Respect and Family – written by Aunty Fay Muir and Sue Lawson

There’s a beautiful line in Aunty Fay Muir and Sue Lawson’s book, family that says, ‘Connecting to ancestors, to who we are, to who we will be.’

For me it encapsulated the beauty and meaning in this book and also the first book in their ‘Place’ series, respect.

Respect and family are simply and beautifully told hard cover picture books depicting the lives and beliefs of our First Nations’ people. They reflect the connection to country and to each other, and the connections within ourselves.

Family is stunningly illustrated by Darug writer, artist and teacher, Jasmine Seymour. The wonderful illustrations in respect were created by Lisa Kennedy, a descendent of coastal Trawlwoolway people of north-east Tasmania.

These tender, thoughtful stories remind us of the importance of respecting others and ourselves and celebrating family. They show us the things to be learned from the past and from finding connections to who we really are.

Each carefully chosen word earns its place on the page, and the beautiful illustrations encapsulate the colour, beauty and natural environment of our country. They show us how family and place make us whole.

Respect and family are the first two books in the ‘Place’ series, published by Magabala Books, introducing young minds to First Nations’ cultural philosophies that Aunty Fay Muir, a Boon Wurrung Elder holds close to her heart.

Evocative, rich in colour and lyrical text, these books are a great way to introduce readers of all ages to First Nations’ culture. They introduce a code and way of life that we can all live by.

Respect comes with fabulous teacher’s notes with links to the Australian Curriculum. These beautiful books belong in every Australian school and home.

We’re very privileged to have Aunty Fay and Sue visiting DeeScribe Writing today to talk about their beautiful new books and Sue shares her tips about collaborating.

ABOUT THE AUTHORS AND THEIR COLLABORATION

Aunty Fay Muir and Sue Lawson in conversation. Photo credit – Geelong Regional Libraries

Aunty Fay Stewart-Muir is an Elder and Traditional Owner of Boon Wurrung Country. She is the senior linguist at the Victorian Aboriginal Corporation for Languages in Melbourne. Fay is working with her own Boon Wurrung language, recording and putting language into the database for future and present generations. She presents language-related workshops to community members who are reclaiming their languages, as well as universities and TAFEs interested in understanding the many and challenging aspects of language reclamation. She also visits schools to educate students about language and culture and to teach language. Nganga is her first children’s book.

Sue Lawson  is an award-winning author who is passionate about encouraging young people’s love of writing and reading.

Her books are recognized for the sensitive way they explore the exciting and heartbreaking complexities of adolescence. Sue’s books have won the Australian Family Therapists’ Award for Children’s Literature and have been short-listed for the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards and the Children’s Book Council of Australia Book of the Year Awards.

The books that she creates  with Boonwurrung Elder, Aunty Fay Muir,  celebrate and explore Australia’s First Nations Peoples’ rich culture and history.

Sue Lawson’s books are recognized for the sensitive way they explore the exciting and heartbreaking complexities of adolescence. Her books include the award-winning Freedom Ride, and picture book, Respect, co-written with Boon Wurrung Elder, Aunty Fay Muir. Fay and Sue create books that celebrate and explore Australia’s First Nations Peoples’ rich culture and history.

SUE LAWSON TALKS ABOUT THE COLLABORATION PROCESS

  1. What inspired you to write these books?

Fay and I spent time with our publisher, Maryann Ballantyne, talking about a picture book that would celebrate First Nations’ culture and introduce aspects of the culture and life to young children. All of us are passionate about knowledge, and believe that if children have the knowledge that other generations have missed, respect and recognition will follow.

Somewhere in there, the Our Place series was born.

Fay and I were keen to represent a variety of Aboriginal lifestyles and to do that we have a different illustrator for each book. Lisa Kennedy is a Trawlwoolway descendent, and Jasmine Seymour is a proud Darug woman.

  1. How did you collaborate? In person, by phone, etc? Anything you’d like to share about your process?

Fay and I work in person, on the phone and via emails and notes. We meet regularly – well we did before Covid – and spend the day talking, (I ask questions, Fay shares, I listen) taking notes and generally bouncing around ideas. I draft our ideas then we begin the edit. Sometimes together, other times we work individually and then come back together to share our thoughts. Fay’s main focus is content and mine is structure and writing. It’s an open exchange of ideas and words.

  1. What were the best bits about collaborating?

Everything. I love collaborating. I love bouncing ideas off each other and watching how that initial spark grows.

