Meet My Book: The Country Practice, by Meredith Appleyard

Another visitor! Today I welcome Meredith Appleyard here to answer my quick questions about her new book. Over to you, Meredith.

Meredith Appleyard (Photo credit: Nan Berrett, Word Solutions 2014)

1. Give us the details – title, publisher, illustrator, release date.

Title: The Country Practice
Publisher: Penguin Group (Australia)
Release date: 25 February 2015

2. Why did you write the book?
I can’t imagine life without books. I’ve read and enjoyed so many. I want to make a contribution, and I love making up stories.

3. How long from idea to publication?
About 7 years.

4. What was the hardest thing about writing it?
Writing it was a joy. The hardest thing was having the confidence to ‘put it out there’.Book Cover: The Country Practice

5. Coolest thing about your book?     
The cover – Penguin did it so right.

6. Something you learnt through writing the book?
That I could do it – that I had the tenacity and downright doggedness to keep going.

7. What did you do celebrate the release?
Celebrations started when I received the advance copies in the post! The high point, and probably the best night of my life, was a local book launch on 25 February 2015 attended by friends and family. On the night the local Collins book shop sold out of their 80 copies of The Country Practice! And, I received flowers from the Penguin Team and a letter of congratulations from the Premier of SA. Doesn’t get much better than that.

8. And how will you promote the book?
I have been doing radio interviews, locally and interstate, blogs and Q&As. I’ve been interviewed by journalists for local and interstate publications and I have a raft of author talks across SA.

9. What are you working on next?
Book 2 is almost done. When I’ve finished it will go off to my agent and hopefully you’ll see it in print sometime in the not too distant future.

10. Where we can find out more about you and your book?
On Facebook – Meredith Appleyard Author.


Thanks for visiting,  Meredith.

The Country Practice is out now.

Meet My Book: The Spires of Kurrong, by Malcolm Wells

Today I’d like to welcome Malcolm Wells to the blog. Malcolm is here, as part of his current blog tour, to introduce us to his latest book. Welcome, Malcolm, and over to you!Picture

1.          Give us the details – title, publisher, illustrator, release date.

The title is ‘The Spires of Kurrong’ and it is published by Morris Publishing Australia. The book was released on 21st January 2015. The cover illustrator is Kevin Burgemeestre.

2.          Why did you write the book?

I have always had an interest in the sci-fi / fantasy genres; as well as horror and ghost stories. For a number of years I had been writing short stories in these genres and this was one of them. When I won a competition in the CQ Literary Festival last year with the story at novella length, Elaine Ouston from Morris Publishing suggested I extend it to novel length.

3.          How long from idea to publication?

The story was originally about 20,000 word and I extended it to approximately 60,000. From the time it was suggested I extend the story, to the publishing date was 7 months.

4.          What was the hardest thing about writing it?

Starting to expand on the original theme was the toughest part. However once I began to write the ideas began to flow freely.

5.         Coolest thing about your book?

I had previously had non-fiction articles, short stories and poetry published, but this is my first published novel. That is pretty cool.

6.          Something you learnt through writing the book?

Writing the book was fun; it is the proof-reading and editing that are the hard parts.

7.          What did you do to celebrate the release?

I just published the news on my Facebook and blog sites and emailed my friends. Then I sat back with my wife and celebrated the launch with a bottle of wine.

8.          And how will you promote the book?

I have put all of the links to the book on my Facebook, blog and Linkedin sites. I will also be talking to my local newspaper The Morning Bulletin, for whom I write a weekly column. I am also hoping to get some air time on ABC Capricornia where a number of my 500 word stories have been read over the past 18 months.

9.          What are you working on next?

I am currently working on a novel about an alien who crash lands in the Dorset countryside in southern England. It is a comic novel set in the quaint village of Lesser Codswallop. It is a light read but with an underlying message about racism.

10.       Where we can find out more about you and your book?

The book is currently available through Morris Publishing, Amazon and Smashwords.


Thanks, Malcolm. Good luck with the book!



Meet My Book: Wanting Mr Wrong, by Avril Tremayne

Today Avril Tremayne joins me to introduce you to her new book, Wanting Mr Wrong.


Avril Tremayne


Welcome Avril!

