Danielle Crismani of Baked Relief – Interview

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I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Danielle Crismani of Baked Relief fame, for those of you who have been living under a rock for the past five months Baked Relief was a charity relief effort started by Danielle Crismani during the recent Brisbane floods.

Baked Relief started with a tweet and grew exponentially with people all over Brisbane offering their support and their cooking skills. The purpose of Baked Relief was to help out the helpers. The kind-hearted people of Brisbane who gave of their time to go out and help clean up the streets and the homes of people affected by the flood damage.

Danielle was inundated with people wanting to help out and lend a hand even if it was just to make a cake or some sandwiches to feed the growing number of people volunteering all over our beautiful city. Her story inspired many people from all walks of life to get involved.

We at TLC Books held a bake sale and raised almost $700 for flood relief and the responses we got from that were truly inspirational so I was interested to hear more about Danielle’s experiences too. I hope you enjoy hearing a bit more about her story and that it inspires more people to get on board and help out in any way they can.

First off tell us a bit about yourself personally ?

I am a mum to three children. Corey 13, Addison 11 and Liana nine. I work full-time in a government-owned corporation and have reformed packet cake cooking into ‘baking from scratch’ action in the office. I love renovating timber houses. Anything relating to the country and the beach make me happy. I have an extremely supportive ex husband and a wonderful man I belong with. Life is good.

Did you grow up with a love of cooking/ baking ?

We lived with my grandmother most of my childhood and she was an amazing baker. Her cheese cakes, caramel tarts and fruit mince pies were always talked about. She would start preparing for Christmas with me during the September school holidays. Everything was made from scratch. Ironically I was never allowed to take control of the beaters. It is a constant memory of her sporting a house dress and an apron and being covered in flour.
I didn’t start really baking until about four years ago when I was gifted a Kitchenaid and a set of Nigella Lawson cookbooks. WOW! didn’t that change my life.

How did you come up with the idea for Baked Relief ?

I was stuck at home. I wanted to do something. I am no way fit enough to sandbag but thought if I baked something and took it down the local SES that would help. Little did I know how well received that little batch of lemon muffins would be. Thats how baked relief started.

It went viral within a matter of hours, were you surprised by how huge it all became ?

At the time I was amazed at how quickly it grew. But when you really think about it, there were so many people who wanted to do something, to make a difference and help someone else out. They were just looking for a way to do that. Baked Relief provided that.

Are you continuing your work with Baked Relief in different areas now that the massive clean up is almost finished from the floods ?

There has been so much more required than I could have ever imagined. Like cooks loosing all of their cookbooks, Brisbane restaurants suffering due to people staying home and not spending money on dinners out, that everyone’s kitchen goods would be lost and their love of baking could not be fulfilled. That’s where we have continued to help out. Projects just come up as we see the need by talking to families who have been affected.

What has been the most exciting or proud moment for you since that first post about Baked Relief ?

Hearing an elderly woman say, with tears in her eyes, that baked relief gave her a purpose. There have been other proud moments, but that is one I will never forget.

I’m sure working with relief efforts you would have seen some amazing things in the fall out from the Brisbane Floods what is a memory that stands out for you ?

Walking Turner Avenue in Fairfield was the most confronting image of the Brisbane flood. The mud, the smell but the hundreds of people working like busy bees cleaning, laughing and making community happen.

Who are your personal idols or heroes ?

My Grandmother who in the 1974 floods baked for Fairfield and surrounding areas during the clean up and recovery. Nigella Lawson of course is an idol. If it wasn’t for her I wouldn’t have begun baking four years ago. And very recently Premier Anna Bligh. I think she will go down in history as a woman to be admired. I have also seen some amazing work meeting women and men during this baked relief journey which have brought me to tears many times with their amazing stories of overcoming life’s challenges. Everyone has a story!

What is your dream for Baked Relief long-term ?

The long-term mission is to continue to empower people to make a difference in their own world. Random acts of kindness, paying it forward, encouraging teenagers to get involved in community. For the moment this has been through immediate and short-term support to flood affected families and communities. In the longer term it’s about creating a more philanthropic society of support.
              
             And Finally what are you working on now ?

We are working on the cookbook for cooks project where we are encouraging people to clear out their cookbook collection and donate a few books which they no longer use or need. We are assisting families by providing gift vouchers to local (often flood affected) restaurants and look at assisting families with helping to get their kitchens set back up again. We are also looking for sponsorship and support to keep this work going.
If you want to make a difference to your own life, start by making a difference to someone elses.
You CAN change the world one cupcake at a time!

A big thank you to Danielle for taking the time to answer my questions, I hope she inspires everyone who reads this as much as she has inspired me. ( all photos courtesy of ABC via Baked Relief official website)

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Would The Real Can Do Campbell Please Stand Up ?

