Five Books Every Man Should Read – From Nicole Alexander

This September we’re launching Operation GMR, Get Men Reading. We constantly get asked what books we’d recommend for husbands, sons, fathers, uncles, nephews etc.

Today’s guest is the bestselling author of Sunset Ridge, Absolution Creek and many more, Nicole Alexander.

Nicole, take it away…


The Man from Snowy River

by Banjo Patterson

No ballad quite sums up the difficulties, conflicts and romanticism of the bush like this one.

And it’s got a ripping chase scene, which doesn’t involve cars.

Click here for more details


The Old Man And The Sea

by Ernest Hemingway

This man knew how to live; big game hunting, martini drinking and a bull-fighting aficionado, this gem of a novella epitomizes man’s struggle against nature.

Click here for more details


The Hunt for Red October

by Tom Clancy

One of his best thrillers, intrigue on the high seas.

Click here for more details


Pride and Prejudice

by Jane Austen

A women’s read?

Perhaps, but even my father (a conservative grazier) picked up a few things pertaining to relationships after reading Austen’s classic.

Click here for more details


Homer’s Iliad

Gods, goddesses, war, fate, heroes…

Need I say more?

Click here for more details


Australian Romance Author Showcase with…Nicole Alexander

nicolealexanderAs part of Australian Romance Month, Romance Specialist Haylee Nash will be interviewing one Australian Romance author per day. Much like a beauty pageant, each author will be using their charm, wit and grace (and the power of social media) to take home the Booktopia Romance Bestseller crown. Booktopia invites bestselling Rural Romance author Nicole Alexander to the stage.

1. Describe the perfect date.
Winter in the outback means a crackling fire, a glass of merlot and my man by my side. Continue reading

Nicole Alexander, author of Absolution Creek, answers Six Sharp Questions

The Booktopia Book Guru asks

Nicole Alexander

author of A Changing Land, The Bark Cutters and now, Absolution Creek

Six Sharp Questions

 

1. Congratulations, you have a new book. What is it about and what does it mean to you?

Absolution Creek is the story of Jack Manning, a grocer’s son, who watches the construction of the Sydney harbour bridge and dreams of a better life.  Although inexperienced, he leaves Sydney to manage Absolution Creek, a sheep property some 800 miles north. Yet outback life is tough and when a young girl, Squib Hamilton literally washes up on his doorstep he gradually learns of the devastating chain of events which will alter her life forever.

Absolution Creek is also the story of the men who loved Squib and tried to save her; her father, her friend and the man who would be her lover. Yet, one man lost her. One killed for her and one would die for her. Forty years later and Cora Hamilton is waging a constant battle to keep Absolution Creek in business. She’s ostracised by the local community and hindered by her inability to move on from the terrible events of her past, which haunt her both physically and emotionally. Only one man knows what really happened in 1923, a dying man who is riding towards Absolution Creek, seeking his own salvation.

With Absolution Creek I really wanted to tell a sweeping story that did justice to the vast country and characters that make outback Australia unique. I’m very proud of this novel.

Click here to buy Absolution Creek from Booktopia,
Australia’s No.1 Online Book Shop

2. Time passes. Things change. What are the best and worst moments that you have experienced in the past year or so?

The best was being a nominee for the NSW Women of the Year Awards and being named the Barwon Woman of the Year for services to literature & the promotion of the outback through my work.

The worst was the Christmas flooding of our region from November 2011 through to February 2012. 18,000 acres of our property which is located northwest of Moree was flooded.

3. Do you have a favourite quote or passage you would be happy to share with us? It doesn’t need to be deep but it would be great if it meant something to you.

‘The oxen is slow, but the earth is patient.’ I think it is Confucius. Regardless of what you attempt in life, you will be rewarded if you persevere for long enough.

4. Writers have often been described as being difficult to live with. Do you conform to the stereotype or defy it? Please tell us a little about the day to day of your writing life.

I probably conform in that when I sit in front of my laptop I disappear into my imagined world. On the other hand I work full-time on a mixed agricultural property. I’m too busy to be difficult – so my partner tells me.

