Tag Archives: nick earls

Nick Earls interviews me about new adult fiction; Mental Health Monday; and writing from the perspective of the opposite sex

Tonight’s post is the finale of my blog tour for The Big Smoke, and let me assure you, it ends with a bang!

STOP ELEVEN

Stop eleven was an unexpected, but extremely welcome, detour from my scheduled route. I received an email over the weekend from one of my all-time favourite authors, Nick Earls, to see if I’d be interested in answering a few questions about New Adult fiction on his blog. Naturally, I agreed! Here’s a taste of the post…

Away from the internet, the NA market is still in its infancy in terms of connecting books with buyers (in my opinion, at least). There’s a strong opportunity to establish a relationship between NA authors and universities/colleges because so many students in higher education are part of the NA target market, but I don’t believe this has been explored much at all yet.  Read more…

STOP TWELVE

In my twelfth stop, I’ve been interviewed about The Big Smoke by Laura Diamond as part of her Mental Health Monday series. Want a preview? Here you go!

What’s your technique for drawing out authentic emotions in your characters?

I don’t know if my technique is anything ground breaking – it mainly involves taking my hands off the keyboard, closing my eyes and imagining what it would be like to be in the situation my character is experiencing. What would it feel like? What thoughts would be running through your head? What would you notice about your surroundings? Read more…

LUCKY STOP THIRTEEN

In my thirteen and final stop, I’m guest posting over at Arlee Bird’s Tossing it Out about writing from the perspective of the opposite sex and whether or not that’s a good idea.

Here’s a taste for you:

When I decided to re-write my New Adult novel, The Big Smoke, so that it was told from the first-person perspective of my two main characters, I knew it would be challenging for me (a 29-year-old woman) to create a realistic and engaging teen male voice. Seb, my main male character, is 17 at the beginning of The Big Smoke and comes from a different background to me, but I was determined to get into his head somehow and use his words to tell the story. Read more…
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SIGNING OFF (FOR NOW)
Thanks for following me around the blogosphere! Hope you’ve enjoyed my guest posts and interviews about all things The Big Smoke. 🙂
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Filed under blog tour, New Adult fiction, Nick Earls, The Big Smoke, Writing, Writing craft

Green by Nick Earls and NA Alley’s New Adult Online Book Club

Green by Nick Earls

I’ve got two super-cool things to tell you about this evening. The first is Green, a newly released collection of fiction by one of my favourite authors, Nick Earls. Green includes a short story Nick wrote in 1995, a few more short stories in 1999, a novel he wrote in 2001 (called World of Chickens), and a brand new short story written earlier this year.

What’s the link between the stories? They all feature the same two main characters, the always-hilarious Phil and Frank, who start off as newbie med students at Qld Uni in the first short story and end up as 50-year-olds in the final one. Apart from the stories themselves, there are two awesome facts about Green.

Awesome Fact 1: Nick took a risk with the last short story, and it kind of bit him in the butt. He explains in his latest blog post:

“I figured Frank would be prone to a big mid-life gesture and, in May this year [when Nick was writing the last short story], I decided it would be, of all things, the 2012 New York Marathon. Okay, so it was slightly in the future but, in its more than 40 years, nothing had cancelled the New York Marathon, right?…

Then along came Hurricane Sandy, causing damage and loss of life in the Caribbean and eastern US. The New York marathon, which around now should be a litter of Gatorade cups on New York streets, was cancelled.

So I’ve got myself a brand new 7500-word Frank and Phil story that can only exist in a parallel universe, where the weather was November average and the only chaos affected my two characters…”

BAHAHAHA! Is it evil of me that I find that hilarious? 😀

Anyway… moving on to Green Awesome Fact 2:

Nick and his publisher are donating every cent that comes in from sales of Green to the New York Mayor’s Fund, to help the city recover from the hurricane. At the moment, Green is only available outside of Australia and New Zealand (BAH!), but I know that suits many of my wonderful followers who hail from America and other parts of the globe. If you’re interested, you can read more about Green over at Nick’s blog (but not until you’ve read the rest of this post!).

NA Alley’s New Adult Online Book Club

Remember how, at the beginning of the post, I said there were two super-cool things I wanted to tell you about? Well, this is the second one. Today, Bailey Kelsey announced a new feature on the NA Alley blog. It’s called Alley Reads, and it’s a New Adult Online Book Club. In Bailey’s words, “Alley Reads is designed to be a leisurely book club, giving all of us a chance (and the motive) to tackle that NA reading list while still managing other life priorities.”

A new New Adult book will be announced every seven weeks. People will have plenty of time to read the book, and then, at the end of the seven-week period, Bailey will host a live blog discussion about the book in question.

Now, as if that wasn’t cool enough, guess which book is first cab off the rank? Yes, that’s right. It’s THE BIG SMOKE!!! How exciting is that?! I am so looking forward to it!! I strongly encourage you all to get involved and make this book club a success (and my encouragement has nothing to do with the fact that you have to buy my book to participate! Okay, maybe a little. But I’d be encouraging you to participate even if it was another NA book, I promise!).

If you’d like to find out more about Alley Reads, head on over to NA Alley!

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Filed under New Adult fiction, Nick Earls, Reading, The Big Smoke

Digging the short stories…

I’ve never been much of a short story reader previously. I’ve always preferred something meatier, longer, more satisfying.

