Tuesday, 4 January 2022

Book Review - Crime Writer By Dime Sheppard

  Crime Writer

By Dime Sheppard



My Review:

This is Dime Sheppard's debut fiction novel and I can't wait to see what she writes next! I am still reminding myself to breathe from the fast paced action of the story. It does not stop!

Evie is on a deadline to finish her 16th novel in a hugely successful crime fiction series. She is also planning a wedding to her billionaire fiancé, Daniel. Evie has little interest in being in the spotlight which is where she finds herself with this marriage. To top it off, she has writer's block and no matter what she does, cannot write anything. That is until her fictional world begins to come to life in her real world. Enter her lead detectives, Jay and Carolyn. Love these two!

There are so many things to enjoy about this story. It is fun, serious, playful, emotional, heart stopping and heart warming - all at once. Sheppard sets up Evie's world where the reader can't help but feel a little sorry for introverted Evie. She then introduces the characters from Evie's fictional books into her real world to try and give Evie a boost to get her story written. Sheppard's cleverly written storyline seamlessly transitions between the two worlds. As the stakes rise so does the action, intrigue and cleverly crafted character plotlines. 

Readers will enjoy the rollercoaster ride Evie goes on to complete her writing deadline. They will cheer as she succeeds and groan as she fails. Most of all, they will wish Evie finishes her novel with an ending to beat all endings. And Dime Sheppard does not disappoint. Wow! I am still smiling from the final three words ...

(spoiler alert - DO NOT BE TEMPTED TO FLIP TO THE FINAL PAGE AND READ THEM UNTIL THE END)

Strongly recommend you read this fiction if you have ever wondered what would happen if your favourite characters came to life and visited you.

From the publisher Dime Sheppard

Evie Howland has problems.

Guns. Bombs. Murderers.

And that’s just on the page…
 

In real life she’s meant to be planning a wedding to adorable billionaire Daniel Bradley, but Evie is seriously snarled in the sixteenth book of her successful crime series. In fact, her protagonists are becoming almost impossible to wrangle: one is volatile after a messy divorce, and the other has that heated look in his blue eyes again. They’re both sick of being written. And frankly they’re getting a little…physical. Evie is beginning to wonder if she’s ever going to finish Book Sixteen and get them back into fiction where they belong.

 

But when a disturbingly familiar homicide surfaces in the city papers, it seems as if other, darker characters might have crossed the fiction-frontier too. In which case, Evie is in a lot of real-life trouble.

 

If she is going to survive it, Evie must face her own worst fears, and learn that real love can be the best way of writing her own story.

 

But can she change the ending?




You can check out my other reviews at GOODREADS

Crime WriterCrime Writer by Dime Sheppard
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is Dime Sheppard's debut fiction novel and I can't wait to see what she writes next! I am still reminding myself to breathe from the fast paced action of the story. It does not stop!

Evie is on a deadline to finish her 16th novel in a hugely successful crime fiction series. She is also planning a wedding to her billionaire fiancé, Daniel. Evie has little interest in being in the spotlight which is where she finds herself with this marriage. To top it off, she has writer's block and no matter what she does, cannot write anything. That is until her fictional world begins to come to life in her real world. Enter her lead detectives, Jay and Carolyn. Love these two!

There are so many things to enjoy about this story. It is fun, serious, playful, emotional, heart stopping and heart warming - all at once. Sheppard sets up Evie's world where the reader can't help but feel a little sorry for introverted Evie. She then introduces the characters from Evie's fictional books into her real world to try and give Evie a boost to get her story written. Sheppard's cleverly written storyline seamlessly transitions between the two worlds. As the stakes rise so does the action, intrigue and cleverly crafted character plotlines.

Readers will enjoy the rollercoaster ride Evie goes on to complete her writing deadline. They will cheer as she succeeds and groan as she fails. Most of all, they will wish Evie finishes her novel with an ending to beat all endings. And Dime Sheppard does not disappoint. Wow! I am still smiling from the final three words ...

