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Changes Ahead. Please Stay With Me.

In the past two years, I’ve grown and changed as a writer. Now its time for this blog to reflect that too. All the old posts will still be there, but in future, I will be concentrating on what I write, and what inspired me to write it. From time to time I will post about what I am reading. There will be a research section for those of you, who like me like their facts to be accurate. Along the way, I will be happy to answer your questions.

Change
Change can be scary- please stay with me. Photo by Daria Shevtsova on

So from now, the focus will be more on the writing process, ice dancing, Bergen in Norway. Vikings and Viking beliefs.Reindeer Nathan lemon unsplash

Chatting with Authors: Meet Juanita Kees.

Hi Juanita,

Thanks for joining us and as you are such a prolific author, we have lots to talk about. For those who don’t know, Juanita writes across several genres: rural romance /rural suspense/ small town USA NASCAR /paranormal (Greek gods.) She is also a contributor to the popular Bindarra Creek series as well as Country Shadows, Country Whispers and Country Suspense (3-in-1 paperbacks from Harlequin Mira with various other authors).

Headshot
Juanita busy signing a book for a reader

 

Can you tell us how many books are in each series?

In the first Bindarra Creek series published in 2015 and 2016, A Bindarra Creek Romance, there are thirteen wonderful stories that introduce readers to the town and the characters. Nine of the authors then produced a short and sweet anthology. These stories are now slowly being released as separate titles. In this latest series, A Town Reborn, readers can return to the lovely town of Bindarra Creek for their best reading adventure yet with the return of some of the lovely, colourful characters of the original series. And, of course, meet some new ones too. My book, Promise Me Forever is the eighth (and last) book in this latest series.

Here is a list of series I have written:

  • Wongan Creek: Whispers at Wongan Creek, Secrets at Wongan Creek and Shadows over Wongan Creek
  • Under the Law: Under Shadow of Doubt, Under the Hood, Under Cover of Dark
  • Bindarra Creek: Home to Bindarra Creek, Promise Me Forever
  • The Calhouns of Montana: Montana Baby (previously published as Overdrive), Montana Daughter (previously Fast Lane) and Montana Son (release date 2 June 2020)
  • The Gods of Oakleigh: Finding Paradise
  • FindingParadise_Credit J Kees

 

My goodness, you have been busy I hadn’t realized that you were so prolific.

Let’s start with some ‘getting to know you’ questions

Are you a lark (a morning person) or an owl (late night)? That depends entirely on the muse and what mood she’s in 😊.

What is your best time to write? When I’m alone, the house is quiet and there is nothing to distract me.

What do you like to do when you are not writing? Anything except housework! I’m a keen car enthusiast, terrible gardener, average wine drinker, unenthusiastic exerciser who loves reading, writing and music.

What did you want to be when you grew up? A lawyer so I could put all the bad guys in jail.Under the Law Series_Credit Nas Dean

What was your dream job when you were younger? I once had a job offer to assist in running a holiday resort by the sea. I thought that would be the ideal job.

What will you do for Valentine’s Day? Is Valentine’s something to like to celebrate? This Valentine’s Day I’ll be celebrating the release of Promise Me Forever. Jack and Meg are my favourite characters so far.HomeToBC_Credit J Kees

QUESTIONS ABOUT WRITING

Have you always wanted to be a writer? Even as a little girl, I loved writing, reading and telling stories.

What advice would you give a new writer, someone just starting out? Learn absolutely everything you can about your craft and keep learning. A good writer never stops learning.

What comes first, the plot or characters? The characters. I’m a total pantser. 

Explanation from Sonia – the term ‘pantser’ means someone who does not plot their stories as in ‘flying by the seat of your pants’.

This is in contrast to the other writers who often have an outline and plot everything meticulously

How do you develop your plot and characters? I give my characters free reign to tell the story chapter by chapter and then I edit it.

How do you come up with the titles to your books? I’ll give it a random working title and then as the story develops, I’ll brainstorm a title to suit.

What is the most difficult part about writing for you? Editing the story. By the time I’ve been through it two or three times, I’m convinced its rubbish, lol.

How do you do research for your books? I read a lot, travel, Google, stalk a few people (kidding!) and ask for help from willing professionals.

On a typical day, how much time do you spend writing? As much time as I can juggling a hectic day job, family and real-life commitments.

Calhouns of Montana_Credit Nas Dean

 

Are you on social media and can your readers interact with you? Yes! I love to hear from readers. You can email me via my website contact form https://juanitakees.com/meet-and-greet/ On the same page, you will find links to all the places I am on social media. I’d love to see you in my book club at https://www.facebook.com/groups/607880523038543/ .

How many unfinished manuscripts do you have? Way too many! I have many new ideas floating around in my head at any given time, so I’ll write the first chapter or two, then let it rest a while. In comparison to many authors out there, I am a slow writer. I only manage to write two books a year because I like to let them breathe a little before editing them too.

   QUESTIONS ABOUT YOUR BOOKS

How many books have you written? Which is your favourite? I’ve published twelve books to date but have written many more. Picking a favourite is always hard. I’d have to say Whispers at Wongan Creek, because that has been an outstanding favourite with readers.

What is the most surprising thing you discovered while writing your book(s)? That I have a serial killer mean streak when I write suspense. Sometimes I scare myself 😊.

Do you have a favourite character that you have written? If so, who? And what makes them so special? Choosing a favourite character is like choosing a favourite child. I love Jack from Promise Me Forever but I also adore Travis from Whispers at Wongan Creek. Both men are strong characters but they have a softer, fun side too

Wongan Creek Series_Credit Nas Dean
Travis captured my heart too.

You’ve written rural suspense/romance genre and small-town USA genre. Do you have a preference? I love writing my Australian stories best. That’s where my heart is.

Do you find writing heroes or heroines easier? It depends on who is ‘talking’ to me on the day 😊.

What gives a hero personality, and do you fall a little in love with them as you write? How he reacts to the heroine defines his personality. I do fall in love with my heroes all the time. I need to love them to make them real on the page.

Where can readers find out more about you and your books? Pop onto my website at https://juanitakees.com/

Which of your books were the most enjoyable to write? The Wongan Creek series and the Bindarra Creek books.PromiseMe_Credit Patti Roberts

 

QUESTIONS ABOUT YOUR CURRENT BOOK

Can you share with us something about the book that isn’t in the blurb? Promise Me Forever is more than just a romance between Meg and Jack. It’s a story about community, loyalty, faith and trust. Between the pages, you’ll find a connection within the Bindarra Creek community borne out of the trials that have strengthened the town rather than broken it down.

