The Fault in Our Stars Movie : A GIF Review by Sarah McDuling

Getting invited to an advanced screening…

On the way to the cinema…

When the movie is starting…

Five minutes after the movie has started…

Every time Augustus Waters appears on screen…

Every time anyone says the word “Okay”…

Isaac’s eulogy…

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Augustus’s letter…

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The End…

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Grab a copy of The Fault in our Stars here

Sarah McDuling is a contributor to the Booktopia Blog and Editor of the Booktopia Young Adult Buzz.  

Her hobbies include (but are not limited to) sword-fighting, ghost hunting and lion taming.

She is also an enthusiaster fibber.

You can read her other posts here or see her tweet about all things Young Adult-ish at @sarahmcduling.

You can also follow her on tumblr at Young Adult @ Booktopia

REVIEW: Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira (Review by Sarah McDuling)

love-letters-to-the-deadLove Letters to the Dead is a powerful coming-of-age novel that will grab hold of your heart and soul, drawing you into the narrator’s world so completely that finishing the book is actually quite upsetting – like having a door slammed in your face by your new best friend. As far as I’m concerned it’s one of the top Young Adult novels of the year.

This book first came to my attention when I saw that Emma Watson had tweeted about it. As a general rule, I will do whatever Emma Watson says because she is Hermione and therefore my idol. So when she gave her seal of approval, I obediently googled Ava Dellaira and discovered that she’s friends with Stephen Chbosky and had worked as an associate producer on the movie adaptation of The Perks of Being a Wallflower. After that I was naturally desperate to get my hands on a copy. 

Love Letters to the Dead is the story of Laurel, a young woman who is quietly drowning in grief and guilt. We are introduced to Laurel as she starts her freshman year of High School. (That means Year 9, for those of you who don’t speak American.)

At a glance, all the usual hallmarks of YA contemporary literature appear to be present and accounted for:

1. The (seemingly) Unattainable Crush:

In this case, his name is Sky. And if Sky was a mathematical equation he would look something like this:

Hot Guy + Mysterious Loner = Swoon10   

(Maths was never my best subject but I’m pretty sure that’s accurate).

2.  The Friend/s with Serious Life Problems:

Ava_Dellaira_author_photo Laurel’s two closest friends, Hannah and Natalie, are in love!  But their relationship is complicated. Neither of them are quite ready to come out of the closet and Hannah is dealing with a pretty stressful home-life situation.  Also she keeps ditching Natalie to date boys.

3. The Parents Who Just Don’t Understand:

Neither of Laurel’s parents have a very clear understanding what she’s going through. Her father is blinded by grief and her mother has skipped town at a time when Laurel needs her most.

4. The Thing That Happened in the Past that Must Remain Secret (until the end):

Laurel’s family was torn apart after the death of her older sister, May. But only Laurel knows the whole story behind what happened the night May died. And she can’t talk about it. She can barely even think about it.

So there you go. The bare bones of the story probably sound familiar to you. Most of us have read books like this before. But while the ingredients that have gone into making Love Letters to the Dead may be standard staples, Ava Dellaira throws a serving of raw emotion into the mix that takes everything to a whole new level. And I think that’s what makes Love Letters to the Dead such a special treat. It’s a genuine heartbreaker.

Another thing I love about this beautiful book is the fact that it’s written as a series of letters addressed to dead celebrities. As a pop culture junkie, I got a real kick out of this. Kurt Cobain, Judy Garland, Janis Joplin, Amelia Earhart and River Phoenix are just a few of the intriguing people Laurel chooses to write to. She writes the first letter for a school assignment, but then cannot bring herself to turn it in. Instead, she keeps writing letters to dead people. And as she writes she slowly reveals the tragic secret behind the death of her older sister, May.

love-letters-to-the-deadDellaira writes with such perfect pitch and subtle skill, Love Letters to the Dead feels like a modern classic. Laurel is a very self-contained and unassuming protagonist, one who spends the majority of the book repressing her feelings and denying the past. The true depth of her suffering is revealed so gradually that  I think I was about a third of the way through the novel before it dawned on me that she wasn’t just wallowing in typical teen angst. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, mind you. I happen to love wallowing in teen angst, and I’m a proper grown up adult (supposedly).

This is one of those books that sort of creeps up on you. You start reading and everything seems pretty cool. You’re like, “Oh hey! I see what’s going on here. High school girl with high school problems. Boy drama! Teen Issues! Burgeoning womanhood! I know the drill.”

