Book reviews, What I've been reading

Inspiration, Regret and a Snarky Cat

An interviewer asked me the other day what inspired me to write Lucy & Dee, The Silk Road. The “author” answer comes from my childhood reading history. Of all the wonderful books I read as a child, my favourites were the classic fantasy adventure stories by authors like C. S. Lewis, Madeleine L’Engle, Mary Norton, P. L. Travers and E.Nesbitt. I wanted to write books as magical and transportive as they did. So, from the age of eight, I was making little books—literally folding pieces of paper into a book-like shape. From there, I wrote facsimiles of Borrower’s stories and other fantasy adventures.

My happy place in Brisbane, the Botanical Gardens. I have a favourite Morton Bay fig tree I sit beneath and think deep thoughts.

The more personal answers come from my family. Fast forward a couple of decades and I had children of my own. I told them my stories and my son always begged me to write them down. I’d start, and even finish, manuscripts and leave them languishing in my laptop. Someday, I thought. Someday I’ll have time to get these published so my children can hold them in their hands.

A few more decades passed, and it was my mother’s death in the spring of 2021 that finally pushed me to finish The Silk Road. My parents were huge readers and encouraged us to read and write. They would have been thrilled to hold a book I’d written in their hands. I was so angry with myself for always thinking ‘oh, I’ll have time later.’

If you’re inspired to write a book, make the time now!

What I’ve been Reading

I love it when I find a new series and each title draws me inexorably to the next!

A snarky, magical cat, Gobbelino, one half of a Private Investigator partnership, narrates the Gobbelino London series. Scruffy, loner Callum (he’s deeply attached to a disreputable trench coat) makes up the other half of the duo. Witty dialogue, hints at their past lives that make you want to know more, and the deep commitment and respect they have for each other fill the books. Their characters develop in satisfactory ways and each title reveals more about their fascinating backstories.

Each book centres on solving an unusual magical mystery from neutralizing a homicidal grimoire (A Scourge of Pleasantries), defeating an infestation of zombies (A Contagion of Zombies), rounding up a gang trafficking in powdered unicorn horn (Complications of Unicorns) and preventing the end of humanity (A Melee of Mages). As they careen from one scrape to another with the help of an eclectic and fascinating collection of secondary characters they manage to save the day. If you need to smile, to laugh, to get invested in some characters you are really going to care about, then please give this series and this author a read. You won’t regret it and the world will seem just a bit more optimistic afterwards too. I am impatiently awaiting the next book in the series.