Are there any secrets from the book (that aren’t in the blurb), you can share with your readers? Jack has another love in his life, but it’s not necessarily a flesh and blood woman.

Does one of the main characters hold a special place in your heart? Yes! Meg’s aunty, Phyllis, is colourful character.

If so, what is the future for the characters? Will there be a sequel? Aunty Phyllis may have her own love story one day, who knows?

If your book was to be made into a movie, who are the celebrities that would star in it? I’d love Chris Hemsworth to star in all movies made from my books 😊. I think for Meg, I’d cast Bella Heathcote (Jane Bennett in Pride and Prejudice)

 

Sonia adds  who wouldn’t want Chris Hemsworth ?

Thank you so much for chatting with us and good luck with the new book

 

Photo Credits – Graphics by Nas Dean, Paradox Book Covers & Formatting and J Kees.

Buy links:

Universal Link: https://books2read.com/u/4N9Gz9

Amazon AU: https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B0843CKWKM/

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0843CKWKM/

Blurb:

News correspondent, Jack Hughes, is sent to sleepy Bindarra Creek to escape the spotlight after a scandalous fake video goes viral. He’s in the fight of his life to save his reputation. In a town only determination has kept from dying, the last thing Jack is looking for is love.

The Bindarra Creek Museum is Meg Moonie’s life. But with her granny dead, a murder suspect on the run and the police asking questions, she struggles to keep the museum and Mary Moonie’s dream alive. Jack is a handsome distraction, but Meg has been hurt by a roving reporter before. Men who couldn’t put down roots never promised forever. If only he wasn’t so easy to fall in love with…

Bio:

Finding love and hope in small towns with dark secrets …

Juanita escapes the real world by reading and writing Australian Rural Romance novels with elements of suspense, Australian Fantasy Paranormal and Small Town USA stories. Her romance novels star spirited heroines who give the hero a run for his money before giving in. She creates emotionally engaging worlds steeped in romance, suspense, mystery and intrigue, set in dusty, rural outback Australia and on the NASCAR racetracks of America. When she’s not writing, Juanita is mother to three boys and has a passion for fast cars and country living.

Juanita loves to hear from fans and would love for you to share her writing journey:

Amazonhttp://amazon.com/author/juanitakees

BookBubhttps://www.bookbub.com/authors/juanita-kees

Goodreadshttps://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6454477.Juanita_Kees

Instagramhttps://www.instagram.com/kees2write/

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/juanitakeesauthor/

Books2Readhttps://books2read.com/author/juanita-kees/subscribe/1/24801/

Newsletterhttp://eepurl.com/bij79b

Book Love Book Clubhttps://www.facebook.com/groups/607880523038543/

 

 

 

 

 

Chatting with Authors-Meet Juanita Kees

Hi Juanita,

Thanks for joining us and as you are such a prolific author,  we have lots to talk about. For those who don’t know, Juanita writes across several genres: rural romance /rural suspense/ small town USA NASCAR /paranormal (Greek gods.) She is also a contributor to the popular Bindarra Creek series as well as Country Shadows, Country Whispers and Country Suspense (3-in-1 paperbacks from Harlequin Mira with various other authors).

 

Headshot
Juanita happily signing a book for a reader

Can you tell us how many books are in each series?

In the first Bindarra Creek series published in 2015 and 2016, A Bindarra Creek Romance, there are thirteen wonderful stories that introduce readers to the town and the characters. Nine of the authors then produced a short and sweet anthology. These stories are now slowly being released as separate titles. In this latest series, A Town Reborn, readers can return to the lovely town of Bindarra Creek for their best reading adventure yet with the return of some of the lovely, colourful characters of the original series. And, of course, meet some new ones too. My book, Promise Me Forever is the eighth (and last) book in this latest series.

Here is a list of series I have written:

  • Wongan Creek: Whispers at Wongan Creek, Secrets at Wongan Creek and Shadows over Wongan Creek
  • Under the Law: Under Shadow of Doubt, Under the Hood, Under Cover of Dark
  • Bindarra Creek: Home to Bindarra Creek, Promise Me Forever
  • The Calhouns of Montana: Montana Baby (previously published as Overdrive), Montana Daughter (previously Fast Lane) and Montana Son (release date 2 June 2020)
  • The Gods of Oakleigh: Finding Paradise

FindingParadise_Credit J Kees

 

Let’s start with some ‘getting to know you’ questions

Are you a lark (a morning person) or an owl (late night)? That depends entirely on the muse and what mood she’s in 😊.

What is your best time to write? When I’m alone, the house is quiet and there is nothing to distract me.

What do you like to do when you are not writing? Anything except housework! I’m a keen car enthusiast, terrible gardener, average wine drinker, unenthusiastic exerciser who loves reading, writing and music.

What did you want to be when you grew up? A lawyer so I could put all the bad guys in jail.

What was your dream job when you were younger? I once had a job offer to assist in running a holiday resort by the sea. I thought that would be the ideal job.

 

What will you do for Valentine’s Day? Is Valentine’s something to like to celebrate? This Valentine’s Day I’ll be celebrating the release of Promise Me Forever. Jack and Meg are my favourite characters so far.

 

PromiseMe_Credit Patti Roberts

QUESTIONS ABOUT WRITING

  1. Have you always wanted to be a writer? Even as a little girl, I loved writing, reading and telling stories.
  2. What advice would you give a new writer, someone just starting out? Learn absolutely everything you can about your craft and keep learning. A good writer never stops learning.
  3. What comes first, the plot or characters? The characters. I’m a total pantser.
  4. How do you develop your plot and characters? I give my characters free reign to tell the story chapter by chapter and then I edit it.
  5. How do you come up with the titles to your books? I’ll give it a random working title and then as the story develops, I’ll brainstorm a title to suit.
  6. What is the most difficult part about writing for you? Editing the story. By the time I’ve been through it two or three times, I’m convinced its rubbish, lol.
  7. How do you do research for your books? I read a lot, travel, Google, stalk a few people (kidding!) and ask for help from willing professionals.
  8. On a typical day, how much time do you spend writing? As much time as I can juggling a hectic day job, family and real-life commitments.
  9. Are you on social media and can your readers interact with you? Yes! I love to hear from readers. You can email me via my website contact form https://juanitakees.com/meet-and-greet/ On the same page, you will find links to all the places I am on social media. I’d love to see you in my book club at https://www.facebook.com/groups/607880523038543/ .
  10. How many unfinished manuscripts do you have? Way too many! I have many new ideas floating around in my head at any given time, so I’ll write the first chapter or two, then let it rest a while. In comparison to many authors out there, I am a slow writer. I only manage to write two books a year because I like to let them breathe a little before editing them too.