(spoiler alert - DO NOT BE TEMPTED TO FLIP TO THE FINAL PAGE AND READ THEM UNTIL THE END)

Strongly recommend you read this fiction if you have ever wondered what would happen if your favourite characters came to life and visited you.

View all my reviews

Wednesday, 8 December 2021

In Conversation ... with Jo Tuscano

    

In Conversation with 
Jo Tuscano 



Tell us about your most recent publication. 

JUST RELEASED - Nov 17, 2021

Standing beside Elise’s grave, Siobhan Montrell remembers how her mother finally blew the perfect smoke ring on the day that Elise disappeared. Remembers the day that would change and define her life forever.

The toddler’s body was found in the river near Gables Guesthouse. Only eleven years old at the time, Siobhan has carried the guilt of Elise’s death with her since that day.

Twenty-eight years later, Siobhan returns to Rachley Island, having inherited Gables — guesthouse and family home — from her aunt. Cleaning the property to prepare it for sale, she discovers an old book in which her aunt used to draw and write, revealing the truth about the tragic drowning.

The River Child is a tale of grief and guilt, deceit and secrets, and ultimately forgiveness.

Published by ODYSSEY BOOKS




Is there much research that goes into your writing?

I have published non-fiction as well as fiction. With non-fiction, there’s a ton of research to be done. I spent a lot of time on my two co-authored books (Back on the Block, published in 2009 and the next one, This is Where You Have to Go, coming in the future), reading academic papers and government reports and legal documents. Sometimes, it does your head in! With fiction, there’s still research that has to be done. If you’re setting your novel in a real place (even a fictional town up north in NSW like I did), you’ve got to get the setting right –flora and fauna, the weather. With my second novel, Under Andromeda, I had to get it right because there’s some astronomy in there. You just can’t make up stuff about planets, so I read and researched a lot about planets and constellations. It’s best to go there if you can! If you can’t, there’s google earth, the State Library and talking to people who’ve lived there.

Writers are sometimes influenced by things that happen in their own lives. Are you?

To an extent. When I was in primary school, a young girl went missing from the nearby migrant hostel. The whole community was looking for her and the police, and rumours were flying around at school, at the shops, everywhere. I remember lying awake, wondering where she was. This fuelled my imagination to write The River Child.

My novel Under Andromeda, coming out next year from Odyssey Books, was inspired by the visits I made with my mother to a psychiatric hospital. I set the book in a psych hospital and on a beach.

I definitely think for some writers, some events happen in their formative years that are so poignant and powerful that they live in a writer’s mind for years until the time comes when a writer just has to use them as a springboard to write.


Other than writing, what else do you love?

I love playing piano, guitar, singing, dog walking, wine and cheese with friends, theatre, talking about books, editing interesting manuscripts, teaching, creating resources for the company I do some work for and mentoring. At the moment, I’m mentoring an Aboriginal man in prison who is writing his second novel. He has an amazing imagination, and he can illustrate as well. It’s very fulfilling to mentor someone and watch them grow as a writer.

Top tips for writer's? 

Don’t hide it away! Write at least 3 chapters, and then get a professional editor/writer to look at it. They can point out the elements that are working well in your manuscript and also show you how you can improve your writing. This way, you find out early where your strengths and weaknesses are, and you don’t waste time (and money) having to re-write your whole manuscript. Get familiar with the basic tenets of fiction writing as well.

Do you have any writing rituals you can share?

I start my day listening and singing along with a chant. It doesn’t matter what you pick; find something that suits you, be it Hindu, Islamic, Christian or non-religious. I have a Russian Orthodox monks-singing-chanting one. It is really soothing, and it’s been proven that a chanting practice is good for the brain. Then I do a daily crossword, find a word in the dictionary that I’ve never used before and use it, and then start writing and editing. When I’m writing novels, I set up my writing space surrounded by objects, aromas, pictures etc., to get my mind into the setting. When I was writing Under Andromeda, I had shells and sand strewn on the floor and giant posters of the planets and constellations on the walls.