Wow, I just re-read that line and cringed. But rather than re-writing it, I’m going to leave it as is and you let you have an immature little giggle like I did. 😀

But back to the point. I’ve always enjoyed novels far more than short stories in the past, and while my heart will always truly belong to the longer form of fiction, I’ve enjoyed quite a number of  short stories recently. In the busyness of day-to-day life, there’s something quite satisfying about being able to start and finish a story  on the daily commute. I really admire authors who are able to create believable characters and a compelling plot within the confines of a short story – those authors have word economy down to a fine art!

The two short stories I’ve enjoyed most recently are The Secret Life of Veal by Nick Earls and Labyrinth by Rachel Morgan. Below are mini reviews of the stories, to match their mini length.

Labyrinth

Click to visit Amazon page for this story

Labyrinth is the second novelette in Rachel’s Creepy Hollow series, and it picks up right where Guardian left off. I won’t include too much about Labyrinth‘s plot in case you haven’t read Guardian yet, but you should really remedy that ASAP.

In Labyrinth, Vi’s confident, sarcastic yet warm voice bursts onto the page and we get to know Nate-the-human a lot better as things in Creepy Hollow get a whole lot, err, creepier. The title definitely suits the content of the story as I often didn’t have a clue which direction the plot would go. When the finale left me on a cliffhanger, I could have screamed, but only because I so desperately wished Book 3, Traitor, was already available. I’m now eagerly anticipating the news that Traitor has been released and can’t wait to see which way the series twists next.

The Secret Life of Veal 

Click to visit Amazon page for this story

As an animal rights advocate, I approached this story with a degree of trepidation. And as I feared, it pays out on vegans. But honestly, no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t not enjoy this tale.  Nick Earls has long been a favourite author of mine because of his dry, depreciating sense of humour, and in The Secret Life of Veal, he delivers yet again.

Neither of the main characters are particularly likeable, but they’re both perfect fodder for snorts of laughter and rolling eyes.  Nick has created two people who are so different but yet both so vile, they’re somehow perfect for each other. If you enjoy dry wit and characters you love to hate, this will be right up your alley.

Your turn

How about you? Have you read either of these short stories? Do you like short stories or do you only have eyes for novels? Any other short stories you’d recommend?

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Filed under Book review, Writing

Book review: The Fix by Nick Earls (& I wish I wrote that)

Book blurb

The Fix coverJosh Lang went to London with investigative journalism on his mind, but he carved out a reputation as a fixer instead and mastered the art of spinning any client out of a crisis.

Now he’s home in Brisbane, and this time the job is supposed to be good news. The client is a law firm, the talent is Ben Harkin, and the story is the Star of Courage Ben is about to be awarded for his bravery in a siege.

But it was Josh’s messy part with Ben that was a big part of his move to London in the first place, and the closer he gets to Ben’s story the more the cracks start to show.

Throw in a law student who’s an exotic dancer by night, and a mini-golf tour of the Gold Coast, and Josh’s pursuit of the truth becomes way more complicated than he’d ever expected.

My thoughts

Nick Earls is one of my favourite authors, and although he strayed from familiar territory with The Fix, it definitely didn’t disappoint. For me, one of Nick’s major strengths is creating believable, relatable characters. This has been the case for every single one of his books I’ve read, including this one.

The main character Josh is dissatisfied with his life but not prepared to do much about it. This may sound like a dull protagonist, but Nick’s sharp and witty narrative makes you empathise with Josh from the get-go and root for him to put the fortune cookies down and make something of his life.

As Josh begins work at the law firm and is forced into close quarters with Ben, a friend who betrayed him years earlier, Josh must determine whether it’s his past with Ben that’s causing him to question the siege story’s truthfulness, or whether something really is suspect. And if you’re anything like me, you will have as much trouble uncovering the truth as Josh.

My favourite part of this book was not any particular scene, or any particular character. Rather, it was the overall ‘vibe’ of the book – that truth is a fluid notion and that just when you think you’ve pinned it down, it changes shape again. At the book launch, Nick said that he read the Great Gatsby numerous times before writing The Fix, in order to see how F Scott Fitzgerald managed to create such an enigmatic character. I believe his research paid off – although Ben Harkin plays a large role in this book, he remains mysterious and unknowable right to the end.

Another aspect of The Fix that I really enjoyed was the Brisbane setting. There’s nothing like reading scenes set in places you’ve been in the past few weeks, places you can picture with absolute clarity. South East Queensland is such a beautiful part of the world, it’s a perfect setting for all types of fiction, and I love that Nick consistently chooses to set his novels here in his home town.

My only gripe with The Fix is that I found it a little wordy at times. There were a few instances where I felt the phrasing could have been tighter, but this may be because I’m currently in editing mode so I’m analysing each word choice a lot more closely than usual.

Would I recommend this book? Most definitely, but only to those who enjoy a character-based novel that doesn’t have a twist every ten pages. If you enjoy a leisurely plot that builds its tension subtly, rather than hitting you over the head with it, then make sure you get your hands on The Fix. And when you do, say hello to Josh for me. I miss his self-depreciating wit already.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars.

I wish I wrote that – quote

“I wasn’t sure if this was for Ben at all or just good publicity, the firm’s unspecial name going out there, hitched to an act of bravery. It felt as if I had left Brisbane as Anakin and come back as Darth, rebuilt into something infinitely cynical and talking amorally about heroes in my breathy metallic voice.”

Why do I like this quote?

Because as a communication professional, I can (unfortunately) relate to Josh’s cynicism. Is this really something wonderful? Or is it just a wonderful story? I’ve asked myself that more than once. Plus I like the Anakin/Darth analogy. It’s clever. 🙂

Your turn

Have you read The Fix? If so, what did you think? If not, do you think you will?

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Filed under Book review