Write Now – Julie Fison’s writing tips blog is moving

Hello friends, How to get to Rio by Julie FisonThe Write Now blog is moving to the Julie Fison website.  Please visit soon for writing tips and news about my latest books: my young adults romance stories – Counterfeit Love and the Smitten series,  the Choose Your Own Ever After series for girls who like to decide how the story goes,  as well as the Hazard River series for your readers. Don’t forget to follow the Julie Fison blog for regular updates.

Thanks for stopping by.

See you soon.

Julie

The Call of the Wild is out now!

A super-cool party or a save-the-orangutan fundraiser – that’s the choice facing Phoebe Wright in my newest Choose Your Own Ever After story – The Call of the Wild. The book lets you decide how the story goes. You can follow your heart right to the end, or go back and choose all over again. Out now!

The Call of the Wild - Choose Your Own Ever AfterPhoebe Wright and her besties, Annabel and Kimmi, have been invited to the coolest part of the year! But when Phoebe realises it’s on the same night as her Wild Club’s movie-night fundraiser, she’s totally torn about what to do.

Should she go to the party or the movie night?

Choice 1: Phoebe decides to help out with the fundraiser. But soon Annabel is hanging out with Wild Club cutie, Liam, and Phoebe feels weird about it. Sure Liam is hot, but Phoebe only likes him as a friend, right?

OR

Choice 2: Phoebe decides she can’t abandon her friends, who are desperate for her to go to the party. Besides, Annabel and Kimmi are setting Phoebe up with Highgrove hottie, Saia. But will the party be all the girls hope it will be?

Which path will you choose?

Buy The Call of the Wild now.

ISBN: 9781742977751

ISBN-10: 1742977758

Classification: General fiction (Children’s / Teenage)

Format: Paperback (198mm x 129mm x mm)

Pages: 256

Imprint: Hardie Grant Egmont

Publisher: Hardie Grant Books

Publish Date: 1-Aug-2014

Country of Publication: Australia

Counterfeit Love is here

The wait is over! Counterfeit Love, my new book for young adults, is now available at bookshops and online.

Counterfeit LoveLucy Yang is loving her first television job in Hong Kong. She works hard and plays hard, and she doesn’t have time for a relationship if she wants to become a TV news anchor by the time she’s twenty-one. Besides, what man could live up to her impossibly high standards?

Then she meets Byron, and her world is turned upside-down. Funny, clever and impossibly gorgeous, Byron might just satisfy all of Lucy’s criteria. Sure, he’s a little cagey about his job, but what businessman in Hong Kong doesn’t want to protect trade secrets?

But as Lucy desperately tries to get to the bottom of a potentially huge news story, Byron keeps popping up in the most unlikely places. Is it just a coincidence? Or is Lucy’s perfect man not so perfect after all?

Read a review by RowReads.

Title: Counterfeit Love

Author: Fison, Julie
Category: Kids
ISBN: 9781742977386
Page numbers:
Dimensions: 212 x 138 mm
Price: $19.95
Imprint: YA Fiction
Format: Paperback
Publication Date: 01 Jul 2014

Tall Dark and DistantAlso, check out my other books for young adults – Tall, Dark and Distant and Lust and Found.

 

Finding a voice

An authentic and unique voice – it’s what every publisher is looking for in a manuscript, and what every writer is trying to project. It was certainly the topic of the day at the Gold Coast Writers Festival this weekend. So what exactly is this illusive quality?

Writer Joe Moore sums it up this way: “Just like a musician playing the notes on the sheet music, finding your writer’s voice is the process of communicating with your reader the emotions and feelings you feel through your characters.”

Other writers and experts define voice in terms of the author’s style, word choice, and tone. But the definition is hardly important, the real question is how to develop it.

Voice comes though everything we write – whether it’s a text, a blog,  or a 100,000 word manuscript. But projecting a voice that is original and authentic can pose a challenge.

Bat Attack
Bat Attack

I began writing fiction for  my children after a family holiday on the Noosa River.  I had been in television news for 15 years, so I was pretty confident that I could write an adventure story for kids. But moving from a reporter’s voice to the voice of a ten-year-old boy was a little more challenging than I had anticipated.

I was unsure how to tell my story. I suppose I expected that there would be a correct formula to follow for writing a story. But that’s the wonderful (and tricky) thing about creative writing – there are few hard and fast rules.