How did you get published?

With non-fiction, my co-authors, Bill and Des and I approached IATSIS. I knew there was nothing out there about a Stolen Generations member’s time in the notorious Kinchella Boys’ Home. It was published by them in 2009. With fiction, Odyssey Books picked me up through my agent/editor and I signed a double contract for two novels.


How can we learn more about you? 

   



    
Thank you for joining In Conversation this week. Remember to always 
Dream Big ... Read Often.

Wednesday, 3 November 2021

In Conversation ... with Michelle Worthington

   

In Conversation with 
Michelle Worthington 



This "In Conversation" has been organised in conjunction with 
as a part of the Marlow Brown campaign.

Tell us about your most recent publication. 

Sassafras and Alcatraz are twins who couldn't be more different, except for the fact that they love their local library and their mother is best friends with the librarian. They sit in the library while their mother coaches their older brothers football team. The librarian, Ms Burns, tells them the Mayor is going to demolish the library to make way for a car park and there is nothing she can do about it. When Sass goes down to the basement for the packing boxes, she puts her hands on the old library files that hold the Dewey Decimal Cards and something magical happens. She calls the characters of the books to life. The library is helping them to find a way to fight. Can they find the right combination of characters, including the knights, pirates and scientists, to stop the council and save the library?

Published by DAISY LANE PUBLISHING



How did you get published?

It was a combination of timing, luck and persistence. After ten years of trying, I finally had some interest from a small local publisher who had an illustrator wanting more work and my story was a perfect fit. I’m not sure how much talent was involved, but it opened the door for me and I will be forever grateful.

Writers are sometimes influenced by things that happen in their own lives. Are you?

I am always inspired by things around me. Most of my story ideas come from real people and places. There are stories hiding everywhere, you just need to be able to see them. Authors have an unusual magic power to take something that might seem ordinary and turn it into an extremely special story.

Other than writing, what else do you love?

There are so many things that I love and make me happy. My family always comes first, followed by (in no particular order) going to the movies, crocheting rugs in front of my fireplace, camping at the beach, meeting up with friends at out of the way coffee shops, trying not to kill my pot plants and wearing fuzzy socks. There are so many things that make me feel grateful to be alive.

Do you have a favourite character from your stories? pill the beans and tell us about them.

Ms Burns is based on my primary school librarian. In real life she looks nothing like how she does in the book, but I do love adding imagination icing to my characters. She inspired me to take my writing seriously and taught me that being an author was something worth aspiring to.


If you had a premonition you would be stranded on an desert island, what favourite five books would you take

The Anne of Green Gables series and the Little House on the Prairie Series and the Outlander series. I may just sink the boat getting there, though.

Five words that sum you up. 

The right amount of crazy.

How can we learn more about you? 

  


    
Thank you for joining In Conversation this week. Remember to always 
Dream Big ... Read Often.

Wednesday, 13 October 2021

In Conversation ... with Maura Pierlot

  

In Conversation with 
Maura Pierlot


Tell us about your most recent publication. 

Summary: Fragments: Journeys from Isolation to Connection is adapted from my stage play, Fragments, which enjoyed a sell-out debut season at The Street Theatre, Canberra in October 2019, programmed for Mental Health Month. Through a series of eight dramatic monologues, unified by an overarching story of isolation and agency, the work tackles a range of mental health issues facing young people today. Themes include anxiety; depression, neurodivergence, social media, gender dysphoria, family dysfunction, bullying, cultural alienation, peer pressure, and life after graduation.

Background: In 2016 I was awarded a small grant from the Capital Arts Patrons’ Organisation to write the script for Fragments. At the time, mental health issues weren’t being talked about openly, especially the issues facing young people. Angst was just part of growing up, or so it seemed. Anxiety and depression are on the rise as people struggle to cope with isolation and uncertainty in the face of COVID-19. There’s still a great deal of stigma and reluctance among some people to seek help but, thankfully, the conversation about mental health issues is becoming more open and pervasive.