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Well the shit hath hiteth the faneth in the words of Shakespeare (ok so im paraphrasing a little). But today (somewhat inevitably some would say) The Fake Can Do Campbell was outed on Twitter and I am not the first nor will I be the last to be not only saddened by this, but to be outraged ! Yes outraged ! Come on people ! Cant anyone take a joke anymore ?

The Twittersphere went ballistic today with people claiming left right and centre to be the fake Campbell in an act of support to someone whose tweets we have all come to enjoy.  The Fake Campbell is funny, insightful and lets face it a lot more interesting than the real person.

I recently got to interview the Fake Campbell and he is great ! The sad thing that has clouded the issue is that people were so concerned with finding out who the imposter is that a lot of people have missed the point !

None of that matters ! Not who he is or what he does for a job when he isn’t being funny on Twitter what matters is that people felt like they were getting a say. People felt as though finally they were being heard ! Whether or not the real Campbell Newman ever read it was beside the point for most followers.

Like me most people enjoyed the opportunity to have a whinge and say what they really think. And now because someone decided to play silly games a lot of people may lose that opportunity and I for one think thats a real shame !

Now we can all sit back and potentially lose something that made us all smile because some snotty brat couldnt shut up ! Clearly they havent read my blog post “If You Cant Say Anything Nice Then Shut The Hell Up”. Why did we all have to know? Wouldnt it have been better and a lot more fun if he had remained nameless ? Do we always have to know the identity behind the caped crusader ?

I mean come on people you will all admit that Spiderman is way hotter in the suit then when he is Toby Maguire right ? Or Bruce Wayne ? Not to mention Catwoman without the secret identity and that hot catsuit she is just a shy retiring nerdy secretary !

A little mystery is good for people it makes life more exciting, it gives us all a little thrill. And I know your all nodding your heads right now cos lets face it a little kinky role-playing between consenting adults is never a bad thing. Now ok so maybe Can Do Campbell role-playing isnt sexy and admittedly if you find it kinky ill be a little concerned, it’s the premise behind it. Without the mystery it’s just not as dangerous and therefore not quite as fun.

I for one hope that because of one big mouth we don’t lose this funny, entertaining twitter feed! Its kept me laughing and smiling and its given a lot of people a voice. And I guess for all you weirdos out there who think Campbell is sexy its given you something to perve on you sick freaks ! (but who am I to judge?)

Damn the Man save the Fake Campbell ! At least he is funny !

BlondiieC (A Fake Campbell devotee)

xox

P.s If you want to read my interview with the Fake Campbell Newman it’s under the Interview category and If you want to read more about all of this then keep your eyes peeled because like the good little thing I am I have already asked the Fake Campbell for another interview so he can address the backlash and he has kindly agreed ! So watch this space people I promise you wont be disappointed !

Oh and Fake Campbell, I may not think that Campbell is sexy but you will always be a Bruce Wayne to me 😉

Robert Kennedy – Author Interview

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This week I got to interview a writer that is diverse and interesting the very talented Robert Kennedy. Roberts’s writing takes on many forms and for that reason I wanted to interview him to show that diversity in writing can come from one person, we are not all set to write in one particular style and Robert proves that ! I hope you all enjoy Roberts’s insights as much as I did.

First can you tell me a bit about yourself ?

Life has been quite diverse for me. I dropped out of high school at 15 and the first thing I bought was an electric guitar. But I took lessons in classical guitar over four years, and on an electric guitar this was quite unusual, more so for my teacher. At the age of 20, I bought my first of many pianos, and it’s the piano that has stuck with me for the last 30 years.

I settled on a career in music but writing and poetry would always hold a strong influence over me. After many years study to become a composer and with seven years study in composition and orchestration, writing and poetry finally became stronger than my love of music.

Music and composition is still with me, but today writing has the louder, stronger voice. I have written one book, with three new ones on the go. I have many short stories, and I’ve had my writing published in a variety of newspapers, magazines, books and online. As a poet, my writing has a distinct style, and you can feel my poetical influences in my prose. I hope people find that my words have a way of getting under their skin – in a good way.

Did you always want to be a writer or did you have a different goal growing up ? 

Even before music found me at 15, I wrote. I particularly remember my mother reading the short stories I’d written to the rest of my family. I use to hide behind the curtains in the hallway as she read, peeking into the lounge room to see their reactions; though I never kept any of those stories. My Mother’s father was a journalist and a speechwriter for Australian Prime Minister Ben Chifley. I’m sure some of Granddad’s blood is in me.

My goal always was, and still is to be an artist. Whether it is a composer, a writer, or painter; creativity and innovation are the first and last things in me.

You have written short stories and a novel how different is the process for writing a short story versus a novel ? 

I feel short stories should exhibit more of a poetic nature. And like poetry be compact and hold a small world in them. Verse-prose is a favourite format of mine for many of my short stories. In love as I am with almost everything that Dorothy Porter wrote, this has highly influenced me to use verse-prose to get to the heart of a subject, and fully reveal its inner world.

