I Suppose It’s What You’re Used To

February 8, 2018 at 12:16 pm | Posted in Australia, Growing up in the 1950s and 60s, historical fiction, Publishing, Writing and Life | 15 Comments
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I was so happy when my novel, Thursday’s Child, became available on Kindle on the first of February. At last, all the effort and angst of writing it had taken on a certain reality. People could buy it and read it and, hopefully, let me and others know that they liked it. I know it was a real pleasure to see it download onto my own Kindle device.

However, it was when the printed books arrived, on the day after it appeared on Kindle, that I felt the reality of my book’s publication. There is nothing like holding your own work in your hands, feeling the weight of it, turning the pages and seeing the words printed on real pages. That is when I jumped about in excitement, my book raised in my hand, and my husband hugged me in congratulation.

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I am au fait with several types of technology, and have hundreds of books on my Kindle that I have really enjoyed reading. I know that many of my readers will also read my book on their electronic device. But, to me, born and growing up when all of this technology was almost unthinkable, it is the solidity of the printed word that makes it all real.

I have already had one Kindle reader enthusiastically tell me that my novel is “brilliantly written”. Wow, who can’t love that (thanks Janet)! Now I am waiting for the first reader of the paperback version to let me know what they think of my second literary child – Thursday’s Child.

If you have read my novel, or if you intend to read it, I would love to have you tell me your thoughts on it.

The electronic version of Thursday’s Child is available here

 

Linda Visman

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Thursday’s Child is now available!

February 1, 2018 at 9:59 am | Posted in Australia, Growing up in the 1950s and 60s, historical fiction, Publishing, Society, Writing | 7 Comments
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Today, my novel for Young Adults,Thursday’s Child, is ready for download. If you have already ordered it on Kindle it will automatically download.

If not, you can order your copy now and get yourself or someone else who loves a coming-of-age story a great read. It is available on Kindle here, and as a print-on-demand book here.

If you don’t have a Kindle, there is an app on Amazon that allows you to read it on any platform.

Back cover

Settle in for a great story.

 

Linda Visman

‎How I came to write Thursday’s Child

January 29, 2018 at 7:30 am | Posted in Australia, Growing up in the 1950s and 60s, historical fiction, Promotion, Writing | 4 Comments
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Many people who liked my first Young Adult novel, Ben’s Challenge, requested that I write a follow-up to it. They wanted to know what happened to the characters after the book ended. So, when I finally got around to writing a second novel, I began it as a sequel to my first, expecting Ben to carry the story along.

I was a couple of months and fifteen chapters into the story when I realized it wasn’t working. The situation, theme, characters, plot couldn’t be played out with Ben there. I’d had a strong new character called Jessie in that aborted manuscript and she made me very aware that she had her own story to tell. I had to completely start over so it could be told.

I didn’t know much about Jessie at first, or what her story was. I just knew that she was a bright, ambitious girl from a large but poor Irish Catholic family. I knew what the opening chapter would be about, but even as the new chapters grew in number, I didn’t really know where it was heading. I also discovered I had given my character the wrong name. She wasn’t Jessie; she was Victoria – Tori Delaney.

From that point, Tori quickly showed me that she was quite happy to let my fingers be the instruments to tell her story, but that she would be telling it herself. And that is how I ended up with Thursday’s Child.

 

© Linda Visman

Writing Young Adults Novels That Break the Age Barrier

January 25, 2018 at 7:30 am | Posted in Australia, Experiences, Growing up in the 1950s and 60s, Society, Ways of Living, Writing, Writing and Life | 4 Comments
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Here is a comment that was made on my blog post, Tori’s Book Review

I’m writing a book for YAs that might extend the age of readers into their early twenties. I could use some tips on YA writing. Any suggestions.  Christine

 

I’m not sure I can give Christine, or anyone for that matter, much in the way of tips on writing a book for young adults (say 14 to 30 and beyond). What I will do is write briefly about my own approach to writing them and hope that will help.

Like Christine, I want my book’s readership to extend beyond teenagers to adults of all ages. One way I try to do this is by being as real as I can be. My current novel, Thursday’s Child, deals with a couple of difficult issues, issues that have always been a part of growing up, of finding our place in society, and of dealing with the bad things that happen as well as the good..

