Tag Archives: #aussieauthor

Review: River of Salt by Dave Warner

River of Salt by Dave Warner

1961, Philadelphia. After having to give up his brother to save his own life, hitman Blake Saunders flees the Mob and seeks refuge on the other side of the world. Two years later he has been reborn in a tiny coastal Australian town. The ghosts of the past still haunt him but otherwise Coral Shoals is
paradise. Blake surfs, and plays guitar in his own bar, the Surf Shack. But then the body of a young woman is found at a local motel, and evidence links her the Surf Shack. When Blake’s friend is arrested, and the local sergeant doesn’t want to know, it becomes clear to Blake – who knows a thing or two about murder – that the only way to protect his paradise is to
find the killer.

Published 1 April 2019 |  Publisher: Fremantle Press |  RRP: AUD$29.99

My Blurb (3 / 5 stars)

So some GR friends were very excited about having access this as ‘Read Now’ on Netgalley and it was so contagious, I caught it. For some reason though, the words (in the description) ‘reborn’ and ‘ghosts’ made me expect something supernatural?! I don’t really know what my frame of mind was like at that time but my head was definitely not screwed on properly because there’s really nothing supernatural here…

Of course, incorrect expectations didn’t help because whatever I expected never happened and that can let to a disappointment. I’m afraid that even after I read other reviews, I still couldn’t get rid of my original thought. Unfortunately, I’m not a big fan of noir so River of Salt turned out to be just an okay read for me.

I enjoyed the first chapter a lot as it really gave form to the character of Blake Saunders. This is not a novel about the mafia though so he needed to be ‘reborn’ and what better place that some little coastal Aussie town. But even in an out-of-the-way sort of place, there is no avoiding bad things and as Blake tried to get it all sorted, things just kept escalating ’til he came across a ‘ghost’ from his past.

I love the setting (and said descriptions) and secondary characters (especially of the female variety). I’d love to live in a town like that – sounds divine – but I really would not like to live in the 60s as a woman. The mystery itself was astonishing, the climax heartpounding, and the ending, I think this could be a series 😉

Thanks to Fremantle Press via Netgalley for ecopy of book in exchange of honest review

About the author

Dave Warner is an author, musician and

screenwriter. He originally came to national
prominence with his gold album Mug’s Game, and
his band Dave Warner’s from the Suburbs. In 2017
he released his tenth album When. He has been
named a Western Australian State Living Treasure
and has been inducted into the WAMi Rock’n’Roll
of Renown.

Find Dave on:  goodreads  |  website  | twitter  |  facebook

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Review: Room for a Stranger by Melanie Cheng

Room for a Stranger by Melanie Cheng

By the winner of the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for Fiction, 2018.

Since her sister died, Meg has been on her own. She doesn’t mind, not really—not with Atticus, her African grey parrot, to keep her company—but after her house is broken into by a knife-wielding intruder, she decides it might be good to have some company after all.

Andy’s father has lost his job, and his parents’ savings are barely enough to cover his tuition. If he wants to graduate, he’ll have to give up his student flat and find a homeshare. Living with an elderly Australian woman is harder than he’d expected, though, and soon he’s struggling with more than his studies.

Published 7 May 2019 |  Publisher: Text Publishing |  RRP: AUD$29.99

My Blurb (4 / 5 stars)

I went to see the author’s panel at Sydney Writer’s Festival this year and Christos Tsiolkas, who was facilitating, praised this novel for its quiet splendour (I can’t quite remember the exact phrase he used but it’s something along that line) and I couldn’t agree more! This little unassuming novel was so relatable; it’s easy for me to relate to Andy as I was myself an overseas student but I also found myself to be able to relate to Meg, an older Australian lady.

In Room for a Stranger, we have two seemingly very different people come together and found, in the end, that they were troubled with what is essentially the same thing even if troubles came in different forms. It is very clear that the author knows her subjects well as she drew from her own personal experiences as an “overseas student” and a GP to many older patients.