5.  Some writers claim not to be influenced by the needs of the marketplace, while others seem obsessed by it. Would you please describe how the marketplace affects your writing (come on, tell the truth!).

I write what I live and love, the Australian outback. Although rural literature is enjoying a resurgence at the moment I would still be telling my stories regardless as I’m a fourth generation grazier. Some of Australia’s most distinctive stories and indeed legends originate in the outback and I’m proud to be writing about what is effectively my heritage.

6. Unlikely Scenario: You’ve been charged with civilising twenty ill-educated adolescents but you may take only five books with you. What do you take and why?

For Whom The Bell Tolls , The English Patient ,  The Bible, A Fortunate Life (ABF), and my own novel, Absolution Creek. The last so that the adolescents have proof that I may in fact be somebody worth listening to and the first four as they all throw light on the human condition-good and bad.

Nicole, thank you for playing.

Absolution Creek

by Nicole Alexander

One man lost her. One man died for her. And one would kill for her …

Nicole Alexander’s new bestseller is a sweeping rural saga spanning two generations.

One man lost her. One man died for her. And one would kill for her … Nicole Alexander’s new bestseller is a sweeping rural saga spanning two generations.

In 1923 nineteen-year-old Jack Manning watches the construction of the mighty Harbour Bridge and dreams of being more than just a grocer’s son. So when he’s offered the chance to manage Absolution Creek, a sheep property 800 miles from Sydney, he seizes the opportunity.

But outback life is tough, particularly if you’re young, inexperienced and have only a few textbooks to guide you. Then a thirteen-year-old girl, Squib Hamilton, quite literally washes up on his doorstep – setting in motion a devastating chain of events…

Forty years later and Cora Hamilton is waging a constant battle to keep Absolution Creek in business. She’s ostracised by the local community and hindered by her inability to move on from the terrible events of her past, which haunt her both physically and emotionally.

Only one man knows what really happened in 1923. A dying man who is riding towards Absolution Creek, seeking his own salvation…

From the gleaming foreshores of Sydney Harbour to the vast Australian outback, this is a story of betrayal and redemption and of an enduring love which defies even death.

Click here to buy Absolution Creek from Booktopia,
Australia’s No.1 Online Book Shop

About the Author

In the course of her career Nicole Alexander has worked both in Australia and Singapore in financial services, fashion, corporate publishing and agriculture.

A fourth-generation grazier, Nicole returned to her family’s property in the late 1990s. She is currently the business manager there and has a hands-on role in the running of the property.

Nicole has a Master of Letters in creative writing and her novels, poetry, travel and genealogy articles have been published in Australia, Germany, America and Singapore. Nicole’s previous titles:  A Changing Land, The Bark Cutters.

GUEST BLOG: Ernest Hemingway and the Girl from the Bush by Nicole Alexander

GUEST BLOG: Ernest Hemingway and the Girl from the Bush by Nicole Alexander

I often wish I’d been born a man. This statement has nothing to do with the perceived favouritism that is touted in relation to the world of publishing but instead is a reflection on the practicalities of being a fourth-generation grazier in the male-dominated world of agriculture. I’m pretty sure that this desire to be more than hands-on, on-farm can partly be attributed to Ernest Hemingway, with whom I’ve been infatuated with from an early age. It was he that swept me away aged twelve with For Whom The Bell Tolls and later, The Old Man and the Sea. His economical word usage and understated style struck a chord with me and at some deeper level; I wanted his life; the martini-drinking, big game hunting, bull-fight aficionado, bestselling author. Wow, EH had me right from the beginning. Right or wrong, I’m a fan for life. I was an omnivorous reader as a child yet Hemingway stands alone as the first author to shake me out of complacency and compel me to write. Later I ventured into the works of Dickens, Shakespeare and Austen and their brilliantly crafted imagined worlds beckoned me to try harder at perfecting my own scribblings.

