Archive for the ‘Intruder’ Category

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So excited to have international best-selling author Isobelle Carmody launching my new novel Intruder on 31 May.

Prague’s loss is Brisbane’s gain, so we’re going to launch this Queensland-style, on the deck at Riverbend Books, Bulimba.

If you’re in the mood to welcome into the world a ‘gripping new coming of age story’ (thank you Random House, I never know how to describe my books in six words or less) please come celebrate with the pair of us.

It’s a free event, but there will be wine, so please rsvp to events@riverbendbooks.com.au or ph: 07 3899 8555

Love to see you there. 🙂

RHA_Intruder_Front cover 21-03-14

Some stories start in dark places and, prompted by the question What if? emerge slowly into the light. This story started five years ago when my daughter was woken by a man standing over her bed. She was eleven years old.

We were lucky. The prowler ran off when she challenged him. And my child is resilient; she recovered much faster than I did.

Motherhood is guilt. Particularly when they’re little. Forgot your lunch, sweetie? That’d be Mum’s fault. Turned up in full uniform when everyone else was wearing free dress? Definitely Mum’s fault.

Mothers are great at taking responsibility. I swear some Mum is out there right now taking the blame for the Ukraine crisis and the fall of the dollar.

We’re  even better at torturing ourselves with terrifying ‘what ifs’. . .

But as the years safely passed, I stopped beating myself up as a mother and found myself responding to that prowler incident as a writer. Turning it over in my mind, intrigued by the fictional possibilities prompted by that most tantalising of questions: ‘what if…?’

What if it happened to a girl who was home alone? What if her mum was dead? What if her dad worked nights? What if the only person who came running when she screamed was the one person she hated most in the world?

And so the story of Intruder began to emerge, each question prompting countless others.

Why does Kat hate her neighbour Edwina? How could her dad Jimmy leave her alone, night after night? How would a vulnerable, motherless, once-bitten, twice shy teen react to a guard dog being forced on her? And how would she respond to the unexpected and unconditional love it offered?

On one level, Intruder is about vulnerability and what we need in our lives to make us feel safe. On another, it is about how the inescapable past shapes and, at times, traps us.

Like all of us, Kat sees the world through the prism of her own experiences. She hates her neighbour; she knows what she saw. A single shocking snippet of reality that sets like concrete in her mind and becomes the bedrock for all her subsequent actions.

The intruder is the catalyst for change in Kat’s life. Bringing her simmering problems with her troubled father, Jimmy, to the boil. Shattering her fragile belief that she is fine on her own. Forcing her to accept help – from the unwanted dog, Hercules, the new boy, Al, and her much-hated neighbour, Edwina. And ultimately, compelling her to face a truth buried in the bedrock of the past.

To paraphrase one of my favourite characters: Intruder is like an onion. It has layers. I hope its readers enjoy peeling them back. 🙂

Intruder by Christine Bongers – Published by Random House Australia – In bookstores 2 June 2014.

RHA_Intruder_Front cover 21-03-14Ooh, look what’s turned up in my inbox – the front cover of Intruder, coming out on 1st June!

I love it, I love it, I really do (and so do random teens in my life – including the fourteen-year-old boys, interestingly enough).

Here’s a sneak preview:

I don’t walk past the house next door. I don’t speak to the evil witch who lives in it.
I wish she was dead. Even deader than my mum.
Which makes it hard… because she was the one who came running when I screamed.

Kat Jones is woken at midnight by an intruder looming over her bed. She’s saved by her hated neighbour Edwina – the woman Kat believes betrayed her dying mother.

Kat’s shift-worker dad, Jimmy, issues an ultimatum. Either spend nights at Edwina’s, or accept another intruder in her life – Hercules, the world’s ugliest guard dog. It’s a no-brainer, even for dog-phobic Kat.

When she meets adorkable Al at the dog park, Kat lets down her guard and family secrets tumble out. The prowler turns up the heat, and Kat is forced into an unlikely alliance with her nemesis – finally learning the explosive truth about their shared past.

So, what do you think?

Cover design by Astred Hicks, www.designcherry.com
Cover photograph by Julia Trotti, www.juliatrotti.com

I love my copy editor
1. She points out when my characters find their way all the way up the hallway and halfway up the stairs.

2. She suggests how to tighten the poesis of my descriptions. (I go along with these suggestions because I don’t know what poesis means. Not even after googling it. Twice.)

3. She won’t let me start three paragraphs in a row in the same way.  Starting successive paragraphs in the same way is a no-no.

4. After deleting verbiage, she tactfully asks if I think that works better to improve the pace?

5. I try not to mix my metaphors but have been sprung cramming too many different ones into a confined space. Man, I gotta remember to let those suckers breathe.

6. She calls me on phrases like ‘crabbing backwards’ because crabs normally scurry sideways. Duh.

7. And, technically, characters can’t hiss if there isn’t a sibilant sound in their line of dialogue. Suffering suckotash, how did I not figure that out for myself?

8. Intruder, my soon-to-released YA novel, is nearly 65,000 words long and not a single page has escaped the red pen of my copy editor.

9. Because she’s been specially trained to give a shit.

10. She’s going to make me look good when Intruder hits the bookshelves on 1 June. But right now, I’m a hundred pages into the copy edit, on-screen track changes are sending me blind, Monday’s deadline is staring back at me, and I can’t stop muttering ‘I love my copy editor, I love my copy editor, I love my copy editor . . .

serial monogamyIt’s not like I went looking for it. But after breaking my vows twice in less than twelve months, it ‘s time to have a good hard look at myself.

In my own defence, I wasn’t used to the freedom. Dust and I had been together a long time. First love and all that. But as soon as what we had became public, I had to move on.

I stumbled into something I wasn’t prepared for, an irresistible character in a difficult situation (The Lonely Dead, for those in the know).  I was a bit out of my depth in the criminal milieu, inexperienced, but smitten. TLD was challenging, complex, and unusually for me, surprisingly age-appropriate. Forsaking all others, I made the commitment.

The relationship was getting serious when Henry Hoey Hobson appeared on the scene, a kid in need if I ever saw one. I couldn’t get HHH out of my head; couldn’t give TLD what he needed, so decided to take a break. Swore I’d be back, soon as I got the kid settled.

I was as good as my word. By new year, HHH was off my hands. TLD and me, hell, we just picked up where we’d left off, and if anything it was even better than before. Like the break had done us both good.

I vowed that 2010 would be TLD’s year, but within weeks Intruder had stalked into my life. Bold, vaguely threatening, and young, with too much potential to ignore. What could I do?

TLD didn’t even need to be told: stepped aside, just like the last time, to make way for another young one. Which is just as well; Intruder is difficult, demanding and taking up all of my time.

Part of me feels guilty, leaving TLD on hold, while I tend to the kids. I console myself with the knowledge that he’s a keeper; he’ll be waiting with open arms when I put Intruder to bed.

I’ll make it up to him then. I promise.