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Roses are Blue - Interview with Sally and book review [Jul. 24th, 2014|08:52 pm]
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Today I am pleased to welcome Sally Murphy to my blog and be part of the blog tour for

roses
Welcome Sally.

Sally has answered a few of my questions about the book.

Why the name Amber and then all the other colour names?


I’ve always liked the name Amber, and it went well, I thought, with Rose, meaning ‘yellow rose’. Yellow roses are seen as symbols of friendship and positive thoughts. Amber is, ultimately, optimistic, so I feel she suits her name.

The other colour names didn’t come so easily. Initially I thought it would be fun if Amber had friends whose names all started with the same letter – so it was Amber and Amelia and Amy and Abby (I think). However, not only was this confusing for readers, but in early drafts I got a bit confused myself. Su, from Walker Books, suggested I find another way to link them, and then I thought of colours.



What effect do you hope this book will have on children who read it?


I hope they will feel sad with Amber, but end the story feeling that there is hope both in Amber’s life and in the world in general. I really want reading my books to be a positive experience for readers. It took quite a bit of work to ensure that there was enough hope in Amber’s story.



Were you ever embarrassed by a parent or sibling?


Given that they’re probably reading this, I’ll have to say no. Only joking – of course I was. Mums are meant to be embarrassing sometimes. And I was the youngest of six children, so I think each of my siblings at some point did something to embarrass me. But you know what? I’ll bet I embarrassed them more. I was a bit cheeky, a bit loud, and, being younger, didn’t always know when I was embarrassing them. So if you’re reading this family – sorry.



Did you know how this novel would end before you wrote it? Or did you consider any alternate ending?


Not really. I knew it would end with hope, with a sign that life would go on, and possibly get better, for the Rose family. I didn’t know about the art contest, or Leroy’s role, or even the cupcake party. I didn’t really consider an alternate ending, but the ending did get stronger as I worked on bringing those different aspects together.

Thanks so much for the questions Dale, and for having me on your blog.


My pleasure Sally and now to my review of Roses are Blue

This verse novel, which tells the story of Amber and her mother who has been in an accident and is now in a wheelchair, is a heart-warming story that is simply and beautifully written. Last Saturday I read Roses are Blue and cried my way through it. I so felt for the young Amber and her decidedly mixed feelings. This book also shows the hierarchy that goes on in schools – if you are part of the ‘in’ crowd or not. I liked the pictures of family loving and supporting each other from Aunt Fi who leaves her job to help care for her sister and her family and the loving relationship between Amber and her young brother. I liked the use of colours for names of Amber’s friends. This is an easy to read verse novel which I read straight through in one sitting. It is one that effortlessly draws readers into the story and stirs the emotions. The black and white illustrations by Gabriel Evans add to the overall effect as they perfectly capture the feel and emotions of the story. This is a gem of a book and one destined I suspect to do well again in CBCA awards.



roses are blue




Tuesday, July 22nd Karen Tyrrell
Wednesday, July 23 Alphabet Soup
Thursday, July 24 Kids’ Book Review
Friday, July 25 Write and read with Dale
Saturday, July 26 Diva Booknerd
Sunday, July 27 Children’s Books Daily
Monday, July 28 Boomerang Books Blog
Tuesday, July 29 Australian Children’s Poetry
Wednesday, July 30 Sally Murphy

@SallyMurphy | Sally on Facebook | SallyMurphy.com.auSally book covers
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Better than a Super Hero - book review [Jul. 22nd, 2014|08:14 am]
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21st - 25th June 2014




(Wombat books 1 May 2014)



By



Belinda Francis, illustrated by Kayleen West






About the Book



Who is better than a superhero? Find out about Jesus as you explore what he did and who he was. And most importantly how Jesus really can be your best friend!



About the Authors






Belinda Francis

Award winning journalist turned children's author Belinda Francis worked in newspapers, magazines and electronic media for ten years in South Africa before she and her family immigrated to Queensland.



