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 – 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!

 

 

Happy Book Day – Call Me Kismet

PJ Mayhem is a Sydney based writer and dachshund wrangler, who swore she’d never write a romance—yet here we are! In her time as a copywriter for a natural therapies college, she didn’t once hear anyone utter the words ‘Oh my Buddha’, but there was much talk of signs. Her favourite thing to do is laugh out loud, and that’s what she hopes her writing will make people do.

ABOUT THE BOOK

PJ’s new book, Call Me Kismet was published in February this year. It’s an adult humorous chick lit that also appeals to me who have given it some great reviews.

Kismet’s destined to fall in love … but that’s not the future she had in mind. With all signs pointing to the one person who isn’t interested, fate is going to need a helping hand—if she’s to trust it at all …

Fiona Johnson has embraced spirituality, taken on the name Kismet and considers her love life to be a past life. Or she did … until her Energetic and Spiritual Healer throws everything into disarray when she sees a soul mate in Kismet’s aura, launching Kismet on a mission to fulfil her romantic destiny. Enter the Singing Fruitologist.

It’s going to take a lot more than affirmations and Lovers Oracle cards to force the hand of fate and deal with the havoc that Situation Singing Fruitologist causes in Kismet’s life—it’s going to take an entire Spiritual Support Pit Crew… And even then, is it really written in the stars or can she create her own destiny?

Call Me Kismet is a delightful and hilarious romantic comedy about faith, friendship and finding yourself.

 THIS INSPIRATION FOR CALL ME KISMET

I’d tried to write another novel but through a writing group at Writing NSW I really found my voice and learnt to embrace my style and love of quirky characters. Call Me Kismet marries this, my love of music and my many years’ experience working for a natural therapies college, I realised I had to write what I knew, what I loved and what made me laugh. It really stemmed from there.

PJ’S FIVE FABULOUS WRITING TIPS

  1. I’ve often heard it said that the book we think we’re writing isn’t the book we end up writing, and that is very true of Call Me Kismet. Approach your story as you would a mystery tour!
  2. As writers our lives are a collection of incidents, experiences and observations waiting to be turned into stories. I thought about what unique experiences I’d had and the environments I’d been in and how these could be used to layer into a novel.
  3. I really wanted to write something fun and different, so tried to write a story that had quite a few qualities /aspects that I’d not ever seen in other stories (but I think this is what all authors try to achieve).
  4. My imagination has a natural groove that it runs down – in my case quirky humour. My tip is to find what you’re drawn to and work with that. It makes your writing more real and enjoyable for you as the writer and ultimately the reader.
  5. Not really advice I’d give but one reason I came to write it – I was in a job I couldn’t stand, so much so that I put everything I had into writing the story, welcoming it as a complete distraction at the end of the day no matter how exhausted I was and spent every lunch time immersed in it.

FIND PJ ONLINE

Twitter
Facebook

BUY CALL ME KISMET

WIN A COPY OF THIS FABULOUS BOOK 

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All you have to do is:

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Happy Book Day – The Deceptions

Suzanne Leal is the bestselling author of The Teacher’s Secret and Border Street. A regular at literary events and festivals, she was the senior judge for the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards from 2017 to 2019 and is now a board director of Sydney Crime Writers Festival. A lawyer experienced in child protection, criminal law and refugee law. Suzanne lives in Sydney with her husband and four children. www.suzanneleal.com

ABOUT THE BOOK

“The Deceptions is a stunning example of the way fiction tells war better than any other form – I could taste its madness, its horror. Saw from the outside, its utter absurdity. For days after reading the novel I found myself wrestling with the price of betrayal, and the value of truth.” – Sofie Laguna, winner of the Miles Franklin Literary Award

Prague, 1943. Taken from her home in Prague, Hana Lederová finds herself imprisoned in the Jewish ghetto of Theresienstadt, where she endures the threat of transportation to the east. When she attracts the attention of her guard, a Czech gendarme, Hana reluctantly accepts his advances – hoping for the protection she so desperately needs.

Sydney, 2010. Manipulated into a liaison with her married boss, Tessa knows she needs to end it, but how? Tessa’s grandmother, Irena, also has something to hide. Harkening back to the Second World War, hers is a carefully kept secret that, if revealed, would send shockwaves well beyond her own fractured family.