While the book dealt with our protagonists going about their daily lives: Andy with his parental expectations of good results and Meg with her loneliness, it also did not shy from the hard reality of life: sickness, health, unhappy marriages, and racism (one particularly shocking scene where even I as a reader felt the shame of it and I’ve had my share of scenes…).

A wonderful novel about life – no matter who you are or where you are in life, it is always possible to connect with the stranger next to you.

Thanks to Text Publishing for copy of book in exchange of honest review

About the author

I am a writer, mum and general practitioner from Melbourne, Australia. I have been published in print and online. My writing has appeared in The Age, Meanjin, Overland, Griffith REVIEW, Sleepers Almanac, The Bridport Prize Anthology, Lascaux Review, Visible Ink, Peril, The Victorian Writer and Seizure. My short story collection, Australia Day, won the 2016 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for Unpublished Manuscript and went on to win the 2018 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for Fiction. My latest book is the novel, Room for a Stranger. If Saul Bellow is right and “a writer is a reader moved to emulation” then I am moved by authors like Richard Yates, Alice Munro, Haruki Murakami and Christos Tsiolkas.

Find Melanie on:  goodreads  |  website  | twitter

Serene Conneeley: Q&A

Thank you, Serene, for your time and for sharing a bit about yourself & your writing journey.

Quick Qs

Dark Chocolate or Milk Chocolate? Dark chocolate.

Coffee or Tea?Tea for sure. There’s nothing better than books and tea 🙂

Dog-ear or whatever else as bookmark?

Anything for a bookmark. No dog ears! I have heaps of lovely bookmarks, but I often end up using envelopes, scraps of paper, a shopping list or whatever’s at hand – I just found a book I’d been searching for, and it had one of those moisturiser samples from a magazine marking my place…

Plot or Character? They’re so intertwined, but if I had to choose I guess I’d say character.

HEA or unexpected twist? Unexpected twist…

Q: Could you please share with us a little bit about yourself and how you became a writer? Was there a particular book you loved as a child or how did your love of words translate to writing?

A: I’m shy, so writing has always been the way I communicate, and the way I make sense of the world. Mum still has a little story I made into a book when I was a kid, about saving the seals 🙂 I wanted to help people, so I was planning to be a social worker, but Dad convinced me I could help more people through words. And that’s what still motivates me to write – when I was a journalist I got letters from teenagers who told me my articles helped them deal with a traumatic event or decide not to commit suicide, and as an author I’ve had a lot of readers contact me to let me know how much one of my books has helped them heal too.

In high school I wrote for a national surfing magazine, at uni (I studied politics and journalism) I was the first student editor of their newspaper, and spent way more time writing articles than going to class, and after that I was a journalist for years – writing about everything from health and social issues to entertainment and spiritualty. A publisher I worked with when I was in magazines offered me a book contract when I left one of my jobs, and that’s how I became an author.

Some of my favourite childhood books were Mandy by Julie Edwards, about a girl in an orphanage who found a little cottage in the woods she escaped to, Searching For Shona by Margaret J Anderson, about two girls who switch places during the war, and one who refuses to give the identity back at the end, and A Time To Love, A Time to Mourn by Paige Dixon, about a teenager with a rare and fatal disease… Which I realise as I write that, all have a sense of tragedy, yet also hope, which is true of my books too. (Hence the unexpected twist not the HEA – I like a book that makes me cry, but also uplifts me…)

Q: Could you share a little of what this trilogy is about and what inspired you in in writing it? Was there a purpose or a target audience you are seeking to reach?

A: I’d written five non-fiction books before I decided to see if I could write a novel, and Into the Mists was woven out of the research I did for Seven Sacred Sites, Faery Magic and Witchy Magic. It’s about death and loss, but also about healing, the bonds of family, the power of friendship and the magic of the natural world, and how that can heal and inspire us. I thought it would just be one small novel, but it turned into a trilogy, and then people asked about some of the other characters, and that spawned another trilogy.