Shortly after arriving in Australia, her elder son was diagnosed with ASD and she devoted the next few years to his early intervention, which with God's guidance, has paid off miraculously. Her second son, who had been born ten weeks prematurely, is now healthy and strong – evidence of yet another miracle. She and her family recently celebrated the arrival of their third child, a much-prayed for daughter.



While raising her children, Belinda wrote Better than a Superhero, her first published book, and threw herself into the local church and community. She runs the Sunday school program at her church campus.



Belinda is passionate about raising children up in God's kingdom and excited about the ministry opportunities the book will undoubtedly open up.






Kayleen West

An award winning artist, her work hangs in private and corporate collections in France, United States, Italy, and the Australian Embassy in Ireland and in government collections in Australia.




Although an initial childhood dream was to write and illustrate for children, Kayleen was encouraged to venture into a career of an exhibiting fine artist and later a graphic designer.

Returning to her original passion in 2009, Kayleen is now a published children's Author and Illustrator working on her third children's book and writes Christian content for magazines and blogs.



Kayleen is the author and illustrator of Without Me? (Wombat Books, 2013) and the illustrator of Better than a Superhero (Even Before Publishing, 2014).

For more information: www.kayleenwest.com.au


My review

• I love the concept of this picture book, the title and the bright primary colours throughout. Isn’t the cover gorgeous? It promises so much fun! The text is simple and reads well and brings the reader quickly and firmly to the idea of a Creator. The divinity of Jesus with God as His Father is explained simply as is His mission. I like how it explained His mission. But I found one important aspect missing - the cross. One presumes then it is up to the parent to explain how Jesus made sure ’nothing d could get in the way of us knowing his father,’ and to mention the cross and resurrection. This book is a good tool that could open areas for discussion and I’d suggest that’s what it needs an adult to explain and fill in the blanks with references and more of the bible stories.

• I liked the way the text differentiated between the usual role of a king which kids would probably be familiar with in fairy tales and other books. It gives a great and clear picture of who Jesus is and the illustrations are a delight. My reservation with this book is the illustrations of Jesus and I admit I’m not often a fan of illustrations of Jesus. I realise this is a personal thing, but I didn’t like the cartoonish style, even though it was probably in keeping with the other illustrations. I also though t it could be confusing when you have illustrations of Jesus to then say, ’you might not be able to see him.’ A couple of quibbles in what is otherwise a delightful book with a good clear message that is pitched at a child’s level of understanding and is a good introduction to the person of Jesus.
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Head to Toe- book review [Jul. 9th, 2014|02:03 pm]
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head to toe

Published by Acorn Press April 2014

It’s hard to know where to start in reviewing this book, as there is so much to read and consider. It really helps put a lot of things into context. This is an insightful look into a leadership model for Christian society. It clearly shows what a great change this meant for those early male followers of Jesus. For them to follow Jesus meant a move downward in importance. It identifies how men in the Mediterranean world at the end of the first century were called by Jesus to a different model of leadership, taking them from a model as lead-as- dictator to one of leader- as- servant. Reading this book could well change your thinking or at least cause you to look at lives and incidents in the New Testament with fresh eyes.


This book follows through the lives of many New Testament men starting with Zechariah, father of John the Baptist. It raises some interesting thoughts about John and his ministry that I had not considered before. It also covers not just the well know men such as Paul, Peter , John and James but some of those who only make brief biblical appearances like Simeon, Gaius, Crispus and others.


Christianity brought about huge changes and cost. For the disciples, especially any who were the eldest son in a family, walking away from family responsibilities was a huge step and brought great dishonour. These followers of Jesus were ‘exiled from their household and thus suffered a loss of identity and status.’ Because of this the Romans at Antioch first labelled them Christians – that is ‘belonging to the household or tribe of Christ.’


‘Travel was regarded as somewhat deviant behaviour in those days.’ For people of today’s society who are often used to being able to travel at will without needing a reason, other than pleasure, it seems strange to think a person had to have a legitimate reason to travel, like going to the temple in Jerusalem or to visit family. I guess I’d never thought before that while they were travelling with Jesus, the disciples had not been earning any money and so had no finances of their own to buy anything. No wonder they looked at Jesus blankly when he told them to give the crowds something to eat!


