Tag Archives for " Author Academy Bookstore "
The novel came into being in the 18th century as a construction defined by a slow unfolding of characters and plot with ensuing dramas, misunderstandings and entanglement of the characters that ends with a final resolution of either happily ever after or tragedy. The term novel is a contraction of the ‘novella’ (meaning ‘new, innovative’) an Italian word defining short stories of light and entertaining nature, an antidote to the epic poems of earlier days. It is interesting that the contracted form the novel now denotes a larger serving of prose than the novella. Early Novels usually took a narrative form and proceeded to tell the tale in chronological order. Literary scholars date the novel in its earliest form to Samuel Johnson’s Pamela of 1740 though experimental forms existed back to the epic Morte d’Arthur by Sir Thomas Malory in 1485. Such early work did not concentrate on the individual but employed stereotypical characters to drive the narrative with accompanying moral lessons for the reader. These ‘novels’ were long winded, lacked humour and preached moral rectitude to their audience. They are hard for the modern reader to digest.
In 1818 though, Mary Shelley a young woman of amazing talent possessing a vivid imagination wrote the Gothic novel called Frankenstein. The tale started out as a short story prompted by a late-night dare by fireside companions to each write ghost stories. Her companions were her husband Percy Bysshe Shelley and Lord Byron both influential Romantic poets. But Mary’s story aced theirs and its character Frankenstein became legendary. Many do not realise that Frankenstein was the doctor who created the manufactured monster not the name of the monster himself. Apart from its unique character and plot, Frankenstein has a deep message about life, death and man versus Nature. The work is seen as the precursor to science fiction, an unknown genre at the time but one French author, Jules Verne would later embrace in his fantastical stories.
Jumping forward to a familiar name and a change in the style of the novel genre we come to the works of Jane Austen (1775-1817). Her six novels, many now adapted to film, are refreshing in their strong female characters and depiction of real life on the home front. Elizabeth Bennett and Darcy are well known characters even to non-Austen fans. Though the stories lack rollicking adventure and Gothic tragedy, really nothing more than elopements and love triangles, they excel in irony, humour and accurate observation of real people. Austen’s character driven novels paved the way for The Bronte sisters who emerged as a brilliant trio of writers some thirty years later. These young women who all died young, Anne at 29, Emily at 30 and Charlotte at 39, never travelled beyond Yorkshire yet penned sweeping passionate novels that startled the reading public at the time. Even today, Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte and Wuthering Heights by Emily, rate in the top romance novels of all time. These works challenge all the previous overly polite fiction populated by swooning virgins and swashbuckling heroes.
Enter Dickens in the 19th century who creates great characters but tends towards long winded narration and social commentary akin to the Romanticism of poets like William Blake and Wordsworth. Another notable female author, Mary Ann Evans (1819-1880) wrote under the pen name of George Eliot and created extraordinary moral conflicts for her characters in the novels, Mill on the Floss and Silas Marner. Her work shows great intellect and a mastery of the tragic element. This paves the way for Thomas Hardy and his tragic novels of which he wrote many. He concentrated his stories in Wessex, a place term he invented. His tragedies are all set in the countryside and mostly focus on the poor and hard done by people of the working class. They present a strong discourse of man battling Fate and are almost reminiscent of the great tragedies of Shakespeare. The Return of the Native, The Mayor of Casterbridge and especially Tess of the D’Urbervilles leave a lasting impact. The latter affected me so much as a teenager that I named my daughter Tess!
CRPS. What the hell is that? How often do we see an acronym, a sequence of letters that does not register recognition? Well, the answer to what the hell is CRPS? Is just that ‘hell.’ The words may you ‘burn in hell’ may as well define CRPS.
Dubbed ‘the most painful disease known to humankind’ and ‘the suicide disease’, CRPS or Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, is a neurological condition characterised by pain, burning, inflammation, swelling and loss of movement. It is a disproportionate response by the sympathetic nervous system to an injury to an extremity, a foot or hand. Often the initial injury is minor, a sprained ankle, a broken toe or wrist. But for some reason in some unfortunate people, the body responds by establishing a pattern of self-harm that can spread through the body in time, rendering the individual a cripple incapacitated by pain 24/7.
It can happen out of the blue to young or old, healthy or not. Millions world-wide suffer this incurable disease. All doctors can offer is pain relief via CBD oil or ketamine infusions and ongoing physiotherapy. Why am I writing about this in my usual history blog? The answer is I write this not to elicit pity but to give hope to others. You may have CRPS or know someone with it.
