Books Spark Joy with Jennie Jones

Books Spark Joy with Jennie Jones

This week’s guest on Books Spark Joy is Jennie Jones. Jennie is one of the first writers I connected with when I started my publishing journey and it’s been such a pleasure to see her career go from strength to strength. Jennie writes stories about love, life, laughter and everything between. A proud Australian with equal pride in her Welsh roots she wrote her first book seven years ago and hasn’t looked back. She now has eleven published novels under her belt in the genre of small-town and rural romance and is currently thoroughly enjoying working on two women’s fiction novels for HarperCollins/Harlequin. One a dual timeline with heartbreaking issues from the 1940s through to the 1970s that still resonate today, and the other about a contemporary Australian family dynasty on the brink of losing everything.   Over to Jennie … While I’m not quite a full-on neat-freak I am the kind of person who likes symmetry and aesthetically pleasing visuals, so my bookshelves are a place of honour for a number of special items in my life, not just books. Although books are the main value-added attraction of course.   Apart from the odd photo frame (my paternal grandmothers in this instance), I tend to keep objects alongside my books that resonate with quiet contemplation and the cosy passing of a rainy afternoon. Like playing cards, and the old dominoes box I’ve had for years, along with the odd little knickknack.     I don’t keep every book I read and space isn’t the only reason for this. It’s because I don’t like to hold on to something...
Books Spark Joy with Leisl Leighton

Books Spark Joy with Leisl Leighton

This week’s guest on Books Spark Joy is Leisl Leighton. As a child Leisl’s literary heroine was Anne of Green Gables. Leisl’s stories have won and placed in many competitions in Australia and the US, including the STALI, Golden Opportunities, Heart of the West, Linda Howard Award of Excellence, Touch of Magic and many others. She is addicted to the Syfy channel, and her shelves are full of fantasy and paranormal books and scifi DVDs.   Over to Leisl … Books for me are necessities. I can’t do without them. I need one with me at all times – whether a physical book or a digital book, it no longer matters – because no matter what the day has brought, if I can sink into a good story at various points in the day, I can let go of everything that is me and become everything that is someone else, and it helps me find my peace.   I have heard many writers say that they have no time to read, and for me, this is crazy talk. I write because I love reading and without reading, there would be no writing. I fill my muse by reading and reading and reading, historic, regency romance, paranormal romance, sci-fi, fantasy, steam-punk, romantic suspense, chic lit and contemporary romance novels. The only thing I don’t read when I am writing, is a book that’s too close in genre to the one I’m writing in – I don’t want to be influenced in the wrong way while writing my own book, so that is one rule I do have about reading and writing....
Books Spark Joy with Jennifer Scoullar

Books Spark Joy with Jennifer Scoullar

This week on Books Spark Joy, meet Jennifer Scoullar. Jennifer writes Australian Fiction with an environmental message. She began writing as a child after reading Elyne Mitchell’s The Silver Brumby. After a career in law Jennifer picked up her pen and began writing again, an experience she describes as ‘coming home’. She lives with her family at Pilyara, a beautiful property in the mountains that was left to her by her father.   Over to Jennifer … There’s an old saying that goes, ‘A home without books is like a room without windows.’ My books live all over the house. There isn’t one room without overflowing shelves, looking like an overstocked secondhand bookshop. That said, I’m not a hoarder, and do cull old books occasionally. I’m also happy to lend books ‒ which is a back door way of culling, because I never get them back 😊 There is some method to my madness, and I have a rough organisational structure to my library. I keep classic literary fiction in the lounge room. Some tragic tales I may never return to, especially the ones where the lovers die, then the family dies, then the whole village dies. I’m a sucker for a happy ending. I’m also unlikely to re-read incomprehensible books like Finnegan’s Wake, The Sound And The Fury and Tristram Shandy, or historical set pieces by Jane Austen and Thomas Hardy. But there are other classics that continue to inspire me. Thoreau’s Walden is a masterpiece. Authors like John Steinbeck and Mark Twain are perennial favourites, as are Australian women writers such as Henry Handel Richardson, Miles Franklin and Nancy Cato....
Books Spark Joy with Darry Fraser

Books Spark Joy with Darry Fraser

This week’s guest on Books Spark Joy is Darry Fraser. Apprenticed on a number of contemporary novels in her early career, Darry returned to writing her favourite genre, Australian historical fiction in 2016. Her first published novel, Daughter of the Murray, began a series set in the 1890s on her beloved River Murray. Darry’s books are set in a rural landscape, and her new novella, Edge of the Blue (2019) is set on fictional Australis Island, which very much resembles her home. The Good Woman of Renmark is due out November 2019, and is the last in the Murray series. Darry lives and works on wild and beautiful Kangaroo Island off the coast of South Australia.       Over to Darry … My love of Story and books has always been there and by the time I was capable of physically handling a book, I was already enthralled. Story captivated me: the action, the adventure, the characters, the setting. Good vs evil, and I always loved it best that Good won, of course, at least in Story. That might be why I tend to write Happily For Now, no matter what genre. I love to read and also to write a really good Not So Happily At All, but in this day and age, an uplift is always sought after. As soon as I had pocket money, the book buying began. I’d always had books given to me, as well, and early in life had learned the wonder of libraries. However books came to me, I loved to hold the tomes in my hand. Over the years there were many, many books...
Books Spark Joy with Juanita Kees

Books Spark Joy with Juanita Kees

This week’s guest on Books Spark Joy is Juanita Kees. Juanita escapes the real world by reading and writing Australian Rural Romance novels with elements of suspense, Australian Fantasy Paranormal and Small Town USA stories. Her romance novels star spirited heroines who give the hero a run for his money before giving in. She creates emotionally engaging worlds steeped in romance, suspense, mystery and intrigue, set in dusty, rural outback Australia and on the NASCAR racetracks of America. When she’s not writing, Juanita is mother to three boys and has a passion for fast cars and country living.         Over to Juanita …   Thank you for hosting me today and sharing books that spark joy. Growing up, books and stories were a lifeline in our house. My parents didn’t own a television until the mid to late seventies, and because of heavy sanctions in South Africa, our television programs were limited to mostly local productions anyway. As a result, most nights after dinner, we would listen to the radio, play board games or cards, or read a book. When Christmas time came around, our gifts almost always contained a girl’s annual filled with beautiful pictures, puzzles and stories. Both my parents were avid readers and encouraged our reading habits. Saturday mornings were always ‘library day’ for us and I used to look forward losing myself among the bookshelves. My father was (and still is) a wonderful storyteller. He’d make up campfire and bedtime stories, and some of them he and my uncles even recorded on tape with sound effects. We used to love listening to...