The chapter devoted to male leadership in the early church brings up the point of headship and how that meaning is often wrongly interpreted as having authority, when in reality Christians, both men and women, are ‘to emulate the coordinating, representative and self sacrificing role of Jesus as head of the church. This carries no sense of authority or privilege.’ Obviously these couple of sentences need to be read in context not only of the whole chapter about headship but in the context of the ideas set forth in the book.


Yet somehow over the years we have got away from that model and have a different idea of headship. I particularly liked the thoughts expressed in the last two paragraphs of this book. At the end of the book there is an appendix of all the men mentioned in this book and the biblical or other literary references to each one plus , for those who would like to delve deeper, a select bibliography of texts.


I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It made me think. This is a book to read, share with others and re-read. Recommended.
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Historical Fiction [Jun. 2nd, 2014|11:22 am]
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is introducing

Charter to Redemption

(Even Before Publishing 1 May 2014)



By



D.J. Blackmore




About the Book

At the close of 1821, the penal colony of Newcastle looks to be every bit as black as it's painted. Emma Colchester charters a ride to Australia with a promise of marriage to a man she has never met. But appearances aren't always as they seem. And with a commitment unavoidable Emma learns that shackles are not always forged from iron. Tobias Freeman longs for redemption and hope. After a rough journey to New South Wales, Tobias learns the rations, the regulations, and the reprisal. But neither Emma nor Tobias expect the repercussions.



About the Author



D.J. Blackmore grew up in the wine growing region of the Hunter Valley, New South Wales and is currently based in Central Queensland.

She draws inpiration for her historical fiction novels from her love of age-old crafts such as spinning and cheese making. She considers being the mother of five, her greatest achievement.







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my review

The time is 1821 and Emma Colchester is on her way to Australia, specifically Newcastle, to marry Gideon Quinn, a man she has never met. When she meets him, Gideon is not at all what she is expecting. But before Emma gets to Newcastle and she meets the man she has promised to marry, disaster strikes.
She is saved by the convict Tobias Freeman. Even that situation is not without its problems, for she finds herself attracted to Tobias. Not only are they of different classes with her being the daughter of a clergyman while Tobias is a convict, despite the attraction she feel for him she feels obliged to honour her promise to marry Gideon Quinn, even though he has been dishonest with her. As the book goes on it is revealed further, Quinn is not at all as he initially seemed in appearance or character.
It was a refreshing change to see a historical novel not set in Sydney and I liked the historical setting of Newcastle for the novel. I also liked the characters of Emma and Tobias, even though at times I found Emma’s behaviour a little hard to understand. She had plenty of pluck and I liked the way she refused to let convention dictate her actions and pitched in at the hospital. Gideon, was one who through the course of the novel, shows his true colours.
One thing I found hard was some of the wrong paragraphing and mistakes that had been allowed to creep in. At times this made it a little harder to read. That quibble aside, I enjoyed the story. Those who like historical novels and romances should enjoy this book. I’ll be interested to see what this author writes next.
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A Fun Quest [May. 28th, 2014|01:18 pm]
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kelseyWhat a delightful book. This is a very easy to read book for children around 8 years of age. It gives the story of Kelsey, who with her parents, goes over to Pakistan where her father is intent on helping the people rebuild after floodwaters have destroyed homes, lives and families. Kelsey is not at all happy about leaving her Nanna or Chantelle and her other friends.

Her Nanna, who they keep in touch with by email and Skype, devises a story about Amy Jo, a porcelain doll and her adventures. Amy Jo wants to finds someone to love her. I loved the juxtaposition of Kelsey’s life and the changes she undergoes with the story being created by Kelsey and her Nanna for Amy Jo.

Meanwhile Kelsey finds her attitudes towards Pakistan changing after she makes friends with Shakila. The contrast between the life Kelsey and her family have lived in Australia and life in Pakistan is brought out effectively. This book is a joy to read. It is one that presents friendship, kindness, love, family relationships, compassion, courage and self sacrifice, in a natural, and positive way. I also loved the way in this novel, Kelsey was reading another book which is also a favourite children's book of mine recently. Very clever. Yes, Rosanne Hawke does mention what the other book was in her note at the end.