Moving from wartime Europe to modern day Australia, this book follows a fractured family whose lives are built on the foundations of lies, love, deception and regrets.

WHERE THE INSPIRATION CAME FROM

My novel, The Deceptions, was inspired by a story told to me by my former landlords, Fred and Eva Perger, who were Czech and Jewish and who had both survived the Holocaust. As teenagers, Fred and Eva had been sent to the Theresienstadt ghetto, a Jewish internment camp outside Prague. Whilst there, they got to know one of the guards, a Czech gendarme, who was later arrested for having an illicit relationship with one of the detainees, a young Jewish woman. After the war, the guard returned home but the fate of the young woman remained unknown. Over the years, I found myself wondering what had happened to her. Because I didn’t have enough information to research her actual life – I didn’t even know her name – I re-imagined her instead. From here, The Deceptions unfolded.

SUZANNE’S FIVE FABULOUS WRITING TIPS

  1. I use the software program Scrivener to write my books. I like it because it’s easy to use, it has a useful side bar to view scene, characters and settings and it has a split screen function.
  2. There are two timelines in The Deceptions, one set in wartime Europe and the other in modern Sydney. For the wartime narrative, I had to do a lot of research. Wartime memoirs and a comprehensive work of non-fiction, Theresienstadt, by H. G. Adler were very useful.
  3. When I’m not working part-time as a lawyer, I try to write for three hours every day, preferable in the morning when I’m at my best.
  4. In writing The Deceptions, I was very conscious of my internal rhythm meter and tried to listen to it as I wrote.
  5. I always write out a full chronology when writing a new book. For The Deceptions, my chronology needed to be particularly comprehensive to ensure my wartime scenes were accurate.

WHERE TO FIND SUZANNE ONLINE

Facebook – author page – @suzanneleal
Facebook – personal profile @suzannelealauthor
Twitter – @suzanne_leal
Instagram – @suzannelealauthor
Linked In – Suzanne Leal

WHERE TO BUY THE BOOK

I would love it if readers could buy from their local bricks and mortar store, supporting them through this challenging time. Gleebooks have always be great to me and are now offering free delivery to all addresses within the Inner West Council and City of Sydney Council boundary areas, and anywhere in Australia for orders over $50. To order The Deceptions, from Gleebooks, click here:   https://gleebooks.worldsecuresystems.com/CatalogueRetrieve.aspx?ProductID=11349292&A=SearchResult&SearchID=178464402&ObjectID=11349292&ObjectType=27

To buy the audiobook of The Deceptions, beautifully read by Zoe Carides, please head to Audible: https://www.audible.com.au/search?keywords=suzanne+leal+&ref=a_typ_t1_header_search

The Deceptions is also available for purchase as an eBook: https://www.amazon.com.au/Deceptions-Suzanne-Leal-ebook/dp/B082KCFFWG

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!

Present Tense – Happy Book Day!

Natalie Conyer was born and grew up in Cape Town, South Africa. She lives in Sydney with Henry, the world’s most affable cat; and she gave up a perfectly respectable career to write crime fiction.

Her short stories have won several awards in the annual Scarlet Stiletto competition run by Sisters in Crime Australia.

Present Tense is Natalie’s first novel. It was the Pick of the Week in the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, in January this year.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Present Tense is a police procedural crime fiction published by Clan Destine Press. It takes you to Cape Town, to the thrilling and dangerous new South Africa.

Veteran cop Schalk Lourens wants a quiet life. Like the rest of the country, he’s trying to put the past behind him. But the past has a way of hanging on, and when Schalk’s old boss, retired police captain Piet Pieterse is murdered, Schalk must confront old demons.

Pieterse has been necklaced. A tyre was placed over his head, doused in petrol, and set alight. Necklacing is a throwback to apartheid, an execution generally reserved for collaborators. Who would target Pieterse this way, and why now, 25 years after apartheid ended?

Meanwhile, it’s an election year and people are pinning their hopes on charismatic candidate Gideon Radebe. But there’s opposition, and this volatile country’s on a knife edge. A wrong move could generate a catastrophe.

Schalk is drawn in to a world he no longer knows, where shadowy forces call the shots. He must tread a path between the new regime and the old, the personal and the professional, justice and revenge.

The investigation will change his life, and could alter his country’s future.

