Jacinta Tynan, author of Mother Zen, answers Ten Terrifying Questions

mother-zen

The Booktopia Book Guru asks

Jacinta Tynan

author of Mother Zen

Ten Terrifying Questions
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1. To begin with why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself – where were you born? Raised? Schooled?

I was born and raised in Sydney’s Sutherland Shire (known simply as ‘The Shire’) as one of six kids in a suburb called Yowie Bay, but I went to high school in the eastern suburbs commuting an hour-and-a-half in each direction. Train time was reading time.

2. What did you want to be when you were twelve, eighteen and thirty? And why?

Actress, journalist, writer. That was the order of my desires and it still goes back and forth. From as long as I can remember I wanted to be an actor taking myself off to acting classes on weekends and summer holidays, but I also wrote stories and dreamed one day of writing a book. I settled on a career in journalism because I decided it was the ideal combination of my two passions. I have always been fascinated by other people’s lives so I get to delve into those – as a journalist and a writer.

Author Jacinta Tynan

 

3. What strongly held belief did you have at eighteen that you do not have now?

That love will last forever. My first love was a beautiful boy and my best friend who died suddenly just shy of my 19th birthday. I learnt quickly that the rug can be pulled out from under you at any moment, and have been wary of complacency ever since.

4.    What were three big events – in the family circle or on the world stage or in your reading life, for example – you can now say, had a great effect on you and influenced you in your career path?

1.    Reading as a child got the whole ball rolling. I am certain of that. My mother would read to us often (with six of us it was collective story time) and we were always given books as presents, a stack at the end of the bed from Santa every Christmas. I still have several of my favourite books today which I am now reading to my boys: The Fairy Who Wouldn’t Fly (Pixie O’Harris), The Little Black Princess (Mrs Aeneas Gunn) and Dot and The Kangaroo (Ethel Pedley), for example.

2.    Losing my first love. I was already studying journalism when Simon died, so I was on the path, but my life changed forever in that moment. In my grief I decided to make the most of this life and make it mean something so the pain wouldn’t be for nothing. I’m sure the experience also made me understand people at a deeper level. I am not afraid of other people’s heartache or suffering: handy stuff for a journalist and writer of any sort.

97807322993783. I had been working as a journalist for several years when I decided to do a ‘writing course’. Even though I got the opportunity to write scripts on a daily basis as a TV Reporter (at that stage with ABC’s 7:30 Report), I yearned to be more creative. So I did a ‘Life Writing’ workshop with Patti Miller and it was like a light went on. Patti believes we all have a story in us, something to share with others, and I found so did I.

5.    Considering the innumerable electronic media avenues open to you – blogs, online newspapers, TV, radio, etc – why have you chosen to write a book? Aren’t they obsolete?

Nothing will ever replace holding a real life book in your hand as you kick back and devour it. I work in all the other media (I’m a TV journalist — a News Presenter with Sky, I write for newspapers — Columnist for Sunday Life, and I have a blog), so I don’t shy away from them and they certainly have their place but, as a writer with a chunk of information to impart, books are still the ideal format. I couldn’t say all I needed to say in a blog. Not in one go. I know I’m behind on this but I’m yet to read an e-book. I can only stare at a computer screen for so long. Even when I’m reading online — a newspaper or blog  — I usually print the pages out so I have the hard copy version instead. As for TV, the first question when we’re considering a story is always “Do we have vision?” The written word gets around that tricky problem of having no pictures.

 

6.    Please tell us about your latest book…mother-zen

I wrote Mother Zen because I wanted to read it. When I became a mother (to two little boys) I was surprised to find it as enjoyable and rewarding as I do because most of the literature about motherhood is negative. There are some really helpful and insightful advice books out there, but the predominant message is that being a mother is a tough and thankless task that must be endured. I wanted to balance that out a bit, to explore why so many parents find it a challenge and see if there’s a way to shift that. Maybe it’s up to us and not our circumstances.

The book is part memoir about my fledgling journey as a new mother, but it also weaves in interviews with parenting experts and other parents.
It is also a look at an alternative way of being — to be present and grateful — as we negotiate the often overwhelming new role we find ourselves in, being responsible for the life of another and so often without the ‘village’ we were promised it would take to raise our child.

Grab a copy of Mother Zen here

7.    If your work could change one thing in this world – what would it be?

That all mums, no matter what their circumstances, could access the utter joy that’s available to us all.

8.    Whom do you most admire and why?

My mother. For bringing six of us into the world and keeping it all (and us all) together.