But as you keep reading you find yourself starting to think, “Hold up. I’m having some strong feelings about this book. Powerful emotions are happening! This is not a drill!

This beautiful book is the perfect for fans of poignant (i.e. emotionally apocalyptic) Young Adult literature like The Perks of Being a Wallflower and The Fault in our Stars. And the craziest part? This is the author’s first book! I’m completely blown away by that fact. After such an impressive debut, I can’t wait to see what Ava Dellaira does next because … wow.

Grab a copy of Love Letters to the Dead here

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Sarah McDuling is a contributor to the Booktopia Blog and Editor of the Booktopia Young Adult Buzz.  Her hobbies include (but are not limited to) sword-fighting, ghost hunting and lion taming. She is also an enthusiastic fibber.

You can read her other posts here or follow her on Tumblr at Young Adult @ Booktopia

REVIEW: Half Bad by Sally Green (review by Sarah McDuling)

half-badEvery so often you hear about a book that’s being touted as a “global sensation”. Usually in such cases the film rights have been bought, the author is being labelled “the next J.K Rowling” and the general consensus seems to be OMG this is it! The New Craze! The Next Big Thing! And so on, and so forth. We’ve heard it all before, right?

And yet it doesn’t seem to matter how many times I hear it, whenever a book like this comes along I get caught up in the hype. My expectations soar to dizzying heights. I find myself thinking, “This book is going to change my life! It will blow my mind and rock my world. It will save the rainforests and end world poverty! God bless this miraculous book!”

Of course, I’m nearly always disappointed.

It’s not the book’s fault. It’s just that sometimes hype can be dangerous. Too much hype can kill a good book, purely because it can’t possibly measure up to the high expectations of the reader. However, Half Bad by Sally Green might just be the exception to this rule

(NB: Half Bad by Sally Green is probably not going save any rainforests or end world poverty.  I mean it might. But probably not. I just want to be upfront about that, before we go any further.)

Sally Green, author of the upcoming Half Life trilogy, really doesn’t have all that much in common with J. K. Rowling. Well … except that they are both British. And female. Also, both are blonde and have children. Does this qualify Sally Green as the next J.K Rowling?  I’m not sure about that. What I am sure of are the following facts:

1). Sally Green is a first time author.Sally Green

2). Her Half Life trilogy has been sold into 42 countries.

3) There was a massive bidding war between major studios in order to secure the film rights.

4) All of this happened before the first book in the trilogy had even been published.

Now that’s a lot of hype to live up to.

In terms of what the book is about, I’m almost reluctant to say. Any kind of synopsis I give is probably going to make it sound like a Harry Potter rip-off. The truth is, comparisons to Harry Potter are unavoidable here. Both books are about teenaged boys with magical powers –  boys who must navigate their way through an intricate world of witches/wizards, burdened by tragic pasts and unwanted notoriety.

Still, despite these superficial similarities, Half Bad is actually a very fresh and imaginative take on a well known theme. At no point does it come off feeling clichéd or unoriginal which (let’s be honest) is an impressive feat for a Young Adult novel about witches. This is not new territory, after all. And yet, somehow Sally Green has managed to put a whole new spin on a familiar tune. Whereas Harry Potter is very much a fanstasy, Half Bad is more of a gritty, comptemporary coming-of-age story … that just happens to include witches. More importantly, it’s an enthralling page turner starring a complex and compelling protagonist. All up, a riveting first act in what promises to be an impressive show.

So. Will Half Bad live up to the hype and become the next big publishing phenomenon? I certainly hope so, but I can’t say for sure. These things can be hard to predict.  All I can say is that I completely understand why people are so excited about this new trilogy. Even handicapped by my ridiculously high expectations, Half Bad did not disappoint.

This is a series I’ll be very glad to see capture the hearts and minds of a new generation of teens.

Spoiler Alert: Despite what you may have heard, Half Bad  does not contain a map to the lost city of Atlantis or the secret to eternal youth. It is, however, a very good book that you will  have difficulty putting down.

__________________

Sarah McDuling is a contributor to the Booktopia Blog and Editor of the Booktopia Young Adult Buzz.  Her hobbies include (but are not limited to) sword-fighting, ghost hunting and lion taming. She is also an enthusiaster fibber. You can read her other posts here or follow her on Tumblr at Young Adult @ Booktopia

Grab a copy of Half Bad here

half-badIn modern-day England, witches live alongside humans: White witches, who are good; Black witches, who are evil; and fifteen-year-old Nathan, who is both.