 

 QUESTIONS ABOUT YOUR BOOKS

 

Wongan Creek Series_Credit Nas Dean

  1. How many books have you written? Which is your favourite? I’ve published twelve books to date but have written many more. Picking a favourite is always hard. I’d have to say Whispers at Wongan Creek, because that has been an outstanding favourite with readers.
  2. What is the most surprising thing you discovered while writing your book(s)? That I have a serial killer mean streak when I write suspense. Sometimes I scare myself 😊.
  3. Do you have a favourite character that you have written? If so, who? And what makes them so special? Choosing a favourite character is like choosing a favourite child. I love Jack from Promise Me Forever but I also adore Travis from Whispers at Wongan Creek. Both men are strong characters but they have a softer, fun side too.

Sonia says- Yes, Travis won my heart too.

  1. You’ve written rural suspense/romance genre and small-town USA genre. Do you have a preference? I love writing my Australian stories best. That’s where my heart is.
  2. Do you find writing heroes or heroines easier? It depends on who is ‘talking’ to me on the day 😊.
  3. What gives a hero personality, and do you fall a little in love with them as you write? How he reacts to the heroine defines his personality. I do fall in love with my heroes all the time. I need to love them to make them real on the page.
  4. Where can readers find out more about you and your books? Pop onto my website at https://juanitakees.com/
  5. Which of your books were the most enjoyable to write? The Wongan Creek series and the Bindarra Creek books.
  6. HomeToBC_Credit J Kees

 

QUESTIONS ABOUT YOUR CURRENT BOOK

  1. Can you share with us something about the book that isn’t in the blurb? Promise Me Forever is more than just a romance between Meg and Jack. It’s a story about community, loyalty, faith and trust. Between the pages, you’ll find a connection within the Bindarra Creek community borne out of the trials that have strengthened the town rather than broken it down.
  2. Are there any secrets from the book (that aren’t in the blurb), you can share with your readers? Jack has another love in his life, but it’s not necessarily a flesh and blood woman.
  3. Does one of the main characters hold a special place in your heart? Yes! Meg’s aunty, Phyllis, is colourful character.
  4. If so, what is the future for the characters? Will there be a sequel? Aunty Phyllis may have her own love story one day, who knows?
  5. If your book was to be made into a movie, who are the celebrities that would star in it? I’d love Chris Hemsworth to star in all movies made from my books 😊. I think for Meg, I’d cast Bella Heathcote (Jane Bennett in Pride and Prejudice)

 

Sonia says – I’d pretty much cast Chris Hemsworth in anything!

Thank you so much for chatting with us.

 

Photo Credits – Graphics by Nas Dean, Paradox Book Covers & Formatting and J Kees.

Buy links:

Universal Link: https://books2read.com/u/4N9Gz9

Amazon AU: https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B0843CKWKM/

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0843CKWKM/

Blurb:

News correspondent, Jack Hughes, is sent to sleepy Bindarra Creek to escape the spotlight after a scandalous fake video goes viral. He’s in the fight of his life to save his reputation. In a town only determination has kept from dying, the last thing Jack is looking for is love.

The Bindarra Creek Museum is Meg Moonie’s life. But with her granny dead, a murder suspect on the run and the police asking questions, she struggles to keep the museum and Mary Moonie’s dream alive. Jack is a handsome distraction, but Meg has been hurt by a roving reporter before. Men who couldn’t put down roots never promised forever. If only he wasn’t so easy to fall in love with…

Bio:

Finding love and hope in small towns with dark secrets …

Juanita escapes the real world by reading and writing Australian Rural Romance novels with elements of suspense, Australian Fantasy Paranormal and Small Town USA stories. Her romance novels star spirited heroines who give the hero a run for his money before giving in. She creates emotionally engaging worlds steeped in romance, suspense, mystery and intrigue, set in dusty, rural outback Australia and on the NASCAR racetracks of America. When she’s not writing, Juanita is mother to three boys and has a passion for fast cars and country living.

 

Calhouns of Montana_Credit Nas Dean

Juanita loves to hear from fans and would love for you to share her writing journey:

Amazonhttp://amazon.com/author/juanitakees

BookBubhttps://www.bookbub.com/authors/juanita-kees

Goodreadshttps://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6454477.Juanita_Kees

Instagramhttps://www.instagram.com/kees2write/

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/juanitakeesauthor/

Books2Readhttps://books2read.com/author/juanita-kees/subscribe/1/24801/

Newsletterhttp://eepurl.com/bij79b

Book Love Book Clubhttps://www.facebook.com/groups/607880523038543/

 

Under the Law Series_Credit Nas Dean

 

 

 

 

Books I Read in January 2020.

Surprised myself with how many books I read in January. As usual, a mixed bag of those I had heard about ,and those that simply appealed to me for some reason. I  looked for books about bookshops, so the list is slightly skewed in that direction and there are many more on that topic i have still to read.

The Bookshop Detective by Jan Ellis.

 

Bookshop Detevtive

Easy and enjoyable reading. It’s a detective story in the loosest sense, as there isn’t a professional detective, instead bookshop owner Eleanor Mace starts to investigate the mysterious ghost ship which is rumoured to appear. Eleanor is an engaging character with a lively sense of curiosity and her investigations have some surprising  consequences. Once again, the book is part of  a series, The Bookshop by the Sea, but it     is  easy to read  it as a ‘stand-alone.’

 

The House on Bellevue Gardens by Rachael Hore.

 

Bellvue gardens

The title and concept appealed to me and I was drawn into the story of this slightly bohemian household of mismatched tenants. Louisa is sharing her house with people she feels need help or a chance. Each story emerges gradually and at times frustratingly slowly.  The part I enjoyed the most was reading about Louisa’s past. Rosa and her quest to find her brother seemed heartrendingly real. I felt that the ending didn’t quite satisfy me but perhaps that is reflective of real-life too?

