Today’s visitor is Goldie Alexander, here to answer the ten questions which allow us to meet her new book. Over to you, Goldie.
1. Give us the details – title, publisher, illustrator, release date.
ISBN 9780992492434 (eBook) 978-0-9924924-4-1
This book can be bought from reputable bookstores. RRP $18.00
2. Why did you write the book?
What triggered me was the plight of our asylum seekers and the ‘Children Overboard’ incident, a situation John Howard used to regain his position as our prime minister. The similarity to the events of 1954 was overpowering.
“That Stranger next Door” is set at the height of the ‘Cold War’. In the United States, Senator McCarthy was using anti-communist laws to force academics, film makers and other intellectuals to a senate hearing to ask if they ever belonged to the Communist Party and to name anyone who had gone to their meetings. Many people lost their jobs and their families. Some even committed suicide.
When an insignificant Russian diplomat called Vladimir Petrov defected to Australia, promising to provide information about a Russian spy-ring, he forgot or avoided mentioning this to his wife. As Evdokia was pulled onto a plane in Darwin, she was rescued at the last minute by ASIO and hidden in a ‘safe house’. At the time PM Menzies was also trying to bring in similar anti-communist legislation to the US, and thankfully, in this he was unsuccessful.
3. How long from idea to publication?
From idea to actual publication took about three years. But between times I had a bad accident and that slowed things down.
4. What was the hardest thing about writing it?
Finding the right publisher. Too many young submissions editors didn’t know anything about the Petrov Affair, or they didn’t see any relevance to the present by exploring the 1950’s, or they didn’t think young readers would be interested in that affair.
5. Coolest thing about your book?
The relationship between Jewish Ruth and Catholic Patrick, a strictly Romeo and Juliet affair. Also, how restrictive it was to be a teen back in the fifties.
6. Something you learnt through writing the book?
Careful research. How important it is to have convincing characters. How stories develop almost on their own from the character’s personalities, and the times they live in. How important it is to write several drafts before submitting a novel to a publisher. I could go on and on as every book I do can feel like starting all over again.
7. What did you do celebrate the release?
Though I rarely launch my latest books in bookshops or festivals, a wonderful opportunity came up to launch ‘That Stranger Next Door’ at a the Melbourne Jewish Writer’s Festival. Many of my writing and other friends turned up to help me celebrate.
8. And how will you promote the book?
Through Twitter and Facebook, my own blog, and other blogs such as this. Also, a blog tour featuring other well known authors such as Kate Forsythe, Hazel Edwards, George Ivanoff, Jane Yolen, Pauline Luke, Julia Lawrenson, Errol Broome and Felicity Pulman. These blogs will turn up on Clan Destine and my own blog. These very respected authors talk about their own work.
9. What are you working on next?
I have just had “In Hades” come out and will have to use the time promote it. As ‘In Hades’ is a verse novel, I expect some ‘different’ responses.
10. Where we can find out more about you and your book?
There is lots of material on my website www.goldiealexander.com and more on my blog
All my books for young readers have Teacher Notes.
Finally, thank you Sally for allowing me to visit your blog.