Nathan’s father is the world’s most powerful and cruel Black witch, and his mother is dead. He is hunted from all sides. Trapped in a cage, beaten and handcuffed, Nathan must escape before his sixteenth birthday, at which point he will receive three gifts from his father and come into his own as a witch—or else he will die. But how can Nathan find his father when his every action is tracked, when there is no one safe to trust—not even family, not even the girl he loves?

In the tradition of Patrick Ness and Markus Zusak, is a gripping tale of alienation and the indomitable will to survive, a story that will grab hold of you and not let go until the very last page.

Karen Foxlee, author of Ophelia and the Marvellous Boy, answers Ten Terrifying Questions

ophelia-and-the-marvellous-boyThe Booktopia Book Guru asks

Karen Foxlee

author of Ophelia and the Marvellous Boy

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 in Mount Isa in far North West Queensland.  It’s a mining town a long way from anywhere but an amazing place to grow up. Our playground was the dry Leichhardt River, a few streets away from house, and we spent hours exploring there.  Mum would send us off in the morning with a 2 litre bottle of water and tell us not to annoy any snakes. I went to Barkly Highway State School and later Mount Isa State High.

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

At twelve I wanted to be a writer, at eighteen a nurse (but secretly still wanted to be a writer) and at thirty, surprise, I wanted to be… a writer.

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

That I had to wear black stockings and boots with everything.

4. What were three works of art – book or painting or piece of music, etc – you can now say, had a great effect on you and influenced your own development as a writer?

Adam Ant – Ant music! I can remember hearing this as a ten year old girl in our small town in the middle of nowhere, and realising how huge and exciting and unknown the world was to me! It made me feel creative, this song, and it was…. thrilling. Still get goose-bumps when I hear this song. I am transported.

The Reader’s Digest book Strange Stories, Amazing Facts. I know! Not high literature but it had such a huge impact on me as a child.  My siblings and I LOVED it.  It was so terrifying and interesting and horrifying.  Fingernails that grow after death, ghosts, doppelgangers, auras, spirit writing, and my favourite (which scared me senseless) – spontaneous human combustion!!!! It fuelled much of my early fantasy writing.

And then, of course, Andersen’s The Snow Queen, read to me by my mum. This fairy-tale planted the seed of a love for quest stories and terrible villains. The Snow Queen has been lurking around in my head ever since.

5. Considering the innumerable artistic avenues open to you, why did you choose to write a novel?
Karen Foxlee

It think because all my life I’ve had stories inside me wanting to be told.  I had to teach myself how to write and I still am learning every time I put pen to paper.  I can remember as a teenager always feeling like the words “controlled” me, not the other way around.  I had to learn how to control my prose.  I had to learn how to get those stories out of me. Every novel I’ve written I’ve learnt more about writing, about being creative and, most importantly, about myself.

6. Please tell us about your novel, Ophelia and the Marvellous Boy

Ophelia and the Marvellous Boy is about a little girl who peeks through a keyhole in a vast, crumbling museum and finds a boy being kept prisoner there.  Together, the pair of them, have to save the world from the wicked Snow Queen. There are frightening challenges and fearsome creatures and a giant clock ticking down to the end of time. Kids and adults who love quirky, fast-paced, exciting adventure fantasy, will love this story.

Publishers Blurb:

Eleven-year-old Ophelia might not be brave, but she certainly is curious. Her family is still reeling from her mother’s death, and in a bid to cheer everyone up, her father has taken a job at an enormous gothic museum in a city where it never stops snowing. Ophelia can’t wait to explore and quickly discovers an impossibility. In a forgotten room, down a dark corridor, she finds a boy, who says he’s been imprisoned for 303 years by an evil Snow Queen who has a clock that is ticking down towards the end of the world. A sensible girl like Ophelia doesn’t quite believe him, but there’s no denying he needs her help. Ghosts, wolves, misery birds, magical swords – and even fabled Snow Queens – do their very best to stop Ophelia. She will have to garner all her courage, strength and cleverness if she is to rescue this most Marvellous Boy.

7. What do you hope people take away with them after reading your work?

Ophelia and the Marvellous Boy is about the power of friendship and never, ever giving up.  I hope that’s what kids and adults alike take away from it.

8. Whom do you most admire in the realm of writing and why?

Ophelia and the Marvellous Boy I admire too many people to mention. There are so many wonderful Queensland writers right now! Kris Olsson, Melissa Lucashenko, Belinda Jeffrey, Christopher Currie, Chris Somerville, Annah Faulkner, Patrick Holland, Chris Bongers, Krissy Kneen.