This is a gently humorous but thought provoking book that should make it on to many home bookshelves and school libraries. Highly recommended.
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(no subject) [May. 24th, 2014|03:06 pm]
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19th - 23rd May 2014



is introducing



About the Book

Women are most likely to express their deepest thoughts to a trusted friend. At its best, prayer is simply that; a conversation with a friend who is never too tired, too busy or too pre-occupied to listen and respond.



From personal prayers to prayers about family,friends and the wider world, interweaved with Scripture and thought provoking quotes, this inspirational resource helps women of all ages to genuinely connect with God,and build and maintain a strong prayer life.



About the Author




Marion Stroud has written 3 children's books, and 23 non-fiction titles. She lives in Bedford UK the town in which John Bunyan wrote his famous Pilgrim's Progress. She is a cross cultural trainer for Media Associates International [www.littworld.org] which works to help Christian writers, editors and publishers write and publish culturally appropriate material in the 'spiritually hard places' of the world. You can contact marion at www.marionstroud.com


My review
Honesty and heartfelt emotion are two of the keys to this book of prayers from Marion Stroud. I loved the way this book include prayers, Bible verses, and quotes from famous people like John Bunyan,. Seneca, Elisabeth Elliot, Martin Luther King Jnr, Harper Lee (from to Kill a Mocking bird), Dale Evans Rogers, T.S. Eliot, Dietrich Bonheoffer, Leo Tolstoy, and the wisdom inherent in the quote by Ruth Bell Graham regarding teaching the bible. Even though not in her class, I could associate with the quote from Mother Teresa.
The book is split into sections that take you through the varying stages of a woman’s life. The topics covered include: A woman within, A woman and marriage, A woman and her children, A woman and her friends, A woman at work, A woman and her family of Faith, A woman and the Wider World, and a Woman growing older. There were a number that particularly resonated with me including A Different Kind of Fast. I especially liked the fast from criticism and the fast from fear. What's in a Name? made me think about my own name and my life. One that particularly struck me was Just another man, which looks at the pressure and responsibility congregations put on their pastors. It deals with the unrealistic expectations they often have to try and live up to which can in some cases produce the response detailed in the prayer, Just Another Man? It is sad but true that we load too much onto our pastors and expect them to be perfect when in fact they are not.
This is a book that will encourage, challenge and support women in the issues they face in their lives. I’m not usually into prayers written by others but I have to say I loved this book and found it encouraging and challenging as well as uplifting. Being practical and beautifully presented this would make an ideal gift or a special female friend or family member.
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The Old Revisited [May. 19th, 2014|02:36 pm]
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Pinocchio

The text is the original unabridged version by Carlo Collodi translated in 1926 and the illustrations are by Robert Ingpen. It is interesting to read a little about the author and learn that the story was initially written as a serial over two years. Because it was initially created as a serial it is a story when Pinocchio goes from one escapade to another. Given that the original story was written between 1881 and 1883, it should perhaps come as no surprise that the story is moralistic and also darker than what to many is the later more familiar Disney version with a talking cricket called Jiminy. In this original version of the story Pinocchio kills the talking cricket fairly early in the piece, so he is not a major player in the story as he is in the Disney version.

I had mixed feelings about this book. On the one hand it is a beautiful presentation volume. The illustrations by the Australian illustrator Robert Ingpen are, as you would expect, magnificent. Most of the 36 chapters start with a two page colour illustrations with other colour illustrations scattered throughout. For the artwork alone, this is a book that would be treasured because the illustrations are so beautiful.

However, I admit aspects of the story concerned me. It seemed that Pinocchio was inconsistent in behaviour, almost as if the author was a bit confused about him. Or maybe that was a result of the story initially being written as a serial and having to keep readers following along each episode so there is a lot happening. Despite these reservations, this book will I am sure find a place in many homes and libraries. It is always interesting to read a story as it was originally intended, before it was altered to meet the demands and attitudes of the times.