For me, the characters are paramount. Readers are looking for characters they can identify with – even when they live in a different time, as mine do. Teens, and adults too, have similar desires, needs, hopes and ambitions for their lives, as well as similar obstacles to overcome to achieve them. Each person will see and approach them from their own perspective, but the basic issues remain: among these, are love and loss; fairness and tolerance; acceptance and understanding; freedom and equality to pursue one’s goals.

I don’t write comedy or fantasy or satire. I write about the world as it is, or as it was at the time of which I am writing. I find that a character and an issue come together for me and then I write that character’s story. All the characters begin to ‘speak to me’ in such a way that I can do that.

I think authenticity is of major importance in writing for anyone, not just young adults. You must be true to and honest with your characters, your themes and your future readers. For me, authenticity comes when I draw from my own knowledge, experience and understanding of the world and of people to create a person of flesh and blood and everything else that goes with it. I want that character to live an authentic life with authentic experiences. When I am writing, I am living my character, I am there and I bring (in this case) her into the reality of her world. I may not have experienced exactly what she goes through, but I have lived and observed life more than enough to be able to write it.

If, in our writing, we create real characters in real situations, with real problems they have to deal with and joys they can experience, then I think that book  we write, although primarily aimed at young adults, will resonate with older readers too.

My first novel, Ben’s Challenge, was written for twelve to sixteen-year-olds, but I have received many comments from readers of ten to ninety years of age about how much they loved it.

Christine, I hope you can get a similar response to your writing. It is possible, so go for it.

 

If you wish to purchase Thursday’s Child on Kindle, click here to pre-order. It will be available for download on the 1st of February. If you’d like to read Ben’s Challenge, click on the cover photo at the side.

 

© Linda Visman

Thursday’s Child – Picnic at the Waterfall

January 22, 2018 at 7:30 am | Posted in Australia, Birds, Growing up in the 1950s and 60s, household chores, Nature, Promotion, Reading, Writing | 6 Comments
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I am writing a few blog posts to introduce the main character in Thursday’s Child, my new Young Adult novel, which is set in 1960-61 Australia. Victoria Delaney (Tori) is fourteen, in her second year of high school. She wants to become a teacher one day, but events conspire against her.

*         *         *

From Tori’s Diary

Thursday, 8th September 1960

We had such a lovely day today. I am so tired I can hardly write. It’s only a few days until we go back to school for the last term before Christmas, so we wanted to do something special. We got Mam to let us go to the falls for a picnic! The four of us – me, Carol, Mickey & Frankie set off after we’d done our morning chores. Danny’s only a baby, so he stayed home with Mam.

We followed the road, then a track, and after about four miles, we came to the creek. It wasn’t hot, but it was sunny, even through the trees and we were glad to get there. The water was so clear and cold to drink, wash our faces and bathe our bare feet in. Mam had made us promise not to go in swimming, so I had to watch Mickey so he didn’t.

We played around on the rocks and paddled where the water was shallow just out from the falls. How lovely the rock wall is where the water flows over into the waterhole! I’m no good at geology, but I could tell that lots of different layers sat on top of each other. The water had made them smooth and dark, and where the sun shone, the rock glistened and the water sparkled.

Mickey kept his eyes and ears open for birds all the time, and told us each time he heard or saw a different one. There are so many! Honeyeaters, red wattlebirds and a couple of different finches are the ones I remember. Frankie followed Mickey everywhere, as he usually does, and one time he slipped off a rock into the water. Thank goodness it wasn’t deep. He grazed his leg & got wet, but he was dry by the time we got home.

Carol and I wandered around, sometimes together and sometimes in different directions, but we all stayed close to the waterhole. I was hoping to see a platypus, but we must have scared them away. We did see a water dragon, and when we were walking back home, we saw a couple of wallabies – I think its wallabies in the mountains, not kangaroos, as they live in flatter country. Some of the wildflowers were out too and the golden wattles along the roadsides were still in flower.

We ate our jam sandwiches and boiled eggs for lunch and drank from the creek. We loved it so much that we didn’t want to leave, but we’d also promised Mam we’d be back in time to do our evening chores. I have to help with making dinner, and there are the chooks to feed, eggs to collect, Danny to look after, wood to chop for the stove. We got home in time, so Mam was happy, and even with the five-mile walk back, we were too.

 

If you wish to purchase Thursday’s Child on Kindle, click here to pre-order. It will be available for download on the 1st of February.