Book Orders
 
Several bookish events are planned for October (Mental Health Month) including a book launch at The Book Cow in Canberra on Friday 29th October at 5pm. Please come along if you’re in or near the ACT: 
BOOK HERE

For anyone interested in learning more about Fragments, visit HERE 


What do you enjoy most about writing?

For me, writing has always been about clarity, curiosity and connecting – in a sense, it’s a form of communion with myself and the wider world. I enjoy the freedom of thought and expression that comes from writing. I enjoy that (usually) I can write when and where I please. I enjoy that I get to search within while looking outwards – creating, and inhabiting new worlds through imagination, insights, and inquisitiveness. I enjoy the drama. (Everything in life is essentially a story.) I enjoy when my writing, often about intensely personal experiences, resonates with others.

What is the hardest aspect of being a writer?

My writing drifts towards complex issues, often the ones no one wants to talk about, at least publicly. As a result, I tend to live in my head for extended periods, which is both a blessing and a burden. A blessing because life is typically so chaotic that it’s good to retreat to the confines of one’s mind for a bit. A burden because my mind is nearly always abuzz with questions and worries (usually about unlikely scenarios) sprinkled with ‘to do’ lists, reminders and musings, so it’s getting a bit crowded in there. My writing process is high intensity, arguably grounded in a compulsion of sorts, which nearly always leads to some sort of clarity and understanding. Meanwhile, I’m constantly wrestling with ideas – a tap that I can’t easily turn off.




Writers are sometimes influenced by things that happen in their own lives. Are you?.

Yes, definitely. Writing has always been my way of making sense of the world. I was an early reader and writer, dutifully recording thoughts and experiences in my diary. I’ve written all my life, usually as part of education or employment (freelance writer, academic, video writer/producer, ethicist etc). When I turned to creative writing about seven years ago, I wrote about the things that mattered in my life. My debut picture book, The Trouble in Tune Town, was inspired by our three children who, at the time, could not have been less enthused about regularly practising their musical instruments. Meanwhile, my mother was hospitalised with a mystery illness complicated by dementia ­– the harbinger of a long, tumultuous journey that reignited family conflicts and exposed hard truths about mental health issues. The complex emotions I was struggling with poured onto the page as my first play (soon selected for a brief run in Melbourne), which opened a door that led to another door that led to Fragments.

In 2017 when I returned from the trip to emotional hell (navigating my mother’s transition to assisted living in the U.S.), my husband became gravely ill. His nearly two-year recovery dovetailed with my own health challenges, the bushfires and, in mid-2019, my mother’s death. When I came back from her funeral, production started for the debut season of Fragments at The Street. Then the pandemic struck, shutting the door on life as we knew it. All of this happened in the space of a few years. Writing, in a sense, saved me, bringing a sense of clarity, acceptance and perhaps even purpose.

Have you ever had a fan moment and met somebody famous? Tell us about it.

I met quite a few celebs one evening in the ‘80s, starting with a drink with Julian Lennon. I was waiting for a friend at the Jockey Club at the Ritz Carlton, where I had been staying while finishing up a consulting gig. I sat next to Julian at the bar because he was the only other person there, and I had this strange feeling that I knew him from somewhere. Really nice guy – quiet, dry sense of humour. When I saw his profile (spitting image of his dad), it clicked. Then Bono (and U2 bandmates) wandered in. I asked Bono for an autograph for my younger brother, a big fan (and musician). He was lovely, very obliging, and my brother still has the cocktail napkin with his scrawl. On the way back to my room, I met Robert Plant (Led Zeppelin) and Neil Tennant (Pet Shop Boys). It finally dawned on me that the Grammys were that night. A few years later at Watergate in Washington, DC I shared an elevator with Dave Stewart (Eurythmics) and, the next day, with Ella Fitzgerald. She smiled and offered a gentle nod, probably because I couldn’t speak. That was one of the few times I remember being truly awestruck.