Published 2014 by Walker Books Australia
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(no subject) [May. 8th, 2014|10:08 am]
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5th - 9th May 2014



is introducing


Imogen’s Chance

(Even Before Publishing April 2014)



By



Paula Vince


About the Book







She has given herself a chance to fix her personal history. But will old mistakes bring up new emotions?



Imogen Browne longs to make up for past mistakes before she can move on. She quietly resolves to help the Dorazio family, whose lives she accidentally upset. Her biggest challenge is Asher, the one person who may never forgive her. And he is facing a crisis of his own. Imogen must tread very carefully, as trying to fix things may well make them shatter.





A sensitive story about misplaced loyalty, celebrating life and falling in love. Can family secrets concealed with the best intentions bear the light of day?



About the Author






Paula Vince's youth was brightened by great fiction and she's on a mission to pay it forward. A wife and homeschooling mother, she loves to highlight the beauty of her own country in her stories. Most of them are set in the lovely Adelaide Hills, where she lives. Paula's books are a skillful blend of drama and romance. Together with elements of mystery and suspense, you will keep turning pages.


For my review of this book and an interview with Paula Vince please go to http://orangedale.livejournal.com/112238.html on April 3
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A bit out of the ordinary but interesting [May. 2nd, 2014|03:04 pm]
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This is not My Hat

This is not My Hat

By Jon Klassen
hat

As winner of the 2013 Caldecott Medal I was very curious to read this book. The cover and end papers are beautiful and the illustrations simple and effective. As for the text, it starts off with
This hat is not mine.
I just stole it


The small fish who has stolen the hat then goes into explanations which appear to excuse his behaviour, e.g. the big fish was asleep, won’t wake up for a while, the hat doesn’t really fit him, he probably won’t notice the hat is gone and even if he does, won’t know who to blame or where to find the hat. The small fish has a hiding place. Someone sees him but promises not to tell which way he went. Will he keep his promise? The little fish knows what he has done is wrong but doesn’t care.

Of course things don’t work out quite as the little fish expects. As a read aloud picture book I’m not convinced by the book. But as a cautionary tale about actions and consequences which could involve readers in thinking through the rights and wrongs of the actions involved it could provide a lot of discussion. When I first read it I came to the conclusion the big fish had probably eaten the small fish or at least monstered him and taken his hat back. Is there any other interpretation? That’s up to the reader to decide. Was it a worthy Caldecott winner? That is also up to readers to decide. While I liked it, I wasn’t a hundred percent convinced.

Oliver
By Birgittta Sif
oliver

Oliver is a boy who feels a bit different. Why is he different? Is it because Oliver wears glasses or because he is a loner who talks to his stuffed animal and sock puppet friends? They have lots of adventures together. But one day Oliver sets off an adventure that turns out quite differently for him.

This is a book with a feel good ending and yet I had reservations. My question is if a child was feeling a bit different would this story make them feel better about themselves and help them? Maybe it would. Again it is a book that could provoke discussion about that is it okay to be different or what one can do to help people who feel a bit different.

There is the pathos of the lonely child who wants to fly away and who at times feels totally alone. See the pages where he plays the piano and no-one listens. However it is still a book that encourages and applauds imagination. The illustrations in subdued tones are interesting and visually attractive, or the later ones are the ones with the family gathering look every stiff.

Both these books are thought provoking books that are a bit different but charming in their own way.
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Chance Would be a Fine Thing- Interview with Paula Vince [Apr. 3rd, 2014|08:22 am]
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Today I welcome Paula Vince author of imogen Imogen's Chance to my blog for an interview. Welcome Paula.

paula


1) What comes first for you, character or plot?

I think that at the start, I come up with about one quarter plot and three quarters character. I may get the glimmer of a plot from something I’ve overheard or seen in the media. Then ideas for characters draw me in until I have their personalities, appearances and histories, locked into my mind. That’s when I go back to work on filling in the plot to give it more depth.

