Let’s play Author Tag!

dalenoflowerBig bone-crushing Kaz hugs to Dale Harcombe for inviting me to be part of this Author Chain. It was as much fun being tagged as it was tagging other – what a cool game! (And I didn’t even break a sweat! Now, that’s my kind of game…)
 Dale is such an interesting person – not only an author of books, she’s authored and created all kinds of fascinating works including articles, puppet plays (mega cool!), skits, finger plays, songs for little people and a radio play which was broadcast in 2005!  And she’s an owl-aholic! She adores and collects owls – well, images and recreations of them anyway.
Her latest book  Streets on a Map is a poignantly beautiful book that will keep you turning the pages right to the very last one.StreetsOnAMapCOVER
As Dee White said: ‘The action just keeps coming in Streets On A  Map, and keeps the reader turning the pages wondering what’s going to happen next to the characters they have come to know’.
Dale is also the queen of titles. I’ve always loved the title Streets On A Map, and her work in progress has another wonderfully evocative title: Sandstone Madonna. Good or what?
Thank you for tagging me Dale! And good luck with your WIP!

So, now to play the game. Every author tagged has to answer these same four questions – so here I go…

Q1: What am I working on?

Okay, don’t judge me but I have two works on the go. I’m not revealing titles as I never do that publicly until I know they’re in the bag. I work hard to find interesting titles, they don’t come naturally to me, so I like to keep them close until I’m sure. However, one is a fun – but tricky   – work for boys 7-10.My issues with this are huge.I have a character I love – who’s a bit extraordinary but not extremely so, therefore do I make him more extraordinary in the real world, or make his world so wild that he Almost Deadappears to be the sane centre? Decisions, decisions. This story is a diversion that’s eating at me as I write the next YA which is a follow on to Almost Dead. 

Q2: How does my work differ from others in its genre?

I began answering this in so many different ways. Do I act all coy and pretend that I don’t think my work is different? Or do I let my ego reign? Okay, ego wins: Maybe if I had to seriously pinpoint a difference it might be humour?  Mixing humour and horror/mystery? I do also have habit of creating characters that are, initially, hard to love. Almost Dead and Princesses Don’t Sweat are two  that fall into that category. As an author it’s a huge risk – what if the reader gives up too soon? But if they stay with it, the payoff is worth it. At least that’s what I think…  Macey  the protagonist and star of Almost Dead was such a tough character to write. To make her likeable – even loveable – and not lose her in the process was one of my toughest writing journeys. But I think we pulled it off and for me, that’s the payoff.

Q3: Why do I write what I write?

You know, I doubt that many serious authors would differ in their answers to this question. Not much anyway. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again here – I believe authors are born, not made. I don’t think we have a choice. It’s a fire that burns hard inside us and doesn’t ever let up.  After that, it’s finding where you fit. I started my career writing for adults and I suspect I may end up there again because a part of me still wants to write for grown ups as well, but when I first discovered YA fiction it felt like I’d come home.  I haven’t lost that wonder yet. Writing for kids is similar.  If I had to take a wild guess, I’d say the success I’ve had in these genres is largely due to the fact that I haven’t grown up yet. It helps… 😉

Q4: How does my writing process work?

Um seriously,  I think it changes with every book.  Sometimes a character will come to me who is so compelling, so much fun, that it’s simply a matter of finding his or her story. Sometimes it’s even easier than that. Like a story for young readers I wrote recently called Penelope Plotter. As soon as her name drifted into my head her story appeared.  It pretty well wrote itself.

The idea for this last series of YA books, those I affectionately refer to as my Dead Books: Dead, Actually and Almost Dead ( and no, I don’t have a fascination with death. Much), came from three words emblazoned diagonally across a teen mag: It’s a Bitchfest.  Those words resonated; grabbed me.  But I wanted more than just the usual Mean Girl scenario. I like ‘story’ and plenty of it – and I liked the idea of the dead

It's Live!

communicating with the living. And I LOOOOOVE a good mystery – a good ‘whodunnit’.   And what teen story would be worth its salt if it didn’t have a few romantic sparks tossed in to keep the poor heroine off balance just when she needs a cool head more than ever?

I guess that kind of sums up both Dead ActuallyAllen & Unwin March 2012,  and Almost Dead, Allen & Unwin, Jan 2014.

Would you agree? Am I brave enough to cope with the answers? of course I am (she says grabbing the family-sized bag of Smarties and chewing furiously, manically even… Her eyes twitch, her lip quivers.) “Of course I’m brave enough,” she repeats to anyone who’ll listen. “I think…”

Almost Dead is available at all good bookstores – if they don’t have it maybe they’re not so good <g> so ask them to order it.

Or online at Booktopia

It’s also available as an e-book. Check out  http://www.allenandunwin.com/default.aspx?page=94&book=9781743313268. for all the deets! 

 On that note I’m handing over to three amazing, wonderful authors and friends whose work I so admire – and ruthlessly tagged.    Two belong in the crazy bin with me, and the other is here to give us much needed class. And that’s all I’m saying. Mwahaha. (Now they’re all preening, each imagining she is the classy one. Snigger...) 

Cue the drumroll: Here they are in alphabetical order because I’m like that and  because I don’t want any of them to cry themselves to sleep because they think I love one more than the other:

Amanda Ashby. 

Amanda Ashby writes young adult and middle grade books for Puffin inAmanda Ashby photo 2 the US. She was born in Australia and after spending the last sixteen years dividing her time between England and New Zealand, she’s finally moved back and now lives on the Sunshine Coast. When she’s not moving country, she likes to write books (okay, she also likes to eat chocolate, watch television and sit around doing not much, but let’s just keep that amongst ourselves, shall we?)

http://www.amandaashby.com
https://twitter.com/amandaashby
https://facebook.com/amandaashby

 

Demonosity cover

Ebony McKenna

Ebony McKenna writes about ferrets that talk in a countrybrugelswimsuit stuck in a ‘post-soviet, but pre functioning internet’  time warp.
Her Ondine series began in 2010 with The Summer of Shambles, and was followed up with the sequel, The Autumn Palace. It is now joined by the trequel, The Winter of Magic, which is available where all good ebooks are sold.
She loves trivia nights, train sets and the Eurovision Song Contest.
When not writing, she can be found on the following social media outlets:
Ondine # 3 The Winter of Magic
Sally Murphy
Sally Murphy has written over 30 books and still IMG_2277has time to study, teach and run a review site, Aussie Reviews!  Oh and look after her six children… Her wonderful picture book (That’s me, Kaz saying that!)  –Do Not Forget Australia – was evocative  and heart-warming despite dealing with the tragedy of war. A definite keeper for every bookshelf.
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These three gals will be answering the same four q’s next Monday, 17th Feb, so don’t forget to look out for them and what they have to say! This is indeed a feast of authors!
Till next time!
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