Two disclosures. Firstly, I've known Ashley Kalagian Blunt for several years, from her work at Writing NSW and conversations on social media about our writing projects. Secondly, I am not a big reader of crime fiction. But I know it's a popular genre, and after binge-reading Dark Mode, I can see why.
Kristel Thornell's novel, The Sirens Sing (HarperCollins 2022), is divided into two parts. The first part is set in the NSW Blue Mountains in the mid-1990s and features a lovestruck teenager. And the second part relocates the reader to Sydney's Inner West in the mid-1970s and is his mother's love story.
I was born in 1962, the same year as The Beatles released Love Me Do. Serendipitously, this is also the first song on my first Beatles record, The Essential Beatles, from 1972. Fifty years on, I have a collection of Beatles albums, books and DVDs. So, of course, I was keen to watch Get Back on Disney.
Terra Nullius by Claire G. Coleman opens at a brisk pace: "Jacky was running. There was no thought in his head, only an intense drive to run. There was no sense he was getting anywhere, no plan, no destination, no future. All he had was a sense of what was behind him, what he was running from."
"Short stories are tiny windows into other worlds and other minds and other dreams. They are journeys you can make to the far side of the universe and still be back in time for dinner." A quote by Neil Gaiman and a perfect description of A Couple of Things Before the End: Stories by Sean O'Beirne.
Beneath the Willow opens with a prologue set in rural NSW in 1953. It is a dark scene of fear and domestic violence. The novel then steps back in time and place to the working-class suburb of Balmain in 1915. Australia is at war in foreign lands, and sons of families have answered her call to arms.
Kristel Thornell’s On the Blue Train is a novelisation of the eleven days in 1926 when — in a mystery worthy of Poirot — Agatha Christie disappeared. The novel opens with Agatha outside Harrods. She is confused and cannot enter the store, unable to "even recall what she needed to purchase".
With the spread of the Internet, PCs and digital devices, and DIY websites, blogs and ebooks, the barriers to publishing are lower than ever before. However, the barrier between writing and good writing remains high. With the Mini Style Guide on your desk, you can be a good writer and a good editor!
It's Christmas Day 1994 at Bilgoa Beach on Sydney's northern beaches. A "pink shouldered" Charlie Bright is pacing up and down on the sand at the water's edge. He's "like a coach on the touchline", calling out to his children, mastering their sleek new Christmas present surfboards on the waves.
When Writing NSW asked if I would like to review On the Blue Train by Kristel Thornell, a novel about the eleven days in 1926 when Agatha Christie disappeared, I thought it would be an interesting assignment and a chance to learn more about this famous author. And to finally read one of her books.
Jennifer Mills sets Dyschronia in the run-down coastal town of Clapstone. Sam is twenty-five, and the townsfolk view her as an oracle and depends upon her visions for their survival. And yet, a great catastrophe has occurred: the sea has disappeared, seemingly taking with it Clapstone's last hope.