As a news reporter I was also used to keeping my emotions and opinions out of my stories – to project an impartial voice. Fiction requires the opposite treatment. Characters have a background, attitudes and personalities and they all have to shine through.

How to get to Rio by Julie FisonHaving written eleven books for children and young adults, I feel like I’m a little closer to understanding the concept of voice. It’s not something I consciously consider when I’m writing, but there are skills that help a writer achieve an authentic voice.

Voice is about confidence and honesty – trusting yourself to write your story, your own way, writing what you believe to be the truth, knowing your characters inside and out, and being brave enough to reveal yourself through your characters.

The biggest impediments to an authentic voice are distance and vanity – leaving your emotions out of your story, and writing to sound clever, even when it’s out of place in the story. I’ve been guilty of that!

So, here are my suggestions for developing an authentic voice.

VOICE

  1. Trust yourself
  2. Be honest
  3. Write about things you care about, not what’s fashionable
  4. Write for someone specific
  5. Use your experience
  6. Don’t be afraid to reveal your own attitudes through your characters
  7. Keep your mind open to inspiration
  8. Get inside your characters’ heads
  9. Tell your reader a story, don’t write to impress them
  10. If something feels wrong, it probably is, so change it
  11. Learn from other writers
  12. Read, read, read
  13. Write, write, write
  14. Let your writing flow in the fist draft
  15. Finish something

Good luck finding your voice and thanks to the Gold Coast Writers Festival for inviting me to speak.

The Call of the Wild

I’ve just sent off the final pages for my new book in the Choose Your Own Ever After series – The Call of the Wild. Yahoo! I can’t wait to see the finished product.

The Call of the WildIn this story, nature-loving Phoebe has to choose between helping at a save-the-organutan movie night, and going to a super-cool party with besties. Just like the other stories in the Choose Your Own Ever After series, there’s loads of girlfriend fun, boy trouble, embarrassing family antics and lots of decisions to be made! The pick-a-path story lets you decide how the story goes. And if you don’t like where you end up, you can always go back and start all over again!

The Call of the Wild was inspired by an orphaned orangutan that I encountered on holidays in Borneo many years ago. This cheeky chappy stole my friend’s scarf, then helped himself to a wad of cash from her money belt and ate it! As I was trying to leave the forest he grabbed my hand and wouldn’t let me go. I thought I might be spending the night in the jungle with him.

Sadly, some experts predict that orangutans could be extinct in the wild in less than ten years unless steps are take to prevent their habitat being destroyed. (Full story: National Geographic)

orangutan, Sepilok, BorneoToday, you only find orangutans on the Indonesian and Malaysian islands of Sumatra and Borneo. Nobody knows exactly how many orangutans are left in the wild, but the UN’s latest estimate is around 50,000 (2007). And this number is decreasing rapidly.

Thousands of orangutans are lost each year as their rainforest habitat is destroyed by logging, forest fires, plantations and mining. This could lead to the extinction of one of the world’s four species of great apes – one of our most intelligent and peaceful relatives. (Save-the-orangutan.org)

The Call of the Wild comes out in August and is published by Hardie Grant Egmont.

BUY IT HERE.

 

 

Author alert: Blog tours can be dangerous

How to get to Rio from cover

Call me accident-prone if you like (you wouldn’t be alone), but I may be the first author to sprain an ankle on a virtual book tour. As you know, over the past month, I’ve been visiting writing buddies across the country talking about my first book in the Choose Your Own Ever After series – How to Get To Rio (HGE, 2014). As it’s been a virtual tour, I’ve been able to do all of my interviews and guest posts, without having to get on a plane or disrupt my family schedule. But that’s where things got dangerous.

Mid blog tour, I was enjoying a family holiday in Noosa when trouble struck. While most people know the glossy side of Noosa, many don’t know its wild side. On the north shore of the Noosa River is a largely unspoilt wilderness of tea tree swamps, riptides, snakes, stingrays and sharks. You don’t have to try too hard to get into strife there. The bush tracks and sandbanks were the setting for my first kids’ adventure series – Hazard River (Ford Street, 2010)

Noosa North ShoreConditions were perfect this Easter. The weather was glorious, and I hadn’t seen a snake, a shark or even a cane toad. I’d been able to attend to my virtual blog tour responsibilities efficiently (a post here, a share there, everywhere a tweet, retweet) and still had plenty of time to get to the beach and go for lots of lovely early-morning bike rides. Glory days! My mistake however was to get involved in a friendly game of North Shore beach soccer.