THE INSPIRATION FOR PRESENT TENSE

when I left Cape Town many years ago, the terrible apartheid regime was in place. When I returned, apartheid had gone and everything had changed. I wondered how people felt about their new society and decided to explore this by writing a crime novel. My central character, policeman Schalk Lourens, is an ordinary citizen trying to reconcile the past with the present.

NATALIE’S FABULOUS WRITING TIPS

  • Write every day, and at the same time if possible (wish I practiced this more rigorously)
  • Ignore the voice in your head that says it’s terrible. Just keep going.
  • Get feedback: friends whose opinion you trust, your writing workshop. You need someone to point out what you’ve missed.
  • Read, read, read. The more you read, the better you write
  • Reading drafts out loud helps show you what works and what doesn’t.

WHERE TO FIND NATALIE

You can find Natalie on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

Congratulations Natalie and Happy Book Day!

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 this post on social media and tag ‘Dee White Author’

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Oleanders are Poisonous – Happy Book Day!

AJ Collins is a Melbourne-based fiction author. A recipient of first prize and several commendations for the Monash WordFest awards, AJ has been published in various short story anthologies and magazines, and was awarded a place at Hardcopy 2018, a national professional development program for writers.

Her work has also been read on Radio Queensland. AJ graduated from RMIT’s Professional Writing and Editing Associate Degree in 2014 and has since established a successful editing and publishing business, AJC Publishing. Previous to this, AJ had an eclectic career from managing commercial mortgages, to working in a legal tribunal, to fronting her own function band for over twenty years. A one-time devotee of adrenaline sports, including bungee, skydiving, parasailing, sky-walking, sky-jumping, and volcano climbing, AJ is now happy to be settled at home with her hubby and two fur-kids, writing her adventures instead of living them.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Oleanders are Poisonous was published by AJC Publishing in March this year and is a great read for mature YA and adult readers.

It’s bad enough sixteen-year-old Lauren is losing her mum to a horrible disease and that her best friend is leaving town, but now the only person she thought she could trust is about to betray her in the worst possible way. A complex, mature YA coming-of-age story, filled with heartbreak, laughter and poignancy.

AJ’S FABULOUS WRITING TIPS

  1. Be honest; readers know when you’re phoning it in.
  2. If the writing moves you, it will move your audience
  3. Write everything, even the fearsome, brutal stuff. You can edit later.
  4. Know your genre conventions
  5. Take your time to make it shine

WHERE THE INSPIRATION CAME FROM

‘They’ say everyone has a book in them. This is mine. It’s drawn from personal experience. I grew up in the outback, red soil everywhere, a small community, and no-one talked about things that brought shame; you just got on with life.

WHERE TO FIND AJ COLLINS ONLINE

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AJCollinsAuthor
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ajcollinsauthor
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ajcollinsauthor/ 

Congratulations and Happy Book Day, AJ!

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!

The Girl With the Gold Bikini – Happy Book Day

Lisa Walker writes novels for adults and young adults. She has also written an ABC Radio National play and been published in the AgeGriffith ReviewBig Issue and the Review of Australian Fiction. Her recent novels include a young adult coming-of-age story, Paris Syndrome (HarperCollins, 2018), and a climate change comedy, Melt (Lacuna, 2018). She has worked in environmental communication and as a wilderness guide, and recently spent six months in a Kmart tent in outback Australia. Lisa lives, surfs and writes on the north coast of New South Wales. The Girl with the Gold Bikini is her sixth novel.

The Girl with the Gold Bikini was published by February 2020 but we think it’s never too late to say, ‘Happy Book Day’!

ABOUT THE BOOK

Eighteen-year-old Olivia Grace has deferred her law degree and ducked out of her friends’ gap-year tour of Asia. Instead, she’s fulfilling her childhood dream of becoming a private investigator, following in the footsteps of Nancy Drew and Veronica Mars – who taught her everything she knows, including a solid line in quick-quipping repartee, the importance of a handbag full of disguises, and a way of mixing business with inconvenient chemistry.

Playing Watson to the Sherlock of her childhood friend, detective agency owner Rosco (once the Han Solo to her Princess Leia), Olivia pursues a routine cheating husband case from the glitzy Gold Coast to Insta-perfect Byron Bay, where she faces yoga wars, dirty whale activism, and a guru who’s kind of a creep.