CRPS chose to attack me in January 2020 after a routine surgery for a broken right wrist. Plunged into excruciating pain, I could not comprehend what was happening to me. I googled and googled trying to come to terms with my diagnosis. I cried for days as all sites confirmed the prognosis of ‘incurable’, ‘debilitating’.
Until I dared the universe by typing in ‘cure for CRPS’. Not expecting any response just 0 results, I was cheered to see the words ‘CRPS Italy’ and another Complex Truths.org. detailing treatments at clinics in North Italy. I read on, thankful I was a biochemist and could understand the medical jargon. It seemed despite the defeatism of all the other sites, that there was a chance, a good chance of recovery for this dreadful condition. 100% within a year of diagnosis and at best 70% for individuals who had suffered longer. Compared to the cost of long-term pain relief and physiotherapy, over many years, the treatment in a clinic over two weeks seemed reasonable. Plus, a trip to beautiful Italy alone would surely cheer the soul
The crippling pain spread to my shoulder and neck, immobilising my entire upper right side. I felt there was no time to lose. With the help of my son and an interpreter, I booked treatment for the infusions for March 3, 2020. This necessitated flights from Australia to Rome then a train trip to Genova. All seemed to be going well for me until Coronavirus erupted in North Italy just days before my flight. As the virus already threatened Asia through which I had to fly, I could not get a refund. I am so glad now because if I had not gone then in early 2020 during that small window of opportunity, then when would I have been able to? Australia and many countries closed their borders soon after and Covid 19 became a global pandemic.
Yes, I received my treatment, four Neridronate infusions over a fortnight in a beautiful clinic set high on the hill overlooking Genova harbour. Yes, I recovered 90% of my function so that today I am only limited by residual stiffness in my right side that could have been prevented if I had been able to access rehabilitation soon after the treatment.
But instead of a restorative holiday afterwards, my husband and I had to flee Italy. While I was in hospital, lockdowns 1, 2 3 and 4 closed Italy. There were no ristorantes or cafes open to enjoy the usual vibrancy of Italian life. Borders to the east and north had closed. Only the French Italian border was still open. We set off from Genova railway station escorted by local police. All tourists had to leave. After reaching the border and finding San Remo deserted, we continued on to Nice, hoping to find a hotel and reschedule our flight home. Our pre-booked three-week holiday, post treatment, could no longer happen as all borders were closing making being a tourist untenable. Also, to our alarm, hotels were closing one by one, like a pack of dominoes. Unable to secure a flight on our visits to a barely-functioning Nice airport, we took refuge in hotel after hotel, unsure of our immediate future. We met similarly stranded people from all over the world. They all had interesting stories. At that point, I knew I would write up my story about CRPS if I recovered so others would know of the ‘cure’. But one day at the airport we met a young ballet dancer, a mother with a teenage daughter and a very helpful young Chef from Torquay, all trying to get flights home. Why not add the plight of these people into my book and write not a non-fictional true story but a blend of fiction and true life? That was the moment when The Last Hotel was born, my story of love and loss, of lockdown and family, my story of hope. While recovering at a snail’s pace, I tapped out my ideas onto my old battered iPad. I could only use my left hand so it was a one -handed slow process, particularly for capital letters and punctuation. Once we finally arrived home in Queensland, Australia, I continued the writing in lockdown finishing the book in five months. As I could not edit the typing easily, I sent the book to Tellwell for a tidy up. The result is I believe the only novel with a CRPS affected character (Maggie), based on me. But there are many other more interesting characters stranded in my last hotel.
Even after its sinking on an icy cold April night long ago in 1912, the Titanic has proved to be an unsinkable story of human tragedy.
Indeed, The RMS Titanic lives on as a cautionary tale of what can go wrong when ego and monetary concerns overpower responsibility and safety. This tragic tale endlessly fascinates us despite the ship’s loss to the icy depths of the Atlantic over a century ago. The ill-fated Titanic is the subject of many books such as the definitive A Night to Remember by Walter Lord (1956) and Titanic, An Illustrated History by Don Lynch (1992). It features in Stephen Weir’s book, History’s Worst Decisions and is even the inspiration for a children’s book called Polar, the Titanic Bear, about the actual teddy bear of a little boy who survived the sinking. Speaking of which, there is one last book I just have to mention that is also a fascinating read. Shadow of the Titanic follows the lives of the survivors of that terrible night. Interestingly, most of them had sad lives and many died young and even quite soon after the event. The little boy who owned the teddy bear died in a family car crash within a year and is just one example of the long shadow that the Titanic cast over people’s lives. Some folk never recovered from family losses while others bore survivor’s guilt that prevented their happiness.