It was boys against the rest, as usual, and we were not going too well. The parents were down five-nil, when I was passed the ball. I dribbled it towards the goal, feeling confident. But before I had a chance to launch my strike, I was taken out by a slide tackle. I can’t name names, but mothers of boys will understand who was responsible. I went down in agony and the game was abandoned.

Now I’m sitting at my desk with an icepack on my badly sprained and discoloured ankle, even though it’s the weather for Ugg boots. I should be walking the Great Ocean Road with my book club pals, instead, I’m over-sharing on social media. I’m wondering how things would have turned out if I’d packed my bags and gone on an actual book tour to launch the Choose Your Own After series.

This is just the sort of thing I explored in How to Get To Rio – a pick-a-path story for girls 10-14, where every choice has its consequences. By complete coincidence the main character feigns a sprained ankle to get out of a camping trip. I can’t tell you what happens from there, but Kitty gets a nasty surprise too, on one of the pathways. But if the reader doesn’t like the outcome, she can always go back and pick a different path.

Of course, that doesn’t work in real life. What’s done is done. All I can do is hope everyone learns from their mistakes. I have. My beach soccer striker days are definitely over (some might say they never really began). I’ll stick to the sidelines from now on or suggest a safer game. Just what that might be I’m not sure. I know a mother who broke her arm playing beach cricket with her kids, and I heard of another mum who banned her son from all competitive sport because she feared an accident. He fainted during a choir rehearsal and broke his wrist.

As for virtual blog tours, I’m prepared to take my chances again next time. They aren’t always dangerous. The biggest risks are probably tripping over the dog on the way to make toast or having a panic attack when the tea bags run out. Having said that, life is full of surprises!

Thank you to my talented and generous author friends who hosted me on my on this tour. You are legends.

Thanks also to Amazing Australia for including me on their website. Not an intended stop on my book tour, and not a list I wanted to be on, either (see the garfish section in their list of extreme animal attacks) – another wrong place, wrong time holiday story.

Here’s a wrap up of my virtual book tour, just in case you missed any of my stops.

Sherryl Caulfield – Interview

Australian children’s and young adult author, Julie Fison, has a new book out this month called How To Get To Rio. It’s part of a cool new Choose Your Own Ever After series that lets the reader decide how the story goes. I have loved this concept ever since I read The French Lieutenant’s Woman which had three possible endings … (read more)

Kids’ Book Review – Guest Post

Authors can find themselves in the strangest situations. Admittedly, they are mostly in our heads as we duck and weave our way through fictitious plot twists. And with the amount of information on the internet, we scarcely even need to leave our desk for research purposes. A walk to the kitchen to put the kettle on is a big excursion some days … (read more)

Dee White’s Writing Classes for kids – Writing a pick-a-path story

Sometimes it’s hard to come up with one good ending so I’m totally in awe of people like Julie who are able to write a book with multiple endings and the reader gets to choose their own path… (read more)

 Cereal Readers – Interview

Cereal Readers is pleased to welcome a new Australian series out this month, called Choose Your Own Ever After. The series has been written for girls aged 10-14 years with a focus on realistic situations relating to friendships, family, school and budding romance. As in every day life, dilemmas arise for the main characters – situations in which they must make decisions and determine their own path. Each of the books is structured so that the reader becomes integrally involved in the direction of the story, making choices for the main character at critical points along the way and there by affecting the outcome of events … (read more)

Boomerang Books Blog Doodles and Drafts – Interview/Review

The choices kids are offered in life are often not worth writing about, at least not in their books. ‘Eat your brussel sprouts or go to bed hungry.’ Hardly welcome decision making. Yet understanding action and consequence is vital for building character, strengthening confidence and learning that ‘choice, not chance, determines ones future. Opportunities might come our way by chance, but it’s what we choose to do with them that is important,’ so believes author, Julie Fison … (read more)

Buzz Words – Review/Interview

A different spin on the idea of choosing your own adventure, is a series aimed at 10 to 14 year old girls, where the reader gets to make decisions about her ‘ever after’. Based around the character’s relationships with girl friends, cute boys and family, this story plays out various scenarios based on choices the reader makes as she goes along … (read more)

City North News – feature

City North News

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘Tween girls will simply love this choose your own adventure style new series. Dealing with real world issues, How to Get to Rio gives the reader a delicious amount of power over the story they read – what will your Ever After be?’ The Little Bookroom

Extra dates announced!

May: Bug in a Book – Interview

June: The Book Chook – Writing tips

BUY How To Get To Rio and other books.

