Books Spark Joy with Annie Seaton

Books Spark Joy with Annie Seaton

This week’s guest on Books Spark Joy is the multi-talented Annie Seaton. Annie has been following her dream of writing since she left her career in education eight years ago. She has written over forty books in that time and is published both traditionally and as an indie author. She’s won several awards, including Book of the Year (AUSROM) for Whitsunday Dawn in 2018, and has been a finalist for the RWA Ruby Award, and the RWZN Koru award and has had many bestsellers. Her latest book, Undara, is in stores this week. Over to Annie … Where do you keep your books? My books are in the living room of our house, and in the guest bedroom on a bookshelf, as well as teetering in a pile of ‘next-to-be-read’ beside the bed! I also have a small cabinet in my study with craft of writing books, and special collections. Annie’s bookshelves crammed with loads of great books! Do you hoard or pass your books along? Until our last-but-one move, I had every book I ever owned on several large bookshelves. When we lugged in boxes and boxes of books, I decided it was time to downsize, and I gave away many books. I have regretted it ever since! How do you feel about lending books? I lend often, and I lend my favourite books, and usually get them back. My two favourite books of all time are Katherine by Anya Seton, and Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy. They both were non-returns and I have never been able to get another copy of Prince of Tides! How does your bookshelf tell the story of your life? It gives...
Books Spark Joy with Wendy Lee Davies

Books Spark Joy with Wendy Lee Davies

This week’s Books Spark Joy post is a Q&A with award-winning Romance Author Wendy Lee Davies. Wendy began writing romances as a lark after leaving her communications and editing job of many years. Wendy won the Romance Writers of Australia Emerald Award in 2017 with her small-town contemporary romance, The Drover’s Rest. The same story (renamed Good Enough For Love prior to publication), was also a finalist in the 2017 Mid-American Romance Writer’s Fiction from the Heartland competition. Let’s get chatting! Where do you keep your books? Most of my books are on my Kindle. I do have a [very] small bookshelf with some of my favourite, and precious, print books. Do you hoard or pass your books along? No. I just keep them. How do you feel about lending books? It’s virtually impossible to lend books on my Kindle, but I recommend stories I love to other friends and writers to read. I’m also an active member of my local library, so lending books is a wonderful way of sharing great fiction. How does your bookshelf tell the story of your life? It doesn’t, really. And the electronic bookshelf on my Kindle is definitely not a representation of my whole life, just a part of it. The part where I’m both researching and enjoying numerous romantic stories from a variety of genres, not just the small-town, country romance genre that is where I write. How do you organize your books? Yes, I do. I try to keep all the similar genres together. But I don’t do more than that. Are you a print or digital reader? Digital. Have...
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 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....
My Top 5 Winter Reads

My Top 5 Winter Reads

There’s nothing like curling up in front of a crackling fire with a great book and whiling away a few hours. I’d love to say that’s what I’ve been doing but sadly the fireplace installation has stalled so I’ve been reading in front of my gas heater – not quite as cosy but still a great way to relax. In no particular order are my five favourite books from the last few months. Find out what the other member’s of my writing group The Writers’ Dozen have been reading. Between us all we have your next few months of reading covered!   The Lost Flowers Of Alice Hart by Holly Ringland I picked up this book because of the divine cover and then I read the opening sentence: ‘In the weatherboard house at the end of the lane, nine-year old Alice Hart sat at her desk by the window and dreamed of ways to set her father on fire.’ And then there were the beautiful sketches of the wildflowers sprinkled throughout the book. How could I not buy it? Superb writing, a wonderful protagonist who we follow from childhood into her adult years and a story to tug at your heart-strings. What’s not to love?       Women Who Run With The Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes I’m dipping back into this amazing tome about the wild spirit we women innately possess and how easily it can be lost through socialization, relationships and life in general. Estes uses Jungian psychology to break down myths and fairytales, analyzing the way women can be forced into unhappy situations and also...
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...