Yes, the Titanic story is one that keeps on giving. There is so much to fascinate, so many lessons about human nature to appreciate.
As a long-time enthusiast of all things Victorian, the story interested me long before the blockbuster 1997 Titanic film produced by James Cameron. I had already watched the earlier film starring Barbara Stanwick and seen and read films and books where the Titanic had sailed in, creating a setting for many tragic storylines. I confess to Titanic jigsaws and scale models as well.
But all the tragedy could have been averted if someone like Bruce Ismay, Captain Smith or the ship builder, Thomas Andrew had read another book by a little-known author named Morgan Robertson. In 1898, he wrote a novel about a transatlantic liner loaded with the rich and famous that hit an iceberg near Newfoundland at similar co-ordinates. The ship, eerily called the Titan had very similar specifications to the actual Titanic.
If only someone had read this book, aptly titled Futility.
It is telling of human nature that we are drawn to details of tragedies. Perhaps it is because there is so much to take away and reflect on. The factors that caused the tragedy are themselves endlessly fascinating. In this instance there were a myriad of fateful errors both human and natural. Titanic was steaming ahead in an ill-fated race with Time itself. Captain, Edward Smith confidently ordered her throttled into full steam so she could arrive in New York ahead of schedule. He along with Bruce Ismay, director of White Star Line wanted to showcase her capabilities as the biggest ship ever to sail the seas. It was Smith’s last commission at sea so this would be a fitting end to his career. A timely six day crossing of the Atlantic was important for both men.
Neither man seemed concerned by reported ice warnings in the ocean ahead, nor overly mindful of their responsibility to the cargo of 2240passengers, despite the paucity of lifeboats. The Titanic had everything anyone could want on board a ship except lifeboats. Even at two thirds capacity of its possible number of passengers there were only enough for 1178 people, leaving 1023 others stranded. That is only too if the lifeboats were fully loaded which was definitely not the case. Many that could take 65 people, left with less than twenty aboard. Some of these fortunate were extremely wealthy and influential women along with children and even first-class men. Most second and third-class passengers went down with the ship.
If it were not for the speed, the inattention to ice, the lowered bulkheads, the limited life-boats, the missing binoculars on the watch deck, the steel, the pop rivets, the last-minute attempt to swerve around the iceberg…. So may ‘ifs, so many factors that coalesced to cause tragedy.
Then apart from the ship’s construction, the speed and human factors there was the bad luck that the only nearby ship, the Californian turned off its telegram service and retired all staff to bed. Even after sighting a flare rocket. ‘We thought it was a just a party,’ the captain claimed in defense. Words that went down in history like those of Captain Smith. ‘I cannot imagine any condition which would cause a ship to founder. Modern shipbuilding has gone beyond that.’
There is so much more I could write about this Titanic subject. Many have. Instead, I chose some human-interest snippets to include in two chapters of my historical fiction novel, Whispers through Time. This book is based on my grandparent’s journey from London to Australia on a steamer ship, the Rangatira in June 1912, just months after the sinking of the ill-fated liner. The tragedy was recent news. It is a wonder they still travelled into the ice infested waters of the southern oceans. But they did and even retraced the journey two years later through U boat infested waters to return to England as grandfather was called into military service. He was still part of the British Army, having served already in the Boer Wars when he was just sixteen. Their story continues on in the sequel released this year, Time, Heal my Heart.
Follow my history blogs on https://joniscottauthor.com
Australian readers check out Author Academy Bookstore, https://authoracademybookstore.com.au
Who Is Joni Scott?
My sister’s family history research inspired me to write my first book, Whispers through Time. I was on holidays reading one of Kate Morton’s historical novels, when it occurred to me that our family had a mystery. So, I set about writing about my grandparents, filling in the gaps and silences with the magic dust of fiction. While this book, Whispers through Time, was being published, I could not stop, so started the sequel and was ¾ through that one when I contracted a rare neurological condition which sent my life into a spin. With no cure on offer in Australia, I booked treatment in Italy and my husband and I set off two days after the 2020 virus outbreak in Northern Italy. We were fortunate to get there without a lockdown but once in Genova we experienced lockdowns, 1, 2, 3 and 4. This adventure is the basis of my latest book, The Last Hotel, but again, fiction takes over to deliver some magic and romance.