  1. What were the challenges?

COVID. Because of the current situation, Fay and I haven’t been able to do our regular catch ups. Apart from anything else, I miss her company and humour. Apart from that, I thoroughly enjoy collaboration.

  1. Any tips for other collaborators?

All the books I’m working on at the moment are collaborations. As well as working with Fay, I’m doing a number of non fiction books with other writers and again, am loving the process. I’m not sure I can offer any tips, as each is different, but equally rewarding. I’m lucky as my collaborators are also friends, so we have a strong relationship already.

Collaborating is just like working with an editor, in that we are all working towards the same goal – producing a great book.

  1. Any general writing tips around working on books like these?

When you are the writer working with ‘an expert’, LISTEN. There is gold in the conversations.

  1. What are the final two books in the series called and when will they be released?

At this stage there are two being illustrated, and perhaps more to come. The next two have been held up by Covid, but I think they will be out in 2021. Everything is a little unsure at the moment, just like the rest of the world.

Thanks so much for visiting, Aunty Fay and Sue. Respect and Family are available through the publisher’s website or at all good bookstores.

 

HAYWIRE by Claire Saxby + Some Writing Secrets

Today, the wonderful and talented Claire Saxby is visiting DeeScribe Writing to talk about her first historical fiction, Haywire, published by Scholastic Australia and she’s sharing some secrets about her writing process.

Claire  writes award-winning fiction, non-fiction and poetry for children. Her books include ‘Bird to Bird’ and ‘Dingo’, ‘Seadog’ and ‘There Was an Old Sailor’. Her books and poetry are published in Australia and internationally.

WHY YOU SHOULD READ HAYWIRE

In 1939, 14-year-old Tom lives in Hay where his family runs the local bakery. Max Gruber is nearly fourteen-years-old. He is sent to his Uncle Ferdy in London, but is then interred and shipped to Australia aboard the Dunera. He arrives in Hay and meets Tom. The two boys become friends and find their lives and their friendship influenced by a far-away conflict in Europe. (from the publisher – Scholastic Australia)

Born on opposite sides of the world, Tom and Max live very different lives that both long to escape. In this compelling tale of an unlikely friendship, the two boys have been brought together by war.

Max’s frightening voyage on the Dunera keeps us spell bound and even once he arrives in Australia, life doesn’t get much easier for him after he finds himself in the Hay internment camp, shunned by most of the outside world as an ‘enemy alien’.

In her novel, HAYWIRE, Claire Saxby documents a little known passage of the Australian WW11 experience.

Tom and Max are both well crafted and relatable characters and readers can connect with their vulnerabilities and the fear and uncertainty that war brings.

Tom’s family life is authentically Australian and rich in the detail and experiences of the time in which the story is set.

Although HAYWIRE is set in a time of great tragedy and fear, we are left with hope and a belief that life for both Tom and Max will turn out okay in spite of the situation and war that their countries have thrust them into.

This well researched work of historical fiction is for readers aged 9 to 12 and has been shortlisted for the NSW Premier’s Young People’s History Prize. Congratulations Claire.

HAYWIRE – THE WRITING PROCESS

  1. What inspired you to write this book?

I knew about the Dunera, the ship that brought so many internees to Australia in 1940, but I didn’t know much. I did know that a substantial number of the internees elected to stay in Australia rather than return to England once the British government acknowledged their wrongful internment. I did know that this was an extraordinary group of men, who contributed enormously to Australia. But I knew nothing about how they came to be in Hay and what the locals thought. And I wanted to.

  1. Who/what inspired the characters of Tom and Max?

Max came first. I had this sense of a teenage boy picked up by a tidal wave and swept from his world to the world of war, where he is judged purely by his heritage, his accent. No one asked how he felt, what he wanted. And the size of the wave that carried him on allowed little time for him to even consider more than surviving. Until he reaches Hay. Tom’s life looks simple in comparison, but he too is caught up in the war at home and it tears at his life, his security too. He, like Max, has little time to really process what’s going on, and what he really wants. I wanted to show that the quiet ones are as ripped apart by war as those who shout loudly.

  1. Can you talk us through the research process?

Research took a very long time and continued throughout writing and redrafting! There were two main reasons for this. The first is that it’s all fascinating and it’s so easy to disappear down paths that may well lead to more interesting information, but which don’t necessarily contribute directly to the novel. The second reason is because in order to represent both 1939/1940 Europe and Hay, NSW accurately I needed to know so much! I needed the timeline to WWII in Germany and England, in Australia in general, and Hay in particular. Then I needed to know what life was like in Hay at the time (and that involved spending a lot – A LOT – of time on Trove, reading the twice-weekly regional newspaper.