WHERE THE INSPIRATION FOR THE GIRL WITH THE GOLD BIKINI CAME FROM

I have always liked a gutsy, fast-talking Private Investigator heroine who gets herself into and out of messes with panache. ‘The Girl with the Gold Bikini’ was particularly inspired by the teen PIs Nancy Drew and Veronica Mars. Nancy Drew has been an institution since 1930. She has style and chutzpah, not to mention a snazzy sports car. My protagonist, Olivia, only has one of these – hint, it’s not style or sportscar – but there’s nothing to stop her trying. Veronica Mars, who first aired on TV in 2004, is a sassy smart-mouthed teen, who was also an inspiration

LISA’S FABULOUS WRITING TIPS

  1. Tip One – put your book away for a while, then come back to it. I started writing this book in 2005, then put it away for about 13 years, which is probably a bit extreme! But, I can vouch for the fact that a fresh perspective works wonders.
  2. Tip Two – when writing young adult, I don’t try to copy the latest teen-speak words. Words go out of fashion, so I think it’s more important to capture the emotional intensity of being a teenager.
  3. Tip Three – for YA fiction, I always try to keep the chapters short and end each with a cliff-hanger if possible.
  4. Tip Four – I read as much YA fiction as possible. It’s important to be aware of what else is out there so that you can avoid over-used or cliched storylines.
  5. Tip Five – for me, finding the right protagonist for the story I want to tell is central. Once I have a three-dimensional protagonist who I love, writing the story becomes so much easier.

WHERE TO FIND LISA ONLINE

Website: https://www.lisawalker.com.au/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lisawalkerhome/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/LisaWalkerTweet
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lisawalkerwriter/?hl=en
Blog: https://lisawalkerwriter.wordpress.com/

Congratulations and Happy Book Day, Lisa!

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!

No Small Shame – Happy Book Day

Christine Bell is a Melbourne fiction writer. Her debut historical novel No Small Shame was published by Ventura Press (Impact) April 2020.

In October 2019, Christine was awarded the inaugural Historical Novel Society Australasia (HNSA) Colleen McCullough Residency for an Established Writer. She is a Varuna fellow and holds a Master of Creative Writing (RMIT). Christine has had 35 short fiction works published for children. No Small Shame is her first adult novel.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Published by Ventura Press on 1 April, No Small Shame is the story of a young Catholic immigrant torn between love and duty at a time when there were high expectations but little agency for women.

Australia, 1914. The world is erupting in war. Jobs are scarce and immigrants unwelcome. For young Catholic Mary O’Donnell, this is not the new life she imagined. When one foolish night of passion leads to an unexpected pregnancy and a loveless marriage, Mary’s reluctant husband Liam escapes to the trenches. With her overbearing mother attempting to control her every decision, Mary flees to Melbourne determined to build a life for herself and her child. There, she forms an unlikely friendship with Protestant army reject Tom Robbins.

But as a shattering betrayal is revealed, Mary must make an impossible choice. Does she embrace the path fate has set for her, or follow the one she longs to take? From the harshness of a pit village in Scotland to the upheaval of wartime Australia, No Small Shame tells the moving story of love and duty, loyalty and betrayal, and confronting the past before you can seek a future.

CHRISTINE’S FIVE FABULOUS WRITING TIPS

  1. Track your research on a spreadsheet, every single fact, resource, book, website and contact. It will prove invaluable when it comes time to double check that obscure bit of information that you’ve long forgotten its origins.
  2. Walk the ground of your story whenever possible. Though one of my settings, a pit village in Scotland, had long been demolished, I was able to visit the site, see the light, feel the breeze, smell the local foliage. I travelled down a disused coal mine capturing that degree of darkness and sulphury smell as well as visited a reconstructed tenement row replicating the miner’s housing of 1910. Invaluable fodder, detail and inspiration for my story.
  3. Explore primary resources. I found the original design specifications and floor plans of the miners cottages in Wonthaggi. The descriptions, dimensions and specific detail helped me to reconstruct another of my character’s houses. I found these gems in the correspondence files of the State Coal Mine in the Public Records Office Victoria (PROV)
  4. Once your characters are fully formed and living on the page, let them make natural choices in keeping with their character. They can lead the way to the inevitable conclusion of your story.
  5. Give your story air time between drafts. It’s amazing the insights and revelations a break can reveal when you return to your manuscript with fresh eyes. I had a break of over two years between the first fully edited draft and the complete rewrite.

