Category 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 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…


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…


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…
Thanks for following me around the blogosphere! Hope you’ve enjoyed my guest posts and interviews about all things The Big Smoke. 🙂


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!


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

I wish I wrote that (The Song is You)

Today’s quotes comes from Arthur Phillips’ The Song is You. 

(If you have no idea what this segement is about, read this post.)


The Song is You book cover

I wish I wrote that (or these quotes at least)

“The shadow of a snout moved at the gap between floor and door, side to side, frenetic clicking claws and snuffling, a Great Danish border inspection, still undecided between hostility and welcome.”

“She called Ian and was only mildly surprised to see the mysterious visiting cell phone suffer a little epileptic fit on her table.”

“The pilot… was younger than Julian by nearly a whole grown-up.”

Why do I like them?

They’re so creative. In each instance, Phillips takes an everyday situation and frames it in a fresh and comical way. Although I wasn’t fussed on the themes of this book, I loved its quirkiness.

Your turn

What do you think of these snippets? Like them? Hate them? Indifferent?


Filed under Author admiration, Nick Earls, Writing

I wish I wrote that (The Time-Traveller’s Wife)

This week’s quote comes from Audrey Niffernegger’s The Time Traveller’s Wife. 

(If you have no idea what this segement is about, read last week’s post.)

Time Travellers Wife

I wish I wrote that...

The quote

“We pass a Wal-Mart, a Dairy Queen, a McDonalds. More cornfields. An orchard. U-Pick-M Strawberries, Blueberries. In the summer this road is a long corridor of fruit, grain, and capitalism. But now the fields are dead and dry and the cars speed along the sunny cold highway ignoring the beckoning parking lots.” 

Why do I like this?

Can’t you just see the scenery flicking past the car window? I know areas just like it, areas that thrive in summer and die in winter. Plus there’s something quite poetic about Niffernegger’s prose, don’t you think?

… And since I couldn’t choose just one, here’s another quote from the same book:

The quote (2)

“She smiles a tiny wicked smile and thrusts her hips back and forth a couple times. I now have an erection that is probably tall enough to ride some of the scarier rides at Great America without a parent.”

Why do I like this?

What’s not to like? It’s hilarious! Although it probably destroys my argument about Niffernegger’s prose being poetic… 😉

Your turn

What do you think of these snippets? Like them? Hate them?


Filed under Author admiration, Nick Earls, Writing

I wish I wrote that (Monica Bloom)

Are you excited? You should be, because this is the start of an awesome new weekly segment on this blog, called I wish I wrote that.

Each week,  I’ll provide a short snippet of writing that I admire, and then explain why I like it so much. Reasons will be varied, but will often be because of how eloquently the snippet describes a particular emotion or human experience.

Monica Bloom

I wish I wrote that

So, let’s get to it! Considering I’ve just got home from the book launch of Nick Earls’ latest book The Fix, it seems only fitting that I should kick this segment off with a quote from one of Nick Earls’ books. Today’s quote is from Monica Bloom by, you guessed it, Nick Earls!

“Her hair was different, I noticed. It used to be very carefully shaped, and now it wasn’t. It was naturally wavy, and now she was allowing it to be that way.” 

Why do I like this?

I like this quote because it shows Matt (the teenage protagonist) noticing his mother changing. Without explicitly saying so, it shows us that his mother is becoming more confident and relaxed, and that he’s noticing these changes in her.

What do you think?

Do you like this snippet? Do you know of any other quotes that reflect this kind of observation just as well or better?

And more broadly, what do you think of this segment idea? Good or bad? Let me know!


Filed under Author admiration, Nick Earls, Writing

New Adult fiction – the missing genre?

Have you ever read a book that didn’t seem to fit squarely in either Young Adult (YA) or Adult fiction? It might have been about someone who has just moved out of home to go to uni. Or someone who’s just finished uni and is now trying to prove himself in his first professional job.

The protagonists in these books are too mature to be considered YA protagonists, but they’re not worldly enough to be considered Adult protagonists. So where do they fit?

According to St Martin’s Press, they fit in a new, previously-unidentified genre called ‘New Adult’. JJ from St Martin’s Press explains that, ‘New Adult [fiction] is about young adulthood, when you are an adult but have not established your life as one (career, family, what-have-you)’.

Kristin Hoffman elaborates further, explaining that New Adult fiction is, ‘…about transition. The transformation from child to adult doesn’t happen overnight—just ask as anyone who is or has been (or is a parent to) a teenager. But the transition from teen to adult doesn’t happen overnight either. There’s a period of time where adulthood feels like a new pair of shoes. The expectations of independence and self-sufficiency are still new, still being broken in. New Adults are the people who have just begun to walk in those shoes; New Adult fiction is about their blisters and aches.

Kristin goes on to explain that New Adult protagonists are mostly likely in the range of 18 to 26 years old. ‘College, first jobs, first relationships, or marriage… There’s a lot that can happen when you’re 18-26, but the fact is, those same events feel very different at that age than they do at 12 or at 40. Because kids and teens focus on the present, while adults draw on their past experience to inform their present and future decisions. New Adults are somewhere in between…. That distinction might seem subtle, but it comes through loud and clear in the voice of New Adult fiction.’

I’ve been overjoyed to discover this new genre of fiction. Why? Because I’ve always described Tangled (my novel-in-progress) as Young Adult, but that categorisation has never sat comfortably with me. Now I know why. Now I have a genre that fits. Tangled – which follows the journey of two country teenagers as they try to survive living away from home to attend an inner city university –  is well and truly New Adult. It describes many of those New Adult blisters and aches Kristin talked about, including struggling to get along with flatmates and trying to deal with changing relationships with close friends.

A number of my favourite books could be classified as New Adult, including:

Queen Kat, Carmel and St Jude Get a Life and Somebody’s Crying by Maureen McCarthy

World of Chickens and Bachelor Kisses by Nick Earls

Girl with a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier

Book covers of new adult fiction

So, what do you think? Do you agree there should be a New Adult genre? Or do you think it’s splitting hairs and the Young Adult and Adult genres are sufficient? Are there any books you’d classify as New Adult fiction? Do tell!


Filed under Authors, Maureen McCarthy, New Adult fiction, Nick Earls, Reading, Tangled, Tracy Chevalier, Writing, Writing style, YA fiction

Writers on Rafts competition

What a start to 2011. As one very witty Twit said,  it seems somebody accidentally set the Sim City preferences for Queensland to “expert.” Everyone around Australia has been doing what they can to support those affected by Queensland’s extreme weather events, and now Queensland Writers Centre, in collaboration with author Rebecca Sparrow, have developed a fantastic competition with all proceeds going towards Queensland flood survivors.

Aptly titled Writers on Rafts, the competition offers you the opportunity to win fabulous prizes donated by more than 150 Australian  authors, including Kate Morton, Morris Gleitzman, Di Morrissey, Nick Earls, Tara Moss, Mem Fox, John Birmingham, Jessica Rudd, PM Newton and many more. You could be immortalised in print with a character named after you, or read your way through a stack of signed books. You could win an author visit to your school or book club, or a manuscript assessment from a top literaryagent or publisher.

Prizes are available in four categories. You can purchase as many tickets as you like, in as many categories as you want. If your entry is drawn as a winner, you can then select the prize you want. I’m promoting this out of the goodness of my heart, even though I don’t really want to – because I want to win!!

To find out more and buy tickets, go to the Writers on Rafts website.

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Filed under Competitions, John Birmingham, Kate Morton, Nick Earls, Queensland floods, Queensland Writers Centre, Rebecca Sparrow, Writers on Rafts, Writing