Each reading exposed holes in my knowledge and let to more research. I thought I’d done enough research and was somewhere in the middle of drafting (tenth draft?) when I had the chance to visit Hay (It’s on the way from Melbourne to Canberra, right?). Much of what I’d researched was right, but there were several fundamental errors on my part – and each of those meant that if I wanted the story to be as close to real as I could make it, I needed to rewrite a number of key scenes. Aggh! But ultimately it was worth it.

  1. What Surprising Things Did you discover through the research process?

So many. There were so many things that I just hadn’t thought about, eg why did they chose Hay for the internment camps? (criteria included being far from the coast, having transport access, being built on sand to prevent escape attempts). Surprises were big and small and ranged from fathers being rounded up for internment in England, even when sons were employed by the army (and vice versa) to the camp having their own currency.

I met a man who had been a child at the time the internees arrived and he told me that there’d been Gatling guns set up inside the station, trained on the disembarking men. The same man told me about his father setting up on the chimney of their house, armed with several weapons and prepared to shoot if any of the men appeared on the street. Another surprise was that around 20 % of the internees were under 20 years-old.

  1. Writing tips

Claire’s latest release, Kookaburra

I use an A4 workbook for my research, in addition to online research. I write notes in it, on only one side of the page, with reference notes (reference book details and page number or online reference details etc). Sometimes I print out pages too, glue them in and highlight relevant information.

Don’t have too many characters. After writing mostly picture books, I thought, here is my chance to have lots of characters, and it is, but beware of having so many that it becomes confusing. Tom had many more siblings, reflecting family sizes of the time, but not all of them had enough of a role to justify their existence. Some had to go.

Research broadly, from multiple sources. Trove was a … treasure trove! It allowed me access to several regional newspapers, each with their own focus. All were helpful. The internet is wonderful and so are books. Each provides some of the same information, which is useful for corroboration, but each also provides different information, which helps to flesh out the historical world I was entering.

You can find out more about Claire and her work at https://clairesaxby.wordpress.com/

 

 

 

 

The Erasure Initiative – A Nail Biting YA Thriller

As soon as I saw the premise of Lili Wilkinson’s The Erasure Initiative, I knew it was going to hook me in and keep me up late into the night reading, which it did!

Seven people wake up on a driverless bus with no memory of who they are, or knowledge of where they’re going or what they’re doing there.

The story is told by teen, Cecily, a compelling, intriguing and totally believable character, except for the fact that she’s not even sure that’s who she is. As some of her memories surface, we start to see the real Cecily appear.

Also on the bus with her are the well tattooed Riley, take charge Sandy, who might be the mother of hot teen Paxton, angry Nia, naïve young Edwin and harmless old Catherine. One of them is a surprise passenger, but everyone else on the bus has something serious in common … we just don’t know it yet.

Soon after they get on the bus, a series of tests begins, in which the passengers must each choose an outcome; majority wins. But as the testing progresses, deadly secrets are revealed and the stakes get higher and higher. Soon Cecily is no longer just fighting for her freedom, she’s fighting for her life. 

The Erasure Initiative is a real roller coaster ride for both characters and the reader, and not everyone survives the journey.

It’s quite a simple concept, but Lili Wilkinson’s thrilling new YA novel is full of suspense and unexpected twists.

I loved the way each character was thoroughly explored and unique, and we grew to care about each of them in their own way.

The Erasure Initiative invites us to look below the surface to who people really are … and explore the questions of do we have potential for change and how can this affect our destiny?

The well-drawn characters, compelling scenario and fast pace of this novel keep us wanting more from each page – and we’re not disappointed.

The Erasure Initiative, written by Lili Wilkinson and published by Allen & Unwin is recommended for readers aged 14+

A New Fun Crocodile Book for Kids – and how to write one!

Much loved children’s author, Katrina Germain and illustrator, Tom Jellett have a wonderful new book due out next month!

Shoo You Crocodile! is a fun, raucous tale for imaginative young readers and small, brave adventurers. The story offers space for discussion around play, real and imagined stories and families can use the book to play their own make-believe monster games and learn about rhyming words. The book also teaches young readers about working together, being brave, facing challenges and problem solving. (from the publisher) Little Book Press 

Katrina says, The story was super fun to write. Escaping invisible crocodiles is like dodging molten lava; it’s an imaginary game that is played universally by children. I had the idea for this story while watching a group of children play in the sandpit. They were pretending that crocodiles were coming to get them. The book has noise and action with themes of imagination, teamwork and courage. The rhythm and rhyme is lively and there are crocodiles on the loose! What could be more fun than that?

