when God willing we might have still loved and loved together and see our boys grow up to honourable manhood around us.’

So goes one of my all-time favourite letters. I first heard it read aloud on the ABC radio as I was driving to work one morning. It was written by a man called Sullivan Ballou to his wife, Sarah, in July of 1861, as his company prepared for the first major battle of the American Civil War. Sullivan wrote this letter because he was ‘suspicious that Death is creeping behind me with his fatal dart’. As I listened to the presenter read the letter with all its haunting tenderness, I was desperate to hear that the story had a happy ending. Sullivan, however, was right in his premonition; he was killed two weeks later, his 24-year-old widow never re-married and I arrived at work a blubbering mess.

I have always loved letters. I love their ability to capture the essence of a writer unlike any other medium. There is something about having an expanse of paper laid out before you that invites a plumbing of your thoughts, bringing to light confidences you might not otherwise have thought to share. Often times, passion is more easily expressed via a letter, which is why letters are the favourite weapon of lovers and haters alike.

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Letters: the weapon of choice of lovers and haters alike.


The Age of Letters is Over

Even though I write and receive more letters than most (and yes, I hear you languishing epistolarians — the writing of the letters has been in sad proportion to the receiving of late, but I’m writing a novel for crying out loud. I’ll get on it, I promise) I see that the need for letters is shrinking with the advent of each new social media platform and the ever-increasing ease of information sharing. What do you talk about in letters that your correspondent hasn’t already seen on your Facebook page or on that of your mutual friends? You can’t actually share news via letter anymore, and because of that, that the letter loses something of its magic.

This fact was born home to me recently as I was — get this — writing a letter. I have a friend whose circumstances have recently changed dramatically. She has left her highly connected, social media saturated world and joined a convent. In another country. There is no social media allowed. No mobiles and only a few phone calls a week that naturally go to her family.

I have to be honest, at first I was (rather selfishly) depressed by the reduction in communication. Obviously this change was much harder for my friend than it was for me, but I still got a pang of sadness every time I had to skip over her name in my Snapchat kid-spam list, or refrain from sharing a post I knew she would like on Facebook, or sending her yet another Trump meme.

But then I got her first letter.

I was not prepared for the utter joy and anticipation receiving that missive brought me. Finally, I could hear her thoughts, find out what the convent was like, the other sisters, the food, the accommodation, the rules. How she was enjoying it, her studies — what were they like? And I could share again, pour onto paper all the things I’d been holding back for her because I could no longer send aimless thoughts her way with a half-conscious click of a button.

I was so excited to ‘talk’ to her again that (please glance aside neglected correspondents) I immediately pulled out my writing set and spent the next week replying to her, filling her in on all the little dramas that had unfolded during my domestic week, savouring particularly entertaining news items, and anything about our common friends that I did not think she would have heard through her family. It was such a joy to be able to disseminate information that one knew would be novel to the reader, rather than just stating yet another opinion on a topic already well canvassed online. A nice, comfortable, newsy (read gossipy) letter.

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A whole pile of gossip.


Two of my sisters, my mother, my grandmother and an aunt of mine all keep up a semi-regular correspondence.

I am sadly in debt, having received mail from all of them which has gone unanswered since as far back as September, but we’ve texted, talked, and caught up in the mean-time, so it is easy to forget the urgency. The letter from my friend in the convent has made me realise what a pale excuse of a letter they have all been receiving from me to date. I have spent some time thinking over this during the preparation for this blog post and I see now that I need to formulate a better plan for our correspondence, that my letters to them need to include unique pieces of information and request the same in return.

I need to raise the stakes.

Think of Pride and Prejudice’s Lizzy Bennet’s impatience in waiting for her Aunt Gardener’s response to her request for information regarding Mr Darcy’s presence at Lydia’s wedding. That’s the sort of anticipation I want for my future letter-writing efforts.

How to achieve this? What should I put in my letters to increase the drama and expectation? Do you have any suggestions? What news would you like to receive in your letterbox?

Next week, to celebrate Australia Day, I’ll be sharing a list of my top five most surprising discoveries about colonial Australia. To make sure you don’t miss it, or any of my posts, be sure to subscribe to my blog using the box at the bottom of the home page. If you’d like to get in touch between posts, or take a peek into the world of my writing, reading and mothering, then you can find me most days on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. Have a great weekend everyone, I’ll see you next week!

Author Interview: Carolyn Denham on her debut novel Songlines

I recently finished reading Songlines, the first Young Adult book I’ve read in a long time. It’s a genre that I’ve always loved, and conveniently I have younger siblings who quit that age group much more recently than I did to keep me abreast of what’s good in the YA field. Like everything though, I phase in and out of it. I’ve been focussing on reading a lot more in my own genre this year (Historical Fiction/Women’s fiction) and it was nice to pick up a book to read for reading’s sake alone again.

Songlines is the story of Lainie, a country girl who is just trying to finish year twelve. But there’s a problem. When a big mining company starts exploring on Lainie’s sheep farm, strange things start happening, to Lainie and to the people around her. Suddenly year twelve is the least of her problems as she has to come to grips with a family secret that is about to change the whole course of her life.

