Hopefully You Will Love Alex Too

A guest post by Alyssa Brugman, author of Alex As Well, out today. 

I’ve never been to the UK before, and I was super excited to be invited. I’m very grateful that Curious Fox are so enthusiastically backing my little book. ‘Alex as Well’ is different to anything I have done before, and I’m quite proud of it.

Alex As Well

It’s been a very busy few months for me. Firstly I graduated from Canberra University. I now have a PhD which I have been working on for a few long years now. There were many times I was ready to give up, and it’s very satisfying to be finally finished. ‘Alex as Well’ was the work that was submitted for examination, along with my thesis. It was tricky at times, but I am confident that it’s made me a better writer. I am finding that there is a lot of space in my brain where the PhD used to be, and I’m not sure what to do with that space now! It’s a bit like a big lumbering machine with cogs that have suddenly ground to a halt. It’s different from the space that has books in it, which is kind of like an overstuffed filing cabinet that refuses to close no matter how hard you slam it.

Alyssa in her PhD hat

After the graduation I went to Outback Queensland to break in some wild horses on a remote two-million acre cattle station. That was a wonderful experience, although it was hard, rough and scary. I was lucky to pick a five year old stallion who ended up being a bit of a softy. As soft as a brumby gets anyway! I learned some terrific horse handling skills. We rode our freshly started horses up and down some mountains. I slept under the stars and watched the moon, drank billy tea and all that good Aussie stuff.

Then it was my fortieth birthday. I put on a frock and a tiara and had a terrific party surrounded by all the people I love the most. Some people travelled a long way, and that was very touching.

The day after my birthday I had a terrible car accident. I was on my way to a book club talk and a motorcycle came flying around a corner and wedged into the bonnet of my car. The rider lived, but has very serious injuries. My three year old daughter was in the car with me, but thankfully we were both unhurt. It really emphasises how arbitrary and chaotic life is and makes me grateful for my good fortune so far.

Alyssa and Brumbies

Meanwhile my normal life still goes on in the background. Sadly I can’t pause it. I run a small business offering hoof care and equine nutrition. We are a growing business and it’s challenging to juggle a growing demand from our clients at the same time as the speaking engagements relating to my writing – not to mention finding opportunities to sit down and write!

There is also the business of writing. Alex is coming out in a few different languages and overseas editions. There is always mail to respond to from readers about the other eleven books also.

When you do a tour like this there is a lot of preparation, interviews, speeches to plan. It also pays to practice the readings that you are going to do. I have always wanted to do the parts of the books that I find the most affecting, but then I worry that I will cry like a big sooky lala, so I usually pick a funny part instead.

And what to wear?

We’ve already had some great reviews for the book in the UK. Georgia, our lovely publicist has been working so hard to make this trip a success, and I am very grateful for that!

I’m really looking forward to meeting you all, and hopefully you will love Alex too.

The Ruby Airship: New characters, new places, and new challenges

A guest post by Sharon Gosling, author of The Diamond Thief and The Ruby Airship.

Isn’t it funny how time seems to move so slowly, and then suddenly speeds up? It’s about a year since I finished writing The Ruby Airship, but so much has happened during that time that it actually feels much longer.

The Ruby Airship is available to buy now!

A little over a year ago, my husband and I decided to change our lives forever. We put our flat in London up for sale and started looking for a house in Cumbria. The plan was to ditch our office-based day jobs and move north to open a second-hand bookshop in Penrith. In between we thought we’d take advantage of the fact that we’d be homeless for a while to do some travelling – but by then I also knew that I would need to finish The Ruby Airship before we moved into our new home.

Thus, the first draft of the book was written while we were staying on La Gomera, one of the smallest islands in the Canaries. It’s a beautiful, quiet place, with the extinct bowl of a volcano housing a rainforest in the centre, edged by jagged peaks that slope down to sandy, calm beaches around its edge.

Every morning I would get up just as the sun was about to tip the horizon, and I’d sit on the balcony that overlooked the ocean and work. My husband would get up a little later and go out walking in the mountains. I’d write until about lunchtime then join him for a walk myself. At the end of the six weeks that we were there, I had a finished manuscript and Adam had a fantastic tan (actually, so did I!). Then we came back and started our new lives.

The bookshop (Withnail Books) opened in July, and I worked on the second draft of The Ruby Airship surrounded by the Pennines. Maybe that’s why the landscape of the book is so mountainous – I wrote what was around me into Remy and Thaddeus’ new adventure!

I really hope readers enjoy The Ruby Airship. I had so much fun writing it, not just because of where I was as I worked, but because I do so love the characters.