As with every picture book I write, I want to appeal to both adults and children but my primary focus is the kids. Hopefully, young children will love this one because it’s playful with amusing elements of danger. As it was inspired by pre-schoolers exploring ideas together (creating a game about overcoming danger) it’s not about what adults want to tell children; it’s about what children want to tell themselves. There’s also something about crocodiles that intrigues young readers and always draws everyone in.

If educators and parents would like to use the book for other learning experiences there are opportunities to explore language and rhyming words. The main themes include working together, being brave and facing challenges with friends. The illustrator, Tom Jellett, has set the story in a museum, which adds additional, rich layers of meaning to the story. Families could spend ages examining the pictures and pondering the artefacts in the artwork. The book would be great to read before or after a visit to the museum.

THE WRITING PROCESS

What were the challenges of writing a story like this featuring a scary creature in a book for young children?

Great question! Books and play are wonderful ways for children to explore scary situations in a safe manner that makes them feel powerful. (There’s always a happy outcome at the end!) Tom Jellett’s entertaining art perfectly creates the right atmosphere. The crocodiles are running around on their two back legs so they’re not overly lifelike. The story is dramatic and suspenseful but the crocodiles never actually catch the characters or touch them; the children in the story successfully frighten the crocodiles away. The book has a child narrator and the tone is upbeat and energetic. I think all those thing help.

Can you give us 5 tips on how you wrote this book?

I tend to use different processes for different books but this one went something like this…

  1. Let children be the inspiration.

Observe and listen to children. Think about what’s important to them and what ideas they’d like to explore.

  1. Make it fun!

Do this through the use of captivating characters, action and drama and interesting language; use onomatopoeia, rhyme and colloquialisms.

  1. Edit and polish.

Rewrite and rewrite till your story is tight. (SHOO YOU CROCODILE is just under 200 words.)

  1. Trust the illustrator.

Don’t attempt to explain every aspect of the story in the written text. The illustrator will create a visual narrative that completes the story.

  1. Trust the readers.

Don’t spell out themes and messages in a boring, laborious way. Tell an engaging story and let readers discover aspects that interest them. If your book is authentic, layered and interesting readers will find ways to enjoy it.

Thanks Katrina for sharing these great tips.

Katrina Germein is a best-selling picture book author. Published worldwide, Katrina’s book Big Rain Coming has remained continuously in print since it was first published in 1999. Her popular title My Dad Thinks He’s Funny was Highly Commended in the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards. Thunderstorm Dancing is among many of Katrina’s CBCA Notable Books to have featured on children’s television programs such as Play School. In 2019 Katrina received the Speech Pathology Book of the Year Award for Let’s Go Strolling. Katrina is an ambassador for Raising Literacy Australia, a Books in Homes Role Model and a Premier’s Reading Challenge Ambassador. New titles in 2020 include Tell ’em! and Shoo You Crocodile! Katrina holds a Bachelor of Education and a Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education. She continues to teach part time.

You can find out more about Katrina at her website.

Happy Book Day – Breaking Storm

Vikki Holstein is the author of Breaking Storm, the first book in her romantic suspense series, White Wattle Creek.
A survivor of childhood sexual abuse, her writing reflects the courage it takes to trust again, and the struggle to forgive ourselves on the journey to finding love, peace, and happiness.
Now a wife, mother, and storyteller, she lives in central Victoria with her husband and herd of animals. When not writing, she spends time with her horses, helping her husband on his latest renovation project, or gardening.
ABOUT BREAKING STORM
Kelsey’s sole purpose in life is to keep four-year-old Pipa safe. Conceived in a violent, drug-induced rampage, Pipa is being hunted by the man responsible. He wants her dead, and no matter how far Kelsey and Pipa run, the brewing storm is never far behind.
 
Protection lies in Kelsey’s hometown of White Wattle Creek in the form of Ethan, the man who’d always been her safe place. The one she loved. And the one who broke her heart. But she not only has Ethan to face when she returns. The emotional abuse of her past and the truth surrounding Pipa’s existence both rain down on her from the clouds gathering overhead.
 