These days I’m a time-poor yet eclectic reader who spends nights studying research material, dipping into the more literary of authors and reading the odd work of commercial fiction. I’m not a trend follower. I read for pleasure and education and the books that provide both remain favourites. Having grown up on the tales of my own pioneering ancestors, I’m naturally drawn to Australian rural literature. Although historically only a small percentage of our population have lived beyond the major cities, some of our most distinctive stories and indeed legends are set in the vastness of the Australian bush.

My non-fiction favourites include Jeannie Gunn’s We of The Never Never, Mary Durack’s Kings in Grass Castles and Eric Rolls’ A Million Wild Acres.

Fiction picks include Robbery Under Arms by Rolf Boldrewood and Xavier Herbert’s Capricornia.

In all these works the reader is treated to the story of men and their passion for land, of occupation and settlement and of businesses forged and lives lost in a land fraught with the difficulties of an isolated frontier. There is something thrilling about reading about the country in which we live, and taking a step into the Australian outback via the written word is an experience rich with conflict, difficulties, intrigue and romanticism.

© Nicole Alexander August 2012

Absolution Creek

by Nicole Alexander

One man lost her. One man died for her. And one would kill for her …

Nicole Alexander’s new bestseller is a sweeping rural saga spanning two generations.

One man lost her. One man died for her. And one would kill for her … Nicole Alexander’s new bestseller is a sweeping rural saga spanning two generations.

In 1923 nineteen-year-old Jack Manning watches the construction of the mighty Harbour Bridge and dreams of being more than just a grocer’s son. So when he’s offered the chance to manage Absolution Creek, a sheep property 800 miles from Sydney, he seizes the opportunity.

But outback life is tough, particularly if you’re young, inexperienced and have only a few textbooks to guide you. Then a thirteen-year-old girl, Squib Hamilton, quite literally washes up on his doorstep – setting in motion a devastating chain of events…

Forty years later and Cora Hamilton is waging a constant battle to keep Absolution Creek in business. She’s ostracised by the local community and hindered by her inability to move on from the terrible events of her past, which haunt her both physically and emotionally.

Only one man knows what really happened in 1923. A dying man who is riding towards Absolution Creek, seeking his own salvation…

From the gleaming foreshores of Sydney Harbour to the vast Australian outback, this is a story of betrayal and redemption and of an enduring love which defies even death.

Click here to buy Absolution Creek from Booktopia,
Australia’s No.1 Online Book Shop

About the Author

In the course of her career Nicole Alexander has worked both in Australia and Singapore in financial services, fashion, corporate publishing and agriculture.

A fourth-generation grazier, Nicole returned to her family’s property in the late 1990s. She is currently the business manager there and has a hands-on role in the running of the property.

Nicole has a Master of Letters in creative writing and her novels, poetry, travel and genealogy articles have been published in Australia, Germany, America and Singapore. Nicole’s previous titles:  A Changing Land, The Bark Cutters.

Nicole Alexander, author of The Bark Cutters, answers Ten Terrifying Questions

The Booktopia Book Guru asks

Nicole Alexander,

author of The Bark Cutters and A Changing Land,

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 Sydney and raised on our ‘outback’ family property which is located 700 km northwest of Sydney near the QLD border. My early education was via The Correspondence School in Sydney. We received our weekly school lessons through the mail and Mum taught us around the dining room table. Later I went to a local primary school for two years (to get used to socialising with other children), followed by six years at boarding school in Sydney. A Bachelor of Arts degree and a Masters in Creative Writing & Literature eventually followed. After a corporate marketing life I embarked on a ‘tree-change’ in the late 1990s.

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

At twelve I was determined to be an archaeologist. I was and remain fascinated by the ancient civilisations of Egypt and Greece.

At eighteen I wanted to be a storyteller. We have a strong oral storytelling tradition in our family and the competition between family members remains fierce.

With nine years in the corporate world of which a number were spent in Singapore by thirty I was seeking adventure. A few years later I changed careers, went ‘bush’ and began trekking in remote spots abroad when my new Continue reading

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