Top tips for writers? 

Here are my top ten tips … in no particular order:

1. Work out who you’re writing for and why.

2. Believe in yourself.

3. Believe in your work.

4. Seek feedback (but go with your gut).

5. Read widely, and often, across genres.

6. Be a keen observer.

7. Be open to changing directions.

8. Find your natural (writing) fit.

9. Don’t sell your soul – in the industry, on social media. Anywhere.

10. Never give up.

What is the craziest thing you have done?

When I was an undergraduate at Duke, I pushed a pram as part of a small relay team to Washington, DC – just over 400 kilometres – to raise funds for a little-known US Presidential candidate. Worst case of shin splints ever! In ’87 my best friend and I landed in Fiji in the middle of a military coup. We had just shot an AIDS documentary in Australia and arrived with the footage, which was immediately confiscated (but eventually returned via the US State Department). The authorities had thought we were journalists and placed us under house arrest. We weren’t supposed to leave our bure but, of course, we did, visiting a ‘witch doctor’ we had recently befriended. That’s when the trouble started …

How can we learn more about you? 

FRAGMENTS THE PLAY

THE TROUBLE IN TUNE TOWN

MAURA'S BLOG

    
   

 

    
Thank you for joining In Conversation this week. Remember to always 
Dream Big ... Read Often.

Wednesday, 6 October 2021

Book Review - A Weekend with Oscar by Robyn Bavati

 A Weekend with Oscar

By Robyn Bavati



My Review:

This is an utterly captivating read. Bavati invites readers into the world of Jamie, and his younger brother, Oscar. Sixteen-year-old Jamie is still grieving the death of his father, while trying to navigate high school, good grades and the interesting new girl who just started in his accelerated learning class.

Jamie’s world is just starting to feel like it is moving forward again after the unexpected death of his father. He meets Zara who, for the first time in a long time, is somebody he can talk to and connect with. Zara has a sister with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and has also experienced challenges life can have when living with a sibling who has a disability. The two begin to bond over family, school and Zara’s art. Then one weekend Jamie’s mother must go away. Jamie volunteers to take care of his younger brother while she is gone. What seems like a simple enough task, soon becomes the biggest challenge Jamie has had to face.

Oscar’s world revolves around structure and order. As a young person with Down Syndrome, he needs support in most things he does. Jamie is used to the looks, sniggers and whispered comments from people that don’t understand Oscar. But Jamie must also deal with everything else needed to help Oscar navigate his own world. The respect and admiration Jamie has for his mother, who now has to do these things without their dad, quickly grows. Bavati allows Oscar’s quirks and personality to shine through with just the right level of love, frustration and understanding from Jamie. The bond between the brothers is beautifully written.

When Jamie’s mother doesn’t return after the weekend and he can’t get in touch with her, he realizes it is up to him to keep both his and Oscar’s worlds together. Jamie refuses to acknowledge the seriousness of his mother’s disappearance, nor will he consider giving up on his brother. Jamie must draw on all his resources, strength and support from people around him to get through the long days ahead. He must also begin to really face the grief still felt from the death of his dad. Eventually, Jamie must make a difficult decision, but he has no idea the truth that will be uncovered about what happened to his mother.

Readers will connect with the well-rounded characters woven into this story. Bavati creates a completely relatable and believable world; from struggles at school and weekly team sport commitments to first romance and coping with the class bully. All these areas play an important role in Jamie’s life, until his focus shifts to the care and wellbeing of Oscar.

It is an introduction to conversations around relationships, living in an inclusive world and the acceptance of others. Of particular importance is the subtle themes within the storyline around asking for help. It reminds the reader that it is okay to reach out and get support if they need it. That it’s okay to not be okay.

Strongly recommend you read this YA fiction if you enjoy contemporary fiction with themes of family, relationships and overcoming challenges.

