Easter Round Up: Reading, Writing and A Few Unexpected Visitors

How was your Easter? I hope you managed to find some time to unwind and do some of the thing you love. I was lucky enough to escape to Little Forest, my “other” home and spend some time with my family. We have a few acres with currently only a couple of very fat cows in residence.  They were bought as calves and were supposed to be “moved on” around a year later but when my daughters named them and started feeding them they were destined to become part of the family. We also had a few other “visitors” this weekend who happened to drop by: To be honest I’m not a fan of snakes so when we found the metre plus skin of this fellow on our veranda I wasn’t too impressed. But my family assure me that diamond pythons are harmless and the fact that when I did see him he was in a tree, not somewhere I was going to come across him face to face, I felt a lot happier. Apart from watching the wildlife and doing some cloud gazing I managed to spend a couple of lazy mornings lying in bed and finished a book – The Girl In Steel Capped Boots by Loretta Hill. Loretta was a guest here on the blog a little while back which inspired me to try her books. This one is her debut novel, set in the remote mining district of the Pilbara in Western Australia. It features a strong heroine (tick), an interesting setting (tick), a cast of quirky characters (tick) and a very sexy love interest (TICK!). I won’t spoil it by...

Managing More Than One Narrator in Your Story – All That I Am and Secrets of The Tides

Recently I’ve read two great books (both with wonderful covers!) – All That I Am by Anna Funder and Secrets Of The Tides by Hannah Richell. Both stories use more than one narrator and both also play around with time and tense. In All That I Am Funder uses dual narrators Ruth and Toller. Ruth’s story is told from her perspective as an old woman living in Sydney, looking back on her life in Germany at the time when Hitler was seizing power and also in London where she lived as a refugee along with other members of the resistance movement. Toller’s version of events is told from a closer time perspective – just prior to the outbreak of the war, and from the United States where he himself has found refuge. Both stories revolve around the relationship each of the narrators had with Dora, Ruth’s cousin and Toller’s lover, whose story is central to the plot. When I first started reading I preferred Ruth’s narration to Toller’s but as I became more involved with each of the characters I realised that having this dual perspective allows the reader to have a deeper understanding of Dora (who really is the protagonist) as well as a more rounded understanding of the events that were unfolding in Europe as Hitler grew more powerful. Funder uses the narrator’s names as chapter headings to signal the switch which allows the reader to follow the story without confusion. The use of two narrators helps build tension as one character’s story is suspended while we jump to the other narrative. Having Ruth tell her story from...

Beautiful Malice – Rebecca James

Just finished reading this page-turner by Armidale writer, Rebecca James, who I saw last week at the SWF. This book has it all – youth, innocence, guilt, love, betrayal, death, romance, relationships, lust, likeable characters, more betrayal…you get the picture. Rebecca has shown what it means to get your characters in trouble and keep them there. A great lesson for writers in plotting, structure and upping the stakes. And what makes you want to keep reading!   Highly recommended....