In the beginning the audience was people who loved my non-fiction, but now it’s everyone from young girls at Supanova to men and women of all ages from around the world. With all my books, I want to acknowledge that there is sadness in life, but also hope. It’s always important to me that strong friendships are portrayed, that forgiveness and redemption is possible, and that love can heal. It was also interesting timing that the second trilogy, Into the Storm, launched in the time of #metoo and #timesup, as there is a strong thread of that through these books, and the feedback on that in terms of helping people who have experienced assault and harassment has been really touching.

Q: As I have mentioned to you previously, I found it truly difficult in the first half of the book due to all the grief and anger Carlie was going through. Have you experience such grief yourself and/or how did you research into this?

A: I’m so sorry you found it hard! Fortunately I haven’t lost anyone like Carlie has, but I have been overwhelmed by the response of readers to it. Several people have come up to me at events to hug me, and thank me, and burst into tears as they tell me how much it helped them deal with their own grief, which I wasn’t expecting at all. A husband told me how grateful he was, because when his wife lost her mum she was inconsolable, and he didn’t know how to help her, but apparently the Mists books did. So whenever I’m feeling discouraged, or the writing is hard, I remember those things, because to me it is worth it if it helps even one person… There are others who thank me because the books reminded them of who they are, and got them to re-engage with nature or magic or ritual, and then there are the people who just love the story and the mystery of it and that’s great too 🙂

With the research, I did a bereavement counselling course, and read a fair bit, and I’ve done energy healing courses and workshops, and rituals with shamans and druids and pagan priestesses, and that all contributed too…

Q: In Into the Mists, I could read your sincerity in all things pagan and the note at the end of the book also acknowledged that you are a pagan. Could you please share your experience on how you came to your belief?

A: Paganism is an earth-honouring spiritual path of personal growth and self-discovery, a connection to nature, to the rhythms of the earth and the cycles of the sun, moon and seasons, and a belief in the interconnectedness of people, animals and the land. I was born in Sydney, but when I was six my family moved to a tiny little town on the other side of the country, because they didn’t want to raise my sister and I in the city. So I grew up on a bush property on the river, near the beach, revelling in nature, campaigning with Dad to protect it, and doing healing work with Mum. (My parents were hippies, which I’m sure contributed to my pagan outlook!) A pagan is simply someone who walks lightly on the earth and strives to be kind and compassionate. Who takes responsibility for their own life and their own actions. Who is aware of the impact of word, thought and deed. Someone who understands that there is magic in every moment, if we stop to look, to breathe it in, and to unlock all the potential and promise we hold within. It’s about the magic of the earth, the magic of science and nature. Many pagans are environmentalists, working to protect the earth and its creatures, or they are healers or psychics – or all three – for it’s a path of learning, a search for wisdom and inner knowledge, and a quest to uncover personal truths and meaning. Pagans honour the phases of the moon and the changing of the seasons as metaphors for their own life, and perform rituals as a shaping of intention, and a way to express gratitude for their life, their loved ones and all they have achieved.

Q: What are your top reads for 2019 to date? And which book are you desperately waiting for publication?

A: I’m aiming for a book a week this year (so far so good!), and I’ve already read some wonderful stories. Paula Brackston’s Lamp Black, Wolf Grey, Anne Rice’s Blood Communion, Deborah Harkness’s A Discovery of Witches (thanks to Read3rz Revu for the reminder that I had it!), Jodi McIsaac’s Bury the Living, and DL Richardson’s One Little Spell, amongst others.

Juliet Marillier is my favourite author, and she has TWO new books out this year, which I’m desperately waiting for! I can’t wait for The Harp of Kings, the first in her new Warrior Bards series, which is out in September, and she also wrote a new novel, Beautiful, that is coming out as an audiobook exclusive at the end of May. Squeee!

Q: What are your top reads for 2019 to date? And which book are you desperately waiting for publication?

A: So far this year I’ve really enjoyed The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton, which is an intriguing time-slip mystery about a man reliving a day again and again in different bodies, and Educated by Tara Westover, an extraordinary memoir about learning and change. I’m really looking forward to The Parade, by Dave Eggers, as his books are always both meticulously crafted and full of interesting ideas about the way we live now.