I could not put this book down (not strictly true, I did put it down to feed the children and sleep occasionally, but I wasn’t happy about it) and once I was finished I immediately stalked Carolyn to find out when the next one would be out — which happily, is soon-ish. April 2017! The main character Lainie is such fun company and her growing tribe of fellow victims of the mining interruption are an endearing bunch to spend your days with. Carolyn has taken a fantasy theme and layered it in casual rural Australiana to produce a story that is a compelling mix of intensity and laid-back humour.

The more time I spend in the Australian bush, the more I realise that this is a country made for fantasy stories of raw power and brutal passions, and Carolyn has captured that perfectly in her debut novel Songlines.

If you would like a taste of Lainie’s world, there is a free prequel Barramundi Triangle Available to read. There is also a book trailer for Songlines available to view via YouTube.


I had a chat with Carolyn after I’d finished Songlines, just to make sure that she was working hard to get the next book out, and to find out some more about her and her writing. The details of that chat are below, but first, a little about Carolyn herself:

Carolyn lives on a small hobby farm on the outskirts of Melbourne. She has a science degree, far too many pets and a fear of the ocean that makes her Mauritian mother roll her eyes. Somehow between her mortgage-broking job, driving her kids crazy (mostly by asking their friends’ opinions about the Singularity) and feeding 63 baby axolotls, she has managed to write short stories for Aurealis and Andromeda Spaceways magazines. She is currently working to complete the fourth and final book in The Sentinels of Eden and after that she has promised that she will finally vacuum the bedrooms.


Carolyn, when did the idea for the Sentinels of Eden first occur to you? Did you think it would be just one book or were you always planning a series?

 It’s so hard to pinpoint an exact moment when random thought turns into an ‘idea’. I was having many discussions with my brother regarding Christian apologetics at the same time as I was trying to encourage my daughter to write a spec fiction story. Thinking through what a perfect God (whose nature is the very definition of Love) would have intended for the human race… who wouldn’t get caught up in the possibilities? And no, at the start I wasn’t even confident that my ramblings would turn into a whole story, let alone a series. I was just trying to get my girl started. Whoops.

What sort of research did you have to undertake to write this book?

Other than a crash course (by pulling other books off the shelf) in how to structure my writing, the research took me all sorts of places. Farm life – I live on a small acreage, so that part was easy and fun to explore (although my first editor did say it sounded like it was set on a hobby farm – I wonder why?) Aboriginal culture – I never set out to write about it, but I quickly realised it would be an unforgiveable tragedy to disregard. Certainly that research made me ask questions that every Australian should be asking. Get curious. Ask questions, share stories appropriately, keep those complex and beautiful cultures as relevant as possible.

How long did it take you to write your first book?

The first draft took me just a few weeks to finish. Then four years to get right!

What was your biggest learning curve?

Mastering all those apps, platforms and marketing tools. I think I created about 20 new accounts in the space of 2 months. All easy to learn, but there were just so many. 

What was the biggest surprise about writing?

How addictive it can be. And embarassing. Yeah, when someone asks how your day has been and you reply with: ‘Stressful! You wouldn’t believe what Noah did last night!’

What is your favourite thing about being a writer?

 Playing out conversations in your head between characters you’ve made up. If only I could control both sides of real life conversations the same way. Life would be much more interesting.

And your least favourite?  

Self-doubt. Happens to everyone. It will make me a better writer though, so it’s necessary. Just keep swimming.

I really enjoyed reading this story through Lainie’s perspective, she cracks me up. Is her character inspired by anyone?

 Not intentionally, but she does have a lot of similarities to my eldest daughter. Also to me, so I’ve been told. It worries me a little, because it’s important to write characters with their own ‘voice’, but what if Lainie has my voice and all future characters I write just end up sounding like me too? Good thing I’m so likeable…

How do you manage to juggle your family, your work, your farm and your writing?

 Badly! I can smell the scent of burning gnocchi as we speak… Or is that simply my secret way of encouraging the kids to start helping out with dinner more often? The truth is, you will always find time for the things you enjoy, and that’s exactly as it should be.

Have your kids read your book? What do they think of it?

 They hounded me for each new chapter of the first draft – four years ago, but apparently the novelty has since worn off. Possibly because this journey has turned them into talented editors. Oh… I’ve ruined reading for them forever! (Sob) So much for my original intention.

The note in the back of Songlines mentions that you are working on the final book of Eden, What’s next?

 That’s easy. I’m hanging out to sink my teeth into a fresh story. First draft of book 1 is done, but remember, it took me years to get Songlines right. Hopefully I’ve learnt enough that it will be a bit quicker now. I hope so, because this post-singularity-time-distortion-romance-adventure needs to be out in the world. Or at least out of my head.

And finally, when can we get our hands on book two?

Release is scheduled for April 2017. First I need my amazing beta-readers to tell me things like ‘wattle trees don’t flower at that time of year’ and ‘myna bird populations haven’t spread that far north yet, pick a different species’. Yeah, I am blessed with some very clever (and patient) helpers.


If you have any questions of your own for Carolyn, or if you would like to keep an eye on Carolyn’s progress you can find her at the following places:



Facebook: Carolyn J Denman

Twitter: @CDenmanAuthor

Email: carolyn@carolyndenman.com



Songlines is available in paperback or ebook form and can be purchased from Amazon.    

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