When Kelsey finally opens her heart to Ethan, her nightmares tip over into reality, and with Pipa’s future hanging in the balance, Kelsey must find the strength within to fight for their right to happiness … before the storm breaks.
VIKKI’S WRITING TIPS
1. Switch off the self editing for the first draft.
2. Listen to your gut. I’ve found trying to force the characters to keep to the outline blocks the process. Trust them to go where they are going.
3. Join a writer’s group. The support and contact with other writers helps with motivation, and the friends you make are wonderful.
4. Doing the mundane can help when the writing is stuck. I don’t know how many times I’ve come up with the answer to a stalled scene while I’m washing dishes.
5. Be proud of whatever genre you write in.
Breaking Storm started as a vivid scene in my head, and I knew this was the story I would pursue to publication. Kelsey spoke loud and clear about her part in it. Ethan was more reticent at first, but told his part in the end. And Pipa evolved from a minor character into my favorite four year old (other than when my own kids were four, oF course.
WHERE TO FIND VIKKI ONLINE
WHERE TO BUY BREAKING DAWN
Congratulations Vikki on the release of Breaking Storm!

Happy Book Day – Drowning in the Shallows

Drowning in the Shallows is an hilarious new adult comedy written by Dan Kaufman and published by Melbourne Books.
ABOUT DROWNING IN SHALLOWS
David’s journalism students petrify him. Then again, so does his cat.
His girlfriend broke up with him, he writes about bars for a shrinking newspaper that’s abandoned news reporting for lifestyle articles, and he’s desperately searching for meaning amongst the backdrop of Sydney’s shallow social scene.
Then he meets a young woman who just might be the answer. The only problem is, she’s a friend of one of his students.
Drowning in the Shallows is a comedy about heartache, a satire of Sydney society, a coming-of-age tale about a man in his 30s who is only now growing up, and a love story about a man and his beloved evil cat.
WHERE THE INSPIRATION CAME FROM
The setting and background details all came straight from my own life: from the main character’s job (he’s a journo and I used to be one too) right through to the world he used to inhabit (Sydney bars and social parties).
However, on a deeper level I was inspired by the men I knew who would have good intentions and genuinely not wish anyone any harm – but who would also often act in a sleazy way and not even realise it. I was struck by how I saw them act and how the women in their lives saw them completely differently.
I wanted to parody and ridicule male behaviour (including my own when I was younger) to show how it comes about and to make men rethink the way they behave. The best way I can put this is that if I had read this novel when I was younger, I’d like to think it would have changed the way I had acted – and thought.
DAN’S WRITING TIPS
1) Write about what you know. In my case, I used to be a journo for the Sydney Morning Herald who had to write about Sydney’s nightlife at one point – and it was such a ridiculous world that I thought it would be the perfect backdrop for a book about a heartbroken child man who needs to grow up.
2) Embrace rejection. I received countless rejections – and I mean thousands, not hundreds – before this book was picked up by a local publisher.
3) If in doubt, cut it out. I originally wrote my novel many years ago, but after a few years I reread it and thought that half of it was crap. As such, I took a deep breath, cut everything that didn’t make me laugh, think or that didn’t move the novel along briskly – and reworked the book. It was a tough decision, but I am so glad I made it.
4) Be true to yourself and write what you’re passionate about. I know this sounds like a hippy thing to say – but if your writing isn’t authentic, then it’s not going to work. People might love or hate my book – but at least I wrote what I truly wanted to, rather than what I thought would sell, even though some people told me there’d be no market for my book.
5) Fall in love with your characters. Your characters have to be complete, living breathing beings who are so real to you tha tyou would instantly know what they would say or do in any given situation. If not, then you need to develop them further.
WHERE TO FIND DAN ONLINE
WHERE TO BUY DROWNING IN THE SHALLOWS
Book purchase link:
Readers can order the book direct from the publisher (and read the first three chapters for free) at: https://www.melbournebooks.com.au/products/drowning-in-the-shallows-preview

Happy Book Day – The Long Shadow

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Anne Buist is the Chair of Women’s Mental Health at the University of Melbourne and has thirty years clinical and research experience in perinatal psychiatry, including forensic work. She is the author of three psychological thrillers, Medea’s Curse, Dangerous to Know, and This I Would Kill For, with tart noir heroine, psychiatrist Natalie King, and a new stand alone rural thriller, The Long Shadow. She has been married to Graeme Simsion for thirty years and they have two children, and a joint romantic comedy-feel-good mid-age novel, Two Steps Forward, and a sequel in progress, Two Steps Onwards.