9.    Many people set themselves very ambitious goals. What are yours?

My ambition has changed course dramatically since I became a mother. I used to be distractingly hungry for the next thing and what I had going on was never enough. Now, my greatest goal is to be a good mother to my boys — loving, present, available, a solid role model, someone they will always trust and turn to. I want to inspire them (as a mother and a woman) and guide them and raise them to have empathy and emotional intelligence. “I am your constant,” I say to them. I’m well aware that no matter what we do as a parent we won’t always get it right. But my greatest hope is that with that foundation they can fly.

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

  • Write. I didn’t even know what I wanted to write when I started writing, I just knew I had to. I had been a journalist for several years so I got to write every day, but I wanted to be more creative, only I wasn’t sure how to go about that.
  • So, I took a writing course (also highly recommended for aspiring writers, no matter how good you are) which ‘forced’ me to deliver copy. And from that came the inklings of my first book.
  • Also good writers observe. We all see the same things but it’s writers who see meaning in them.
  • Take notes. Write down ideas, random thoughts, quotes, simple moments. We think we’ll remember but we a rarely do. It’s those notes (tapped into my i-Phone with my thumb) that ‘saved’ me when I was given only five months to write Mother Zen. Much of the research had already been done.

Jacinta, thank you for playing.

Grab a copy of Mother Zen here


mother-zenMother Zen

by Jennifer Niven

In 2010 Jacinta Tynan innocently sparked a media storm when her article in the Sun Herald exposed a fault line in our perception of motherhood. Her premise — that motherhood could be easy — split the parenting community down the middle. Many agreed with Jacinta while others argued that motherhood was arduous and thankless, all were equally passionate in their beliefs.

Four years later, now with two small children, Jacinta takes us on a fascinating journey through her own experiences of motherhood — from being so sick with her first pregnancy that she was throwing up in between her on-air segments, to her doubts about her ability to cope — and shows us her struggle to parent ‘consciously’, using meditation and attempting mindfulness to help her more…

About the Author

Jacinta is a well-known news presenter, author and columnist. She regularly writes opinion pieces for national newspapers and frequently appears as a guest commentator on a number of television networks across the country. She is also the author of Good Man Hunting, and edited the anthology Some Girls Do: My Life as a Teenager with royalties donated to SISTER2Sister, a mentor program for teenage girls for whom Jacinta is patron. Tynan lives in Sydney with her partner and two young sons.

Grab a copy of Mother Zen here

BREAKING NEWS: Details of Diary of a Wimpy Kid Book 10 revealed!

Jeff Kinney’s bestselling Diary of a Wimpy Kid series has a new book, with the cover, title and a (very) brief synopsis being revealed just a few hours ago!

The 10th book in the series will be titled Old School. The cover colour? Sleek black. So cool.

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In the latest instalment author-illustrator Jeff Kinney brings the series back to its roots, as Greg starts a new school year and faces a challenge he never could’ve imagined.

Out in November, any new Wimpy Kid flies off the shelves, and has parents the world over running like crazy people as Christmas approaches.

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But hey, we’re here to help.

Place a pre-order for it and we’ll deliver it to your door as soon as it’s released.

Pretty sweet huh?

Pre-order your copy of Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Old School

BOOK REVIEW: All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven (Review by Shikha Shah)

Looking for the winners of our Facebook competition? Scroll to the bottom of the post…

All the Bright Places is a heartbreaking and touching novel exploring a wide range of issues such as depression, mental disorders, suicide, coping with the loss of a loved one and finding hope.

The book begins with Theodore Finch – an outsider with his own unique brand of coolness –standing on his high school’s bell tower asking himself “Is today a good day to die?”. He then gets distracted by the sight of Violet Markey – a popular girl who seems to have everything – standing on the other side of the bell tower. Finch proceeds to calmly convince Violet to step off the edge and so begins a complicated relationship that will change both their lives.

Violet and Finch come across each other under extreme circumstances and they are both broken in their own way. Finch helps Violet fight her inner demons and her guilt over her sister’s death. He encourages her to experience new things and see new places, helping Violet to find herself again. Unfortunately, Violet struggles to helps Finch in the same way.

This is not a typical boy-meets-girl love story about overcoming all obstacles to live happily-ever-after. Instead, this book delves into deeper real-life issues. All the Bright Places takes readers on a tragic journey as Violet and Finch each fight their own battle against depression. It also deals with the aftermath of what happens when someone cannot be helped…

If you enjoyed reading Solitaire by Alice Osmon as much as I did and The Last time we say Goodbye by Cynthia Hand, then this novel is a must-read. A little warning to readers – have a tissue box handy as this novel will probably going to make you cry like a baby.