1. Give us the details – title, publisher, illustrator, release date.Wanting Mr Wrong, Avril Tremayne
Wanting Mr Wrong by Avril Tremayne; Random House Australia; February 2015
Blurb: Evie Parker has never been one to swoon after celebrities – give her a neuroscientist over an actor any day! So when she develops her first movie-star crush, she’s determined to date her way out of it, starting with the next good-looking doctor she sees. Yet hovering on the fringes of her life is her gay best friend’s determined brother, Jackson J Stevens, a famous actor who comes with trailing paparazzi. The one thing worse than a celebrity in Evie’s eyes is a media circus, so Jack isn’t an option no matter how hard he flirts with her. Evie knows what she doesn’t want; Jack knows what he does. And somewhere in the middle, pheromones are making things go haywire every time they’re together.

2. Why did you write the book?
I got the idea for this book after watching British actor Matthew Macfadyen play Mr Darcy in Pride and Prejudice. He was my first ever movie star crush and I was a little bit shocked at how obsessed I became. My work colleagues at the time were shameless enablers, so a period of YouTube watching and fan site scouring ensued – and it was a very funny and wonderful period in my life, to be honest. I have a habit of using stray events like that and twisting them into story ideas, and this one was irresistible. What would happen if I put a heroine in the same ‘crush’ predicament…? Wanting Mr Wrong is the result.

3. How long from idea to publication?
The idea part happened years ago, but all that YouTube watching aside, my job at the time was very a demanding 24/7 one, with unpredictable hours and travel patterns, which made it almost impossible to write a book – although I did a lot of thinking about how it would progress and the types of scenes I would include. It wasn’t until two years ago, when I decided to opt out of corporate life, that I got the chance to put it together properly.

4. What was the hardest thing about writing it?
Finding the best way to tell it. I initially wrote the book in the third person, from the points of view of both the heroine and hero. But something about it didn’t quite feel right. I’m not sure what made me rewrite it solely from the heroine’s point of view, but once I started doing that, it seemed to click. It was, nevertheless, a massive adjustment.

5. Coolest thing about your book?
The coolest thing is the character of Drew – the heroine’s best friend, who is also the hero’s brother. He is funny and irreverent and tells it like it is, but has a wonderful heart.

6. Something you learnt through writing the book?
The rewriting I mentioned taught me a lot about paring back, because I had to kill a lot of darlings in the process. I also learnt a lot about using dialogue to the best advantage, because that was the only way I had of letting readers into the hero’s head.

7. What did you do celebrate the release?
I celebrate, always, with a Negroni.

8. And how will you promote the book?
I’m fairly active on social media, as well as a columnist on a couple of romance writers’ blog sites. I’m still a relatively new writer, but I believe in taking advantage of every opportunity.

9. What are you working on next?
When I finished Wanting Mr Wrong, I knew I wasn’t ready to say goodbye to Evie’s friends, Chloe and Drew, so I am actually working on books for those characters. I’m in the process of finishing Chloe’s story right now. Chloe is a television reporter with a reputation for being cool, calm and collected – but she has a fiery core that only one man seems to see.

10. Where we can find out more about you and your book?
I love interacting with readers, and will be sharing snippets and other information about the book – and my life – on:
my web site –
Facebook –
Twitter –
Wattpad –

Thanks for popping in, Avril, and good luck with the book!

If you want to learn more about Avril and Wanting Mr Wrong, you can follow the rest of her blog tour. Tomorrow she is at My Written Romance.

Meet My Book : Arkie's Pilgrimage to the Next Big Thing, by Lisa Walker

It’s lovely to have Lisa Walker here today to talk about her new book. Over to you, Lisa.Lisa Walker

1.      Give us the details – title, publisher, illustrator, release date.

Title: Arkie’s Pilgrimage to the Next Big Thing    

Publisher: Random House – Bantam

Release Date: 1st February, 2015.

2.       Why did you write the book?

This story started with the idea of a pilgrimage. Over the last ten years or so it has seemed like almost everyone I meet has just done, or is about to do, a pilgrimage. Those who have returned talk about it ecstatically – it was life changing, they say.

The idea of a pilgrimage attracted me. I visualised the experience as a chance to take stock and maybe change direction. Although I am yet to do one myself I still have a vague notion that at some stage I will head out on a spiritual journey from which I will return changed for the better.

Instead of a journey, my fascination with pilgrimages has produced a book. Arkie’s pilgrimage forms the backbone of a story about redemption, trust and finding magic in the everyday.


3.       How long from idea to publication?

About four years. I tend to write my first draft quite quickly but then take a long time to revise and polish it.