 

 Messy by Tim Harford

Messy

The most enjoyable part of the book for me was the deconstruction of the idea that partner compatibility could be transformed by the ‘science’ of computer dating. In fact, there was very little science involved in the compatibility scores. Most were dictated by proximity. The example one of the founders of a site, who had access to many more profiles than an ordinary subscriber and had over fifty first dates, he still didn’t find a partner. He met his partner the old-fashioned way and they were not as ‘compatible’ as the women he’d previously met. It also argued that being told a couple had a rating of 90% compatibility was likely to encourage them to try harder and to dissect why that was that was the case. There is also the argument that we don’t necessarily know what we want at all.

 

The Bookshop of Yesterdays by Amy Myerson.

Book shhop of yesterdays

A more literary take on the theme of bookshops, this book is filled with literary references and a puzzle that Miranda ( named after The Tempest) must solve. Her uncle Billy who she hasn’t seen since she was twelve has left her his bookshop, the quaintly named Prospero Books. There are family secrets to uncover, literary clues to decipher leading her on a quest to explain what happened in her family. At the same time, she is trying to conduct a long-distance relationship, sort out the bookshop with its failing profits and deal with a somewhat wary staff, especially Malcolm the manager. Although I finished the book, I personally felt it could have been shorten with no ill effects

 

Coming Home by Fern Britton.


Coming HOme

 

When Sennen ran away from her Cornish life she had always intended to return but twenty years have passed, and it may be too late. Too late to reconnect with the children she left behind, too late to seek her parent’s forgiveness. Too late to have a new beginning and is she is risking the other life she had made for herself too.? Having once lived in Cornwall I enjoy reading about it. The characters are believable, real and flawed and the story had enough tension to make it an enjoyable read.

 

Miss Mary’s Book of Dreams by Sophie Nicholls.

Miss MAry's

An unpredictable book,  and one that defied my expectations. I came upon it by chance in my search for books about book shops. The bookshop was incidental to the story which concentrated more on three generations of the same family. As there are references to The Dress and events that happened in its story line, I felt that I was slightly disadvantaged,

The ‘ Miss Mary’ of the title was a healer or ‘cunning woman’ who fell foul of a disgruntled and incompetent doctor who accused her of witchcraft. Now, a copy of her precious book is in the bookshops and draws to it those who need its magic.

 

 Agatha Raisin-Beating Around the Bush by M.C Beaton

Agatha Beating about thr bush

 

The thirtieth in the very popular Agatha Raisin series and I am happy to say the M.C. Beaton has returned to form. After feeling disappointed with the cynical tone and style of Agatha Raisin and The Witches Tree reading this book was a bit of a gamble. Agatha is back to her best. Charles is being maddeningly elusive and has got engaged, without daring to tell Agatha. After being hired to investigate industrial espionage Agatha gets involved in investigating a murder than no-one wants to admit is a murder. Will it be the death of her?

 

The Café by the Bridge by Lily Malone   

Cafe by the Bridge

You do not need to have read the previous book in the Chalk Hill series Water Under the Bridge to enjoy this story. The Café by the Bridge easily works as a stand-alone.

Characters from the previous book do appear but the main story line concerns the ‘missing’ Honeychurch brother, Abel and an attractive and determined visitor to the town, Taylor Woods. She is on a mission the help her brother Will and she needs to win Abel’s trust and support but having been scammed and lied to by his ex-girlfriend he is in no mood for a feisty and talkative redhead invading his thoughts. He wants to forget the past .his failed bar, the gambling, the debts and especially the woman who made him wary of all women. This is a fun read as Taylor little by little weakens Abe’s defences, but it has enough bite and insight to make it more than just an enjoyable read.

 

Chatting with Authors- Meet Teena Raffa- Mulligan.

It’s always a  pleasure for me to be chatting with authors.  Today my guest is talented author Teena Raff Mulligan. Teena changes easily between writing for children( picture books,  and mid-grade books) as well as writing for adults. I had fun learning about her writing and her non- writing life and I hope you will enjoy this interview.

Teenanew2b (5)
Teena Raffa-Mulligan.

Finding out a little bit about Teena I asked her

What do you like to do when you are not writing? Watch TV. Walk the dog along the beach path. Dabble in art and photography.

What did you want to be when you grew up? A ballerina novelist.

Wow!What an awesome idea!

Blerina skitter photos
Skitter photo on  Pixababy

What was your dream job when you were younger? I had fantasies of dancing my way around the world and writing novels in the dressing room between performances.  Film star was my back up option. 

That sounds like a great plan!

What’s for dinner tonight? What would you rather be eating? I’m on a low-calorie meal plan at the moment so dinner today is a child-size serve of chargrilled chicken, potato bake and steamed veggies with gravy. I’m happy with that, though I wouldn’t mind baked ricotta cheesecake for dessert or a fruit and custard flan.

What’s your favourite food? That’s easy. Fish and chips. Preferably liberally sprinkled with salt and vinegar and eaten from the paper while parked in the car at the beach watching the sun go down over the ocean.

Daria Shevisoav
Photo by Daria Shevisoav

Your hero? My cousin Gypsy is an inspiration. She is wise, insightful, creative, intelligent, resilient, and has a wonderful sense of humour. Muscular dystrophy has increasingly limited Gypsy’s physical mobility over the years but her focus is always on what she can do rather than on what she can’t.

If you could choose three people to invite for a dinner party, who would they be and why? Julia Cameron, author of The Artist’s Way and other inspirational books for creatives; Eckhart Tolle, who wrote Stillness Speaks and The Power of Now; and Paul McCartney, who needs no introduction to people of my generation. I’m sure we’d have an intellectually stimulating discussion about living a spiritual life in our time, fulfilling our creative potential and finding a way to be authentically ourselves.

What’s your writing space like?

david Cassolato

The main writing space is inside my head and I shudder to think what that looks like! I carry my stories around with me mentally so a lot of the sentences first take shape while I’m away from my desk. I have an office with my desktop computer, printer, filing cabinet, bookshelf etc and that’s where the manuscripts get knocked into shape for submission. I also do a lot of scribbling in notepads at the kitchen bench, in a recliner chair at the lounge room window, propped up in bed, on the back patio or the sun deck.

What time of the day do you usually write? Anytime!