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

To not be scared of the creative process and to be brave enough to write what moves me.  To keep learning and improving.

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Just write.  Write and write and write.  Don’t worry about blogging platforms and marketing and networking and websites.  Just write.  Love your stories.  It’s old-fashioned, I know, but that’s how you become a writer.

Karen, thank you for playing.

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REVIEW: The Gospel of Loki by Joanne M. Harris (review by Sarah McDuling)

LokiHere’s what I knew about Norse mythology when I first picked up The Gospel of Loki by Joanne M. Harris.

a)     Norse gods live in a place called Asgard.

b)    Loki is the coolest god . Sure he’s evil, but he’s also played by Tom Hiddleston (see left) and therefore his evilness is cancelled out by his perfect male beauty.

c)     Thor is the god of Thunder. He has very large muscles and a magic hammer.

So yeah. As you can see I had some major gaps in my knowledge. Gaps that have now been filled with Joanne M. Harris’ spellbinding recounting of Norse myth and legend, through the eyes of the most instantly engaging narrator I have encountered in a long while.

The Gospel of Loki is a surprising book. For starters, the only other book by Joanne M. Harris that I’ve ever read is Chocolat and The Gospel of Loki is a very different kind of read. I loved Chocolat. It was enchanting, heart-warming and utterly lovely.  The Gospel of Loki is none of these things. It’s dark, quirky, occasionally grim, often hilarious and gloriously bold.

Given the subject matter, I was expecting The Gospel of Loki to be more of a traditional fantasy epic, heavy on world building and probably involving some kind of The Gospel of Lokiheroic journey quest. Instead, I found myself lost in a series of episodic adventures, wicked little parables on how best to lie, cheat, trick and bluff your way to success. In Loki’s case, of course, success means getting revenge against his fellow gods and causing the downfall of Asgard.

By far and away the most wonderful thing about this book is the voice Joanne M. Harris has given her delightfully immoral anti-hero. I’m not always a great fan of first person narrative but I have to make an exception for  The Gospel of Loki because this is how first person narration should be done! Loki’s character shines through in every line, dripping sarcasm, twinkling with mischief and humming with that special kind of unrepentant arrogance so often found in archetypal “trickster” characters like Robin Goodfellow and Peter Pan.

This is a character who, when asked if he can achieve the impossible, routinely replies, “Of course. I’m Loki.” He is gloriously conceited, packed full of swagger and playful cheek. He’s a lovable villain, a mischievous bad-boy, a fiendish puppet master who knows just how to manipulate people. It doesn’t take much. Just whisper into someone’s ear, a well-timed and seemingly offhand comment and voila! Disaster ensues!

And yet, the true genius of Harris’ Loki is that he is so dammed lovable. Despite his inherent wickedness, you just can’t help rooting for him. He’s not malicious, after all. He’s simply a creature of chaos. It’s in his nature to cause trouble.

Now come on. Tell me he doesn’t sound like the coolest god ever?

Joanne m. harrisHarris gives us a Loki who is constantly mistreated by his fellow gods. Always an outsider, always rejected, always everybody’s convenient scapegoat.  This of course makes him the ultimate underdog. No matter how evil his plots become, or what depths of wickedness he sinks to, the reader cannot help cheering him on because … well … he’s Loki.

So thoroughly did I enjoy The Gospel of Loki that I was compelled to check whether Joanne M. Harris has written any other books in a similar vein. To my joy, I found out she has!  Runemarks and Runelight  – two Young Adult fantasies inspired by Norse mythology, both which of I will be reading as soon as possible.

And now excuse me while I go and pray to Odin, Allfather of the gods and ruler of Asgard, to give Loki his very own Marvel movie (with at least two sequels).

__________________

Sarah McDuling is a contributor to the Booktopia Blog and Editor of the Booktopia Young Adult Buzz.  Her hobbies include (but are not limited to) sword-fighting, ghost hunting and lion taming. She is also an enthusiaster fibber. You can read her other posts here or follow her on Tumblr at Young Adult @ Booktopia

Grab a copy of The Gospel of Loki here

the-gospel-of-lokiWith his notorious reputation for trickery and deception, and an ability to cause as many problems as he solves, Loki is a Norse god like no other. Demon-born, he is viewed with deepest suspicion by his fellow gods who will never accept him as one of their own and for this he vows to take his revenge.

