Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Goanna Island Mystery Tour

Today I'm happy to welcome Dale Harcombe to Spinning Pearls as she stops by on her Goanna Island Mystery Blog Tour. Read on after my interview with Dale to see the other stops on the tour.

1. Hi, Dale! Seeing Goanna Island on your book reminded me of an old favourite - Dolphin Island by Arthur C Clarke. Dolphin Island was based on the real life Lizard Island. Is Goanna Island based on a real place?

Dale: I have to admit I have not read Dolphin Island. Is it shaped like a dolphin or because there are dolphins there? I didn’t know there was a Lizard Island. To the best of my knowledge there is not such place as Goanna Island. Imagination called it into being after seeing two other small islands at varying times that evoked a response in me. One was in Sydney Harbour. The other up near Fingal Bay. But in The Goanna Island Mystery the editor chose to move it away from the NSW coast to place it near The Great Australian Bite. Not sure why unless she knows something I don’t know.

2. If someone blindfolded you and whisked you off to Goanna Island and ripped off the blindfold, what would you expect to see first?

Dale: Scrub everywhere. Spindly dull grey-green scrub and little black crabs that look like spiders scuttling for cover back towards the black rocks. Behind that I'd see the dilapidated house flaking green paint.

3. What comes first when you're writing - character, setting or plot or theme?

Dale: Nearly always charcter. The rest gets worked out or just appears as I go along and discover more about the character and where the story is leading. With The Goanna Island Mystery that was not the case as it started with the setting and a character that arrived at about the same time. As a child I loved mystery books so that’s probably how the mystery got in the act.

4. Did you consider other titles for this book, and if so, what?

Dale: It actually started life as The Pirate Ghost. I suspect the editor decided to take ghost out of the title because some schools get a bit peculiar about such things. The editor asked for other suggestions from me. After tossing around several, it became The Goanna Island Mystery.
I mostly find titles a bit of a problem. A manuscript I’m working on at present is untitled and probably will reman so till something leaps out of the text. Even with poems, which I also write, the title is invariably last.

5. Any funny stories about the genesis of Goanna Island?

Dale: Don’t know that it’s al that funny but the goanna idea wasn’t originally part of the story. The name refers not so much to inhabitants of the island but to the shape of it. It was a later addition to the story because I was looking for something else to call it other than The Pirate Ghost, so I hit on that idea of having the island in a goanna shape. I decided I liked that idea and so then wrote the goanna shape into the text.
It became The Goanna Island Mystery. This doesn’t give away as much of the plot in the title.
The last short chapter was also a late addition as, even though the manuscript had already been accepted for publication, I wasn't completely happy with the ending. This ending the editor and I both agreed was more satisfying.

Thanks for stopping by, Dale, and all the best with The Goanna Island Mystery.

Catch up with Dale at her earlier stops...

Monday 25th Dee White at

Tuesday 26th Sally Murphy at

Wednesday 27th Mabel Kaplan at

Thursday 28th Claire Saxby at

Friday 29th Sandy Fussell at

If you want to buy copies of The Goanna Island Mystery they are $9.95 from Blake Education

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Foods and Fats and Heart Disease

It must be a coincidence... but here I am, filling in time between finishing a job and starting a meal when I hear a piece saying heart disease is now a major killer of Australian women. At the same time, 'cos of course I'm multitasking as usual, I see a piece on the internet about feeding the family for under $10.00 a meal.
This sounds good, but I checked the recipes and found most of them are unacceptably high in fat and salt.

Please - remember that buying cheaper (fattier) mince and sausages is false economy. You're better off with a can of no-added-salt tuna.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Exciting new author

I do the occasional editing job for an e-book/POD publisher and I'm quite excited about the ms I have just edited. The author, Donaya Haymond, was born in Thailand to Thai and American parents, lived in China for a while, and seems peculiarly well-suited to write a novel of two people with secrets who come together in a Halloween Romance. Donaya first wrote this novel five years ago, when she was thirteen. She is currently at work on the last book in the series.

I can't say much about the storyline, since the book isn't yet available, but I can say I loved it. It's not a children's book, but adults who love children's books are likely to enjoy it for the depiction of two affectionate families and two groups of friends coming to terms with... but that's two secrets, for now.

When Halloween Romance is released, I'll be able to tell you more, but for now, I can take a leaf out of those weird lists one gets in libraries. "If you love Pamela Dean's Tam Lin, Diana Wynne Jones' Deep Secret, the gothic romances of Barbara Michaels, Madeleine L'Engle's YA family stories and Sally Rogers-Davidson's Polymer, then you'll enjoy Halloween Romance as well."