ABOUT THE LONG SHADOW

Old Sins Cast Long Shadows…sometimes you have to deal with the past before you can face the future

Issy Harris has never heard of Riley, a town on the edge of the outback, much less want to end up there. But her husband Dean is the Red Adair of hospital stuff ups, and Riley is where they and their two year old son need to go. A psychologist, at least she gets a job running the mother-baby postnatal group to keep her occupied.

From the first group, Issy knows something is wrong. Badly wrong. Pulled into the politics of a company town where a culture of corruption is putting the viability of the hospital at risk, Issy is forced to make sense of a threats made against her and her son if she is to protect him. Nursing her own secret and struggling to keep her marriage together, Issy is pitted against the local union boss, the politician patriarch and his family as she tries to work out how they are tied into a twenty five year old tragedy – the kidnapping and murder of the older brother of one of the women in her group.  A desperate race against time and the unpredictable elements of nature results in a breathtaking climax where Issy is forced to choose what it is that she really values.

A story about mothers, attachment and the things that get in the way of being the parent you want to be.

ANNE’S INSPIRATION

For six years I ran an attachment therapy group. Clinically it was probably the most exhilarating time of my career as a psychiatrist; it felt a little like psychotherapy on speed. Women really wanted to let go of the ties that were keeping them stuck—and the lightbulb moments got them there. I wanted to use some of this experience and the work I have done over the last thirty years to highlight the tensions and anxieties becoming a mother can elicit—and use it to drive a pacey page turner with twists and turns.

ANNE’S WRITING TIPS

  1. Plan; my husband and I always plot our books together
  2. Researched the geography—drove up through central NSW and stayed around Dubbo and Nyngan
  3. Worked and reworked the characters
  4. Had two Indigenous women read and give feedback on my most challenging (Indigenous) character (and one of them made me watch Rugby!)
  5. Rewrote—took out 16,000 words

WHERE TO FIND ANNE ONLINE

Website blog https://www.annebuist.com/blog/

Twitter: @anneebuist

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/anneebuist

WHERE TO BUY THE LONG SHADOW

https://www.textpublishing.com.au/books/the-long-shadow

https://www.amazon.com.au/s?k=buist&i=stripbooks&ref=nb_sb_noss

Congratulations Anne on the release of The Long Shadow.

Historical Fiction Set in WWII

READERS STILL CONNECT WITH WWII

This year marks seventy-five years since the end of World War II, an important part of our heritage. And perhaps because of the pandemic and other modern day hardships, books set in WWII seem to be more popular than ever.

Stories of WWII heroines and heroes continue to inspire us.

When working on another book set in Paris, I stumbled across true accounts of Muslims at a Paris mosque who saved Jewish children during WW2, and it became the inspiration for my new book, Beyond Belief – Heroes of the Holocaust.

Beyond Belief – Heroes of the Holocaust

In 1942, in the Grand Mosque in Paris, 11-year-old Ruben is hiding from the Nazis. Already thousands of Jewish children have disappeared, and Ruben’s parents are desperately trying to find his sister. Ruben must learn how to pass himself off as a Muslim, while he waits for the infamous Fox to help him get to Spain to be reunited with his family.

One hint of Ruben’s true identity and he’ll be killed. So will the people trying to save him. But when the mosque is raided and the Fox doesn’t come, Ruben is forced to flee. Finding himself in the south of France, he discovers that he must adjust to a new reality, and to the startling revelation of the Fox’s true identity.

Family stories about my grandfather’s time in Dachau and my father’s escape from Austria after Kristallnacht, made me want to write about the Holocaust and when I came across the true life interfaith solidarity story of Muslims saving Jews from the Nazis, I knew I had to tell it.

REVIEWING THREE GREAT WWII HISTORICAL FICTION WORKS

Today I’m featuring three amazing  books set in WWII –  Conspiracy of Lies by Kathryn Gauci released in 2017 and two new books out this year, The Deceptions  by Suzanne Leal and Red Day by Sandy Fussell.

CONSPIRACY OF LIES – ADULT HISTORICAL FICTION

When Claire meets the mysterious Marcel, she knows there will never be another man like him in her life. But he’s not the man she thought he was and by the time she realizes, it’s too late. She’s already in love with him. When she takes on a pivotal role in the Resistance, Claire is risking her life for both her man and her country, but ultimately she must choose between them.