Q: What are you working on now? Or what can we look for from you next?

A: At the moment I’m finishing Into the Air, which is book three of the Into the Storm Trilogy. It will be sad in a way, to say farewell to these characters I’ve lived with for six years (the Into the Mists Trilogy is set in the same world), but I’m really excited about a couple of new projects I’m about to begin – an Australian faerytale of sorts, and a fantasy series with two friends. We’re off on a writing retreat next week to get started!

Q: “Well, cooking is definitely a witchy skill,”  ~ said Rose (Carlie’s grandmother)

Lastly, and just for fun, could you please share a favourite recipe for the upcoming festival which I believe is Ostara?

A: Of course. Mabon was March 21, and I put some recipes for Mabon (the autumn equinox), which is Ostara (the spring equinox), in the northern hemisphere, on my website for you – then I missed getting this to you in time, sorry! They’re here if you want to include any, www.blessedbeebooks.com/mabon-recipes and www.blessedbeebooks.com/ostara-recipes

The next seasonal celebration for Australians is Samhain, the beginning of winter, in the first week of May (and the first week of November in the northern hemisphere, which is where most of the Halloween traditions come from), so I’ve included a bunch for you in a separate document, if you want to include any… In the northern hemisphere the next seasonal celebration is Beltane, which has some cute recipes, so I’ll send you some of those too…

And the Mabon ones below are also perfect for Samhain…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About the author

Serene Conneeley is an Australian writer with a fascination for history, travel, ritual and the myth and magic of ancient places and cultures. She’s written for magazines about news, travel, health, spirituality, entertainment and social and environmental issues, is editor of several preschool  magazines, and has contributed to international books on history, witchcraft, psychic development and personal transformation.

She is the author of the non-fiction books Seven Sacred Sites, A Magical Journey, The Book of Faery Magic, Mermaid Magic, Witchy Magic and Into the Mists: A Journal, and creator of the meditation CD Sacred Journey. The Into the Mists Trilogy was her first adventure into fiction, and she is currently finishing three Into the Mists Chronicles.

Serene is a reconnective healing practitioner, and has studied medicinal and magical herbalism, bereavement counselling, reiki and many other healing modalities, plus politics and journalism. She loves reading, rainbows, drinking tea with her friends, and celebrating the energy of the moon and the magic of the earth. Her pagan heart blossomed as she climbed mountains, danced in stone circles, trekked along pilgrimage paths, wandered through ancient cathedrals and stood in the shadow of the pyramids on her travels, and she’s also learned the magic of finding true happiness and peace at home.

Find Serene on:  website  |  goodreads  |  facebook   |  instagram

Review: Into the Mists by Serene Conneeley

Into the Mists (Into the Mists #1) by Serene Conneeley

Enter the swirling mists of an enchanted land, and open your heart to the mystery...

Carlie has the perfect life. A wonderful family and a best friend she adores. A house by the beach so she can go surfing after school. A clever, rational mind and big dreams of becoming a lawyer. A future she’s excited about and can’t wait to begin.

But in a split second her perfect life shatters, and she is sent to the other side of the world to live with a stranger. In this mystical, mist-drenched new land, she is faced with a mystery that will make her question everything she’s ever known about her parents, her life and her very self. A dark secret that made her mother run away from home as a teenager. An old family friend who is not what he seems. A woman in blue who she’s not convinced is real. A shadowy black cat that she’d swear is reading her mind. A deserted old cottage she can’t always find. And a circle of wild-haired witches who want her to join their ranks.

Will she have the courage to journey into the mists, and into her own heart, to discover the truth? And can she somehow weave together a life that she’ll want to live – or will she give up and allow despair to sweep her away from the world forever?