Cate Kennedy (no relation) has many interesting things to say about short stories; her stories are full of punch and breathe well at the same time. She has won many prizes for her short stories and even got into The New Yorker magazine.

The difference between short story and novel-writing for me is the encapsulated effect that short stories offer, as opposed to the extended, more worldview of a novel. And that’s produced by economy of words, style and feel. Novels have more of a narrative; you go along for a ride with them. Short stories quickly take you somewhere, usually to a surprising destination.
You also write poetry do you prefer one style of writing more than the other ?

Its horses for courses; a style must fit the format. Of course, you can blend, as with verse-prose, so I have no preference. I find that style is the first thing I hear when conjuring a story. Many things also come at me poetically. I run an arts group, DiVerse, we transcribe visual art into poetry. It’s known as an Ekphrasis, it’s an ancient Greek term. Charles Baudelaire said, “Perhaps the best account of a painting is a sonnet or elegy”. I’m a great believer that you find the style in the format. While there are many things that can be altered and extended, like what the Ekphrasis form does to painting, a subject will scream out its style to you. It does for me.

Therefore, I will write in the style that is presented to me by the form, or content of the subject. This for me is a feeling; something will feel poetic, something will feel prosaic and other things can be done free form, or without style, such as stream of consciousness writing.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing? 

Play the piano; go on walks and bike rides with my partner. I don’t really find nature inspirational, but for relaxing and enjoying, I find being in nature clears my head. It provides me with an untangled view of the world that makes complete sense. Opposite to the tangle that humans create, which just stilts innovation and inspiration.

What writers do you look up to or most enjoy reading? 

Some of my favourite authors are Patrick White, H.G. Wells, Vladimir Nabokov, and Ayn Rand. H.G. Wells is a particular influence on me; his ideas of social justice lie at the heart of a lot of my writings and thoughts. Along with the great inventive and dramatic ideas that Wells brought to his writing, my aim is to bring not only the dramatic but also that inner world of seldom spoken feeling and wants out onto the page.

Just finished The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak, it’s particular style of foretelling annoyed me, but later I found it to be perhaps the best book I’ve ever read. And like the ending in his book, it haunted me.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers? 

I’m still an aspiring writer; I’ve said this to many people, fiction writing is the hardest thing I’ve ever done, ever harder than orchestration and composition for a full orchestra. To not crumble (love that split infinitive) under the weight of writing, you need strength, physical and mental strength. You need to be healthy to sit at computers or your writing desk for most of your life. Strong fast walks are completely necessary for me, they are as necessary as writing, and you need to be able to turn writing on and off, when you need it. 

What is the best piece of advice you were given as a writer?

It’s the age-old advice, and I’ve found it’s the best advice because it works – just write.

Of all the books and short story collections you have written, do you have a favourite? 

Yes, it’s Two Things I Forgot. It’s actually based on an old B&W movie, I’m not telling which one, it’s very B. Like poetry, for me this is all about how it feels and it feels completely earth less. It’s not bound to a form, or style. It is all feeling, which is how I wanted it to work.

Finally what are you working on now ?

Two things, the first one is a project called The Book of Fascination. This is to be a multi authored, multi platform initiative. You can find information on that here.
http://thebookoffascination.blogspot.com/

The second is my latest novel, still struggling with the title, is about, hmmm, should I be saying this? It’s a story very loosely based on the life of David Walsh. Who? That crazy guy that owns MONA. I find him life fulfilling. He is a joy to hear and watch. For me he represents what humanity should be. That is, he represents a real life, and real living. I believe it is only certain wealthy people in this world who actually ever really get to live. He is free, and got free by his own constructions. David, is truly free, and it’s my belief that in our western world, it is only money that can set you free. Think of this what you like, I’m like David, in that I don’t care what you think about me.

Of course, it’s not money that sets you free; it’s what you do with it. He has built a museum, in his words “a cathedral to the secular”, he gathers art, supports, and promotes art and artists; he gives us all this art and his life and all his efforts for free. This is the type of person that I want to write about, because there is a true, unique, and revealing story in David. 

Thank you very much Robert for taking the time to answer all my questions ! For anyone who is interested I have included links to Roberts’s work and to his proposal for The Book Of Fascination. Robert is looking for Australian authors to contribute to the work so if you interested take a look at the proposal !

You can find Robert’s words, music, and images at various sites below.

http://robjkennedy.blogspot.com/

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Rob-Kennedy/200918376590020?v=wall

http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2003/02/12/1044927661259.html?oneclick=true

http://www.culturewars.org.uk/2007-11/poetryaustralia.htm

http://www.cordite.org.au/features/robert-kennedy-the-journey-death-of-a-library

Phillipa Fioretti – Author Interview

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This week I had the pleasure of interviewing a writer I really admire, Phillipa Fioretti author of The Book Of Love and The Fragment Of Dreams. Now I know they say never to judge a book by its cover but I think Phillipa’s books are ones that judging by the cover will not disappoint. The cover art is beautifully simple and is so striking, I will admit I would buy these books simply because they look beautiful.