Grab a copy of All the Bright Places here


all-the-bright-placesAll the Bright Places

by Jennifer Niven

Theodore Finch wants to take his own life. I’m broken, and no one can fix it.

Violet Markey us devastated by her sister’s death. In that instant we went plowing through the guardrail, my words died too.

They meet on the ledge of the school bell tower, and so their story begins. It’s only together they can be themselves . . .

I send a message to Violet: ‘You are all the colors in one, at full brightness.’

You’re so weird, Finch. But that’s the nicest thing anyone’s ever said to me.

But, as Violet’s world grows, Finch’s begins to shrink. How far will Violet go to save the boy she has come to love?

About the Author

Jennifer Niven is the author of two narrative non-fiction books, The Ice Master and Ada Blackjack; a high school memoir, The Aqua Net Diaries; and four historical novels for adults: Velva Jean Learns to Drive (based on her Emmy Award-winning film of the same name), Velva Jean Learns to Fly, Becoming Clementine, and the forthcoming American Blonde. All the Bright Places is her first book for young adults.

Grab a copy of All the Bright Places here


FACEBOOK COMPETITION WINNERS

Congratulations to Jessica Gilham, Marie Davis, Barbara Clapperton, Julie Clark and Adey McKinney!

Email us at promos@booktopia.com.au with your address details to claim your prize!

BREAKING NEWS: 2015 NSW Premier’s Literary Awards Shortlists Announced

Premiers-literary-awards

The shortlists for this year’s NSW Premier’s Literary Awards have been announced, featuring some of Australia’s most celebrated writers and young up and comers.

How many have you read?

CHRISTINA STEAD PRIZE FOR FICTION

* Ceridwen Dovey – Only the Animals golden-boys(More…)

* Elizabeth Harrower In Certain Circles (More…)

* Sonya Hartnett – Golden Boys (More…)

* Mark Henshaw – The Snow Kimono (More…)

* Joan London – The Golden Age (More…)

* Gerald Murnane – A Million Windows (More…)

UTS GLENDA ADAMS AWARD FOR NEW WRITING

* Michael Mohammed Ahmad – The Tribe (More…)9781922213211

* Maxine Beneba Clarke – Foreign Soil (More…)

* Emily Bitto – The Strays (More…)

* Luke Carman – An Elegant Young Man (More…)

* Omar Musa – Here Come the Dogs (More…)

* Ellen van Neerven – Heat and Light (More…)

DOUGLAS STEWART PRIZE FOR NON-FICTION

* Alan Atkinson – The Europeans in Australia (More…)the-bush

* Philip Dwyer – Citizen Emperor: Napoleon in Power 1799 ‐ 1815 (More…)

* Helen Garner – This House of Grief (More…)

* Iain McCalman – The Reef: A Passionate History (More…)

* Biff Ward – In My Mother’s Hands (More…)

* Don Watson – The Bush (More…)

PATRICIA WRIGHTSON PRIZE FOR CHILDREN’S LITERATURE

* Allan Baillie – The First Voyage (More…)9780143307679

* Trace Balla – Rivertime (More…)

* Tamsin Janu – Figgy in the World (More…)

* Glenda Millard, Stephen Michael King (Illustrator) – The Duck and the Darklings (More…)

* Catherine Norton – Crossing (More…)

* James O’Loghlin – The Adventures of Sir Roderick, the Not-Very Brave (More…)

ETHEL TURNER PRIZE FOR YOUNG ADULT’S LITERATURE

* K.A. Barker – The Book of Days (More…)9781742614175

* Jackie French – The Road to Gundagai (More…)

* Darren Groth – Are You Seeing Me? (More…)

* Justine Larb alestier – Razorhurst (More…)

* Jaclyn Moriarty – The Cracks in the Kingdom (More…)

* Clare Strahan – Cracked (More…)

 

Love reading about History and War? We have 2 prize packs up for grabs!

In the lead-up to Anzac Day we’re giving away two amazing prize packs, perfect for history buffs.

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Like to sit back and listen, order from The Bolinda Anzac Day collection by April 30th and go in the draw to win a Bolinda Audio Book pack, worth $224! *Terms and Conditions apply.

1914-order-now-for-your-chance-to-win-1914 : The Year the World Ended – Re Issue

Author: Paul Ham
Read by: Robert Meldrum

Few years can justly be said to have transformed the earth: 1914 did.

In July that year, Germany, Austria-Hungary, Russia, Britain and France were poised to plunge the world into a war that would kill or wound 37 million people, tear down the fabric of society, uproot ancient political systems and set the course for the bloodiest century in human history.

