Heroes and Villains

Ahh, heroes and villains… What would books be like without them? As Moriarty said, Every fairytale needs a good old-fashioned villain. And, as Bonnie Tyler said, I need a hero. I’m holding out for a hero ’til the morning light.

The hero, ultimately, is who makes the story. Without one, there’d just be random people bumbling their ways through the apocalypse. The heroes are the ones who make the story what it is. Whether they be defeating a great evil, or giving a stranger an umbrella in the rain, they’re the people we feel for and connect to most of the time. They’re the characters who lead us on a journey, and the best kind of journeys not only provide for a strong character arc, but also change the reader too.

And as much as we all hate the villain of the story, or sometimes we root for them if we hate the protagonist — yes, I’ve wanted the killer to win once or twice — books and movies and shows wouldn’t exist without them. I’ll admit, I was one of those people who cried when Voldemort was killed. I’m not a Death Eater, I swear! It’s just that Voldemort shaped Harry into being who he was, and in turn, he did the same to me. He’s the reason why we know that we can’t let the darkness win and that we have to fight hatred with love. I just really appreciated him as a villain, okay?

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A Chat with Claire Christian

When Claire was down for the Melbourne Writer’s Festival not too long ago, I was lucky enough to catch up with her at a little cafe in the city and have a chat. If you know me at all, there’s nothing I love more than coffee and books – so this was the perfect combination of the two. We went to a cute cafe outside the Melbourne City Library that I’d been meaning to visit for ages, called The Journal Cafe, and it was simply delightful.

I’d only met Claire briefly before at a writing event for the Emerging Writers Festival, and it was brilliant to be able to sit down and just have a chilled conversation, surrounded by the bookish decor and the smell of freshly ground coffee beans. Being the lovely person she is, Claire kindly agreed to answer a few questions for me to share with y’all!

I adored hearing more about how her novel, Beautiful Mess, made it into this world, what she’s working on now, and what influenced the writing of this sensational novel. She’s such a genuine, inspirational person and it was an honour to be able to spend some time with her.

“It’s okay to not be okay.” – Claire Christian, author of BEAUTIFUL MESS

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Writing Advice from a Complete Amateur

Hello friends! As most of you won’t have noticed, my blogging schedule has been pretty much non-existent for the past six weeks. And that’s because I’ve been working on my first drat of a very exciting new manuscript! I’ve managed to almost finish my first draft in this time, and I’m hoping to smash out the final few thousand words in the coming days. It’s been great to become immersed in the world I’m creating and get to know my characters, and I’ve found this time off really useful to get back into that creative mindset and take a step back from blogging for a bit.

But earlier this week, I realised that I actually really missed blogging, and talking to y’all! So today I’m announcing my official return to bi-weekly (and maybe even tri-weekly, if I’m organised) blogging! To celebrate, I’ll be sharing a bit about how and what I’m writing, my writing process, and my advice to all of you! Do keep in mind that I definitely don’t consider myself a writing professional and that the writing process varies for everyone.

Without further ado, let me share my somewhat dubious words of wisdom with y’all!

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The Great Hierarchy of Books & Authors

One of the things that annoys me most about the bookish community, both online and off, is the way that some authors look down upon others. From what I’ve seen and heard, this can happen for a variety of reasons, some of which being the genre or readership for which an author writes, or because of the gender of the writer—most of the time, female writers are looked down upon when writing in certain genres, which is really disappointing to see. But what I want to discuss today is something different. I want to talk about the supposed hierarchy of authors, and why those who self-publish their novels shouldn’t be looked down upon.

It angers me that any author should be looked down upon because of what they write, or how they get published. Whether they have an agent or one of the biggest publishing houses representing them, or whether they chose to self-publish is irrelevant to me, and to most readers. But most of all, I hate the idea that some people have that those who self-publish do so because they ‘wouldn’t have gotten published any other way’ or because it was a ‘last-resort’, due to their writing quality being sub-standard. This isn’t true at all, and if you read Heart of Mist and some of the other awesome self-published novels out there, you’ll come to see just how wrong those people are.

 

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Seven Empowering Books

The books I often find myself recommending the most are the empowering ones. The type of books that make us want to stand up for what we believe in and fight for what’s right. The type of books that leave us a little different from when we turned the first page. It’s these books that show us just how powerful the written word can truly be.

It’s incredible that a few letters rearranged on a page can make us laugh or cry, but what’s even more amazing are the ability for books to allow us to see the world in knew ways and gain empathy from these experiences. Books make us better people, and it’s these books that I want to share with you that have shaped who I am and have the ability  to transform every reader.