© Linda Visman

Thursday’s Child – Tori’s Book Review

January 18, 2018 at 7:50 am | Posted in Australia, Growing up in the 1950s and 60s, high school, historical fiction, Nature, Reading, Ways of Living, Writing | 7 Comments
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I am writing a few blog posts to introduce the main character in my new Young Adult novel, Thursday’s Child, which is set in 1960-61 Australia. Victoria Delaney is fourteen, in her second year of high school. She wants to become a teacher one day, but events conspire against her.

As part of their English subject, Tory and her class were asked to write a review of a book they enjoyed. Here is Tori’s book review:

 

*         *         *

 

My book is “Man-shy”, by Frank Dalby Davison. It was published in 1931 by Angus and Robertson, and won best novel of the year. The other part of its title is “A Story of Men and Cattle”.

I loved this story, even though I had a feeling it would not end well; after all how can cattle win when they take on men? The main “character” for the cattle in the scrub is the red heifer, who becomes the red cow. The main human character on the cattle station is the stockman Splinter. We don’t see a lot of either of them in the story, but they are strongly present through it.

The author Mr Davison seems to really understand men and cattle and that makes the animals and people real instead of made-up. He shows the difference between the docile cattle of the paddocks and the wild cattle of the rugged ranges. There is also a difference between the cruel owner who only sees cattle as “beef on the hoof” to be turned into profit, and Splinter who is more sympathetic. Splinter is still a man though, and still has to catch and brand them.

Mr Davison really makes me see the countryside and feel the feelings of both man and beast. I like his descriptions of the spirited red cow who only wants to live in freedom. I also love how he writes, sentences like: “The sun went down behind the range, drawing the light with it.”(p.92)

The character I most liked is the red cow, and I am on her side all the way through. It is sad when she is caught and branded, but then she is released. Then she is caught again, but escapes. I was happy for her then. But the cattle station is turned into smaller, fenced-off allotments and the wild cattle can no longer get to water.

I was glad when she and her calf escaped from the final trap. Then I realized that she had doomed herself and her calf to the waterless rugged ranges. However, her mates had all perished by violence, while she would at least die as she had lived – free in her beloved scrubland. And that was enough for me.

 

If you wish to purchase Thursday’s Child on Kindle, click here to pre-order. It will be available for download on the 1st of February.

 

Thursday’s Child – Introducing my Main Character

January 15, 2018 at 11:58 am | Posted in 1960s, Australia, divisions in society, Growing up in the 1950s and 60s, historical fiction, History, Reading, Social mores, Society, War and Conflict, Ways of Living, Writing | 4 Comments
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I would like to introduce the main character in my new Young Adult novel, Thursday’s Child.

It is 1961, and Victoria (Tori) Delaney is in her second year of high school. Her class has been discussing social issues that affect Australia. Her teacher, Miss Bradshaw, has given the class an assignment to complete for homework.

Choose an issue that you think is important and write a one to two page essay on it.

This is what Tori writes:

*         *         *

Why are girls and women treated as if they are not as good as boys and men? Why are they not allowed to do the same things as they are, or given the same opportunities?

It surprises me that women are even allowed to vote. I am sure that if it hadn’t been for the Suffragettes, they would still not be allowed to. I think it is very unfair that we are treated as if we are inferior. Women have often shown that they are just as good as men, the most obvious way is when they had to step in during the Great War and again in the last war.

Women who had never even lived in the country joined the Australian Women’s Land Army so that farming could carry on when the men went off to war. They did everything that the men had done. They drove tractors and did the ploughing, the reaping and the carting of the crop. They cared for the animals, shore the sheep and milked the cows, as well as butchering them for meat.

Some women took over jobs that needed specialist knowledge and strength. They became mechanics, drivers, engineers and aeroplane builders, as well as producing guns and ammunition.

The Australian Army, Navy and Air Force would have found it harder to keep going without the women who joined the special Women’s Services. They drove jeeps and big trucks, piloted planes to be repaired and returned to service. They became radio operators and even observers and anti-aircraft gunners.

It was mostly the women at home who made the men’s uniforms, who went into danger to nurse the sick and wounded, and who took over from the male doctors when they joined the forces. And many of them did this as well as raising families, often on their own, and worrying about their husbands and sons who were fighting or imprisoned.

When the war ended, the men returned home and, of course they wanted their jobs back. Most women were happy to go back to the home life they’d had before the war, but more than a few thought they had earned the right to work at jobs they had done well for many years. They didn’t want to go back to being under men’s thumb again.