Published 19 May 2013 |  Publisher: Serene Conneeley/Blessed Bee |  RRP: AUD$4.99 

Buy Links: Amazon | B&N Nook | iBooks  |  kobo  

My Blurb (3.5 / 5 stars)

I met the author, Serene, at a bookclub meeting through Read3r’z Re-Vu and what really appealed to me was Serene’s own loveliness and the book covers. I thought the description was decent but didn’t particularly appeal to my reading taste.

It was a struggle to get through the first half of the book because it was just so choked full of grief that I could only read a small portion at a time. It should be acknowledged that the author has written it well if it could affect me in such terrible ways. However, I did persevere as I was assured of better things to come.

To be honest, I expected this to be more of a fairy story but if it was supposed to be so, that’s definitely not what I got in this first book. What I did get, however, is some education about paganism. The book lost me a bit here as I must confess that I have no interest whatsoever in paganism and at some parts, I felt that it dwelt a bit too much into theories behind it. However, I think for someone who loves paganism or even if curious, this may be something they’d love to read. They are lovely theories but they’re just not for me.

There was one particular part that I really really liked, and without telling too much, it explored a ‘what-if’ for the protagonist. What I really liked was the way the story was written; I just love this type of story (and I can’t tell you or it would spoiled). And at the end, the book raised quite a few more questions that I’d like to find the answer to so I think I’d try the rest of the trilogy and hope for more ‘what-if’.

Thanks to the author, Serene Conneeley, for copy of book in exchange of honest review. 

About the author

Serene Conneeley is an Australian writer with a fascination for history, travel, ritual and the myth and magic of ancient places and cultures. She’s written for magazines about news, travel, health, spirituality, entertainment and social and environmental issues, is editor of several preschool  magazines, and has contributed to international books on history, witchcraft, psychic development and personal transformation.

She is the author of the non-fiction books Seven Sacred Sites, A Magical Journey, The Book of Faery Magic, Mermaid Magic, Witchy Magic and Into the Mists: A Journal, and creator of the meditation CD Sacred Journey. The Into the Mists Trilogy was her first adventure into fiction, and she is currently finishing three Into the Mists Chronicles.

Serene is a reconnective healing practitioner, and has studied medicinal and magical herbalism, bereavement counselling, reiki and many other healing modalities, plus politics and journalism. She loves reading, rainbows, drinking tea with her friends, and celebrating the energy of the moon and the magic of the earth. Her pagan heart blossomed as she climbed mountains, danced in stone circles, trekked along pilgrimage paths, wandered through ancient cathedrals and stood in the shadow of the pyramids on her travels, and she’s also learned the magic of finding true happiness and peace at home.

Find Serene on:  website  |  goodreads  |  facebook   |  instagram

Come back tomorrow for Q&A with Serene! 😀

Review: Gone by Midnight by Candice Fox


Gone by Midnight (Crimson Lake #3) by Candice Fox

Crimson Lake is where bad people come to disappear – and where eight-year-old boys vanish into thin air . . .

On the fifth floor of the White Caps Hotel, four young friends are left alone while their parents dine downstairs. But when Sara Farrow checks on the children at midnight, her son is missing. The boys swear they stayed in their room, and CCTV confirms Richie has not left the building. Despite a thorough search, no trace of the child is found.

Distrustful of the police, Sara turns to Crimson Lake’s unlikeliest private investigators: disgraced cop Ted Conkaffey and convicted killer Amanda Pharrell. This case just the sort of twisted puzzle that gets Amanda’s blood pumping.

For Ted, the case couldn’t have come at a worse time. Two years ago a false accusation robbed him of his career, his reputation and most importantly his family. But now Lillian, the daughter he barely knows, is coming to stay in his ramshackle cottage by the lake.

Ted must dredge up the area’s worst characters to find a missing boy. And the kind of danger he uncovers could well put his own child in deadly peril . . .