That is difficult, as our favourites can alter over time. Probably a tie between Kate Morton and Sally Beauman. They both immerse the reader in another time in history and are excellent writers.
Another difficult question! None of the food that I cook is my favourite, I know that for sure. I like Asian food, particularly Vietnamese and Cambodian meals as they are so fresh and flavoursome with the spices and herbs I love; coriander, ginger and lemongrass.
I keep goldfish in ponds and aquariums; I tutor maths and science to high school and university students; I enjoy the company of my adult children, walk the beach with my husband, have coffee with friends and my sister…
I wanted to be a chemist, i.e., as in chemistry, not pharmacy. This I did by studying organic chemistry at Sydney University, then embarking on a career using my degree.
A bit of mystery, romance, fascinating characters and for me an interesting setting. I like books set around the World War1 and WW2 era, especially if they have an intriguing plot and are well written.
7. What was one of the most surprising things you learned from writing your book?
I was surprised that the words just flowed out of me from somewhere, especially when I lay down in bed at night. So, I have lost lots of sleep hopping back up to write down what pours into my mind. As I have operated as a maths/science person all my life, I didn’t know that I could write fiction. Writing has been purely accidental and totally unexpected. But now I am hooked!
I never realised I wanted to be a writer until I became a writer! After the first book happened, my sister, who read each chapter after I wrote it (as I sent them to her), decided ‘we’ should publish it. She was the one who sent it off to 8 publishers. I thought they would all say, “No, thanks” and laugh at my efforts, but 4 replied saying they would publish it. This was a huge shock. I was in disbelief for quite a while, thinking they must be vanity publishers, as the internet warns writers about this. I nearly did not proceed at all. I sat on the fence about it all for months but finally replied to the two London publishers who are not vanity publishers at all, as I thought London was a better place to publish a book about the Victorian Times.
They seem to happen rather quickly, about five months for the two already published. The little pixies in my head whisper them out a chapter at a time. But my current book has taken a bit longer because I became so ill when I was halfway through. I lost the use of my right hand, arm and shoulder when I contracted CRPS, so things ground to a halt. Then I learnt to tip-tap with my left hand on an iPad and I was off again. When my hand gets sore now, I use an apple pencil and scrawl out the story and press the magic button “Convert all” and my scrawl turns to text! It is the best thing; I love this amazing tool.
It is the sequel to my first book, Whispers through Time. As I didn’t know I was writing a “book’ when I wrote this first one, the story concludes when my grandmother as a young woman arrives in Sydney from London. As there is so much more to tell, I started the sequel, Time, heal my Heart, which encompasses the world war One era and the Spanish flu outbreak. I was researching the Spanish Flu when the Coronavirus happened. It was rather spooky, a hundred years on exactly. I am nearly finished and will be submitting this manuscript to Austen Macauley in June/July. At the same time, I have started another book called Tangles inspired by my hairdresser. It is about the tangled lives of a hairdresser and the women who come to her salon. It contains a strong cultural Indian element as one of the characters is Indian and I love the colours, sights and aromas of India. This is definitely a fun project, so different from the others that required so much background research because of the historical content.
Who Is Fernando Villalon?
My younger son and I used to tell the family a lot about this trip and he suggested I write it in order to keep the memories
Eric H Heisner
Chilean food empanadas , pan Amazado etc
Playing with my grand kids , spending time with Family
What I do now ... A Pilot
Real life Adventures
7. What was one of the most surprising things you learned from writing your book?
That has a funny answer " I can write a book and people liked it "
Never planned it
About a year was not hard as I had notes from the trip
I have been thinking to continue with a promise to dad on this book which I actually completed for my dad . When you read the book you will find out the promise
|Born in Santiago Chile in 1952 During his early teenager years was Gymnastic Chilean Champion for 4 consecutive years . |
later in life Successfully become the state manager of one of the four largest Fast food companies in Australia and remained there for over 20 years.
During this time he was learning to fly on weekends .
Now a commercial Pilot with various Flight examiners approvals.
He has being passionate about life adventures and travels around the world, including Mountain climbing in the Andes .
He has written this book on the request of his younger son. In order to keep the memories of this Adventure.
Books by Fernando Villalon
The Penniless Vagabonds
Two 19 year olds Hitch hike adventure with no money from Chile to Rio de Janeiro Brazil in the early 1970's.
Who Is Dr David Barkhouse?
My grandparents who had amazing lives but very hard. They were not documented but should have been.