They had kept vital industries going, kept the country fed and the forces clothed and supplied. They had learned new skills, felt they could contribute something to society. Now the exciting days of responsibility and self-respect were over, they didn’t want to go back to household drudgery and lose what they had showed they were capable of. It must have been really hard for them

Many women and even girls like me resent that they are not treated as equal to men, and are not satisfied with a life of pandering to them. What hope is there in that?

 

Tori will tell us a bit more about herself in the next few posts.

If you wish to purchase Thursday’s Child on Kindle, click here to pre-order. It will be available for download on the 1st of February.

 

 

 

 

 

It’s Getting Closer!

January 8, 2018 at 2:15 pm | Posted in Australia, Growing up in the 1950s and 60s, historical fiction, Reading, Writing, Writing and Life | 8 Comments
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Front cover -Dave

 

The second proof copy of my novel ‘Thursday’s Child’ arrived today. It took less than a week from when I ordered it.

It looks great – the cover, the font, the setting out are all wonderful.  I don’t expect to find any issues, but it is always better to be sure than sorry. So, after a final check, I will be able to make it available on Kindle, and as a Print-on-demand paper copy.

I have also begun work on my third Young Adult novel, as yet untitled.

Exciting times!

 

 

 

Cover of my second novel

December 3, 2017 at 4:29 pm | Posted in Australia, Growing up in the 1950s and 60s, Publishing, Reading, Social mores, Writing | 14 Comments
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I am excited!

I will shortly receive a proof copy of my second coming-of-age Young Adult novel, Thursday’s Child, to go through and make sure it is ready for publication.

Here is the cover for the book – back, spine and front.

 

Book Cover Preview on CreateSpace

It is always rather thrilling to get to this stage.

 

 

 

A Letter to a Friend about Writing

November 30, 2017 at 11:55 am | Posted in Australia, Writing | 5 Comments
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I recently received an email from a friend who wants to write:

 

Linda, have you been writing anymore chapters on your 2nd book?  I tried what you suggested about just sitting down and start writing but perhaps I’m doing all wrong, to me it seems my sentences don’t have the flow that you read in yours and other books.

 

I gave her plaint some thought, and this is what I wrote back to her:

 

Hi Jane,

Sorry to take so long to get back to you about the writing.

To answer your question about my latest book, Thursday’s Child: I have completed it and am trying to get it published on CreateSpace. I am having trouble with it getting up there as they’ve changed the process since I did Ben’s Challenge. However, I am still trying.

Re your own writing: what kind of writing are you doing? Memoir? Fiction? Whichever it is, don’t worry if the words won’t flow. It took years before my own writing was at the standard it was for that first book. I am told that this second book is even better, & that’s due to constant improvement through actually writing a lot.

It’s that first draft that matters, no matter how good or bad it is. In my own writing, I am constantly editing. The book that comes out at the end has probably gone through 6-12 drafts! So don’t worry if you can’t get the flow immediately. You can’t make your writing better if you don’t write it first – even if it is badly.

Whatever you are writing, fiction or non-fiction, then you will find the writing will flow better if you imagine you are telling someone the story or writing a letter to them – perhaps one of your kids, or a friend – or even an imaginary person. Don’t think about the writing – think about the story and the people in the story. You can always fix it up and make it better once you have actually written it. With the computer, it is so much easier to go back and change things.

I find it hard to tell a story verbally. For me, it is the written word that lets the story flow. When I lived far from my parents, my mother used to tell me my letters were like a novel. If I get stuck, I imagine I’m writing it to a person (perhaps Mum), or I imagine I am the person in the story. It is amazing how a character (even a real one in a memoir) can come to life if you put yourself into their head and their emotions. Try it and see what happens. But don’t over-think it.

I am old-fashioned. I didn’t grow up with computers, but with paper and pencil/pen so, especially when I am writing my novels and short stories – and even poems, I do it longhand. I write it into an A4 school notebook. I can write, scribble, cross out, draw arrows to change the order, etc, as I go. It is only once I have the first draft of a chapter or a short story written in the book that I type it up, editing & improving as I go, onto the computer.

So, Jane, don’t think about the quality of the writing. Don’t try to make it good at first. Just try to get it down. I think the main things though, to release that creative flow, is to make it personal,  imagine you are telling it to someone. And don’t be impatient. The more you just write, the easier it will become to just write.

I hope these suggestions help you to get the writing juices going and flowing, Jane. Happy writing!

Best regards,

Linda

 

How do you get the writing to flow?

 

 

 

 

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