These are seven of the most empowering novels.

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Beautiful Mess – book review

35157846Since Ava lost Kelly, things haven’t been going so well. Even before she gets thrown out of school for shouting at the principal, there’s the simmering rage and all the weird destructive choices. The only thing going right for Ava is her job at Magic Kebab.

Which is where she meets Gideon. Skinny, shy, anxious Gideon. A mad poet and collector of vinyl records with an aversion to social media. He lives in his head. She lives in her grief. The only people who can help them move on with their lives are each other.

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How to Make a Book Launch EPIC

I’ve been to a lot of book launches in the last few years, and from those, I think I’ve picked up on what makes a launch particularly great. One of the things I love most about book launches is feeling completely immersed in the bookish community. I enjoy being present online and talking to authors and other bloggers and readers on Twitter and Instagram, and even here on my blog, but there’s nothing quite like seeing all these people in real life and telling someone how much you adore their novel or their blog in person. I’ve met so many amazing people since I started attending book launches and other bookish events, and I’m so thankful for this welcoming, supportive community.

BOOK NERDS UNITE!

Having been to more book launches than I can count, including two in the past two days, I have some tips and suggestions I’d like to share, as well as things I love about them that can never be changed because I’m allergic to mixing things up. It’d be like releasing the second book in a series before the first. #NotHappening.Read More »

Reading What You Enjoy

‘Read what you enjoy.’ It’s a phrase that we’ve all probably heard before in our lives, and have maybe even said to some people. You might tell someone who has different tastes in books to you to just ‘read what you enjoy’, end of conversation. If someone isn’t feeling the particular book they’re attempting to read, you might suggest putting it down in favour of reading something ‘you enjoy’. But sometimes the most important books are the ones that not everyone will ‘enjoy’. In the typical sense of the word, I ‘enjoy’ books that are easy to read and are a bit exciting and adventurous, but that I can read to escape reality and experience new worlds. Should that mean that I shouldn’t read the more confronting, powerful novels just because they won’t be easy reads or something merely created for entertainment value?

One of the most important questions readers have to ask themselves is this: What is the purpose of reading? Why do you read? Is it to escape your own reality, or to pass the time? Is it to experience things that might not be possible in your own life? Do you like to learn about people who are different to you in a multitude of ways? Or do you read to educate yourself?Read More »

Asexuality & TASH HEARTS TOLSTOY

For the amount of books I’ve read with queer protagonists, Tash Hearts Tolstoy was the first one I’ve read that features a main character on the asexual spectrum, with Tash being romantic asexual. Although there was a demisexual character in Alice Oseman’s Radio Silence and an asexual character in The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue, these people weren’t the lead protagonists. And so when I heard about Tash Hearts Tolstoy, I immediately added it to my list. I need to seek out more YA novels featuring characters who don’t just fall into the first three letters of the LGBTQIA+ acronym, as I’m sure most of us feel the need to do, and so in this post I want to discuss the importance of representing teens of every sexuality in YA fiction.

It’s undeniable that teenagers and young people need to feel represented in what they read or watch and the art they consume, and thus it’s unquestionable that writers have the responsibility to write in a way reflects the diversity of the world we live in. It’s more important now than ever to show that people who aren’t straight but who may not identify as gay or bi or are transgender that they’re still a part of the LGBTQIA+ community and that their identity is valid.

We live in a world where people on the asexual / aromantic spectrum are sorely underrepresented, so much so that many people even believe that the ‘A’ in LGBTQIA+ stands for ‘ally’, which, whether intentionally or otherwise, erases the people who identify in this manner. Additionally, while I’m a big supporter of the #LoveisLove campaign and the gradual ‘normalisation’ of seeing same-sex couples or couples that are not made up of one cis male and one cis female in the film and TV and the novels we read, it’s important to acknowledge that who you ‘love’ is not the defining factor for being a part of the LGBTQIA+ community. And the inclusion of characters within the LGBTQIA+ community in movies or books shouldn’t just be seen as the ‘token diverse character’. We’re people, not brownie points.Read More »

Domestic Violence in YA Fiction | Feat. THE BUILD-UP SEASON

34854006Seventeen-year-old Iliad Piper – Ily for short – is named after war and angry at the world. Growing up with a violent father and abused mother, she doesn’t know how to do relationships, family or friends. Her love-hate friendship with Max turns into a prank war and she nearly destroys her first true friendship with misfit Mia. She takes off her armour for nobody, until she meets Jared, a local actor and someone who’s as complicated as she is.

From the author of Yellow comes a powerful exploration of family and identity set against the humid build-up to the wet season in Darwin.

 

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