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Snow in Adelaide – who would have thunk it! It has been remarkably chilly of late and I, just like most other people, have been guilty of sleeping in longer than usual and eating heavier foods. My dear ol’ dad is visiting from Singapore. When he arrived yesterday late afternoon, he was taken aback by the temperature, mistakenly thinking that it was supposed to be early spring here. I may have to take him shopping for a winter jacket… It’s been great to see him as I last visited him exactly a year ago, and it’ll be great to show him around the greater Adelaide region. As my dad is a lover of wildlife, I should think a trip to Monarto Zoo is in order.

On another writing-related note, author and editor Sylvia Kerslake was kind enough to conduct an interview with me several weeks ago. The questions I was asked include the challenges I faced when I was writing my book, the changes I’ve gone through since, and whether my upbringing has influenced my “sappy, funny and yet refreshing” writing. It was the longest interview I’ve had and I’d like to share it with all of you, my lovely followers. Here is the link to the interview.

Let me leave you with a photo of some meerkats from the Adelaide Zoo. The one standing taller was born a regular sandy colour but has gradually turned white over time. It’s a bit of a mystery…

 Albino and regular meerkat

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I’m beginning to believe that good things happen in threes. In the space of one day, I’ve learned that my poetry collection ranks #3 on Amazon in the Australian/Oceanic poetry category, my Book Goodies interview has been released and the SO (significant other) is now officially an SO. That is, if he still remembers that tomorrow….

Read about my writing process, my mad scientist tendencies and my childhood summarised in 200 words here.

Well, I’ve received word from my editor recently with feedback on the first draft of my novel Tongue Tied. Good news is it has a solid plot line. Next comes the hard part, the changing and revision of the parts that don’t work. It’ll be quite a process, no doubt about it.

Having returned from a Ben Ottewell (singer from the band Gomez) gig, I’ve had a great time and discovered that I really enjoyed the opening act as well, a performer by the name of Carla Lippis. With her CD in hand, I shall charge into the morning bravely now. Her voice is quite haunting…

 

I’m proud to announce that my first draft of Tongue Tied is complete, with a word count of 40,747! I have managed to meet my own self-imposed deadline. I can’t even describe how I feel! No, wait – I’m quite sure over the moon covers it, as well as satisfied.

I am off to lunch with my SSO (somewhat-significant other) today. It sure is a great way to spend my birthday. 🙂

More to come!

This morning I was accused of having no imagination. Oh my lovely acquaintance clad in grey, you have no idea… or perhaps you have favoured forgetfulness for a reason, since I’m quite sure we have covered this topic in our conversations prior. My problem is not a lack of imagination but rather an over-vivid one that never ceases to produce theoretical situations that I have no power to breathe life into. If I had less of an overactive imagination, my life would have been much much simpler and pain-free…

On a more optimistic note, my first draft of Tongue Tied is very close to completion! To think that I’ve written 38,000 words since January, all inspired by a person very dear to me, is enough to render me speechless.

It’s always a bit of a surprise to me when a friend comes up to me and says something like, “I expect my copy [of On the Edge of Consciousness] to arrive in next few weeks.” It’s even nicer when it’s your somewhat-significant other who tells you that, especially when you think they’ve simply forgotten about it. A few weeks ago, one of my closest friends, while flipping through the collection, asked me which my favourite piece of work in the collection was. I told her that it was without a doubt, Sleeping Sisters.

You see, I had an image in my mind when I first started that poem – a photograph of a group of people standing under a wire frame arch that would have been covered in flowers, had it been spring. The wintry sky was grey, perhaps a tad dreary, but it sparked a seed of inspiration. Once the first two lines were written, it was clear to me that although the initial source of inspiration was a picture, the style of writing would be evoked by my favourite singer, Neko Case. In fact, other Case fans would be able to spot certain nuggets, little phrases that appeared in her songs. The “warble of a magpie” and “a hint of the sun” are a couple of examples. To be honest, I didn’t really know where I was headed with it. It started with that garden arch, then moved indoors to an abandoned house, later focusing on a playground in the distance that was visible from a window in the house. The ending was as much a surprise to me as I imagine it would be to any of my readers. I think my intense fascination with the ocean is apparent in the ending. In fact, I have an obsession for most water bodies that borders on the morbid – this stems from an unpleasant swimming/drowning experience in my childhood. In the last three lines, there’s admiration, love and fear, a yearning to be closer to something you cannot really conquer.