Is there a typical writing day? I don’t have a typical writing day. Sometimes weeks pass without me producing the next chapter of my WIP, though I do work on writing-related activities every day. This might be freelance proofing or copy editing, formatting my next indie publication, looking for covers, doing admin/promotions/ marketing or organising submissions, talks or workshops. I also do the monthly newsletter for the Society of Children’s Writers and Illustrators WA (SCBWI West), and I’m volunteer coordinator of Rockingham Writers Centre. Most days I head into my office after breakfast, work till lunchtime, take an hour or two break, then maybe do another couple of hours before dinner – or maybe not!

54798518_1104191853116905_6362209079326146560_n
A beautiful story for children who are missing a parent.

What is the most difficult part about writing for you? Completing novels. The level of focus required to sustain a long-term project doesn’t come naturally to me. I’m a bit of a butterfly and there are so many bright shiny new ideas and creative interests to attract my attention.

 

gray and black butterfly sniffing white flower
Photo by JÉSHOOTS on Pexels.com

What is your work schedule like when you are writing? I don’t have one. Of course, I apply myself and work steadily on a manuscript if there is an anthology or competition deadline or a publisher is waiting on rewrites. Basically, I work on priorities and do the job that needs to be done that day.

What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk? I have a stand-up desk and to introduce some exercise into my day I do a few dance steps, aerobic moves or on-the-spot marching as I work at the computer. I also try out various actions to see how they work and have conversations with myself to make sure the dialogue in my scenes sounds natural and in character. Fortunately, I don’t have an audience.christa's choice jpeg

Do you hear from your readers much? What do they say? I don’t often hear from readers. Those who comment usually tell me my stories are charming and warm-hearted, with characters that come alive on the page. The nicest thing anyone ever said was that I must have “bottles of delight and whimsy in your office and sprinkle them on your stories because your stories are always delightful and whimsical.” That made me feel warm and fuzzy.

shallow focus photo of mail envelope on newspaper
These days we get fan mail by email or text.

When you’re writing an emotionally draining (or sexy, or sad, etc) scene, how do you get in the mood? A lot of my stories are light-hearted so I need to feel at peace with my world. I can’t write those stories if I am upset or worried about something. Having said that, I had a publisher deadline on a major rewrite of my quirky MG novel Mad Dad for Sale at the time my dad was dying of cancer and somehow I managed to do that. The fantasy was a wonderful distraction from the reality of being about to lose my father.

photo of a person leaning on wooden window
Photo by Dương Nhân. We need time to process our emotions

 

How do you deal with the emotional impact of a book (on yourself) as you are writing the story? I’m more likely to be smiling or giggling at the computer because so much of what I write is light and quirky. However, I still get weepy when I read the final lines of my picture book Who Dresses God? and I was surprised the other day to find myself shedding a few tears as I proofread a scene in my forthcoming YA novel, Monelli & Me. Two of my unpublished picture books did stir up a lot of emotion because they are inspired by experiences which had a big impact on my life – the loss of a baby and losing a loved one to Alzheimer’s – so I let the tears flow as I wrote them. When they are published I might not be able to read them in schools!

 

adult alone anxious black and white
Photo by Kat Jayne on Pexels.com

Do you have a favourite character that you have written? If so, who? And what makes them so special. I love Joshua Jones in The Seven Day Dragon. He has a lively curiosity and a unique perspective on the world.

You’ve written adult genre and children’s picture books and mid-grade fiction genre. Do you have a preference?

Picture books. I love the challenge of sifting and shifting words to tell a story as succinctly as possible, yet in a way that allows the illustrator plenty of scope to be creative. I also like playing around with rhyme and rhythm. I’m obviously still learning because I have quite a few unpublished picture book manuscripts. I’m much more successful with short stories and poems.

How different do you find the writing? I don’t really think about it. I focus on the story I’m telling at the time and the voice for that age group or genre seems to come naturally without conscious effort.

Who is your favourite author and why? That’s like asking me if I have a favourite child!

What are you reading now? I just finished reading I’m Your Venus: A Sylvia Stryker Space Mystery by Dianne Vallere.

What book is currently on your bedside table? Only one? My next read will be In Good Hands, a Georgie B Goode Vintage Trailer Mystery by Marg McAlister.

I’m reading light at the moment because it was quite intense doing the copy edits and proofreading of my women’s fiction and YA novels, which are both coming out in March.

What books or authors have most influenced your own writing? Julia Cameron (The Artist’s Way, The Sound of Paper, The Right to Write); Natalie Goldberg (Long Quiet Highway); and Dani Shapiro (Still Writing).

Who is the author you most admire in your genre? Meg McKinlay. She has a wonderful way of writing for children and young adults.

Favourite quote (doesn’t matter the source)

ancient architecture asia bench
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Before enlightenment

Chopping wood

Carrying water.

After enlightenment

Chopping wood

Carrying water.

-Zen proverb

Favourite book/story you have read as an adult. It’s impossible for me to choose one.

Favourite books when you were a kid. Nesbitt’s Five Children and It and The Railway Children and Frances Hodgson Burnett’s The Secret Garden. What Katy Did also struck a chord, as did books by Elizabeth Goudge.

What famous author do you wish would be your mentor? I wish I’d been mentored by the amazing Jen Storer when I first started writing for children. Jen runs the Scribbles Academy and started The Duck Pond FB group. She has a wealth of industry knowledge and is an inspiration.

Website

http://www.teenaraffamulligan.com

Blog

https://intheirownwrite.wordpress.com

Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/TeenaRaffaMulligan

After Goodbye, Christa’s Choice and When the Moon is a Smile are available from https://www.daisylanepublishing.com/bookshop

Friends, The Seven Day Dragon and Risking Mr Wrong are available from https://www.serenitypress.org/

Most of my titles are available from Amazon.com and other online retailers.

Thank you so much, Teena, for a fascinating interview and good luck with your new releases.

 

Chatting with Authors- Meet Diana Smith

Hi Diana,

Thanks for joining us- can you tell us a little about yourself please? What do you like to do when you are not writing?

When I am not writing I like to run my gratitude workshops where I read my book and we do some activities on the benefits of Gratitude and resilience.

Diana-230x300
Diana Smith.

Diana, what did you want to be when you grew up? As I grew up, I wanted to be a flight assistant and travel the world, or a train driver and I always loved my writing.  I wrote my grateful book when I was around 15 but only illustrated it and published it a couple of years ago. An editor friend of mine introduced me to Sarah and she had the same picture ideas as what I did, and it just grew from there and became a reality it was so amazing to watch.

