Posts Tagged ‘Karen Foxlee’

Orphelia and the Marvellous Boy 17910570One of the great pleasures of the writing life  is welcoming a new book into the world. Especially when it is a simply marvelous story by a favourite author.

So if you’re free this Sunday afternoon at 4pm, please join me and Karen Foxlee to celebrate the release of her brilliant Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy at Riverbend Books at Bulimba.

We’d love to see you there. 🙂

(Note: this is a free event, but please rsvp for numbers to events@riverbendbooks.com.au – and if you can’t make it, be prepared to kick yourself when this book becomes an instant classic. You’ve been warned!)

Orphelia and the Marvellous Boy 17910570There’s nothing better than a new release by a favourite author, and Karen Foxlee is right up there for me, along with Melina Marchetta, Markus Zusak and Peter Temple, to mention just a few.

Ever since Foxlee’s brilliant debut with The Anatomy Of Wings, I’ve counted myself a fan.

Her mesmerising follow-up, The Midnight Dress, recently made the American Library Associations’s list for 2014’s Best Fiction for Young Adults and is a front-runner for the upcoming award season Down Under.

Now her middle grade novel Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy has hit the bookstores. I was lucky enough to score a signed copy direct from the Gympie-based author of the beautiful American hardcover with its exquisitely illustrated end papers.

This modern-day fairy tale reminded me of all the reasons I fell in love with reading as a child. It has it all. A cold and nasty villainess A plucky imperfect eleven-year-old heroine. Magic. Wizards. A marvellous three-hundred-and-three-year-old boy, locked in the highest room of the museum, needing rescue. Oh, and a ticking clock counting down to the end of the world…

For me, the most wonderful character was Ophelia’s dead mother, horror writer Susan Worthington, teller of terrifying night tales to her asthmatic daughter.

‘Can’t you just tell me a simple fairy tale?’ Ophelia might plead.

”Oh, darling, fairy tales are for beginners,’ her mother would reply.

Like all good mothers, she reaches out from the grave to lend her child courage, urging her to stay loyal to her friends, and follow her heart.

I cried at the end for all the right reasons, but most of all, because I just didn’t want it to end.

Perfect for nine years and up (and yes, I’m definitely in the ‘up’ category). 🙂

Being a writer makes a virtue of my bad habits. I was a shocking liar as a kid, but now that I’m an adult, I’m using my powers for good rather than evil.

Q. If that’s your virtue, what’s your secret vice?

A. Turkish Delight and writing something that makes me laugh or cry out loud. Now that’s addictive.

Q. How long did it take you to write your first novel Dust?

A. Way too long. I did everything wrong in the first draft and had to pull the whole thing apart and start again from scratch. It taught me a lot though and I hope never to make any of those 147 basic errors again.

Q. What was the motivation for writing your first novel?

A. Long story. I’ve devoted a whole page of my website to the answer so Click this link On writing Dust if you haven’t already. It’s for everyone who loves writing and loves their Dads.

Q. What is the best writing advice you have ever received?

A. Don’t give up after the first draft; the real writing starts with the rewrite. Write every day – the more you write, the better you get. Join organizations like the Queensland Writers Centre. Do courses, be prepared to learn from other writers and never be afraid to show people your work. QWC workshops I did with Veny Armanno, Kim Wilkins and Kate Eltham taught me things that I may never have been able to figure out for myself.

Q. Do you have a pet hate?

A. Advertising – it’s horrible that people are manipulated into wanting a whole heap of stuff they don’t need.

Q. Who are some of your favourite authors?

A. Peter Temple – he’s probably going to hate me saying this, but I just love all his early work, the Jack Irish novels, Iron Rose and Shooting Star – he just nails dialogue and the Australian vernacular. In YA, I am a big fan of Marcus Zusak and Melina Marchetta, and Karen Foxlee’s debut novel The Anatomy of Wings is just wonderful. Ditto the Mallory detective novels by US writer Carol O’Connell and the Jackson Brody novels by British writer Kate Atkinson.

Q. If you were an animal, what would you be?

A. I’m a fool for my dog, Huggy, but have to say that personally, I’m more of a cat – I have the requisite laziness, attention to personal hygiene and tendency to bite if rubbed up the wrong way!