No Small Shame began as a passion project after I visited the State Coal Mine in Wonthaggi (Victoria) to explore my family history. My great-grandparents’ journey to Australia from a tiny pit village in Scotland cried out as a backdrop in need of a story; and so began a love affair that has taken me to my ancestors’ birthplace, down a Lanarkshire coal mine and onto the battlefields of France.

WHERE TO FIND CHRISTINE ONLINE

Website:             https://christinebell.com.au
Twitter:                https://twitter.com/chrisbellwrites
Facebook:           https://www.facebook.com/chris.bell.77377
Instagram:           https://www.instagram.com/christinembell

The Swing Tree is available where all good books are sold.

Congratulations Christine and Happy Book Day.

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!

The Philosopher’s Daughters – Happy Book Day

Today we’re celebrating Alison Booth’s Happy Book Day with her adult historical fiction, The Philosopher’s Daughters.

Alison was born in Melbourne, brought up in Sydney and lives in Canberra. She has worked in the UK and in Australia as a professor as well as a novelist.

Her new novel, The Philosopher’s Daughters, is set in the 1890s in London and Australia. Her previous novels include A Perfect Marriage, a work of contemporary fiction, while her first three novels (Stillwater Creek, The Indigo Sky, and A Distant Land) are historical fiction spanning the decades 1950s through to the early 1970s.

Alison’s work has been translated into French and has also been published by Reader’s Digest Select Editions in both Asia and Europe. Stillwater Creek was Highly Commended in the ACT Book of the Year Award in 2011 and A Perfect Marriage was Highly Commended in the 2019 ACT Writing and Publishing Awards.

The Philosopher’s Daughters is published by RedDoor Press and paperback and e-book editions are available from today. April 2020.  The large print edition and the audiobook will be available form early July.

ABOUT THE PHILOSOPHER’S DAUGHTERS

London in 1891: Harriet Cameron is a talented young artist whose mother died when she was barely five. She and her beloved sister Sarah were brought up by their father, radical thinker James Cameron. After adventurer Henry Vincent arrives on the scene, the sisters’ lives are changed forever. Sarah, the beauty of the family, marries Henry and embarks on a voyage to Australia. Harriet, intensely missing Sarah, must decide whether to help her father with his life’s work or to devote herself to painting.

When James Cameron dies unexpectedly, Harriet is overwhelmed by grief. Seeking distraction, she follows Sarah to Australia, and afterwards into the outback, where she is alienated by the casual violence and great injustices of outback life. Her rejuvenation begins with her friendship with an Aboriginal stockman and her growing love for the landscape. But this fragile happiness is soon threatened by murders at a nearby cattle station and by a menacing station hand who is seeking revenge.

ALISON’S FABULOUS TIPS ON WRITING

To understand history, we rely on the reports of others. And when we read those words we might ask ourselves whose stories are missing. Typically, it will be the stories of those who were losers, of those who had no power at the time; for example. the disenfranchised, the dispossessed, the defeated.  And this is where writers of historical fiction can present different perspectives of the past to those that are found in standard straight historical texts. The fiction writer can tell a story that includes the marginal voices that history left aside. This was one of my goals.

As with all my novels, at the first-draft stage I try to work consistently every day on the manuscript. Not for long, maybe an hour or so each day. Once the draft is complete, I put it away for a while, and return later for further drafting. At the redraft stage I try to set aside weeks to work on it, until it drives me mad and I put it to one side again. The Philosopher’s Daughters took many years to write, not only because of the research required but also because my thinking evolved over its writing.

My plotting is largely done at the start. This might seem very constraining to some people, but it allows me to keep track of where I am. And while much of this detailed preplanning goes out the door as the novel proceeds, it’s very helpful at the beginning.

Before beginning a novel, I also decide whose viewpoint I want to write from, and if there will be one or multiple viewpoints. As the sisters in The Philosopher’s Daughters are very different in spite of their common upbringing, I chose to tell the story from each of their viewpoints. This allowed the narrative to be more nuanced than if I’d been writing from the perspective of one of the sisters.

In the second half of the 19th century, my ancestors sailed from England and Scotland to the colonies of New South Wales and Victoria. It’s always struck me how brave they were, and I grew up fascinated by the thought that Australia once comprised such small colonies teetering on the edge of a vast continent. In this novel I wanted to travel back in time to view it through the eyes of two well-educated young women.