4.       What was the hardest thing about writing it?

Finding the right concept and then sticking with it was hard. The novel started as a story about a woman walking the Shikoku pilgrimage trail in Japan. I bought a lot of books about the pilgrimage and became quite an armchair expert, but somehow I could never find the time to go to Shikoku and research it. Despite this obstacle the book was on a roll so, loathe to put on the brakes, I got creative and changed the setting. My pilgrim now travels no further north than Noosa and no further south than Sydney. She is a ‘do it yourself’ pilgrim, finding transcendence on the highways of our local area on her way to the next ‘big thing’. Throughout the writing process the concept of a pilgrimage to the ‘big things’ often struck me as a little wacky and I got quite shy trying to describe my story to others. My writing group was very good at encouraging me along to the next big thing.

5.       Coolest thing about your book?

Probably the fact that I’ve managed to combine a pilgrimage, a mid-life crisis, big things, surrealism, ‘The Wizard of Oz’, spirituality and a dash of magic all in one book.

6.       Something you learnt through writing the book?

As well as learning a lot about big things I also researched Japanese spirituality. I was particularly taken with the story of Tanuki the shape-shifting racoon dog. Tanuki is a trickster who pays for his food and drinks in money which turns to leaves as soon as he is out of sight. He can also turn himself into a teapot at will. When Arkie picks up an old teapot on the side of the road strange things begin to happen.

7.       What did you do celebrate the release?

I had a launch party at the Northern Rivers Writers Centre in Byron Bay. The staff at the centre have been a big support to me over many years and every book is a huge milestone. You can’t let it go past without raising a glass of champagne.

8.       And how will you promote the book?

For a start, I’m doing a blog tour! My son, who’s into film, has made a book trailer for me, which you can see on my website I’m doing two speaking events in Sydney (at Ashfield and Randwick), one in Lismore and one on the Gold Coast. You can find out more about these on my blog

I also have an article about big things coming out in the Fairfax ‘Escape’ travel section across Australia and Random House is doing a TV ad on Foxtel, which is pretty exciting. I’ll be at Bellingen Writers Festival in June and Byron Bay Writers Festival in August and I’m sure some other events will pop up along the way.

9.       What are you working on next?

I’m branching out. My current work-in-progress is a young adult novel about a Brisbane teenager with an obsession for Paris. It’s a coming of age story, tentatively titled ‘Paris Syndrome’. I’ve just been over in France doing some research, which was awfully tough of course.

10.   Where we can find out more about you and your book?



twitter: lisawalkertweet


instagram: lisawalkerwriter


Thanks for dropping by, Lisa.

Arkie’s Pilgrimage to the Next Big Thing is out now! You can see all the dates for Lisa’s blog tour here.

Meet My Book: 1915, by Sally Murphy

Today is the release day for my new book: 1915. So, I thought I’d celebrate by asking myself the same 10 questions I usually as visiting authors. They say talking to yourself is the first sign of madness  – but hey, you have to be a bit crazy to be a children’s author, so I’m fine with that.

  1. Give us the details – title, publisher, illustrator, release date.

1915, published by Scholastic Australia, on February 1. 1915 (Australia's Great War)

2.  Why did you write the book?

 Usually I write a book because there’s an idea that won’t leave me alone. This time was a little different – because I was approached by Claire Hallifax at Scholastic to see if I might be interested in writing for this series (Australia’s Great War). I love a challenge, so I said yes. My brief was to create a fictional story set in the midst of Australia’s involvement in World War 1 in the year 1915 (other books in the series deal with the other years of the war). It was up to me to find a way to bring those events to life, through a character young readers could connect with. I decided on a school teacher, because I was interested in how the war affected children back home, and I thought perhaps having a teacher at the war would connect a class of children more closely.  One day I was looking at the very famous photo of the 11th Battalion posed on the Cheops pyramid, and I realised I had a starting point for my story. My character, Stanley, was there posing for a photograph. I started writing, and found that having him there on that pyramid really got me into Stanley’s head ready to tell his story.

 3. How long from idea to publication?

About two years.

4. What was the hardest thing about writing it?

Finding a way to explore really difficult events in a way that is both realistic but also appealing to children. I cried writing this book, many times, but needed to be sure to somehow offer hope. The other difficult things is fictionalising history. It is important not to alter facts too much though occasionally some poetic license is needed. For example, there are a few characters in the book who were real people. In order to write about Charles Bean, the war correspondent. I had him befriend Stanley, and get Stanley’s help on compiling the Anzac Book. This didn’t happen, of course, because Stanley is fictional. So it was important to do this only when and as necessary for the story to come alive, but not to alter what really happened.