More to come. Stay tuned!

Thanks to the fantastic work of my editor, I have now secured a spot on Morgen Bailey’s Author Spotlights! It’s scheduled to be released on the 28th of April at 7am UK time (3.30pm Adelaide time). In the interview, I’ll be introduced as a person and a writer. Be sure to check Author Spotlights for my interview this Sunday!

If you’re all wondering about my progress on Tongue Tied, I’m happy to announce that I’ve hit 32,000 words. On Tuesday morning, I woke up and had such a strong urge to write about sexy things that I couldn’t concentrate on Tongue Tied. I simply had to allow myself to be sidetracked, the result of which is a nearly complete short story titled Right and Wrong. It has been fun writing Right and Wrong even if it meant sacrificing two days of work on Tongue Tied. Usually the work I produce is very telling of my obsession at said time, and I don’t even mean the genre of writing, it may be something as insignificant as a wristband or a little phrase that appears in my writing. But there you have it. My work is like snapshots of my life, I think. Reading it brings back all the memories of that particular time in my life. Better than photos because for me, it’s the feelings that matter.

There are the books everyone has heard about: Twilight, Hunger Games, and Fifty Shades of Gray (groan!). But what about all those books written by people you’ve never heard of? Some of them are treasures, just waiting to be found, and that’s what this blog hop is all about: the books you might not have heard about, but that you might end up loving.

The Next Big Thing Blog Hop interviews authors and shares their books and coming attractions. It is like a game of tag. One author posts and tags other authors who link back to their website the next week and tag new authors. If you follow the blog hop long enough, you’re bound to find some books you’ll love! Maybe you’ll even discover a book that ends up being the next big thing.

I was tagged by Fiona Gatt. Fiona is my editor and soon-to-be publisher. We first got in touch when I contacted her regarding the potential of my written work and ideas. She is working on a book of her own as well. You can learn more about her proposed book by reading her post for The Next Greatest Thing Blog Hop.

Besides tagging people, The Next Big Thing Blog Hop includes ten questions to help you learn more about an author’s present work or work in progress.

Here is my interview with a little info about my work in progress:

1. What is the working title of your new book?

Tongue Tied

2. Where did the idea come from for the book?

Some real life experiences of the people dearest to me, a dream I once had and my imagination. The time and location that the book is set in is completely fictional however.

3. What genre does your book fall under?

Romantic contemporary fiction.

4. Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Tongue Tied: Saoirse Ronan as Margaret Jennings (the main protagonist), Ryan Gosling as Victor Price (the main love interest who encounters too many unfaithful women in his lifetime) and Joseph Fiennes as Father Jed Talbot.

5. What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?

Change your notion of romance because your life choices can affect the people around you longer than you can imagine; the effects may last well into the next generation and life doesn’t always end with “happily ever after”.

6. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

It will be published by MetaPlume Corporation.

7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

I started in January this year and I am about half way through.

8. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Escape by Heleen van Royen. When I first read Escape, I was blown away. It was the first contemporary fiction I had ever picked up and I came across it at a stage in my life when I wanted to write something more substantial than a run-of-the-mill love story. Escape cemented the realisation for me that a good story doesn’t have to end in a pretty pink bow.

9. Who or What inspired you to write this book?

A friend of mine whom I look up to has had a long life with a lot of sadness in it. It didn’t take me long to learn that there was a story in him – indeed, several, if I cared to dig deeper – that ought to be told, and I wanted to be that person. I meshed together the essence of his tale and certain elements that I’m very fascinated with (i.e. the sometimes sensitive subject of age differences in a relationship and romantic feelings that bridge across a generation – Is it appropriate? Will it work?) to come up with this story line.

10. What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

The way the main protagonist’s (Margaret) daughter opens and closes but isn’t the main focus of the story. The seemingly predictable romance elements which turn out to be the basis for a contemporary theme that reinforces the idea that life does not happen in neat little bubbles. There are always loose ends and even the kindest people have experienced injustice in their lives.

Now, on to tagging other people for The Next Big Thing Blog Hop. I will tag:

Scott Mitchell

He’s a writer with a sense of humour and one who can look at his own work with a critical eye. I can relate to quite a few of his problems and I would do some of the things he has done.

Kristen Lamb

A very switched on woman with a heck lot of wisdom to dispense. She scares me slightly but I also admire her ability to intimidate.