Conspiracy of Lies

Conspiracy of Lies is rich with suspense, and interwoven with complex relationships, both past and present. The dual timeline story keeps us turning the pages as we discover the truth alongside Claire’s daughter, Sarah.

This is a book for adult readers with the relationships explored on both an emotional and physical level. The characters are so well drawn that we feel like we know them, even the minor players.

One of the things I loved most about this book was the way the incredible historical detail was woven seamlessly into the story. The story starts in Brittany in 1940. The Phoney War is over and the real war has begun in France.

Author, Kathryn Gauci’s depiction of occupied France and life in the Resistance is so visceral that we can imagine ourselves right there in the story.

Kathryn and I talk about the research behind our books, Beyond Belief – Heroes of the Holocaust and Conspiracy of Lies here.

THE DECEPTIONS by Suzanne Leal

I interviewed author Suzanne Leal on my blog on 17 April so I already knew some of the background to The Deceptions and the fact that it was inspired by true events, and perhaps that’s why the authenticity of the story and setting shine through.

The Deceptions

It is both tragic and inspiring as we follow the survival story of Hana Lederová taken from her home in Prague in 1943, and imprisoned in a ghetto where she accepts the advances of a gendarme in return for his protection, but soon discovers that nothing and nobody can protect her from the Nazis.

This is another dual storyline as we follow the stories of Hana and her modern day granddaughter, Tessa who is suffering the same kind of manipulation by a man in power.

When their two worlds come together, secrets of the past are spilled and deceptions revealed that have far reaching consequences.

Suzanne Leal draws us into Hana’s life of fear and hardship, and we take each step with her, wondering what new horror is around the corner and whether she can survive it. We know she does because she has a granddaughter, Tessa, but we wonder whether her life can ever have any semblance of normality after what she has gone through.

Powerful characters, suspense and the eloquence of the narrative kept me turning the pages of The Deceptions and made me ponder at the end whether truth really is more important than anything.

RED DAY by Sandy Fussell

Set against a backdrop of the 1944 Cowra Prisoner of War Camp breakout, this powerful story explores an important part of Australia’s past and how it informs the future.

Set in a modern-day small town among the remnants of a Japanese POW camp, this is the story of Charlie. Charlie has synaesthesia and hence sees and hears differently: people have auras; days of the week are coloured; numbers and letters have attitudes. But when Charlie meets Japanese exchange student Kenichi, her senses intensify and she experiences flashbacks, nausea, and hears unfamiliar voices in her head pulling her back to the town’s violent past.

Red Day

Main character, Charlie isn’t looking forward to the arrival of Japanese exchange student, Kenichi, especially seeing as he’ll be occupying the room that used to be her brother’s.

Charlie is determined not to like the new arrival, but they have a connection that she has no control over, and he seems to have special abilities just like her.

As their friendship develops so does the mystery and intrigue in the story, and the widening gulf between Charlie and her mother.

It’s only through exploring the past that they can possibly find some resolution to the events that have come between them, and find closure for Kenichi and his family too.

I loved the uniqueness of Charlie, the main character and the way this story transports us between different worlds in such an unusual and vibrant way.

There’s also a strong theme of family and here again we see the effects of war through the generations. Red Day not only transported me into the fascinating world of synaesthesia but also Japanese war history of which I had very little knowledge. And it depicts an Australian experience of WWII.

With its elements of fractured families, fear and prejudice, Red Day is very relevant in today’s world.

Haywire

I have another book on order set in Australia in this era and also for young readers – Haywire by Claire Saxby and I’ll be interviewing Claire right here so keep your eye out for this post.

Have you read any other great books set in WW2II that you can recommend? Please let us know in the comments below.

 

Happy Book Day – Love the Foods That Set You Free

When Sarah Glass received a terrible medical diagnosis, she decided to do her own research into how to stay well.  In the process she discovered a wealth of information about gut health and how good gut health affects your immune system and thus every aspect of your health.

“How very topical right now – though I had no idea this virus was around the corner when I wrote it.”

“My friends who saw me transform to a much lower weight and a much healthier me, asked me to give a talk about what I had done to change my health status so dramatically, so I did, a year ago.  After the talk they all said, you need to write a book about this, everyone needs to know this stuff!!!  So here we are.  I hope the book in engaging, full of information but written in a style to be easy to read and understand.” 

Sarah had never written before, and her daughter Jessica helped her with both content and design.

ABOUT THE BOOK
Love the Foods That Set You Free is about health and wellness and covers many common chronic ailments and includes weight issues, all affected by gut health.  It is published by Busybird Publishing in Melbourne.