Pub Date: April 2014

Imprint: HGE

Choose Your Own Ever After: How to Get to Rio

ISBN: 9781742977744

Author: Julie Fison

A$14.95/ NZ$14.99

256 pages

198 x 128mm

10+

A visit to Hazard River

Noosa North ShoreIt’s hard not to be inspired by this place – a little corner of bushland between the Noosa River and the North Shore beach.

There are no chic shops or must-do restaurants on this side of the river. It’s all about dirt tracks, deserted beaches, boats, bikes and unexpected encounters – kangaroos boxing on the neighbour’s lawn, trees growing out of abandoned trucks and snakes turning up in odd places. One joined me on my deck chair while I was engrossed in a novel. I’ve never got out of a chair so fast before!

Noosa North ShoreThe North Shore was the setting for my first series for young readers – Hazard River (Ford Street Publishing, 2010). It also found its way into my most recent book for tweens – the Choose Your Own Ever After story – How To Get To Rio (HGE, 2014).

Now, those tea tree swamps are getting into my head again. And who knows where they’ll take me.

Choose Your Own Ever After

How to get to Rio from coverCue party whistles and streamers –  How To Get To Rio my new book for tweens comes out today. This story – and Nova Weetman’s A Hot, Cold Summer – are the first books in a great new Choose Your Own Ever After series, where the reader gets to decide how the story goes.

The short story: In How To Get To Rio, Schoolgirl Kitty McLean has to choose between going camping with her best friends or going to an exclusive beach resort with popular-girl Persephone. Kitty wants to spend the holidays with her besties but she also wants to get to know Persephone better. The beach holiday has an added attraction – a cute guy called Rio, is going to be there.

The inspiration: The story was inspired by a family trip to Carnarvon Gorge in central Queensland. We went with two other families, so that meant a pile of kids, endless games of capture the flag, lots of slime fights, and loads and loads of fun. You can read all about it here.

The virtual book tour: To celebrate the release of How To Get To Rio I’m heading off on a virtual tour. I am starting with my old uni friend, and talented new author, Sherryl Caulfield. I’m visiting other great children’s authors and writing blogs during April for reviews, interviews and more. I hope you can join me.

1/4: Sherryl Caulfield – Interview

9/4: Kids’ Book Review – Guest Post

15/4: DeeScribe Writing Blog – Tips for writing a pick-a-path story

23/4: Cereal Readers – Interview

28/4: Boomerang Books Blog Doodles and Drafts – Interview/Review

Bug in a Book – Interview

Buzz Words – Review/Interview

The Book Chook – Guest post

‘Tween girls will simply love this choose your own adventure style new series. Dealing with real world issues, How to Get to Rio gives the reader a delicious amount of power over the story they read – what will your Ever After be?’ The Little Bookroom

The details:

BUY How To Get To Rio

Pub Date: April 2014

Imprint: HGE

Choose Your Own Ever After: How to Get to Rio

ISBN: 9781742977744

Author: Julie Fison

A$14.95/ NZ$14.99

256 pages

198 x 128mm

10+

A sneak peek at Counterfeit Love

CounterfeitLove_3DmockupComing soon!

Lucy Yang is loving her first television job in Hong Kong. She works hard and plays hard, and she doesn’t have time for a relationship if she wants to become a TV news anchor by the time she’s twenty-one. Besides, what man could live up to her impossibly high standards?

Then she meets Byron, and her world is turned upside-down. Funny, clever and impossibly gorgeous, Byron might just satisfy all of Lucy’s criteria. Sure, he’s a little cagey about his job, but what businessman in Hong Kong doesn’t want to protect trade secrets?

But as Lucy desperately tries to get to the bottom of a potentially huge news story, Byron keeps popping up in the most unlikely places. Is it just a coincidence? Or is Lucy’s perfect man not so perfect after all?

Counterfeit Love (published by Hardie Grant Egmont) is in bookshops from July 2014

Also see: Hooked on Hong Kong

My Writing Process Blog Tour

Julie Fison and Krista BellThank you to the wonderfully talented, and all-round gorgeous, children’s author Krista Bell, for inviting me to be part of My Writing Process Blog Tour. I first met Krista on a visit to Central Queensland. I shared an apartment and many laughs with Krista and another inspirational author, Susanne Gervay.