 5. Coolest thing about your book?

My name on the cover? Seriously, though, I think the fact that it highlights the creation of The Anzac Book is pretty cool, and the photo on the pyramid too. It’s good to be able to bring pieces of history alive.

6. Something you learnt through writing the book?

That a deadline is a pretty good way to overcome self doubt. I had never written historical fiction of his length before – and kept wondering if I could really do it. But the contract had been signed, and there were deadlines, so I had to get over that and just work work work till I got it right. My editor, Claire, was a  great support.  I also learnt many many things about the Gallipoli campaign, about war, about some of the famous and less famous men and women who served, and about life back at home at the time.

7. What did you do celebrate the release?

 I’m having a virtual launch over on my website today and am planning a physical launch as well. There may even be a glass of bubbles tonight  . 🙂

 8. And how will you promote the book?

 I’ll be  visiting lots of blogs, and talking at schools and festivals throughout the year, as well as my usual twitter, facebook and so on. And telling anyone who will listen!

 9. What are you working on next?

Lots of things. I’m currently a PhD candidate, with my project focussing on children’s poetry. As part of this I am working on a verse novel and a collection of poetry.  I’ve also got a new picture book, Fly In Fly Out Dad, coming out later in the year.

 10. Where we can find out more about you and your book?

At my author site:

Or my Facebook page.

Or on Twitter.

I’ll post links to any other interviews and publicity on one or all of these.

Oh, and today I’m having a virtual launch over on my blog. Drop by and join in the fun, If you leave a comment you will be in the draw for a free copy of the book.

And, of course, you can buy the book through good brick and mortar bookstores, or online.


Meet My Book: Snap Magic, by Angela Sunde

Today I’m delighted to welcome Angela Sunde to the blog, here  to talk to us about her latest book as part of her blog tour.  Welcome, Angela.

Hi Sally, thanks for hosting me on Aussiereviews

1. Give us the details – title, publisher, illustrator, release date.  Red Pedal Press Publisher of Australian Children's Books

Snap Magic, Red Pedal Press, illustrator-Angela Sunde, 11.October 2014

 2. Why did you write the book?

Snap Magic was written as a stand-alone sequel to my Aussie Chomp, Pond Magic.

3. How long from idea to publication?

It took three years from idea to publication, as the Aussie Chomps list closed just after I submitted Snap Magic to Penguin.

4. What was the hardest thing about writing it?

The hardest thing was probably finding a starting point. The idea for Snap Magic came from a short story I wrote called Snap, which was shortlisted for the Charlotte Duncan Award in 2009.

 5. Coolest thing about your book?

I’m very proud of the colourful, quirky characters who are thrown into hilarious and cringeworthy situations, and that my original senior editor at Penguin loved my story so much she jumped at the opportunity to work with me again. The coolest thing is how beautifully edited it is, and I also love the layout and cover.

6. Something you learnt through writing the book?

I learnt that it is difficult to deliver consequences for covert bullies, unless your next-door neighbour is a witch. (There is a covert and an overt bully in the story.) And I now understand how the publishing world operates and that, with the right professional senior children’s editor and book designer, the only difference is the size of your catalogue.

7. What did you do celebrate the release?

Last weekend we celebrated with two launches – one in Brisbane and one on Mt Tamborine (near the Gold Coast.) They were Halloween themed to match Snap Magic’s story, with dress-up competitions, games, activities, food and prizes. There was story telling, song and laughter. It was a lot of fun! Photos are on my blog

8.  And how will you promote the book?

The marketing machine is well under way. If you sprinkle enough seeds, some will grow. This week I was interviewed live on 612 ABC Brisbane radio, interviewed by both Gold Coast papers and featured in a local parenting magazine. The launches are listed in numerous online what’s on listings. And I am running a blog tour at the moment with campaigns on social media. Mostly it’s through direct contact. Listen to the ABC Radio interview here:

 9. What are you working on next?

I’m working on a picture book during a week’s residency at Pinerolo Children’s Book Cottage in the Blue Mountains as Illustrator in Residence at the end of this month.

 10. Where we can find out more about you and your book?

Visit me at


Thanks for having me on Aussiereviews.