But while Loki is planning the downfall of Asgard and the humiliation of his tormentors, greater powers are conspiring against the gods and a battle is brewing that will change the fate of the Worlds.

From his recruitment by Odin from the realm of Chaos, through his years as the go-to man of Asgard, to his fall from grace in the build-up to Ragnarok, this is the unofficial history of the world’s ultimate trickster.

 

Vanessa Garden, author of Captivate, answers Ten Terrifying Questions

captivateThe Booktopia Book Guru asks

Vanessa Garden

author of Captivate

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 in Fremantle, Western Australia, and was lucky enough to live with the sparkling Indian Ocean on one side and wetlands on the other – so lots of swimming, raft-making and tadpole collecting with my sister, brothers and friends from our street. I attended a small, local primary school with twenty-six other students. We made the front page of the community newspaper as the smallest school in the south metropolitan area. At one time, there were three of us in grade three, which was great because it meant I’d either come 1st, 2nd or 3rd at the end-of-year sports carnival events. A guaranteed place!

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

I wanted to be a wacky inventor when I was twelve, an actress at eighteen, and a writer at thirty. I guess these things all speak of a desire to create, but the wacky inventor was most likely inspired by Doc from Back to the Future.

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

That I wanted to be a famous actress (see Q.2). I’m a fiercely private person now, so fame is definitely not for me.

4. What were three works of art – book or painting or piece of music, etc – you can now say, had a great effect on you and influenced 1055-vanessa-garden-largeyour own development as a writer?

Waiting for the Sun by the Doors – there’s a line Jim Morrison sings ‘this is the strangest life I’ve ever known’. I love that line. It makes me think of all the lives I have lived through reading (and writing) stories.

Stand by Me (the movie/story by Stephen King) – my sister, best friend and I knew every line from this film when we were thirteen. The strong bond between the four main characters is one of the many reasons I love to write for teens.

Last but not least, Lord Byron’s poetry. His poems have inspired a Young Adult contemporary I recently wrote.

 5. Considering the innumerable artistic avenues open to you, why did you choose to write a novel?

I love all forms of artistic expression, but writing novels suits me best because it is what feels most comfortable and intimate. It sounds very cliché but I couldn’t stop if I tried – there are too many characters filling up my head wanting their story to be told.

6. Please tell us about your novel, Captivate

Captivate is about a seventeen year old who is dragged underwater while out for a midnight swim at a secluded beach. She awakens in a domed underwater city where she is expected to marry a nineteen year old king whose throne is under threat.

Publisher’s blurb:

In a glittering underwater world, nothing is as it seems…

For the past twelve months since her parents’ death, seventeen-year-old Miranda Sun has harboured a dark secret — a secret that has strained the close relationship she once shared with her older sister, Lauren. In an effort to repair this broken bond, Miranda’s grandparents whisk the siblings away on a secluded beach holiday. Except before Miranda gets a chance to confess her life-changing secret, she’s dragged underwater by a mysterious stranger while taking a midnight swim.

Awakening days later, Miranda discovers that she’s being held captive in a glittering underwater city by an arrogant young man named Marko…the King of this underwater civilisation.

Nineteen-year-old Marko intends to marry Miranda in order to keep his crown from falling into the sinister clutches of his half-brother, Damir. There’s only one problem. Miranda is desperate to return home to right things with her sister and she wants nothing to do with Marko. Trying to secure her freedom, Miranda quickly forms an alliance with Robbie — Marko’s personal guard. However, she soon discovers that even underwater, people are hiding dangerous secrets…

7. What do you hope people take away with them after reading your work?

I would love and hope that readers come away from the book feeling satisfied, a little spent, and longing to return to the world they’ve just left.

captivate8. Whom do you most admire in the realm of writing and why?

At the moment I most admire George R. R. Martin. He has this amazing ability to make readers care for his characters so much that they mourn them like they are their own flesh and blood.

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

If I can help someone to escape reality for just a couple of hours then I’ll be happy.

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

As long as you love it, keep doing it.

Vanessa, thank you for playing.

Joe Ducie, author of The Rig, answers Ten Terrifying Questions

Click here to order

The Booktopia Book Guru asks

Joe Ducie

author of The Rig

Ten Terrifying Questions

——————–

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

I was born in the North of England back in 1987, but grew up in Perth, Western Australia. I went to school all over the place, probably about six different schools between Perth and Barrow-in-Furness. I lived in Canada for awhile and moved back to Perth this year!