From the publisher Walker Books

A moving #LoveOzYA novel about loss, first love and being there for your family, no matter what.

Sixteen-year-old Jamie lives with his mum and his younger brother Oscar, who has Down syndrome. Though Jamie is still grieving the loss of his dad, life starts to look up when he meets Zara, the new girl at school. When their mum goes away for the weekend, Jamie volunteers to look after Oscar. But when the weekend is over and their mother doesn’t return, Jamie faces the toughest challenge of his life.



You can check out my other reviews at GOODREADS

A Weekend with OscarA Weekend with Oscar by Robyn Bavati
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is an utterly captivating. Bavati invites readers into the world of Jamie, and his younger brother, Oscar. Sixteen-year-old Jamie is still grieving the death of his father, while trying to navigate high school, good grades and the interesting new girl who just started in his accelerated learning class.

Jamie’s world is just starting to feel like it is moving forward again after the unexpected death of his father. He meets Zara who, for the first time in a long time, is somebody he can talk to and connect with. Zara has a sister with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and has also experienced challenges life can have when living with a sibling who has a disability. The two begin to bond over family, school and Zara’s art. Then one weekend Jamie’s mother must go away. Jamie volunteers to take care of his younger brother while she is gone. What seems like a simple enough task, soon becomes the biggest challenge Jamie has had to face.

Oscar’s world revolves around structure and order. As a young person with Down Syndrome, he needs support in most things he does. Jamie is use to the looks, sniggers and whispered comments from people that don’t understand Oscar. But Jamie must also deal with everything else needed to help Oscar navigate his own world. The respect and admiration Jamie has for his mother, who now has to do these things without their dad, quickly grows. Bavati allows Oscar’s quirks and personality to shine through with just the right level of love, frustration and understanding from Jamie. The bond between the brothers is beautifully written.

When Jamie’s mother doesn’t return after the weekend and he can’t get in touch with her, he realizes it is up to him to keep both his and Oscar’s worlds together. Jamie refuses to acknowledge the seriousness of his mother’s disappearance, nor will he consider giving up on his brother. Jamie must draw on all his resources, strength and support from people around him to get through the long days ahead. He must also begin to really face the grief still felt from the death of his dad. Eventually, Jamie must make a difficult decision, but he has no idea the truth that will be uncovered about what happened to his mother.

Readers will connect with the well-rounded characters woven into this story. Bavati creates a completely relatable and believable world; from struggles at school and weekly team sport commitments to first romance and coping with the class bully. All these areas play an important role in Jamie’s life, until his focus shifts to the care and wellbeing of Oscar.

It is an introduction to conversations around relationships, living in an inclusive world and the acceptance of others. Of particular importance is the subtle themes within the storyline around asking for help. It reminds the reader that it is okay to reach out and get support if they need it. That it’s okay to not be okay.

View all my reviews

Friday, 24 September 2021

Book Review - Virozone by Sarah Cole

     

Virozone
By Sarah Cole



My Review:

Virozone is the debut YA novel of Australian author, Sarah Cole. It takes place in a dystopian world where four zones have certain powerful elements (air, water, soil fire)  that can easily be taken away by the fifth and all mighty zone, Prestige.

For sixteen year old Lawlie she has not thought much about how the worlds operate. She just knows the dangers that face her daily life. However, that all changes when her mother is killed and she sets out to seek justice from those responsible.

Lawlie is strong and determined, but also learning that not everything is as it seems. She must make decisions that affect the people she cares about, but most importantly, Lawlie must be prepared to discover more than she set out to uncover.  

Sarah Cole creates a dystopian world that is easy to imagine. Her writing is easy to read with descriptive details and a high stakes, action packed storyline. Cole includes twists and turns in the story that leave the reader wanting to know more. Best of all she introduces us to a strong, female protagonist who is more than capable of getting the job done,

Strongly recommend you read this YA fiction if you like action, adventure and intrigue.