You can follow the rest of Angela’s tour, and find out more about Snap Magic, at these sites:


Snap Magic Blog Tour Dates




Monday 13. Kids Book Review

Tuesday 14. Sheryl Gwyther

Wednesday 15. Robyn Opie

Karen Tyrrell

Thursday 16. Alison Reynolds

Friday 17. Chris Bell – From Hook to Book

Saturday 18. Boomerang Books Blog

Dimity Powell

Sunday 18. Sandy Fussell / The Reading Stack

Monday 20. Aussiereviews

Tuesday 21. Dee White

Wednesday 22. Angela Sunde’s Blog Tour Wrap Up


About the Author: 

Angela Sunde is the author of the light-hearted fantasy novels Snap Magic, and Pond Magic (an Aussie Chomp – Penguin Australia.) Awarded a May Gibbs Children’s Literature Trust Fellowship in 2013, Angela represents the Gold Coast as a committee member of the Queensland branch of The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and is the editor of the Redlands City Council’s ‘Junior Redlitzer Anthology 2014.’ Formerly an award-winning language and literacy teacher, she is also a children’s writing judge and offers workshops at libraries and schools.



Please, read.

So, a few days ago I shared this quote about reading on Facebook. Sharing things on social media is something I do reasonably regularly – often things that make me smile, occasionally things that make me angry and other times things that make me think. I thought this quote was one of the former, because I found myself nodding in agreement and smiling, but later that night I found myself lying in bed thinking about the message and how it relates to parents and children.

See, I know that reading makes me a better person: happier, more well informed, more empathetic. I also know that most other readers know this. And yet I know many many adults who don’t read, and especially who don’t read for pleasure. Their excuse, if they are asked, is that they don’t have time to read. Often, they say this in a way that suggests that people who do read are somehow either very time-rich, or simply too lazy to be doing more important stuff than getting lost in a novel.

This worries me on their behalf. It especially worries me that it seems they have either never loved reading, or have somehow forgotten the magic of being lost in a story. But it worries me most when those non-reading adults are parents.

Very few parents fail to understand how important it is that their children learn to read. Perhaps some see this is as valuable simply so that they do well in (gah!) NAPLAN tests, or beat other kids in their class (double gah!) or, in the long run, get good jobs so that they can be rich and successful, rather than seeing the way that reading develops other, less measurable skills and attributes. Regardless, few parents would argue against the value of good reading skills. Parents spend hours listening to their kids read, and lots of money on trying to improve their reading skills, either through buying them books (yay!) or by investing in programs to improve their reading skills – computer software, extra tuition, whatever it takes to boost those skills.

The thing that makes me sad, then, is that so very many parents – and other significant adults – miss a wonderful (free) opportunity to engage their kids in reading: modelling. Modelling I hear you ask? Yes, modelling. Modelling to young readers, or future readers, the great pastime of reading. You see, every time an adult opens a book and reads for pleasure, they are demonstrating to spectators that reading is something fun/interesting/cool to do. We all know kids love to do what grown ups do. They watch us and they learn. We want them to eat veggies, so we eat veggies in front of them. We want them to brush their teeth, so we brush our teeth in front of them. We want them to read– we should be reading in front of them.

Instead, though, we tend to read TO kids, or with them (and these are both very very valuable  and important things). But then, when we have time of our own, we turn on the tv, or we pull out our mobile devices, and we entertain ourselves with those. The message we risk giving is that reading is something solely for kids: adults don’t need/want/have time to read. And, in turn, kids then see reading as something boring, a chore that relates only to school, something to shake off as soon as they can.

So what am I saying? Please, read in front of your kids. Pick up a book and read it. Enjoy it. Let your kids see you doing it, preferably every day. Talk to them about the books you’re reading over dinner, or when you’re out in the car, and ask them what they are reading. Model to them that reading is valuable, fun, important, vital! And please don’t let them hear you say proudly “I don’t have time to read’ or “Books are boring”.

If you are not a parent, you still have a role to play, because you are still a model for the kids you come into contact with – as well as for other adults. You read on the train, people see you and perhaps realise it’s a cool thing to do (because hey, you’re a cool looking guy/gal aren’t you?). You sit in the sun/lunchroom/café reading over lunch, the same.

Parent or not, while you’re busy setting that good example, you’ll  probably find something else happening: you’ll find yourself with new stuff to talk  about, with new knowledge, greater empathy, a bigger vocabulary. Heck, you’ll probably even find yourself enjoying yourself! If you don’t, you’re reading the wrong book: find another, and another until you find the right one.

I could go on and on and on about how if more people read we could solve all the world’s problems. Perhaps that’s the subject for a future post. For now, though, I just realised that this whole post can be summed up, very neatly in its title.

Please, read.