It’s funny, but despite the fact I hadn’t written them for quite some time, Remy, Thaddeus and J came back to me very swiftly. It seems that their voices stay in my head even if I’m not writing down what they’re saying. They’ve all grown up a little – and they grow up even more over the course of this particular story. There are new characters for them to meet, new places for them to explore and new challenges for them to overcome – and I hope you have as much following them as their adventure unfolds as I did!


Read more about The Ruby Airship, download a sample chapter, and take advantage of great offers here.

Kate Kelly talks about her novel, Cli-Fi, cats and more, with Amy of Team Fox

Today, we have a lovely author whose book ‘Red Rock’ caught the Fox’s fancy and many of Team Fox’s readers as well! One lucky Team Fox member, that’s Amy (me! I’m writing this post), got to read & review it first. The other members followed suit & many of us enjoyed it. But sometimes it’s not enough just raging about a book, it’s nice to get to know them. So I sat down & talked to Kate for the Fox (thanks Fox & Kate for this opportunity); I was very curious & asked lots of questions. I hope you’ll find the questions, and especially the answers, interesting! 😀

For the readers, what’s your name & where do you call home? Can you do it 20 words or less? 

Hello, I’m Kate and I live in rural Dorset, not far from the sea, but I’m actually Scottish.

What’s next? Are you planning on writing more YA after your success with Red Rock

Most definitely. I have a new novel in the pipeline and loads of ideas buzzing around in my head.

Is there an issue/topic you would like to see more of in YA? Why? 

Tricky one. YA is pretty good at covering topical and challenging subjects. That is what makes it such an interesting genre. I wouldn’t mind seeing a bit more science and technology tied up in it though – but then, I am a scientist so I would!

I’ve seen that Red Rock is categorized as Cli-Fi, it’s the first book in that genre I’ve read. Do you think it’s becoming more popular and how can you describe it to the readers? 

Cli-Fi quite simply means Climate Fiction and refers to any novel that tackles themes of environmental change, not necessarily caused by humans. There seem to be quite a buzz about it at the moment and increasingly more novels are emerging that explore these themes.

Is Cli-Fi a genre you particularly have to do research for or is it from experience? Does reading other Cli-Fi’s help? 

I’m a marine geologist so I’m very aware of how the world has changed in the past – the ice advances and retreats, sea levels rise and fall. So it’s quite easy for me to extrapolate these changes to the present day. 

What occupational hazards have you experienced in being an author? 

The main one is losing track of time and forgetting to do important things like cooking dinner.

What is the hardest part of a book, such as Red Rock, to write? 

The start because it’s only through writing about them that I can get to know my characters.

Can you describe your publishing journey in brief (and know if you use the word ‘easy’ we’ll know you’re lying…) 

It’s a rollercoaster – there are exhilarating highs – like when a publisher says they want your book, or you first see your cover art – and lows – when you struggle with something in your plot that just won’t work, or you get piles of rejections (which was the case with an earlier novel of mine).

If you don’t already know, what star sign do you think your main character, Danni, is? 

Oh she’s definitely an Aries 

Which character (if any) is most like you? 

I’d like to say Danni, but it truth she’s more the person I would like to have been. I reckon I’m more like Isaac.

If you could only do one hobby for a day, what would it be? 

I’d go scuba diving. More specifically I’d go scuba diving off Comino. (I’ve dived there before and it was amazing.)

This/That? 

Pen or pencil?   Pen.

Cats or dogs?   I like both but I keep cats

Sad books or funny books?    Either. I love all books.

Hot climate or cold climate?   Either so long as it isn’t raining.

Plotter or a Panster?     Somewhere in between

Early bird or night owl?    Early Bird

• Ice cream or hot chocolate?     Depends whether I’m in the hot climate or the cold climate.

I did find those answers interesting & sometimes a little cheeky (especially with this/that). I’ll let the slight cheating slide though as Red Rock is so brill. I’m sure you’ll enjoy it if you read it, here’s some reviews: Penny West (editor @ Curious Fox) gave it 4* (which means she really liked it, of course!)Amy Bookworm (interviewer but primarily reviewer) also 4*’d it & gave her opinion, newspapers also gave a look in & there’s more reviews (and books) to look at here 😀

I also reckon there are more books by Curious Fox I’ll enjoy- I’d better get reading! *disappears… for now*

*Voice echoes as she disappears*

Team Fox: If you want to guest post here please let the Fox know! (TheFox@curious-fox.com) You could do an interview, review or discuss something. Maybe you’re curious about something, possibly publishing-related? Get your creative hats on, start thinking & let us know if there is anything you’d like to post at this blog!

(Massive Thank You! to Amy from all at CF)