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

At twelve I wanted to be a blackberry farmer. At eighteen, still holding on to that dream. Now that I’m halfway to thirty and my job isn’t any where even approaching blackberry farmer, I reckon working on that by the time I’m thirty could be an admirable goal.

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

Heh. I used to believe that when you turned eighteen everything started to make sense, but at twenty five I’ve realised that no one knows what they’re doing most of the time, and there are no real answers to believe in—except answers you make for yourself. Have a goal and work towards it, is what I believe in.

4. What were three works of art – book or painting or piece of music, etc. – you can now say, had a great effect on you and influenced your own development as a writer?

The majority of Stephen King’s catalogue has inspired me as a writer, and my earlier works tried to emulate his style far more than my own. Particularly his Dark Tower opus!

The Red Hot Chili Peppers also became something of an influence. Their particular brand of lyrical wordplay made me want to write similar sort of meaningful stories.

And I consider the film Ghostbusters to be a work of art. If I could write a character half as real as Bill Murray’s portrayal of Peter Venkman…

5. Considering the innumerable artistic avenues open to you, why did you choose to write a novel?

Writing works for me. I can’t carry a tune to save my life, and stick figures are as good as it gets when it comes to drawing. Reading a lot growing up and today, I’ve always wanted to write. Spent the best part of the last ten years learning, at least scratching the surface, on how to do just that. So far so good.

6. Please tell us about your novel, The RigThe Rig

The Rig is my first published novel, from Hot Key Books, and my first foray into the Young Adult/Teen Reader genre. It’s very much an action-orientated story. Will Drake, the main character, has made a career breaking out of high-security prisons. Set in 2026, all the major custodial services around the world are privatised under one monolithic corporation—the Alliance. Having embarrassed them by escaping three times already, the Alliance sends Drake to their inescapable prison. An old oil rig in the middle of the Arctic Ocean. The story starts as Drake lands on the Rig, but he learns pretty quickly that he may have bigger problems than just escaping!

From the Publisher.

Fifteen-year-old Will Drake has made a career of breaking out from high-security prisons. His talents have landed him at the Rig, a specialist juvenile holding facility in the middle of the Arctic Ocean. No one can escape from the Rig. No one except for Drake…After making some escape plans and meeting the first real friends of his life, Drake quickly realises that all is not as it seems on the Rig. The Warden is obsessed with the mysterious Crystal-X – a blue, glowing substance that appears to give superpowers to the teens exposed to it. Drake, Tristan and Irene are banking on a bid for freedom – but can they survive long enough to make it? Drake is an action hero to rival Jason Bourne and the Cherub team in this debut author’s fantastically imagined sci-fi nightmare.

Click here to buy The Rig from Booktopia,
Australia’s Local Bookstore

*This is a Booktoberfest title. Buy this book now to go in the draw to win Booktopia’s weekly giveaway – a $250 Booktopia voucher – AND order by 31st October 2013 to go in the draw to win the fantastic publisher prize.

Click here for prize details and to see the full Five Mile Press Showcase

7. What do you hope people take away with them after reading your work?

Oh, I just hope they enjoy the story. A few themes do run through the work, of course, such as the worry of privatising government services, the kind of environments that breed criminal behaviour, and just how far a person is willing to go for family. All good things to be thinking about. But, yeah, story above all.

8. Whom do you most admire in the realm of writing and why?

Can never decide between three authors here. Stephen King, Patrick Rothfuss, and Simon Van Booy. They are masters of what they do, stringing words together. If I could somehow steal their hard work and sheer, raw talent… Really, I admire anyone with the courage to write.

Joe Ducie9. Many artists set themselves very ambitious goals. What are yours?

2,000 words a day is my, I’ve been told, somewhat ambitious goal. I don’t think it too unreasonable, so long as I use proper time management. At 2,000 words a day I can have a first draft in a little over a month. Always be writing is my goal. Never mind if stories are being rejected, not working, or falling to pieces, if I make a start on a novel I’ll finish it—usually within two months, sometimes a lot faster. Words on the page are worth far more than great ideas in the mind. First drafts, however quickly written (or not), can be fixed in edits. Get the words on the page!

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Pretty much see above. Finish what you start, even if you don’t like it. Write, write, write. Don’t worry about publishing until you’re happy with what you produce (which may be never, you have to be the judge). But have a schedule of writing time and stick to it, no matter what. No one can read an idea in your head, and you’ll only get better through long, lonely practice! Write, ladies and gentlemen. Write!

Joe, Thank you for playing.

Click here to buy The Rig from Booktopia,
Australia’s Local Bookstore

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