Michael Gerard Bauer, Elaine Ouston, Krista Bell, Julie Fison, Meredith Costain, Judith Rossell, Royce Bond, (front) Susanne Gervay, Paul Collins and Kevin Burgemeestre
Michael Gerard Bauer, Elaine Ouston, Krista Bell, Julie Fison, Meredith Costain, Judith Rossell, Royce Bond, (front) Susanne Gervay, Paul Collins and Kevin Burgemeestre

We were part of a great gang of illustrators and authors at the Capricorn Literary Festival – a fantastic week of school visits, socializing and snorkeling that I won’t forget in a hurry!

What am I working on?

How to get to Rio front coverI have two books in a new Choose Your Own Ever After series, (Hardie Grant Egmont) that lets the reader decide how the story goes. The fun kicks off in April with How to Get to Rio. In this story, Schoolgirl Kitty McLean is faced with a tough decision over where to spend the holidays. Her best friends have asked her to go camping, while popular-girl, Persephone has invited her to the exclusive beach resort of Paradise Point. She’d like to be with her besties, but she really wants to get to know Persephone. And Paradise Point has an added attraction. A cute guy called Rio Sanchez is going to be holidaying there too!

Counterfeit LoveMeanwhile in Hong Kong … there’s intrigue, deadlines and romance in my new book for young adults – Counterfeit Love (Hardie Grant Egmont), which comes out in July. TV reporter, Lucy Yang, gets a whole lot more than she bargains for when she tries to uncover the origins of an unexpected parcel. But will her hot new friend Byron Lloyd help or hinder her investigation?

Counterfeit Love is my third novel for teens and I had so much fun writing it, that I’m already working on another.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Angkor Wat at sunsetChoose Your Own Ever After  is a very positive series for girls aged 10+. The reader has several choices to make throughout the story, and with every decision, there’s a consequence. There are no nasty endings in this series, but the message is clear – choice, not chance, determines our future. Opportunities might come our way by chance, but it’s what we choose to do with them, that is important.

The stories in the series were a challenge to write because I had to come up with so many different endings. But it was exciting to see where the characters’ decisions led them. And even though I did a lot of planning before I started writing the stories, I really didn’t know what would happen until the stories unfolded. That’s one thing I love about writing. Characters have the power to surprise – even their creator!

I also enjoy the idea of having two equally appealing choices and finding out where they lead. I’d love to backtrack on my own life and work out where I would have ended up if I had decided to stay at my job, instead of  leaving Australia at the age of 21 looking for adventure!

Why do I write what I do?

Blood Money coverI was a television news reporter for many years, but the idea of writing fiction crept up on me during a family holiday on the Noosa River, in Queensland. My sons teamed up with friends and spent the holidays exploring sandbanks, dodging stingrays, building camps, avoiding snakes and generally having a boys’ own adventure. I had to write about it. The result was a series of adventure stories for young readers called Hazard River (Ford Street Publishing). The books are fast-paced and fun with an environmental twist.

Tall, Dark and DistantNoosa was also the inspiration for the first of my books for young adults – Tall Dark and Distant. The next – Lust and Found – is set in Cambodia, another of my favourite destinations, while Hong Kong is the setting for my most recent YA novel, Counterfeit Love. The Chinese city is special to me because I spent five exciting years there, working as a reporter. I like to capture the essence of a place in my stories, so I choose a setting that I know well. I supplement my own experiences with lots of internet research, and chat with friends if I need expert knowledge on a place or a subject area.

How does my writing process work?

Hazard River seriesI always feel like I’m in a rush when I write. Once I have an idea in my head, I just want to get the story down before I lose it. I tend to spend a solid six weeks working on a first draft, furiously bashing away at my keyboard, forgetting to pick up my children from school, neglecting the washing and ignoring questions about dinner. If I ever get stuck for ideas, I take the dog for a walk. A nap is also a great antidote to a writer’s block. But I’ve never been struck by a great idea while I was sitting staring at a blank screen. I need to get away from my desk and let my subconscious take over. My editors are hugely helpful, too. I really admire the way they can see exactly where a plot should be heading when I am convinced it should be going somewhere else entirely. They are always spot on!

Coming up next week on My Writing Process Blog Tour are two fantastic authors.

Sheryl Gwyther is a popular Australian children’s author who writes novels, school plays, chapter books and short stories.

Sherryl Caulfield is a wonderfully talented Australian writer. Her debut  novel – Seldom Come By is a beautiful and haunting love story and the first book in the Iceberg Trilogy. 

Take it away ladies!

Julie Fison's writing blog