Today on Instagram I decided (on a bit of a whim) to post pics of Aussie books. Because Aussie books are the prettiest — and they look even better when placed beside Funko PopVinyl figures (of which I have, err, rather a lot).
So, on a similar whim, I decided to share some of them here too. Taking bookstagram pics is one of my new favourite hobbies! I could post a ton more, but these are some of my most-recent photos. I decided to stick to those, primarily because I’m really digging this style of pic. Angles! Origami stars! Pops! Yay!
… and yes, I snuck a pic of some of my own books in there. I couldn’t resist. And it is a pretty picture! (In case you weren’t already aware, the first ebook in my Isla’s Inheritance trilogy is available for freeeee! The links are up there, at the top of the screen. *points*)
For my Australian friends, have an awesome public holiday … especially if you’re working. For everyone else, HAPPY THURSDAY!
Today over at Aussie Owned and Read, we’re talking why we love being an Aussie writer, and why we set our books where we do. Check it out!
(Okay, that may not be the most inspirational title for an Australia Day blog post, but I think it sums up what I am about to say pretty well.)
I love urban fantasy. Love it! I’ve felt that way since I didn’t know what the genre was called—back when Interview With the Vampire was filed in the sci-fi and fantasy section of the bookstore and the paranormal shelves didn’t exist. (Say what you will about it, we have Twilight to thank for their creation.) I thoroughly enjoyed Anita Blake’s early adventures, and loved Sookie Stackhouse when she came along too.
When I started thinking about the sort of novel I might write, I toyed with fantasy, but urban fantasy drew me back like a lodestone.
Then I’d think about where to set the book, and come unstuck. Because all the urban fantasy novels I read were set in America or, less usually, England. Wouldn’t Americans (who, lets be honest, are the biggest market of English-speaking readers in the world) prefer to read books set in their own country? The streets of New Orleans, Chicago, New York—those were the places haunted and hunted by the supernatural. Not sunny Australia.
I could’ve tried to write a book set in the States—I did think about it—but I felt like a fraud. I knew my Australian slang would reveal the lie. I’ve never even been to America. How could I pull that off?
So I didn’t write the book. Because “write what you know”, right?
Over the past few years, urban fantasies—and their kissing cousin, the paranormal romance—have started to appear, set in Australia. Maybe they’ve been around for longer and I only just began to notice them through the blanket coverage of foreign authors in Australian chain bookstores.
Okay, I thought, I can do this. Only… those books were all set in Sydney or Melbourne. Could Canberra, with its population of 360,000, be a viable setting for an urban fantasy? It may be the nation’s capital, but almost no one outside Australia has heard of it. Two out of three tourists think Sydney is the capital. (I just made that stat up, but I’d bet it’s true!)
And then it hit me like a boomerang in the face: if someone needs to do it to test the water, to see whether it’s a viable location for an urban fantasy, why shouldn’t that be me? I’ve lived here all my life so it definitely ticks the “write what you know” box. I love this city, with its wide open spaces, bush corridors, national monuments and occasionally dubious public art*.
Of course my books are set here.
*If you want to see what I’m talking about, do a Google image search for “Belconnen owl” and tell me what you think it looks like from behind. Then search for “Skywhale”, because LOL.
This post is part of Aussie Owned and Read’s Australia Day/Blogaversary blog hop. You can find other participating blogs or register your own here. And there is a GIANT GIVEAWAY too, which you can enter here.
Have you entered my double Amazon giveaway yet? I’m running it to celebrate my book deal and 1000 Twitter followers! The details are here. It ends in 2 days and 9 hours (give or take), so time’s running out!
This Thursday’s Children post flows on from my last one, where I talked about being inspired by the Australian bush. This one is about my favourite Aussie species: the Australian Magpie. It is unrelated to the European magpie, except in the very broad sense. Interestingly, its specific Latin name translates to “piper” or “flute-player” … which, when you hear it carol, you will totally understand.
A lot of Australians have mixed (or even outright negative) views about this particular bird, though. The reason is that, in spring, some male magpies have a rush of testosterone to the brain and will swoop to defend their mate and chicks in the nest. They are especially fond of people on bicycles, and I’ve heard stories from time to time about people being injured by overzealous magpies.
But to me, that aggression (which isn’t universal) is only for six-to-eight weeks a year. And their song makes up for it for the rest of the year. Because this bird is, in my not-so-humble opinion, Australia’s premiere songbird—despite its humble appearance.
Here’s a YouTube link. (The bird featured isn’t the local Canberra variant, which has a white band across the back of the neck but not all the way down the back. However, the song is the same.)
Click here to see this week’s other Thursday’s Children blog posts.
Have you entered my double Amazon giveaway yet, which I’m running to celebrate my good news? The details are here.
I was pottering around the kitchen trying to think of what the single biggest thing is that inspires my writing. And then it hit me like a parrot in the crotch (which, by the way, actually happened to a guy I know; I gather it wasn’t very pleasant). My biggest source of inspiration is the Australian landscape.
So far, all of my novels are set in Australia. And that’s not just because I’m writing what I know (although it is) but because I love this place. I love the scraggly eucalypts, the ridiculous wildlife, the low mountains worn down by time. I love the fact that—because our land is so old and the landscape crinkles are so low—the sky is huge. Looking up is like watching a movie in widescreen.
I love the magpies’ song, and the sight of a flock of cockatoos wheeling in the sky, and the sere colours. I love the first spray of wattle flowers toward the end of winter, when there’s still frost on the ground overnight, because the plants are declaring that spring is coming!
I know a lot of people here hanker after the lush greenery of Europe. I’ve been to Scotland and I’m not saying it wasn’t magnificent in its own way—I’d love to visit again some day—but this place is home.
I’ve been reading John Marsden’s Tomorrow series, and his passages on the Australian bush really resonate with me. Ellie’s love for the country could be my own. Here’s one extract, to illustrate what I mean.
It takes me over and I become part of it and it becomes part of me and I’m not very important, or at least no more important than a tree or a rock or a spider abseiling down a long thread of cobweb. As I wandered around, on that hot afternoon, I didn’t notice anything too amazing or beautiful or mindbogglingly spectacular. I can’t actually say I noticed anything out of the ordinary: just the grey-green rocks and the olive-green leaves and the reddish soil with the teeming ants. The tattered ribbons of paperbark, the crackly dry cicada shell, the smooth furrow left in the dust by a passing snake. That’s all there ever is really, most of the time. No rainforest with tropical butterflies, no palm trees or Californian redwoods, no leopards or iguanas or panda bears.
Just the bush.
Click here to see this week’s other Thursday’s Children blog posts.