Category Archives: Interviews

Quintette of Questions: Jenny Blackford

Today I ask Jenny Blackford five questions about her new book!

1. What’s the name of your latest book – and how hard was it to pick a title?

It’s called The Girl in the Mirror, because it all started with a story of two girls seeing  each other through an oval mirror on the wall of the bedroom that they both live in, in an inner-city terrace house, over 100 years apart. (Even before that, it started with a very old oval mirror in our old terrace house, in which I always half-expected to see something not in the room.)

The working title was Dead Girl in the Mirror, which I changed after some workshopping with helpful SCBWI authors. They thought it might put book-buying gatekeepers off, though probably not the 8 to 12 year old target demographic.

2. If you could choose anyone from any time period, who would you cast as the leads in your latest book?

Felicity Kendall at around 12 years old would make a wonderful modern Maddy – sweet, enthusiastic, caring, idealistic, perhaps a little apt to be picked on, but working through that to a spirited defiance.

And I need someone dark-haired, determined and smart, for Clarissa, who is 14 in the 1890s. Someone who will mutter under her breath at her tyrannical Aunt Lily, and jump to the conclusion that Lily is a serial poisoner, and that redback spiders are her evil henchmen. And who will smile indulgently at the ghost of her dead brother Bertie clattering up and down the stairs, laughing. Dare I ask for the young Elizabeth Taylor? She could stamp her feet magnificently as Clarissa.

3. What five words best describe your story?

A spidery, ghostly, suspenseful, middle-grade mystery

4. Who is your favourite fictional team/couple?

Lord Peter Wimsey and Harriet Vane (from Dorothy Sayers). Though I also have a soft spot for Morse and Lewis, and Lewis and Hathaway. Also Vera and whatever unfortunate subordinate she is growling at in any series.

5. What song reflects a theme, character, relationship or scene in your book?

Given the plague of redback spiders that are evil Aunt Lily’s allies, who could go past Boris the Spider, by The Who?

About The Girl in the Mirror

The Davitt award judges said, “Separated by more than a hundred years, and brought together through a mysterious mirror, Maddy and Clarissa provide comfort and wisdom at a time when they feel desperately alone. The girls band together to defeat a creeping evil that threatens the lives of their families.

The Girl in the Mirror is a refreshingly contemporary time-slip mystery. Maddy and Clarissa are intensely relatable with their shared frustrations at the way in which they are dismissed by the adults in their lives. Jenny Blackford has captured the pains of early adolescence – loneliness, fear, uncertainty – in a gripping mystery that is perfectly pitched to the middle readers who will love it.”

Buy The Girl in the Mirror

About Jenny Blackford

Jenny is a Newcastle-based author and poet. Her middle-grade historical mystery The Girl in the Mirror appeared from Eagle Books in 2019, and won the 2020 Davitt Award for Best Children’s Crime Novel.

Her poems and stories for children are regularly published in the School Magazine, and have appeared in Our Home is Dirt by Sea: Australian Poetry for Australian KidsStories for Nine Year Olds and other great anthologies.

Pitt Street Poetry has published three collections of her poetry: The Loyalty of Chickens and The Duties of a Cat, both suitable for people aged 11+, and The Alpaca Cantos, suitable for adults and Young Adults. Her poetry awards include firsts in the Thunderbolt Prize for Crime Poetry and the Humorous Verse section of the  Henry Lawson awards (twice).

Social Media

Quintette of Questions: Dawn Meredith

Today I ask Dawn Meredith five questions about her new book!

1. What’s the name of your latest book – and how hard was it to pick a title?

My book is called Rebel and is the first in the Flight trilogy. Titles are my nemesis really. It takes ages to find the right one and even then I am never reeeeeeally sure if it’s the best I can do. I tend to pester my family and friends for ideas. I favour one-word titles as I think they are easier to remember, but encapsulating a 100,000 word novel in one word? Almost impossible!

The book was originally called Flight, but my publisher asked me for a trilogy, so I had to come up with three new titles! They are: book 1 – Rebel; book 2 – Runaway; and book 3 – Renegade.

2. If you could choose anyone from any time period, who would you cast as the leads in your latest book?

To play Reeve: a really young Chris Hemsworth is what I imagined. To play Sye: a really young Catherine Zeta Jones. To play Zeth:  again, really young Zac Efron (but with brown eyes and long hair).

3. What five words best describe your story?

Power, betrayal, friendship, love, humour

4. Who is your favourite fictional team/couple?

Kevin Levin and Gwen Tennyson from Ben10 Alien Force. They argue but there’s also a lot of humour and they can’t help being attracted to each other. They save each other’s lives a lot.

5. What song reflects a theme, character, relationship or scene in your book?

I listened to a lot of Two Steps from Hell music while writing this book, especially for the battle scenes. Heart of Courage, Winterspell, Blackheart, After the Fall, Birth of a Hero, Secret Melody and many more. The music is written for screenplays, so its easy to imagine the scenes while listening!

About Rebel

A young rebel is called upon to lead… with a broken wing and absolutely no idea what he is doing.

A wounded flying hero struggling to accept his destiny, a shy girl of dark, mysterious secrets unaware of the power within her and a lonely youth out to prove himself worthy of his warrior father.

A race with dragon DNA suffer under malevolent overlords, dreaming of a hero to set them free. But what they get is a handsome young joker more interested in breaking the rules than breaking free his people.