What was your dream job when you were younger? My dream job when I was younger was to write books.

What’s for dinner tonight? What would you rather be eating? Dinner tonight is chicken wings.  I wouldn’t rather be eating anything they are my Favourite!  The hotter the better!

Do you have a hero? My hero here in Australia is Maggie Dent

Imagine that you could choose three people to invite for a dinner party, who would they be and why? Maggie Dent  Michelle Obama and Oprah.

photo of people doing cheers
A toast to strong women.

Why? Because they are amazingly strong women who have made amazing changes to many lives young and old and I would love to listen to how they got where they are today.

              QUESTIONS ABOUT WRITING

 What advice would you give a new writer, someone just starting out?

Just start to write don’t be scared there are editors and other people who can help you make it great just start!  Don’t be like me and put it off for years because you don’t think you’re good enough.

Which comes first, the plot or characters?  The plot.

Are you a plotter or a pantser?  Panster,  ( I had to Google what that meant)

How do you come up with the titles to your books? The titles are usually the theme of the book.

What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk? Um most probably the rhyming

Do you hear from your readers much? What do they say?  I do hear from my readers.  The teachers say they love reading my books to the classroom.

On a typical day, how much time do you spend writing?  I try to write for a couple of hours at least a day,  I am writing a book about my daughters’ journey at the moment so a completely different Genre.

Are you on social media and can your readers interact with you?

I am on social media;  my Facebook page is Bookstoinspire. My Instagram is bookstoinspirebydiana and my website is dianasmithbookstoinspire.com.

How many books have you written? Which is your favourite?

I think my favourite is the first one My grateful book.  I have written four that are being published and writing the other one about my daughter and one about my puppy.

Grateful-Book-Web-Product

What is the most surprising thing you discovered while writing your books?   The most surprising thing I learnt was these are lesson’s I needed to learn later in life that I want children to learn earlier on.

Do you have a favourite character that you have written? If so, who? And what makes them so special? The favourite character would be the one I am writing about my red cloud puppy Bruiser he’s just so cute.

 

animal dog puppy pug
Photo by Torsten Dettlaff on Pexels.com

What is the key theme and/or message in the book?   My key messages are all about gratitude, kindness it’s ok to be anxious it will soon pass

Are you working on anything at the present you would like to share with your readers?#

I am working on the puppy book at the moment and a book about my daughter and me and I have also just finished one about a clamshell being washed up on the beach.

How many plot ideas are just waiting to be written? Can you tell us about one?

I feel there may be a few more in the gratitude series.

Do you have any new series planned? I think the puppy book may have a few books in there we had adopted a parrot so he can be in some as well

We’ve just started a new year and I’ve seen lots of posts about new years’ resolutions. Do you have anything special that you’ll be focusing on this year?    I haven’t made any resolutions this year, but I will be focusing more on my writing and my gratitude workshops

Grateful-Book-Web-Product

QUESTIONS ABOUT OTHER WRITERs AND BOOKS.

What are you reading now?   I am reading happier than God by Neil  Donald Walsh

What book is currently on your bedside table? There is a pile of about 4 books on my bedside table

What books or authors have most influenced your own writing? Authors who have influenced me  Dr Seuss,  Roald Dahl,  Winnie the Pooh

Who is the author you most admire in your genre?  Roald Dahl

Favourite quote (doesn’t matter the source) You are good enough

Favourite book/story you have read as an adult?  Me before you by Jojo Moy

Favourite book when you were a kid? Winnie the Pooh

Diana-Conscious-Living
Diana presents workshops

Which famous author do you wish would be your mentor? :  Dr Seuss or Roald Dahl

 

person holding whiteboard
Photo by KML on Pexels.com

Can you tell us any fun facts about yourself? I was in New Zealand and I did the gap year in the army.  I was 16.  While I was in there, I buckled a wheel track on an APC which is a small army tank.

I love camping around Australia with my husband and our dogs in our camping trailer.

Do you have any unusual hobbies?   Writing lol

Favourite Movies:  Labyrinth and Me Before You.

Last Great book I read:  Blue Moon by Lee Child

Favourite Book as a teenager:  Nancy Drew!  Now that is showing my age !!

Thank you so much for agreeing to be interviewed, Diana. s

December Distraction-What I Was Reading in December 2019

December has been a horrendous month in Australia . Day after day ,fire ravaged our beautiful country. There are incredible stories of survival and heroism, but also tragically deaths.Three young fireman, all volunteers and fathers ,or fathers to be ,lost their lives  while bravely fighting the fires. And still it continues, it has been relentless and worse than anyone can ever remember. So many of our precious native animals are dead.Koalas pushed to brink of extinction ,other native animals and birds, lost. Farm land lost, sheep and cattle lost,vineyards destroyed. Over 1,000 homes lost and so far 23  have people died trying to protect homes.

“There are two means of refuge from the misery of life — music and cats.”

Albert Schweitzer

Personally , I have always found solace in reading, so December has been a full on reading month.  I was surprised to see I read fourteen books this month.

I have also donated to WIRES animal rescue. By paypal Online with WIRES 24/7 or you can call (02) 8977 3396 between 9am and 5pm Mon-Fri. All gifts to WIRES $2 and over are tax-deductible.

RSPCA in each state New South Wales, Victoria ,Queensland and South Australia.

 

My country is on fire!
Australia is on fire.and my heart is heavy.

 

Hotel Valhalla by Rick Riordan.

Hotel valhalla

The companion book to the Magnus Chase series. Hotel Valhalla is comprehensive and easy to read. It lists the various Norse gods and goddesses of Norse mythology as well as the other inhabitants of the nine realms. Entertaining. Of course, it would have made more sense to have read this after reading Magnus Chase and The Sword of Summer.

The Transatlantic Book club by Felicity Haynes McCoy

Transatlantc bookclub

What a joy this book was! So much Irish charm, I felt I was walking along with Cassie as she explored her Irish heritage. Reminiscent of Maeve Binchy yet subtly different. Loved the idea of a book group on both sides of the Atlantic via Skype and of course, with so many Irish settlers in the US it makes perfect sense. Evocative descriptions, characters that feel real and enough intrigue and gossip to keep things lively. Dreadful child Gobnitand her hapless and hopeless mother Daria made for some amusing moments. I choked with laughter as a man asked Hanna the librarian for books by male authors, alleging there was a conspiracy against male writers. When he requested Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith and she said she would get it via Interlibrary Loan. He again accused her of bias. She reminded him that  Robert Galbraith was a pseudonym for J.K Rowling. He is happy to acknowledge that but when Hanna says J.K is a woman he leaves the library in disgust.