I believe the two should be well balanced, yet if one gets more emphasis, I’d prefer it to be character. I’ve reached the end of several novels with complex characters and dull plots. Yet when the opposite happens, it’s harder to hold my interest. If the characters don’t appeal to me, I don’t care how exciting their lives are.

2) Was there a particular incident, place or monument that first sparked your thinking for this novel?

One of my favourite places to travel in the summer is a coastal town named Port Elliot, a 45 minute drive from our home in the hills. It’s a beautiful seaside town built around a bay shaped like a horseshoe, with old stone buildings and a rugged coastal walk, which tends to get rough and slippery around the edges when the sea pounds against the rocks, sending up towers of salt spray. For years, I’ve wanted to feature the location in one of my novels, and my chance came with ‘Imogen’s Chance’. Port Elliot is the ideal place for some of the events in the story to happen.

I like including small South Australian towns in my novels. They are pretty enough places to make excellent settings, and it pleases locals to read about their familiar locations in stories.

3) Did you know how the novel would end before you wrote it? Or did you consider any alternate ending?

I knew how the story concerning my hero, Asher, would end. That was non-negotiable. But I did figure out a few other details as I wrote. Imogen herself is such an enigmatic girl, with a lot of mystery surrounding her, even though she’s the main character. Readers will quickly find out that she is battling guilt over something that occurred long ago. My choice was how culpable to actually make her. I could have had her virtually innocent of any wrongdoing, blameworthy enough to match her guilt complex, or somewhere on a gradient in between. Her involvement in the big revelation took form the more I came to know her as I wrote. I’ll leave it to readers to decide whether or not she beat herself up too much. Some may even think she got off too lightly. Differences of opinion wouldn’t surprise me at all.

4) What was the most difficult aspect of this story to write?

It was surely what I put poor Asher through. His ordeal is pivotal to the plot, and it was hard to see him suffer, much as I loved him. However, I’m sure he would share the sentiments of others who have spoken of surviving similar circumstances. It’s not just a case of what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Many people believe that as they’re now able to help others in some way, their experience wasn’t wasted. As Asher’s character mellows and refines wonderfully during the story, it was surely the case for him.

5) What is one thing readers may not know about you?

I seem to have a unique accent of my own that puzzles people. I get asked whether I’m from England, Ireland, Wales, South Africa or New Zealand. I’ve heard them all. Even my husband asked me where I’m from when I first met him, although now he wonders what sparked that question, since I sound so ‘normal’ to him now. Many seem surprised when I tell them no, apart from a tiny bit of travel, I’ve lived all my life in Adelaide, South Australia, where I was born.

6) Was Imogen based even loosely on somebody you know or have met even casually?

No, I didn’t base her on anybody in particular, but I’d like to think she’s a composite of several people. She’s the sort of friend who would be great to have. Not noisy, showy or pushy, but thoughtful, pensive and very sweet. She’s the sort of person who gently speaks up, if she thinks it’s in a friend’s best interest, even though she may be quaking in her shoes, knowing that what she has to say may not be welcomed. Whether or not you come to feel that being too willing to take people at face value is her downfall remains to be seen. Is the girl too trusting? If so, perhaps she’s a good contrast to her friend, Asher, who has learned to question everyone’s motives.

7) Where is your favourite place to write?

I like to occasionally get away and drive to quiet parks. It gets noisy in my house. It’s full of family ranging in age from my 23-year-old nephew to my 10-year-old son. And my husband is a saxophonist who loves playing his instrument whenever he can. It sounds great, but isn’t conducive to quiet times.

8) Do you read fiction while you’re working on a novel? Or do you tend towards reading non-fiction or poetry?

It takes me some time to work on each novel, so I do read fiction as I write. It’s something I enjoy too much to put on hold while I’m working on other projects. I find I don’t take on other people’s styles or mannerisms, especially if I break it up with lots of non-fiction reading and daydreaming.

9) What are you currently reading?
‘Wild Mint Tea’ by Valerie Comer, which I’m enjoying very much.