“Our book is about how to improve your gut health and thus your overall health and immunity through some lifestyle changes. It is based on Sarah’s story and describes her research and accidental discoveries along the way, including that gut health is at the core of most of our health issues, including the majority of chronic ailments – physical and mental, excess weight and autoimmunity.

What better time to improve your health and boost your immunity? This is an easy to read guide with scientific explanations, an overall plan and many resources to follow if you want to. Actioning some or all of the suggestions in this book will put you on a road to better overall health and immunity. A must read for anyone wanting to take control of their own health and future well-being.”

FIND SARAH AND JESSICA ONLINE

We have a website: https://www.lovethefoodsthatsetyoufree.com and a Facebook page:https://www.facebook.com/lovethefoodsthatsetyoufree/

The book can be bought on the website here: https://www.lovethefoodsthatsetyoufree.com/shop-landing-page

Happy Book Day Sarah and Jessica.

 

 

HAPPY BOOK DAY – THE JOY OF MONEY

Authors Julia Newbould and Kate McCallum want money to be a joy to women by helping them to feel confident to make positive decisions today and for a better tomorrow. Julia Newbould has a background in economics and journalism, leading editorial teams for financial services publications. She also founded and ran the Stella Network for BT from 2013 to 2019, supporting women in financial planning. She is currently editor-at-large for Money magazine. Kate McCallum is a financial adviser and director of award-winning firm, Multiforte Financial Services. She is Chair of FINSIA’s NSW Council and National Chair of the Association of Financial Advisers’ (AFA), Inspire Women’s Community, and the winner of AFA’s 2014 Female Excellence in Advice Award.

THE INSPIRATION BEHIND THE JOY OF MONEY

“Our inspiration came from the women around us who were all smart and sassy but had a limited financial knowledge and confidence to make decisions with their money. We felt that money is something at the heart of every decision we make. I wanted to change jobs, other friends wanted to move cities, others wanted to change careers or relationships – but all were affected by our money and so we wanted to make sure that women were doing enough with their money to give more choices when they needed.”

ABOUT THE BOOK

“This book is a welcome addition to women’s bookshelves as we all want to know how to better manage our money, avoid bad debt, put something aside for the future, and make sure the money we work so hard to earn will be there when we need it most. I’ve never paid much attention to money until now; I’m at an age where I wonder what will happen if I’m no longer working and earning money. I would imagine that is the same for many women.

                                                                                         Kate Ceberano, AM 

Money isn’t just about money. It’s about security. It’s about choices – to live your best life. It’s about everything money enables you to do and just as importantly what it allows you not to do. Women know that they need to be smart about money, but are often stopped short: they don’t know where to go, how to start, or who to trust. They want expert guidance about money that explains the detail and the big picture, which is why Julia and Kate wrote The Joy of Money.

The Joy of Money will help women navigate money related issues in their lives. Money is about choices and the options you give yourself by the way you manage money – today, tomorrow and the day after. The book covers setting goals, investing, superannuation, money and relationships, property, money and kids, your career, insurance and retirement. It sets out to create financial independence for women of all ages, because unless you have financial independence, your choices are very limited.

It gives some simple rules of thumb to make decisions and track your progress.
It also has some case studies of how others have managed their money and why they are in the positions they are in today and how they intend to make it to the future they desire.
FIVE TIPS ABOUT WRITING THIS BOOK
My co-writer, Kate McCallum and I talked about our friends and colleagues who needed help with their finances and after talking to each other about areas people didn’t know enough about and could really benefit from good advice we set about writing a simple money book – and by simple – I mean without jargon but not talking down in concepts – that would help women gain confidence to take more control of their finances and thus futures.
  1. Choose an audience – women, colleagues and friends we saw needed something like this, we saw the gap in the market and thought we’d fill it.
  2. We chose to be partners in this which helped us in getting it written, to a tight deadline, and on track in what we believed the book should be about
  3. We talked to many many women about where the gaps were in their financial knowledge was
  4. We are passionate about our subject – helping women gain independence and make the best of their financial positions which were affected by the gender pay gap and lack of super etc,
  5. We love teaching others and imparting the knowledge we have learned to help others avoid mistakes and make better decisions.

WIN A COPY OF THIS FABULOUS BOOK

Only open to Australia residents.

All you have to do is:

  1. In the comments section on this post, tell us why you’d like to win the book.
  2. Share it on social media and tag ‘Dee White Author’

Good luck!