Marvel Studios Character Encyclopaedia by Adam Bray.

Matvel Studios

A comprehensive illustrated guide to all of the most popular Marvel studio characters. All your favourites are here. For me of course,it was Thor.

The Book of English Magic by Philip Carr-Gomm & Richard Heygate.

The Book of Engish Magic

Not to be read in one sitting- more a comprehensive encyclopaedia of all types of magic and beliefs. Some will appeal to you and some might appal you. Talks to various practitioners today too. For me, it was research for something I am working on, and also as a handy reference to future work.

The Little Bookshop of Herring Cove  by Kellie Hailes

Bookshop at Herring cove

Easy to read and of course about a bookshop, which is one of my favourite topics. Here the bookshop is under threat due to potential development. A conflict between the bookshop owner and the charming, handsome and persuasive representative for the developers sets up an engaging story and conflict.

Magnus Chase and The Sword of Summer by Rick Riordan

Magnus Chase

It’s a big book – (495 pages) so it took me a little while to read. I am not the intended audience for this YA book, I chose to read it because it dealt with Norse mythology. I can’t comment on its similarity to the Percy Jackson series which I have not read,although other reviewers have mentioned this. Its a relatively fast-paced read, with plenty of action and interference from the gods. On a personal note it would have helped me to have read it and Hotel Valhalla concurrently. I found it had an engaging mix of characters, although I felt the story might easily have been compressed. There is  a useful glossary at the end of the book.

Murder by the Minster by Helen Cox

Murder by the Mintyer

Not what I expected and not in the cosy mystery formula. So, not written in the first person, not chatty and informal. A bonus for me was the setting, which was York in the Uk. I struggled to relate to the main character Kitt Hartley. Although one of her exchanges with a man who was mistakenly in the women’s studies section of the library had me laughing out loud. Her trilby wearing had me see her as an androgynous character and I was surprised by her reaction to D I. Halloran. Enough mystery to be mysterious but all staged in a rather classic Agatha Christie way. Not sure if I will continue with this presumed series

The Magic Apple Tree by Susan Hill.

Magic Appletree

When a talented author describes a year of rural living- it’s a magical journey. Tramping across the snow singing carols to harvesting their own garden produce. It’s a seasonal delight and a nostalgia trip for a British Expat like me. Lyrical and so well described. One I will keep forever.

Jamie’s Great Britain  by Jamie Oliver

Jamies.jpg

A surprise addition to the list. Can you ‘read’ a cookbook? I often do, for recreation, imagining meals I may never cook. It’s a big book and pretty heavy too. Lots of photographs for Inspiration. Less inspired was how the text was so visually broken up and placed on different coloured backgrounds. Many people have vision problems and personally, I found this irritating.

Hovel in The Hills by Elizabeth West.

Hovel in the hills

This book is the antithesis of the genre of ‘we moved to Provence or Tuscany ‘or somewhere exotic with the vague idea of writing and some free time and the cash to support ourselves. Here the impoverished couple moved to Wales and set about trying to eke out a living. I enjoyed the book because of its realism and the fact that problems were not glossed over. I had read it many years ago and re-read it this time as a piece of nostalgia.

The Printed Letter Bookshop by Katherine Reay

The Printed Letter Bookshop

A book that really resonated with me- I almost always enjoy a book that features books and bookshops so I  was anticipating that I would enjoy this. I found it a total delight, from start to finish. I wanted to hold onto the characters and keep them with me. Claire, Janet and  Maddie are engaging personalities and I found the dynamic between them believable. Maddie new to bookselling is educated, smart, younger and the bemused new owner of the beloved bookshop. A city lawyer it makes sense for her to sell the bookshop.

Twenty years have passed since she enjoyed working there as a teenager, with her beloved Aunt Madeline. Until suddenly the family dynamic changed and there were no more visits. The last thing she expected was that Aunt Maddie would leave her the bookshop.  Rationally it would make more sense to sell if she can demonstrate the bookshop is profitable and that will take work.

Claire and Janet the two assistants have almost single-handedly run the shop and cared for Aunt Maddie whose cancer diagnosis was known to only a few people. Divorcee Janet even moved in with her to care for her day to day. Claire  meanwhile picked up the accounts and planning and organising. Each finds a kind of sanctuary in the beloved bookshop.

Through Aunt Madeline’s illness,  the shop has run down as author events and signings are scaled back and Maddie’s personal touch is lacking. But the shop is still a community hub and Maddie begins to realise its importance to the town of Winsome and to herself.’

When she finds out that her preconceptions about the family dynamic are wrong and that she actually enjoys being a bookseller then the fight is on to save the bookshop.

Mistletoe & Murder by Polly Holmes ( Book 4 in the Cupcake Capers series)

Misteltoe and Murder

An easy read for the holiday time. Slightly disadvantaged as I had not read the three previous Cupcake Capers books, but I was soon caught up in the story. By mid way through I had suspicions about one character , which were later confirmed .I found the ending was satisfying.

A Woman’s War by Simon Block.

a Womans war

A book which continues the story of the sadly discontinued and much missed  Home Fires TV Series  This is book two. Worth the wait although my faith in that did teeter a bit in the middle of the book. I won’t say what that was, as  I don’t want to post any spoilers! The ending was a partial ending but not of the series. In my opinion, the series should continue through each year of the war. However, I sense that depends on the sales of the books and Simon’s desire to continue with them.
I enjoyed hearing more about the characters we have come to care for, and I congratulate Simon on his ability to write believable women. Steph’s story, Theresa’s story, Sarah’s story, Pat’s story among others all need to continue.

The Cats Came Back By Sofie Kelly

THe Cats Came Back

I picked this up because the title and the cover appealed to me. I hadn’t realised this was book ten in the series , but I need not have worried  it was easy to catch up and keep track of the characters. Librarian Kathleen Paulson narrates the tale and works on solving the mystery with the help of her cats. It was a fun and easy read and I totally fell in love with the magical cats Hercules and Owen. There was enough complexity to keep me guessing right to the end of the story. Out of curiosity I checked how many books featuring cats my local library had, 158 fiction and 163 non fiction.

ash background beautiful blaze
Stay safe , wherever you are-heed warnings and survive.