Somerset Maughan. He was a fine novelist and playwright. He was also a spy in WW1, and polyglot and a member of the English upper middle class all of which I’d like to have been. He was a doctor who struggled with his own personal demons and took refuge in France where the French ‘laisse faire’ attitude to being gay was more conducive to his personal happiness.
Anything my wife cooks. She is a wonderful cook, knows my favourite meals and is never afraid to experiment.
Read, walk my little King Charles/Cocker Spaniel ‘Charlie’, garden and play golf badly with my old mate Martin. We don’t score, just enjoy the fresh air and camaraderie.
A doctor- I am, so I succeeded there.
A sense of humour.
7. What was one of the most surprising things you learned from writing your book?
How good my memory was. The more I wrote the more I remembered, but I do wish I’d kept a diary.
I used to write little anecdotes for The Australian Doctor. When I retired I felt an obligation to write a letter for my children and grandkids and it grew from there.
About three months.
The behaviour of doctors away from home on conferences. Why I remember one professor of General Practice………..No it’ll have to wait until after he’s dead. It’s a theme pursued by David Lodge another fine British novelist (and ex professor).
Dr David Barkhouse
Born in England to Scottish parents. Vivid memories of life in war torn England. Graduated as doctor at Leeds and emigrated to Australia in 1969with wife and three small children.
Books by Dr David Barkhouse
Ten Pound Doctor
Memoirs of a British trained doctor's professional life, much of it in rural Western Australia'
Sandee was born in New Zealand and grew up in a small horticultural village consisting predominately of orchards and vineyards. The village was surrounded by native forests and situated on the Pacific Ocean coastline. From bushland, fresh water streams, forests, to sand and surf her ‘backyard’ provided enormous scope for fun and adventures. Years later when tragedy struck Sandee opted for a new life with a new beginning and so immigrated to Australia with her young family to procure some sort of semblance of peace and security. After spending many years travelling and living in outback Australia she choose the South West region of Western Australia to retire in. She dabbles in art work, loves to go bushwalking, boating and a fishing rod is never from her hand.
Books by Sandee Parlor
Whispers Behind Closed Doors
How do you go when the fabric of your life is torn and your life hangs in the balance? Sandee Parlor shares with you her quest to find the courage and strength to move forward, to find forgiveness, seek love and bring peace to a broken heart. Desperate to have a life free of shame, guilt and blame Sandee immigrates to Australia with her young family for the fresh new beginning she believes she can acquire there. She has an adventurous spirit and from an early age she learnt how to hunt; how to shoot a gun and how to live off the land and these three components bode well for her throughout her journey. Come with her as she travels into the isolated wild Australian outback. You might want to pack a box of tissues.
Who Is Sandee Parlor?
As I journeyed throughout the Australian outback I met fellow travellers and it was usually custom to sit by the campfire and share stories of your adventures. Many listeners would say ‘you should write a book’ and so its thanks to their encouragement that I put ‘pen to paper’.
My favourite author has changed over the years as my interests and my quest for knowledge evolved however I would have to say J.R.Tolkien takes the prize as Lord of the Rings resonates my childhood memories.
Lobster mornay is my all time favourite dish however as its seasonal due to fishing regulations the N.A. on the restaurant menus leaves me scanning for another type of seafood to take its place.
I am a lover of the the ‘great outdoors’; bush walking, bird watching, kayaking, boating and of course my all time favourite, fishing, fills my days with delight.
As a child attracted to the sea and the fascination of what lay below the watery surface I always planned in my mind of being an oceanographer.
I am open to all topics in book reading but for me what makes a good story is the flow of the story; how the author writes in such a way as to hold you spell bound to the very end.
7. What was one of the most surprising things you learned from writing your book?
The most surprising thing about my book was the emotion it stirred as I dug deep into the tragedy, loss and heartache of my life and saw with my eyes as it unfolded in print. Its one thing to have it occur but quite another to actually ‘see’ it in writing.
I do not recall ever having a desire to write a book. I felt my story needed to be out there to give hope, encouragement and procure a light at the end of the tunnel for the reader and as Covid 19 approached us I had a real urgency to finish my book and get it out there.
This is my first book and it started out with me just ambling along jotting down ideas and events enjoying reliving the adventures my of travels hence there was no time limit to complete and before I knew it four years had gone by and then come Covid-19 and as I said I realised I needed to get a hurry along and complete my story.
I never planned to write another book but people who have purchased my book said they never wanted my book to come to an end and they want to know what happened after the time my autobiography ended and that I just have to write another book to bring it up to date so I guess my next book will be the continuation of my life because that is another story altogether.