Published 22 January 2019 |  Publisher: Penguin Books Australia  |  RRP: AUD$32.99

My Blurb (5 / 5 stars)

This review is in relation to book 3 of the series and I have done my best to avoid any spoilers. If you wish, you may read my review on books 1 & 2: here & here

Wow! I sincerely hope that Candice Fox never stops writing. She has a recognisable unique voice and I just love it! It’s snappy. And kooky. And snort-out-loud-hilarious. I love her characters; their pains & fears, vulnerabilities & courage, their humanity amidst evil. The plot & structure all very neatly tied up and as always, explosive snappy endings.

I still can’t get my head around Amanda Pharrell. She’s just as loud, in-your-face, and unpredictable as she ever was. This is just what I love; being taken on by surprise by an author because this is a rare thing for me, tbh. On the other hand, Ted Conkaffey is healing and shaping up to be more human; his fatherhood and his hopes & dreams are starting to pull him out of the crushing weight of his misery.

A tense beginning punctured by Amanda’s brassy entrance (I adored this scene!) followed by deft weaving of plot threads with touches of comic reliefs made Gone by Midnight a finely tuned suspense read.  I can’t wait for the next instalment which promises to be most explosive of the series so far. Oh, and it’s Not Candice Fox’s Crimson Lake if there is no crocodiles; crocs abound!

I would not recommend you to read this book before the other 2 because you’ll miss a lot of background and also because, there were some repercussions in this book from the ending of book 2. So, if you haven’t read this series yet, Chop! Chop! Don’t miss out on a cracking crime series!

Thanks to Penguin Books Australia for copy of book in exchange of honest review

About the author

Hades, Candice Fox’s first novel, won the Ned Kelly Award for best debut in 2014 from the Australian Crime Writers Association. The sequel, Eden, won the Ned Kelly Award for best crime novel in 2015, making Candice only the second author to win these accolades back to back. All her subsequent novels – Fall, Crimson Lake and Redemption Point – have been shortlisted for the Ned Kelly Award. Her new novel, Gone by Midnight, will publish in January 2019.

In 2015 Candice began collaborating with James Patterson. Their first novel together, Never Never, set in the vast Australian outback, was a huge bestseller in Australia and went straight to number 1 on the New York Times bestseller list in the US and also to the top of the charts in the UK. Its sequel, Fifty Fifty, was released in 2017 and their third collaboration, Liar Liar, in August 2018. They have also co-written a prequel novella, Black & Blue, as part of the James Patterson BookShots series.

Bankstown born and bred, Candice lives in Sydney.

Find Candice on:  goodreads  |  website  | twitter  |  facebook  | instagram

A.A. Kinsela: Q&A

Thank you, Alethea, for your time and for sharing a bit about yourself & your writing journey. I can’t wait to see what’s installed for Nick & his friends!

Quick Qs

Dark Chocolate or Milk Chocolate? Dark.

Coffee or Tea? Coffee for work and friends, tea for relaxation.

Dog-ear or whatever else as bookmark? Whatever is nearest. Usually a ticket or receipt.

Plot or Character? Ah damn this is a hard one! Can I say both? Character is paramount, but plot is essential as well. Character trumps plot though.

HEA or unexpected twist? I love an unexpected twist!

Q: Could you please share with us a little bit about yourself and how you became a writer? Was there a particular book you loved as a child or how did you love of words translate to writing?

A: I’ve always loved books and writing. I devoured books as a child and spent my teenage years reading while my peers were out socialising. I was also heavily into music, and when I finished school I wanted to be a film composer, so I went and studied music composition at uni. I realised after a year that I loved literature and writing more than music so I switched degrees. I’ve been a publisher, grammarian, psychology examiner, teacher, archaeologist, and more, but writing has always been the driving force in my life. I couldn’t imagine existing without it.

 

Q: In Lightning Tracks, you’ve brought the Roman Empire to Australia, mix in Aboriginal stories, and set it in this present time. You obviously love history and specifically Roman & Australia history? How did this come about and what in particular did you love about Roman & Australia histories?

