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.

Liar Bird, by Lisa Walker

Cassandra Daley is a PR expert who will do whatever it takes to help her clients – even if she has to resort to a few dirty tricks. But when her fibs are found out, she is left disgraced, and has to look for a new job. A job in the country could be just the thing.

I curled up under my shawl, listened to the alien sounds of the bush and wondered how I’d ended up here, miles from my natural habitat. Headphones in my ears to block out the noise, I finally fell asleep to someone singing about a bus to Bondi.
Some hours later I woke up with a start – sweating. It was the dream, the one I’d had every night since it happened – a large and menacing long-footed potoroo lurked outside my window. It opened its mouth in a sinister smile, showing long, sharp teeth. Where to now, Cassandra? it said.

Cassandra Daley is a PR expert who will do whatever it takes to help her clients – even if she has to resort to a few dirty  tricks. But when her fibs are found out, she is left disgraced, and has to look for a new job. A job in the country could be just the thing. But Beechville is pretty hard to get used to – there are frogs in Cassandra’s toilet, people who love her one day and avoid her the next, and a disappearing boss. Then there’s the pretty hunky ranger who seems to have it in for her – in spite of which she finds herself increasingly attracted to him.
Cassandra finds herself connecting with the town and almost enjoying her jb – until the night she finds out the town’s secret. Suddenlys he’s back in the limelight with the press – this time in a good way – and she has to figure out just what is important to her. Is it possible she’ll always be a liar bird?

Liar Bird is a funny look at PR, conservation and city v country, with polished city-girl Cassandra gradually finding her more down to earth alter-ego Cassie as she struggles to adapt to life in a small town. Her voice is refreshing and readers will enjoy the way she talks to her resident tree frog as she recounts the story, as well as the range of characters with whom she interacts. But, while the story is chiefly funny, it also explores issues of honesty, self-identity and conservation, engaging the reader in considering these.

This is a debut novel, with Walker’s dexterity evidence her name will be seen again.
Liar Bird

Liar Bird, by Lisa Walker
Harper Collins, 2012
ISBN 9780732294120

This book is avaialble from good bookstores or online from Fishpond. Buying through this link supports Aussiereviews.