In the longer run, the events of 1914 set the world on the path toward the more…

Click here to check out The Bolinda Anzac Day Collection

Dennis-Jones-Competition-616x150NewsletterBanner-v3
the-anzacs-100-years-on-order-now-for-your-chance-to-win-The Anzacs 100 Years On : In Story and Song

by Ted Egan

Order The Anzacs 100 Years On by April 30th and go in the draw to win the entire Dennis Jones Anzac collection, worth RRP $1000! *Terms and Conditions apply.

The Anzacs: 100 Years On: In Story and Song is a unique contribution to the commemoration of the centenary of the Anzacs. Ted Egan weaves personal stories and songs into a highly readable history of the Anzacs and the two nations, with amusing anecdotes and tales of great courage and ingenuity serving to leaven somewhat the brutal truth exposed, of a tragic and senseless war. The soldiers, nurses, politicians, wives, and the mothers who lost their sons, or welcomed them home severely damaged, all feature in this book and its songs.

Egan’s stories and poignant songs infuse the facts with the pain and loss (of life and innocence) and suffering that this war created both on the battlefields and in every more…

Grab a copy of The Anzacs 100 Years On here


We have more prizes to giveaway! You could win an awesome Mother’s Day gift. Check them out here.

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GUEST BLOG: Five Things I Learnt From Editing Mothermorphosis (by Monica Dux)

The importance of valuing the hard work of writers.

The effort that goes into good short form writing is frequently undervalued. People often imagine that all it takes is for someone to come up with an idea, sit down and type out an essay, run a spell check, then deliver their work.

Of course writing a strong essay is so much more than this; for most of us it’s a long and arduous process, from conception to execution, involving an enormous amount of thought, re-writing, re-thinking, editing and polishing. The net result of all this labour is to submerge the effort that was required, making the finished piece read as if it really was easy and effortless.

All the writers who contributed to this collection were professional, and the quality of work reveals how much time and thought they put into their pieces. This is a collection that relied on the good will of its contributors, so I was profoundly grateful for their efforts.

That every mother really does have an important story to tell.

Susan Carland, one of the contributors in Mothermorphosis, wrote in her essay “My unique tale is just the same as yours”.

In the past I’ve thought a lot about this tension, but it became more pronounced for me when reading the contributions. Every mother has her own unique story to tell, but there are also so many things that bind us all, so much that is universal. It’s a fascinating contradiction.

As an editor, it’s amazing how good a prompt, polite decline can make you feel.

There were a few women I invited to contribute to this book who weren’t able to write something for the collection but who declined the offer quickly and graciously. Getting such rejections felt almost as valuable as having a writer come back saying they’d be happy to contribute.

I’m often invited to participate in projects that I don’t have the time or resources for. Editing Mothermorphosis was a timely reminder about the importance of being polite and positive about such offers, even if you are unable to be involved.

Editing is fun.

I thoroughly enjoyed putting the collection together. Instead of having to angst over my own work, I was able to luxuriate in the excellent work of other writers.

It was a real privilege facilitating this book, especially knowing that we are hoping to raise awareness for PANDA, the Post and Antenatal Depression Association. I feel that not only will the collection be enjoyed by many people, but it also has the potential to contribute to an organisation for which I have immense admiration.

That it’s hard to write an introduction for a collection that you’ve edited.

It took me a long time to get my introduction right. When you’re a contributor you can follow your own path, writing in relative isolation. By comparison, introducing a collection requires you to strike a peculiar sort of balance. To be interesting and engaging, without dominating. To showcase the individual essays in the collection, without simply name checking the various contributors. To write something that contextualises the work and draws out the underlying themes, without resorting to empty generalisations. In the end I hope I managed to pull it off, although I’ll leave it to the readers to decide!

Grab a copy of Mothermorphosis here

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mduxmug-edit-smaller1Monica Dux is a columnist with The Age, a social commentator and author of Things I Didn’t Expect (when I was expecting), and co-author of The Great Feminist Denial.

She can be heard regularly on ABC radio and 3RRR, and has published widely, especially on women’s issues.

You can find Monica on twitter at @monicadux

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mothermorphosisMothermorphosis

Australia’s Best Storytellers Write About Becoming a Mother

In Mothermorphosis , some of Australia’s most talented writers and storytellers share their own experiences of motherhood. In telling their stories they articulate the complex internal conflicts, the exhilaration and the absurdity of the transformation that takes place when we become mothers. We read about the yearning for a child, the private and public expressions of maternal love, the questioning, uncertainty and unexpected delight, as well as unfathomable loss.

