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Friday, 26 June 2015

Author Interview with : Vicky Adin

Here's another in our series of author interviews, this time Vicky Adin has a chance to show us her writing world.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
            Wondering what the day will bring and having the chance to do something different every day. I never know what words are going to come into my head at any one time and it’s exciting to see what happens next.
What is your favourite book from childhood? Tell me about it.
            Black Beauty by Anna Sewell. I was crazy about horses as a child and read endless adventures stories about horses, girls on horses, and picture books of horses. Reading a story from the perspective of the horse was out of this world and made a huge impact on me. Wind in the Willows, and all the quirky characters, has to be my second favourite.
What are you currently reading? Tell me about it.
            Written in my Heart’s Own Blood by Diana Gabaldon. At over 820 pages, it is the 8th book in the Outlander series. You either love the series or hate it. Claire is a 20th century figure who time travels through an ancient stone circle to land up in 18th century Scotland where she meets the incredible Jamie Fraser. Part fiery romance, part historical portrait and part science-fiction the author weaves the impossible into the plausible with a lot of historical fact. The plot expands to fit - moving from Scotland to America, and back and forth through the stones to the present – throughout is all is the steamy love affair between Claire and Jamie. There is family in both times and in both countries. Gabaldon’s detailed historical research leads to richly worded scenes and wonderful characters. This one is weighty and wordy and could do with an edit.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote? Why does it stick in your memory?
            I can’t remember the title, but it was an essay for a school assignment on my favourite things, when I was about ten. I wrote about horses and my riding lessons. My teacher rated it highly and had me read it out to the class, but as I was reading all sorts of new ideas came to mind. I started to add bits in as I was reading and I changed the ending. I was told off because I hadn’t read what was written. All I was doing was editing - even back then.
            The first book I wrote was ‘Daniel’ – a biographical narrative about a New Zealand soldier, pioneer, patriarch and pacifist between 1842 and 1926.
What’s the best thing about being a writer?
            Freedom - and knowing that words have the power to move and influence people. A few words in the right order, in the right place, can produce huge emotional and psychological responses in a reader. I love playing with words, hoping to trigger such a response.
What is your writing process?
            I write every week day – spending hours at my desk, doing research and writing. The weekends are reserved for family. I try to write as many words as possible for my current work-in-progress or sometimes a scene from my notebook, or on a random topic to change my thinking. I have a blog page, a website, and I post about books and writing on Facebook.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
            Reading. I love reading. Reading helps me understand how other authors put words together. I would put reading ahead of anything – except family. I always have time for family, my adult children and my grandchildren. Travel ranks highly. Fortunately, my significant other and I both enjoy cruising and going anywhere and everywhere in our caravan, and we have huge plans to do more. When there’s nothing else to do, my garden fills up my spare time.
What are you currently working on?
            I’m writing an historical novel about Irish immigration to Australia and New Zealand as part of The PastFinders stories. This one is part romance and part family history with the themes of love and betrayal wrapped around historical events.
Taken from the perspective of a young girl who left her home and family at the age of 17, the story tackles the choices needed to make a new life: the hazards of the journey, the difficulties of adapting to a new country, finding work and the heartaches in finding love – with a twist.
            Daniel - A tale of courage and determination, of love and loss.
The PastFinders:
            The Cornish Knot – Art, mystery and wealth; two centuries, two lives
            The Art of Secrets  - Lives bounds by tragedy and lies
            Kazam! An adventure story

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Monique Hale on the power of self discipline

Discipline is such a misunderstood word!  Often it is related to punishment and harsh consequences.

But I see discipline as a mental stamina, comparable to the stamina it requires the iron man to draw upon to finish the race.

When we set goals, challenges are inevitable.  We need to expect them.  In my younger years, I anticipated the biggest hurdles were the ones that other people presented.  As I have matured I have realised that the biggest threat to achieving my goals is my own mind. Having the discipline to prioritise my vision of success over the immediate gratification of stopping is a battle – and one I would like to win.  Fancy being sabotaged by your own mind – crazy stuff, yet it is a constant of my past.

The fear of failure that crops up on the way to our goal is human nature’s tendency. Waxing and waning between ‘yes I will do this’ to ‘eh what’s the point’ is a common theme for most of us. 

Allowing discipline to win develops our self-esteem and it assists us to like ourselves.  It empowers us with the positive belief that we do actually create ourselves, that our destiny is not randomly pre-determined.  This feeling of empowerment is critical to our happiness; to the sense of knowledge that we are not wasting our time in this body.  Thus I would like to offer you a piece of advice that I only hope I can take when I find myself confronted with fear – forfeit the instant gratification, people, and remain focussed on your target!

Self-discipline is strengthened by being utilised – and it is our friend!  Opt to do what you decided to do, when you decided to do it, whether you feel like it or not.  Support this with a clear vision of what attainment of your goal looks like, feels like and smells like - this is a magic formula.  Discipline and success are best friends.  See discipline as part of the deal from the get-go and make peace with it.  Discipline is an essential component in consciously creating the you that you desire.

So….what task did you set for yourself that remains uncompleted?  Allow discipline to be your champion!
Monique Hale

Friday, 5 June 2015

Evan Andrew idly muses on a winter's day.

It’s a cold, wet, windy, grey winters day, and I’m still fighting off a cold that doesn’t seem to want to go away. Well, it’s June in New Zealand, so what else can we expect?

This is the time of the year I normally like to get my writing done, but the muse seems to have deserted me at the moment, and I am not happy with what has been produced.

In March I had copies of my first novel ‘Shadows In the Night’ as a Goodreads promotion, and it had a very good response. I duly posted the books off to the lucky winners, and waited with bated breath, to hopefully read some encouraging reviews.

Last week I received a nice message from one of the winners whose book had never arrived. I know NZ Post are having their problems, but with the cost of postage today, why did they have to lose one of my books? I duly sent off my apology and another book, and was delighted to hear back from the prize-winner that the second book had arrived, and furthermore they promised to write me a review!

NZ Post, you are forgiven.

I have just finished reading Giles Waterfield’s new novel, ‘The Iron Necklace,’ which I thoroughly recommend to anyone who enjoys historical novels. The story of a young English girl who marries into a German family before the first World War, and the lives of various members of both families, continues on to the nineteen seventies, is captivating. I admired his writing immensely. He won the McKitterick Prize for his earlier novel ‘The Long Afternoon,’ which I have requested from the library, and look forward to reading as soon as it arrives.

(Yes, I know I should be writing,) but it won’t arrive for at least a week, so I will knuckle down and get to work, and hope the muse is with me.

It certainly doesn’t look too inviting outside.

Ah well, only sixteen more days to go until the shortest day of the year, and then, roll on spring!

Evan Andrew