WHERE THE INSPIRATION FOR THE PHILOSOPHER’S DAUGHTERS CAME FROM

For years the idea for my new novel, The Philosopher’s Daughters, just wouldn’t let me alone. I kept imagining 1890s London and two strong young women, the daughters of a moral philosopher. Someone like John Stuart Mill, a great advocate for the emancipation of women. Someone who gives the girls a relatively modern upbringing. Then I thought of altering the sisters’ circumstances so that they separately choose to journey into remote and wild Australia. What might happen to them?  How might they see life at the ‘frontier’ once they are confronted with the brutal dispossession of the Indigenous population? How would their characters develop as they faced danger?

See also https://www.alisonbooth.net/

You can find out more about Alison and her work at her website, www.alisonbooth.net and her Facebook page iat  www.facebook.com/AlisonBoothAuthor/ . Her Twitter handle is @booth_alison and her Instagram account name is alisonboothauthor9723

Her Facebook page is at https:// www.facebook.com/AlisonBoothAuthor/ . Her Twitter handle is @booth_alison and her Instagram account name is alisonboothauthor9723

Congratulations and Happy Book Day, Alison!

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!

 

The Brisbane Line – Happy Book Day

Judith Powell lives out of Brisbane and today we’re celebrating the Book Day for her new adult historical crime fiction, the Brisbane Line.

It’s not surprising that Judith writes in this genre. She’s an archaeologist and historian with a passion for bringing the past to life. She has worked as a high school teacher, an academic, a National Parks officer, a museum administrator and has excavated in Jordan, Cyprus and Greece as well as leading historical archaeology projects in Australia.

The Brisbane Line is her first work of fiction. Previously she has written school textbooks, academic publications, government reports and a biography of the first person to teach archaeology in Australia (Love’s Obsession. The lives and archaeology of Jim and Eve Stewart. Wakefield Press. 2013). In 2017 she was awarded a QANZAC Fellowship by the State Library of Queensland to pursue research into, and writing of, a series of crime novels set in Brisbane during World War II.

ABOUT THE BRISBANE LINE

As WWII ravages the world and the Japanese Empire has set its sights on Australia, the Americans have come to save us. But not all soldiers are heroes and not all heroes are soldiers.

Sergeant Joe Washington, a US Military Police, loves music and photography but spends his days delving into the sordid and petty crimes committed by the thousands of American troops passing through town.

While trying to find stolen gasoline stores, he is sent to investigate the body of an American soldier found dumped in a cemetery. Suddenly Joe is up against notorious detective Frank Bischof.

Although ordered to leave the investigation alone, Joe fears that Bischof is protecting the most likely suspect while trying to pin the crime on an innocent – and intriguing – young woman, Rose. A woman who seems to walk between the parallel worlds of black market deals and Brisbane’s high society.

Praise for J.P. Powell ‘Beautifully textured, thoughtful and satisfying.’ Emily Maguire

JUDITH’S TIPS ON WRITING

• Listen
• Learn
• Experiment
• Don’t be a prima donna

• Just sit and write

“Crime fiction is brilliant at portraying place (think Ian Rankin’s Edinburgh, Peter Carey’s Sydney or Donna Leon’s Venice) and historical period (think Lindsay Davis’s ancient Rome, Sulari Gentil’s 1930s Sydney). I love research and will happily pore over old newspapers and documents for hours. This research helps create an authentic atmosphere, but atmosphere is not story.

One of the lessons I had to learn was how to craft a story from all my research. As a member of the Queensland Writers Centre I attended numerous writing workshops and you always learn something. One of the most important things you learn is that you’re not alone. You’re seldom the worst writer in the group and seldom the best. You need to develop a degree of courage and confidence, but ego can be the enemy if it stops you from learning from others. ”

Judith’s inspiration for ’The Brisbane Line’ came from a lifelong love of crime fiction, a fascination with life in wartime Brisbane AND the discovery of a series of crime files kept by an American Military Policeman based in Brisbane during World War Two. How could she not write this?

You can find Judith online at https://jppowellauthor.wixsite.com/website

WHERE TO BUY THE BRISBANE LINE

You can buy The Brisbane Line here:

In Qld at AVID Readerhttps://avidreader.com.au/products/the-brisbane-line

Elsewhere
Booktopia 
Dymocks

Happy Book Day Judith and congratulations on the release of The Brisbane Line.

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!