Books Spark Joy with Susanne Bellamy

Books Spark Joy with Susanne Bellamy

This week in the Books Spark Joy series we’re joined by Susanne Bellamy. Born and raised in Toowoomba, Susanne is an Australian author of contemporary and suspense romances set in exciting and often exotic locations, and rural romance set in Australia. She adores travel with her husband, both at home and overseas, and weaves stories around the settings and people she encounters. Susanne loves connecting with readers and fellow writers and you’ll find her social media links at the end of the post.     Over to you, Susanne …   Books have been important to me since I was little. My parents were great believers in the empowerment of knowledge and the inspiration of story. Two of my older sisters gave me books for Christmases and birthdays – Girls Annual, and Enid Blyton. My parents weren’t wealthy, but they valued books and reading and gave me the gift of Reader’s Digest for Children, bi-monthly anthologies of four great stories. Although shortened versions, these, along with the books from my sisters, set me on the path of a lifelong love affair with books.     When I was three, my mother ran a small coffee shop for those attending the Maternal and Child Welfare Clinic, which was next to our town library. Apparently, I read the books I borrowed quickly (and frequently borrowed them again). Mum would watch me walk the few metres to the door of the library, and her friend in the library would help me ‘change’ my books for the next set, and then see me back to Mum, a trip I am told I did several times...
Books Spark Joy with Fiona Macarthur

Books Spark Joy with Fiona Macarthur

One of the best things about being a writer is all the lovely writers and readers you get to meet. Last year I had the pleasure of meeting Fiona Macarthur. We hit it off immediately and I can’t wait to catch up with her again. In the meantime I’m very happy to welcome her to the Books Spark Joy series. In her compassionate, pacey fiction, Fiona McArthur’s love of the Australian landscape meshes beautifully with warm, multigenerational characters as she highlights challenges for rural and remote families, and the strength shared between women. Happy endings are a must.   Over to Fiona … Thanks for having me, Pamela, ‘cause I had a ball poking through my bookshelves and actually found more books than expected. I’ve been culling for a while now and happily give away a lot. Noted while culling – that some old books can transport me to moments in time. As a pre-teen, zoom back to my dad discussing the latest Modesty Blaise book with me and how much better she was than James Bond. No culling of that collection of stories written by Peter O’Donnell and always, wistfully, as I re-read. And Dick Francis. We both loved those. Pretty sure he’s where my heroes came from. I also suspect Modesty is where my strong, independent women are born, a can’t-kill-her-with-a-stick-woman, yet a woman with practical kindness for others, except the bad guys. Which is why I’ve started to collect the full set of Madeleine Brent women’s fiction P.O’D wrote under that pseudonym (why did I not know this?) and I love discovering each new book. These...
Books Spark Joy with Historical Fiction Author Kim Kelly

Books Spark Joy with Historical Fiction Author Kim Kelly

Welcome to the first edition of the Books Spark Joy. I was inspired to start this series by a fabulous article in the Washington post featuring a number of American authors talking about their bookshelves. It was such an enjoyable read I wanted more – and I wanted to find out about Australian writers and their relationship with books. The series will continue throughout the year with new authors appearing each Friday. If there is an author you’d like to hear about please email me or add a comment, and remember to subscribe to the blog so you know when a new post is up.   I’m so excited to have historical fiction author Kim Kelly kicking off this series. Kim writes breath-taking historical fiction and lives in the beautiful Millthorpe area of New South Wales. You can find out more about Kim and where to find her online at the end of the post.     Over to Kim …   I’m such a cliché there are books in every room of my house, including the kitchen – and they’re not of the cooking variety there, but novels. The main paperback hang is the back wall of the living room, where my muse de bloke, Deano, built me some five-metre-long shelves.   Book-hoarder? Me? No. The boxes of books in the junk room are all important, too. I’m not precious about them, either: file copies of romances and short story collections I’ve edited sit jumbled together with Nietzsche and Aristotle; history and art mingle with science and the classics of English Lit. The predominant flavour is Australian, though. Unsurprisingly,...
My Top Five Reads For 2019 (So Far)

My Top Five Reads For 2019 (So Far)

Bridge Of Clay by Markus Zusak   Like many others I couldn’t wait to read this 13-years-in-the-making tome from The Book Thief author Markus Zusak. I had the pleasure of hearing Markus talk about the novel as far back at last July at the launch of Storyfest and was even more excited to devour it after he read an excerpt on the night. Long awaited books, like any  highly anticipated life event, can often be a let-down, never reaching the heights of the expectation and hype. To be totally honest for the first part of the book I struggled and I was worried this was the case with Bridge Of Clay. And for a very strange reason: it felt too perfect. I couldn’t connect with the characters or the emotions. But something magical happened about one third of the way in – I fell in love, with Penny Dunbar, with Achilles the mule, with the fractious Dunbar boys and with the beautifully woven words that seemed to take flight once the opening section of the novel was out of the way. The writing and the story capture a family trying to come to terms with death and working out how to live in the face of it. When I considered my response I remembered having the same response to The Book Thief – I started it and put it down a number of times before getting into it and absolutely loving it. Maybe this is the case with all deeply emotional stories: we have to come to grips with a subject matter so deep, told in such a heartfelt...
Heading In A New Writing Direction: Contemporary Women’s Fiction

Heading In A New Writing Direction: Contemporary Women’s Fiction

  I’m super excited – and a little nervous – to tell you about my new writing direction as I step into the genre of Contemporary Women’s Fiction.     As those who follow me on social media will know I’ve recently finished the final draft of my new novel, Cross My Heart and sent it off to my agent. I’ve kept fairly quiet about this one as I’ve been writing it but now that it’s finished it’s time to share more about the book and where I hope it will take me in terms of my writing.   My first four novels have all have a thread of romance running through them – in the publishing industry this is known as romantic elements – and have been branded Rural Romance. Readers will know how ever that the main storyline in all of these novels revolves around a dilemma facing the female protagonist, usually to do with family. In Blackwattle Lake Eve had to deal with returning to a home she’d left acrimoniously twenty years before. In Essie’s Way, Miranda was searching for the grandmother she’d always believed to be dead while Essie was a recluse, hiding away from an unkind world. Charlie, the vet in in Close to Home was dealing with both the potentially deadly hendra virus and her own messed up family relationships. And in The Crossroads, Rose, Stephanie and faith all had their own personal dramas as well as the family issue that brought them together. The romantic elements in all four novels varied but never overshadowed the heroine’s individual story. While there was this...