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Re-visioning Australia: ‘The Dry’ by Jane Harper

Every fortnight, my daughter’s school assembly begins with an acknowledgment of country and ends with the singing of the national anthem. It’s easy to sing Advance Australia Fair and not think about the words. Then you read a book like The Dry, and you start thinking. The first verse of Advance Australia Fair is almost all about agriculture. There’s our ‘golden…

Writing in the First Person: ‘Front Page News’, by Katie Rowney

I have to admit to cringing a little (lot) when I re-read my first (and never to be published) manuscript. What I dislike most about it is that it’s written in the first-person, present tense. Here’s the first paragraph: I watch the stream of water snaking its way down my body. It used to take a more direct route downwards,…

Capturing Grief: ‘Our Magic Hour,’ by Jennifer Down

It happens to all of us. At some point in life, we all become familiar with grief in a way we’d always hoped to avoid. For me, that happened last year. The death of my father in law was shocking and not shocking. Not shocking because he was 91 years old. Shocking because the cancer took him so swiftly. Now,…

The Ego of Writing: ‘My Name is Lucy Barton’, by Elizabeth Strout

There are times (many) when I think of the ego involved in writing. What makes my voice, my thoughts, my ideas, worth recording, let alone publishing? What gives me the right to think I can and should write? Who cares what I have to say? Then a writer comes along who makes you realise that writing need not be about…

Thoughts on ‘The Words in My Hand’ and why historical fiction is a stupid label

Labels help and labels hinder. When it comes to finding my daughter’s school hat (which she loses at least once a day) the fact that it clearly has her name on it is a huge bonus. When it comes to the genre term ‘historical fiction’, the label is a hindrance. A catch-all phrase, usually applied to novels by women. Some…

On Sex: ‘The Dangerous Bride,’ by Lee Kofman and Kirsty Eagar’s ‘Summer Skin’

Two very different books. Two very different genres. Two very different writers. Two very different target audiences. But at the heart of both – sex. More specifically, sex within the context of a relationship, but also outside of that context. In The Dangerous Bride, we meet Lee Kofman in a Melbourne fetish club on the night before her wedding, kissing…

On Writing: Why Rejection IS Personal

There’s a little excel spreadsheet on my computer, which I refer to as my hall of fame and shame. It’s where I keep track of the pieces I’ve submitted to competitions or literary journals. I write the name of the story, when it was submitted, and in the third column I record the outcome. It makes for mixed reading. In…

Meet Sara Foster, Author of ‘All That is Lost Between Us’

Domestic noir. It’s great, right? All those twists and turns, secrets, and multi-layered plots and characters. No wonder it’s huge. So, it’s a great thrill to welcome Sara Foster to the blog today – Australia’s (via the UK) own Queen of domestic noir. Her new book – All That is Lost Between Us – is a work of psychological suspense, set…

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