Buy Rebel

About Dawn Meredith

Dawn grew up in England, Australia and Norway. She has always been a book worm, annoying her family while growing up and now as a mum, she has passed on that habit to her daughter. Dawn is the published author of 11 other books for children/young adults and one adult novel.

Her first books were published in 2000. She prefers adventure stories but has written non-fiction as well. Writing a high fantasy novel for teens has been a long term goal. She has written 5 other novels in the fantasy/science fiction genre.

Dawn moved with her family to a 100 acre farm in North West Tasmania in 2018. Here she has a gorgeous little studio facing valleys and mountains and where her cat Harry ‘helps’ her work. She is also an artist, singer and songwriter. Dawn adores gardening and enjoys creating colourful places to sit and admire the native birds and bees. She is keen to try archery and blacksmithing, has a Fine Arts degree & speaks fluent Norwegian.

Social Media

Quintette of Questions: Fin J Ross

Today I’m asking Fin J Ross 5 questions about her new book!

1. What’s the name of your latest book – and how hard was it to pick a title?

My newly released novel is Billings Better Bookstore and Brasserie. I specifically wanted an alliterative title, so my bookstore name had to start with ‘B’. The title was originally Billings Better Bookstore and Cafeteria, but given that the story features alliterative verses heading each chapter, it was a no-brainer that it should become Brasserie.

2. If you could choose anyone from any time period, who would you cast as the leads in your latest book?

Given that my main character, Fidelia Knight, ages from nine-year-old to 19, that’s a tricky one as casting would necessitate a child actor and a late teenage actor. Mackenzie Thomas (currently appearing in the ABC’s Operation Buffalo) could fit the young Fidelia. Kiera Knightly or Emma Watson as older Fidelia. As for Jasper Godwin, I picture Terence Stamp, Jason Isaacs or Sam Neill.

3. What five words best describe your story?

Inspiring, Uplifting, Historical, Mystery, Logomaniacal

4. Who is your favourite fictional team/couple?

Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson – absolutely, without question!

5. What song reflects a theme, character, relationship or scene in your book?

I Gotta be Me

About Billings Better Bookstore and Brasserie

Young Fidelia Knight arrives in Melbourne in 1874, alone except for her treasured companion, Samuel Johnson; well, half of him. To escape servitude, Fidelia hides each night in Bourke-street’s renowned Cole’s Book Arcade. She loves words, you see, and wants to know them all.

What she overhears in Cole’s sets her on a path that will change the lives of everyone she meets, starting with Jasper Godwin, the hopelessly underqualified manager of the new Billings Better Bookstore.

Fidelia’s thirst for knowledge is contagious. She tutors two orphan boys and two illiterate women, inspiring them to unlock their creativity; and her exploration of colonial Melbourne takes her to some unusual places.

Nothing daunts this diminutive genius, except the mystery of what really happened to her parents on the voyage from England.

Buy Billings Better Bookstore and Brasserie

About Fin J Ross

Fin is a journalist and creative writing tutor, whose day job is running a boarding cattery in East Gippsland.

She is co-author (with her sister, Lindy Cameron) of the true crime anthologies Killer in the Family and Murder in the Family, and author of the fantasy novel A.K.A. Fudgepuddle.

She is a keen short-story writer and has won eight category prizes in the annual Sisters in Crime Scarlet Stiletto Awards, among other competition wins.

She has written an as yet unpublished crime novel, Switchback Road, and is working on a sequel, Open Season, but has diverted her writing attention to an historical novel about Ludwig Becker, a German artist and scientist; one of the five lesser-known men who also died on the Burke and Wills expedition.

Her love of cats extends to breeding British Shorthairs, and in her spare time, she compiles cryptic crosswords.

Social Media

Quintette of Questions: GV Pearce

Today I’m asking GV Pearce 5 questions about their new book!

1. What’s the name of your latest book – and how hard was it to pick a title?

The book is called Ghost Story, which is also an accurate description for its contents. There were a few themes so it was a little difficult to choose, but sometimes it’s nice to get straight to the point. I’m sure John wishes Sherlock would do that more often too!

2. If you could choose anyone from any time period, who would you cast as the leads in your latest book?

Early 1980s Paul McGann and Richard E Grant. There are some photographs of the pair of them taken behind the scenes of a film that absolutely fits the aesthetic for this John and Sherlock. McGann’s overgrown hair is perfect for an ex-military man finding his new persona, and Grant has always looked a little spooky.

3. What five words best describe your story?

Eerie, melancholy, uncanny, sanguine, tactile.

4. Who is your favourite fictional team/couple?

Gomez & Morticia Addams have always been my touchstone for perfect relationships. They’re always there for one another, no matter how strange their lives become.

5. What song reflects a theme, character, relationship or scene in your book?

‘When You Don’t See Me’ by Sisters of Mercy could easily apply to both the central relationship and the central theme of the book (not to give too much away) 

About Ghost Story

John Watson loves his husband, but he’d like Sherlock Holmes to leave this case alone. They’re supposed to be taking a break from London. From work. But then again, when has Sherlock’s brain ever taken a holiday? And honestly, the strange disappearance of Gloria Evans bothers them both—though for very different reasons.

Buy Ghost Story

About GV Pearce

G.V. Pearce is a mysterious being said to haunt the North York Moors, but is otherwise as yet unclassified by science. Rumour has it that they can be summoned by leaving coffee in a faery circle at midnight.

Social Media

Read my review of Ghost Story.