A: I have always had a fascination with mythologies and cultural stories. My Bachelor of Arts majors were Literature and Classics, so as well as English Literature, I also studied Latin, Ancient Greek and classical literature. In Year 10, I did a week of work experience with an archaeologist and have always had a keen interest in archaeology as well, so much so that I went back to uni in 2010 to study archaeology. I’m particularly interested in Indigenous archaeology, and with my background in writing and teaching I wrote and published Ancient Australia Unearthed, a high school archaeology textbook, in 2014. Lightning Tracks does draw on mythologies from the ancient world, mainly Greece and Rome, and while it contains suggestions of other mythologies, none of them are taken from Aboriginal cultures. As an archaeologist and author, I’m very aware of the dangers of appropriation, so all the mythologies in Lightning Tracks are entirely my creation.

 

Q: I don’t know much of any Indigenous stories/legends so I’m not sure which part, if any, in Lightning Tracks, is actually part of the Australian Aboriginal story. Was there any? How much research did this involve? Are some of the names also derived from an Aboriginal dialect?

A: None of the legends in Lightning Tracks are Aboriginal stories. As a non-Indigenous Australian I have no right to tell these stories, nor can I appropriate them in any way, as they are copyrighted. The fictional legends in the novel may seem at times like Aboriginal stories, perhaps because mythologies are always representative of the people and environment in which they were created. The cultural groups in Lightning Tracks, whose ancestors arrived two thousand years ago and who are now very much grounded in the Australian landscape, have their own unique mythologies that have evolved over time to reflect this existence.

The research for Lightning Tracks was extensive, including visiting sites where parts of the novel are set, learning about different flora and fauna in the different climates and altitudes, ensuring the fictional world of Korelios reflected the archaeological record both in terms of its Roman/Greek roots and the current Australian archaeological record, and many other smaller details that are vital to world-building.

There are three main cultural groups in Lightning Tracks, all of them based loosely on real ancient cultures/regions: Roman/Greek, Persian/Middle Eastern, and North African. The character names for each group reflect their cultural origins. None of the names are Aboriginal.

 

Q: Please share top 3 things you’ve learnt in your journey of writing & publishing this particular book (Lightning Tracks); it could be something you learnt of yourself, about writing/publishing, a particular touching story from a research, etc.

A: I think the top of my learning curve list would have to be self-publishing. Lightning Tracks has come close on a couple of occasions to being accepted by traditional publishers, but never made it past the marketing department, perhaps because the novel crosses genres and doesn’t fit neatly into a single box. Deciding to self-publish was the next logical step. I’d already self-published an archaeology book, so I thought this one would be similar and easier. I can say unequivocally that self-publishing fiction is an entirely different arena to non-fiction!

Second would have to be the importance of accepting that a novel is finished. If I don’t set myself deadlines, I could work on a book for much longer than is necessary.

And third, it’s so thrilling to draw on many branches of knowledge and research and combine them to create something new. I thoroughly enjoy this aspect of writing.

 

Q: What are your top reads for 2018 to date? And which book are you desperately waiting for publication?

A: I’m currently reading Found by Fleur Ferris (I adore her work). I’ve ordered Ellie Marney’s Circus Hearts series (they haven’t arrived in the mail yet but I’m looking forward to reading these beauties), and I am always awaiting the next Patrick Ness.

Oooh, you’d love Circus Hearts! Ellie Marney is the BEST! I love Fleur Ferris too though not a big fan of Patrick Ness… just haven’t really got into his books, really. ~T

Q: What are you working on now? Or what can we look for from you next? I’m hoping it’s the sequel to Lightning Tracks! How many books can we expect in the series?

A: I’ve got a few writing and archaeology projects on the go, including a YA novel for my creative writing PhD, and I’ve almost finished the sequel to Lightning Tracks, which I’m aiming to release in mid-2019. There will be three books in the Song Gate series, with an undecided fourth. So stay tuned!

You can check out my thoughts on Lightning Tracks, here, and you can purchase it from following links: Amazon | B&N Nook | iBooks  |  kobo

 

About the author

A. A. Kinsela is a pseudonym for Alethea Kinsela

I’m a writer/teacher/archaeologist/jack-of-all-trades. My latest book Lightning Tracks is a dark YA alternative history/fantasy novel set in Australia. You can read an extract on my website. I’ve also got a little educational textbook about Australian archaeology, Ancient Australia Unearthed.