Mothermorphosis reveals that there is no ‘right’ version of this epic experience and no single tale that could ever speak for all mothers. Yet it is in reading about other women’s experiences and dash;the hard bits, the joyous bits and even the ridiculous bitsandmdash;that we can become more compassionate, not just to other mothers but hopefully to ourselves.

Mothermorphosis includes writing from: Kate Holden, Kathy Lette, Lorelei Vashti, Rebecca Huntley, George McEnroe, Fatima Measham, Jo Case, Hilary Harper, Cordelia Fine, Jane Caro, Hannah Robert, Susan Carland, Kerri Sackville, Catherine Deveny, Lee Kofman and Dee Madigan.

Grab a copy of Mothermorphosis here

Author Josephine Moon talks about her favourite chocolate recipe!

My favourite chocolate recipe: chocolate beetroot cake…

This recipe comes from The Saffron Girl.

10947253_422641974566135_8175922899149544241_oI talk about chocolate a lot. I think about it a lot. And, yes, I even eat it a lot. But what I’ve learned while doing research for The Chocolate Promise, is that you need to know how to eat it in order to get all the great health benefits without all the fat and sugar nastiness that comes with so much of the commercial confectionary on the market.

In this recipe, I take two of my favourite foods—chocolate and cake—add some awesome beetroot and get a delicious, healthy indulgence.

But before we get to the recipe, let’s take a quick look at where chocolate comes from.

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This is a fruit pod from Theobroma Cacao. Inside the pod are flesh-covered beans, and inside the beans are the cacao nibs. And that’s from where we derive cacao, which is fermented, dried and roasted, and artisans then combine it in varying quantities with cocoa butter, some sort of sweetener, and perhaps vanilla or other flavours.
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In its most natural state, cacao is ridiculously good for you, containing a plethora of vitamins, minerals, enzymes and a whopping great load of antioxidants—twice those found in red wine and three times that of green tea.

The problem is that most of what we know as ‘chocolate’ is really just cocoa-flavoured fat and sugar. Bummer! To get the absolute best out of chocolate, you need be consuming high-quality fare of at least 70% cacao.

Better yet, just do what I like to do and put raw cacao powder in whatever you can manage! Smoothies, goodie balls, cakes… go for it!

DSC_0001
So, here is my chocolate beetroot cake. In the first picture, it is still in the making while in the food processor. Look how amazingly red it is! You know it’s good for you when it’s naturally red. Just like tomatoes and red wine, beetroot is full of fantastic cancer-fighting properties because of that red colour.

Red beetroot + chocolate = awesome!

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And here it is out on a plate, with a sprinkle of coconut and a sprig of lavender (because lavender is my thing—seriously, I will put it in everything given half the chance).

My tips for this recipe:

Measure the beetroot accurately (otherwise it can turn out runny if you use too much) and watch it carefully as it’s baking. Anytime I’ve made it, it needs much longer in the oven than the recipe suggests. Every oven is different so use your best judgment.

Also, it goes really well with coconut milk yoghurt and grated dark chocolate on top for decoration.

Enjoy!

Ingredients

•    3 cups of grated, cooked beetroots
•    4 eggs
•    1/2 cup olive oil
•    1/2 cup raw honey
•    1 tablespoon vanilla extract
•    1 teaspoon baking soda
•    1/2 teaspoon sea salt
•    1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
•    1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
•    1/2 cup raw 100% cacao powder
•    1/3 cup coconut flour (for a slightly fluffier and dryer cake, use 1/2 cup coconut flour)*

Process

1    Preheat oven to 170C (350F).
2    In a food processor or blender, beat the beetroots, eggs and olive oil.
3    Add the honey, vanilla extract, baking soda, sea salt and spices. Blend well.
4    Add the cacao powder and coconut flour and mix until well incorporated.
5    Pour into a greased cake pan of choice. I used a 9-inch diameter tart pan.
6    Bake for 35-45 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
7    Cool completely before cutting and serving. Garnish as desired.


MoonThe Chocolate Promise

by Josephine Moon

For a limited time only, order a copy of The Chocolate Promise and get a free copy of My Little Chocolate Book. *Please note: offer available while stocks last and limit one free copy per order.

From Tasmania to Paris and beyond, an enchanting story of the proprietor of a specialist chocolate shop who must learn that some rules are meant to be broken – this real-life fairy godmother must learn to find her own magic. The new novel for readers who love Cathy Kelly and Monica McInerney from the bestselling author of The Tea Chest.

Christmas Livingstone has ten rules for happiness, the most important of which is ‘absolutely no romantic relationships’.

In The Chocolate Apothecary, her more…

Grab a copy of The Chocolate Promise here

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