10) What is the most helpful advice about writing you have ever received?
To put the critical, editing side of my brain on hold while I’m working on the first draft of each chapter. That really works for me. If I stop every couple of sentences to correct grammar, shorten sentences or change words, I get nowhere. Messy, haphazard first drafts are like buried treasure, rich with creativity and light- bulb ideas. You have to go in very gently when you start to fix things. Too rough an edit will destroy the delicate natural resources.

11) Who are some of your favourite authors?

I have several, but I’d love to give some fellow Australians a plug.
Meredith Resce, Amanda Deed and Rose Dee collaborated with me on a novel called ‘The Greenfield Legacy.’ We had a wow of a time working together.
Carol Preston researches her family history and writes it in the form of engaging stories set in Colonial times.
Jo Wanmer writes gritty contemporary stories with honesty and courage, inviting readers to consider difficult subjects that many prefer to shy away from.
Jenny Glazebrook’s books aren’t published yet, but her characters live on the page, three-dimensional and easy to empathise with.
Mary Hawkins’ books highlight Australia, and she has a heart to help others along their own writing journeys.
This is just the tip of the ice berg, but enough to begin with.

12) Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Thanks very much for hosting me, Dale. It’s great to celebrate the launch of a new book with others. To me, it has a bit in common with the end of a pregnancy, when the long-awaited baby has just been born.
My pleasure Paula.

My Review of Imogen's Chance

There was something about this story that got me in right from the start. Maybe it was the characters, maybe it was the issues of guilt, the life threading health issue being faced, or maybe it was the idea of secrets.( I love books about secrets.) More likely it was all these things. I’m often not a big fan of prologues but here it sets the scene and is absolutely critical to the attitudes and actions and guilt held onto by Imogen and also as we find out later by Asher. It highlighted several things that I think will touch a chord with readers - like the bargain she made with God. How many of us have tried that tactic at some point in our lives? Imogen’s part of the bargain is to go back to Australia and try and make it up to the Dorazio family for the pain she had caused them in the past. Isabel had stayed with the Dorazio family as a child while her missionary parents were in the Northern Territory. Imogen’s plan is to bless the Dorazio’s somehow, though she has no idea how. She just knows she has to go and try to help. But of course things don’t go the way she expects.

Meanwhile Asher is facing his own serious health issues. He is also carrying guilt himself for events in his family’s past. I found both Asher and Imogen very easy to like and to relate to. The issues facing them felt so real and were skilfully handed. Guilt for past actions and health issues are two that many readers will be able to relate to. Some of the issues they dealt with and the questions they raised I could relate to personally.

I liked the way the relationship between Asher and his brother Seth was portrayed and the glimpses of past family dynamics between Asher and his twin sister Becky and Asher and his Dad. This is not a family where all is sweetness and light. There are tensions and personality clashes that bubble to the surface at times, just as they do in any real family. The thank you letters and humour in the book are a great touch. I liked the way the subject of God’s healing was dealt with in this book. While it gives hope, it doesn’t try to take the stance that God always heals or that if he doesn’t it is through lack of faith on the person. Rather the decision to heal or not is God’s alone. Healing may be in his plan or it may not.

I found this book an absorbing read. I started it one afternoon and finished it the next day. All I wanted to do was keep reading. Thanks to Paula for and advance reading copy.

More info about Paula and her books

Award-winning author, Paula Vince loves to evoke tears and laughter through her novels. A wife and homeschooling mother of three, she resides in the beautiful Adelaide Hills of South Australia. Her youth was brightened by great fiction and she’s on a mission to pay it forward.

Her novel, Picking up the Pieces, won the religious fiction section of the 2011 International Book Awards.
Her novel, Best Forgotten, was winner of the 2011 CALEB Award in the fiction category and also recognized as the best overall entry for the year, chosen over memoirs, devotionals and general non-fiction.

Paula’s books are a skillful blend of drama and romance tied together with elements of mystery and suspense.

Find out more at www.justoccurred.blogspot.com


Paula is the author of Picking up the Pieces, The Risky Way Home, A Design of Gold and Best Forgotten. Her new novel, Imogen’s Chance, will was published in April, 2014.
Paula is also one of the four authors of The Greenfield Legacy .
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