From the publisher Little Steps

The world as we know it has been ravaged by violence and environmental disaster. Society has been split into exclusive zones to protect what little is left. Divided by Air, Water, Soil and Fire, each zone trades what they can to survive. Certainly life is difficult, particularly as a fifth zone, the Prestige Zone, regularly takes what they like to ensure their privileged life continues to thrive. 

But when 16 year old Lawlie Pearce’s mother is killed, it becomes clear that the tenuous peace between the zones is on the verge of unravelling. With a thirst for vengeance, Lawlie leaves AirZone to discover the truth and seek justice for her mother - even if she has to bring down the biggest enemy of all, Sceptre, the leader of the Prestige Zone that dominates the world that is Virozone.




You can check out my other reviews at GOODREADS

VirozoneVirozone by Sarah Cole
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Virozone is the debut YA novel of Australian author, Sarah Cole. It takes place in a dystopian world where four zones have certain powerful elements (air, water, soil fire) that can easily be taken away by the fifth and all mighty zone, Prestige.

For sixteen year old Lawlie she has not thought much about how the worlds operate. She just knows the dangers that face her daily life. However, that all changes when her mother is killed and she sets out to seek justice from those responsible.

Lawlie is strong and determined, but also learning that not everything is as it seems. She must make decisions that affect the people she cares about, but most importantly, Lawlie must be prepared to discover more than she set out to uncover.

Sarah Cole creates a dystopian world that is easy to imagine. Her writing is easy to read with descriptive details and a high stakes, action packed storyline. Cole includes twists and turns in the story that leave the reader wanting to know more. Best of all she introduces us to a strong, female antagonist who is more than capable of getting the job done,

Strongly recommend you read this YA fiction if you like action, adventure and intrigue.

View all my reviews

Wednesday, 22 September 2021

In Conversation ... with Juliet Sampson

 

In Conversation with 
Juliet Sampson


Tell us about your most recent publication. 

Cato’s Can Can my second picture book was released on 1st August. I started dancing when I was eleven and my love for dance inspired the creation of this story. There are many picture books that focus just on ballet but Cato’s Can Can represents different dance styles such as jazz, tap, hip-hop, flamenco, Irish as well as ballet.

Movement words teach readers how to dance in these various dance styles. And they also learn about the days of the week when Cato the cockatoo tries to find a friend on his journey. So, bop, bop, bop into the story, find out about Australian birds and celebrate the joy of dance.

Illustrated by Katrina Fisher

Published by  Ford Street Publishing



How much research goes into your writing?

Research plays a large part, it’s important when creating a story. I believe it doesn’t matter whether you write for children or adults you need to get your facts correct. I spend time researching for every book I write.

Other than writing, what else do you love?

I'm a full time writer but in my spare time I dance: jazz, tap, ballet, funk, hip-hop, zumba, contemporary, African, cha, cha, cha, samba, jive, rumba, paso doble, tango, salsa, bachata, merengue, swing, lindy hop, line-dancing and bollywood. This is over many years. My favourite movie is Strictly Ballroom.
I also love to grow sunflowers every year and spend time with my dog.


Have you ever had a fan moment? Tell us about it.

I would not call this a fan moment but enjoyed meeting Bryce Courtenay for the first time when I was a Friend of the National Year of Reading. My first young adult novel had been published and he was full of praise and encouraged me to keep writing.


Do you have any writing rituals you can share?

Sometimes I like to go near the bay with a notebook. I find it a relaxing place to be. Ninety per cent of my writing time is spent at my desk but in my opinion it is lovely to have another space that you can go to as well.

Top tips for writers? 

Get onto social media, you need a profile. The world of being a writer is changing. You need to reach out to your readers.

What is the craziest thing you have done?

I swam with pink dolphins in the Amazon River in South America. Crazy but it was the best experience.

How can we learn more about you? 

      
 

 



    
Thank you for joining In Conversation this week. Remember to always 
Dream Big ... Read Often.