The Books I Read in November 2019

I had November all planned out- I was going to do National Novel In Month(NaNoWriMo) and get a head start on my next book after Fire & Ice. The as yet unnamed sequel. I started well, but then I got an unexpected call to go for eye surgery. I wasn’t going to miss my chance at that. So on November 14th, I  had the surgery. The results are brilliant. But I had a few days when I didn’t write and I completely lost the focus of my story.  So ,I didn’t win this year, but I have a solid 26,000 words written . I devoted the rest of the month to catch up on my reading, As usual, it’s a bit of a mixed bag.

I cannot imagine a month without reading
I can’t imagine a month without reading.

 

Whispers at Wongan Creek by Juanita Kees.

Whispers

Travis Bailey is a stalwart of Wongan Creek and an all-round good guy. He’s caring for his elderly and sometimes disorientated neighbour Harry, as well as his orphaned niece. There are many burdens on his broad shoulders, as he’s been left in charge of the family farm. His day brightens when they are visited by the replacement social worker Heather Penny. She’s there to check on Casey, his niece’s well being. Heather has her own secrets and burdens, trying to recover from her mother’s death from motor neurone disease and her own health fears. Zac Bannister the town bully also intrudes into both their lives
None of this stop either of them feeling the strong pull of attraction to each other. While Travis’s adored niece Casey wants nothing more than a happily ever after for Travis and Heather,

 

Matters of The Heart by Fiona Palmer.

Matters of the heart

A very individual retake on Pride and Prejudice, giving it a distinctly Australian flavour. It was curious experience to see those familiar names attached to Australian characters. Spirited Lizzie Bennet is running the family farm almost single handedly. Her four sisters are disinterested while she is passionate about it.  Mrs Bennet is predictably agog when the reputed to be wealthy, Charles Bingley buys the neighbouring, but rundown property of Netherfield. His friend  Will Darcy, businessman, and farmer is also visiting and casts a cold eye on the burgeoning romance between Lizzie’s sister Jane and Bingley.  The plot unfolds following the Pride and Prejudice story line but interspersed by the demands of rural life, farming and agriculture. I chuckled when Luke Wickham appeared as a jack of all trades and rodeo cowboy. As in the original ,he’s a chancer and charmer. Of course, the expected happy ending but a fun journey getting there.

 

The Magnificent Mrs Mayhew by Milly Johnson

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I found this quite relatable, as Sophie’s need to be a perfect politician’s wife superseded anything else. Meanwhile, her husband John, a professional charmer ,has lost his charm for her. He belittles her, treats her like a child and has the support and acceptance of her horrendous family.

In her gilded life, there is no one she can trust, no one to be friends with. Sophie knows any breach of protocol, or spark of humanity will be seized on by John’s political rivals, or their ambitious wives. Hers is indeed a gilded cage.

She has always been exemplary, done the right thing. Her one rebellion was at school years back.When she confronted a bully. Now ,it’s  John’s political survival they are fighting for, after his dalliance with another woman. Sophie is expected to support him, forgive him, and go on as before. She stands on the doorstep, the charming and compliant political wife and the weasel words won’t leave her mouth. Instead, she calls him out for his behaviour.

Returning to Yorkshire where she was at school ,all those years ago is where Sophie eventually finds herself. Living simply ,she discovers what she cares about and what matters to her. It isn’t being on the cover of Hello.

Sophie was always going to have to fight to regain her identity, to find her long-suppressed individuality and eventual happiness. Anyone who has been humiliated and patronised by a man will be cheering her on, to the predictable and hoped-for happy ending, I enjoyed it.

 

Viking Warrior by Angus Konstan.

 

Viking Warrior book cover

I dipped into this book for research purposes, taking notes of many facts and useful illustrations. I do make sure that what I write about the Vikings is factually accurate, although of course I use my imagination to build a credible and engaging story.

The Boot Camp by Kate Harrison.

Boot camp

Fun to read- although it sounds quite unbearable for a non-athlete like me. What makes the boot camp and the novel work are the friendships and rivalries among the campers. Two ex-squaddies, as trainers are perhaps not what one expects at a supposedly luxurious retreat. But then luxury also seems to be in short supply.

 A Family Recipe by Veronica Henry.

 

A Family recipe

I had mixed feelings about Family Recipe. I usually enjoy books by  Veronica Henry and on a superficial level, I enjoyed this. The two timelines made for interesting and contrasting reading. In 1942 in wartime Britain Laura’s grandmother, Jilly makes a fateful decision which changes the course of her life. While in the present-day Laura’s happy and comfortable life also comes crashing down after an unexpected discovery. Both have to work to make life bearable again for themselves and for others. Jilly used her mother’s recipes to feed the household and in the present Laura also uses the adapted recipes once again  While they face challenging circumstances, a little part of me was thinking but how much easier it is to face those when you have property and money behind you.

Dying to Know by Josh Langley

Dying to KNow

Curious about the afterlife but faint-hearted? Not to worry, Josh Langley has been asking questions, to satisfy his own curiosity and ours. The exploration starts with undertakers and crematoriums and goes on from there. Mediums, psychics, out of body experiences, a spiritualist church and a potentially haunted house. Josh lead us on an interesting and at times confronting journey. I felt quite terrified as he explored the ‘haunted’ building and marvelled that he kept his nerve.Of course, the experiences and inferences are his own, but they make interesting reading. Did they all happen in his head?

As Dumbledore says in Harry Potter and the Deadly Hallows” of course it’s happening in your head that doesn’t mean it’s not real.”

Spookily, this is the only section that appears in frame or box and I didn’t create it this way. So what is happening here?

The Cinema at Starlight Creek By Ali Sinclair.

Starlight Creek

A dual timeline story, 1950s Hollywood and 1990s Queensland. The interconnected story line tells of two women, decades apart but both determined to live their dream and not give in to prejudice or bullying.

Lena a 1950s  a Hollywood star fighting for fairness and equality in an industry dominated by men. While the fear of the Hays morality code, as well as Joseph McCarthy’s communist witch hunt spreads through Hollywood.

In 1990s Queensland, Claire is scouting locations for tv and films and comes across the art deco cinema at Starlight creek. It’s perfect for the project she is currently working on . The reclusive owner doesn’t want to allow the cinema to be used. After convincing the owner of her commitment to quality and care, Claire has to live up to her promises. But no dream is fulfilled without cost.