I’m halfway through a Creative Writing PhD, and I sometimes teach in the School of Education at La Trobe University and host writing and archaeology workshops for kids and teachers.

Find Thea on:  goodreads  |  twitter   |  instagram

Review: Lightning Tracks by A. A. Kinsela

Lightning Tracks (Song Gate #1) by A.A. Kinsela

The rider angled the blade so Nick could see the oily residue on the metal.

‘All that’s needed to kill you, boy, is a single cut. A scratch. The poison will do the rest.’ His mask shifted, and Nick could’ve sworn he was smiling. ‘But that wouldn’t be any fun, would it?’

Nick gulped. ‘Why are you doing this?’

The rider leaned closer and hissed, ‘Because you exist.’

Nick isn’t a warrior. He knows some basic karate, but that’s it.

So when an assassin turns up to settle a blood debt, Nick narrowly escapes with his life. In his haste, he unwittingly flees to Korelios, a place he thought existed only in his eccentric aunt’s ancient legends.

All too soon, he finds himself caught in the middle of a war, and he must make an impossible choice: do his duty or follow his heart.

His choice will decide the fate of an entire civilisation.

Published 1 November 2018 |  Publisher: Plainspeak Publishing  |  RRP: AUD$4.99 (ebook) 

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My Blurb (3.5 / 5 stars)

I was approached by the author with a review request and I was very intrigued by the (loose) premise: “What if the Roman Empire had made it all the way to Australia?” The book basically is set in the present times, as such, if the Roman Empire made it to Australia. Such a fascinating proposition! What do you think Australia would be like if the Roman Empire conquered Australia at the height of its power?

Lightning Tracks also contained one of my favourite tropes, world within a world; specifically a gateway from our present-times Australia to another world (albeit hidden) where Empires rule over the world. There isn’t a Roman Empire as such, in fact, all the empires and/or races in the story are made up though loosely based on Romans, Greek, etc. I thought there was also an Indigenous spin but it appears I was wrong (see tomorrow’s Q&A post with the author).

The novel opens with Nick getting into trouble at school on his sixteenth birthday. When he got home that day, he found himself fighting for his life and having to flee, found himself in a part of Australia he didn’t know existed but yet some things felt familiar. A very exciting start to the story, for sure! Nick has to quickly find out all he can about this world and his position in it as there is a war brewing; hostilities escalating on both sides and atrocities abound.

There is actually a second perspective to this story, Cal, a highlander boy kidnapped to be a soldier of the Empire. He has been very obedient so far (even in committing a most atrocious act) due to the threat to his family’s lives but event transpired which had him running for his life. For both Cal & Nick, the answer lies in the city Auremos, the rebellion centre of strength.

I liked both characters & perspectives. Nick, a troublesome teen, is not actually aggressive but is rather thoughtful & kind. He’s got a temper which he has to learn to control. Cal, on the other hand, has been trained to be calculated in his moves and he kicks ass!

Lightning Tracks takes the readers on an adventure in Australia’s hidden depth. However, it reads more like a fantasy novel with a couple jarring mentions of Australia. With betrayals, tragedies, secrets, and battles, Lightning Tracks is an exciting & fascinating read for all teens especially for those who feel they are different (like Nick).

Thanks to the author, A.A. Kinsella, for copy of book in exchange of honest review. 

About the author

A. A. Kinsela is a pseudonym for Alethea Kinsela

I’m a writer/teacher/archaeologist/jack-of-all-trades. My latest book Lightning Tracks is a dark YA alternative history/fantasy novel set in Australia. You can read an extract on my website. I’ve also got a little educational textbook about Australian archaeology, Ancient Australia Unearthed.

I’m halfway through a Creative Writing PhD, and I sometimes teach in the School of Education at La Trobe University and host writing and archaeology workshops for kids and teachers.

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