But the best part of that is that they don’t just look great, they are great! Beautiful romantic stories that take the reader on a journey filled with beautiful imagery and stunning story lines. I hope you enjoy reading about Phillipa’s writing journey as much as I did.

Firstly can you tell me a bit about yourself ?

I’ve been writing for about five years and before that I was – and still am – mothering. Before that I was in the visual arts area, working as a printmaker and lecturing part-time in the tertiary sector. After having my second child, I just didn’t want to go back to art making, so when I felt like I needed to go back into the world I thought I’d have a crack at writing.

Did you always want to be a writer or did you have a different career in mind growing up ?

I never thought about writing until five years ago. I wanted to be an archaeologist and went to uni to study it but that desire morphed into wanting to make things, so I followed the visual arts trail.

You have written two absolutely amazing books, The Book Of Love and The Fragment Of Dreams where do you find inspiration for your writing ?

Thanks for your praise! I guess I’m selfish in that I wanted to write romantic comedy but I wanted to include things that interested me, so I’d have the excuse to do all that lovely research. With The Book of Love I centred the action around the stolen book of erotica from Pompeii, dressed Lily in vintage clothes and whisked her and William off to Italy. It was great fun to write.

William rescued Lily in the first book, but with the second one, The Fragment of Dreams, I wanted to explore the Orpheus myth but turn it around so Lily was the one to rescue her beloved William from the underworld. The underworld is represented by the Sydney art world and her painter cousin in particular. Lily has to penetrate the darkness even further by going to Naples on her own if she is to save William. In the myth Orpheus and Eurydice are separated for ever – but Lily, modern girl that she is, despite her love of vintage, finds ways of bringing both herself and William back toward the light – in her own quirky and charming way. She’s great fun and I loved spending time with these characters again.

If you could go back in time and write one of the bestselling novels of our time which would you choose and why ?

I’d say Gone with the Wind. Scarlett O’Hara is a brilliant character, driven by a personality that is so out of step with what was expected of women at that time. Scarlett has almost mythic stature and I’d love to be able to bring characters like her to life and set their lives against a backdrop of major historical turmoil.

Do you have any writers that you really look up to or love to read ?

I admire Sebastian Faulks very much, he springs to mind when asked this question, but I read widely and enjoy all sorts of fiction. Some of my favourites are Sarah Dunant, Kate Atkinson, Sarah Waters, Peter Temple, Edith Wharton, Phillip Kerr, Jane Smiley, Philip Roth – the list goes on and on, but these, and many others, are writers I look for and I’m always adding to the list.

Of all you characters who is your favourite and why ?

I love all my characters passionately, even the secondary ones, but I think William has been the most interesting to work on. He has that male control thing, and coupled with a really thick carapace protecting his feelings, he becomes almost his own worst enemy. But he’s such a romantic, idealistic soul beneath it all. Lily doesn’t give up on him because she recognises herself in him, but sometimes I felt like saying to her, ‘you really want this guy?’ I never said it, because I knew she did, and I couldn’t create a better partner for her!

What do you hope readers take away from reading your novels ?

I hope they have a reading experience that removes them from the day- to- day for a while, that gives them characters they can get involved with and get’s them so deeply into the world I’ve made that they don’t want to put the book down.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing ?

What I like to do when I’m not writing conflicts with what I have to do when I’m not writing. I have a family, children, chooks, dog, endless piles of washing and always food to prepare. But when I’m not doing those things I like to read, watch films and work out where I’d like to travel to next and how it can be done and what I’ll eat when I’m there.

What advice could you give to aspiring writers ?

This is a tough question, because it’s a very individual journey. If your goal is commercial publishing then you have to have an enormous capacity for hard work, and that means sacrificing other activities you enjoy – like lolling in front of the telly, sleeping in and nattering in cafes. Also find a way of emotionally separating yourself from your work because you will be rejected, probably many times, and you can’t afford to take it personally. The best thing to do is to find a group of like-minded writers with whom you can vent and laugh and keep it all in perspective.

And finally what are you working on now ?

I rummaged in my bottom drawer and pulled out the first manuscript I wrote in 2006. Now, having plucked the characters from that, I’m getting to know them a bit better. That takes time, especially after working with the same characters over two books. The story is taking shape and they are slowly becoming more vivid. I’m actually really enjoying it but I long for more uninterrupted time, I guess as we all do.

A big thank you to Phillipa for taking the time to share her thoughts and ideas with me and for the stunning selection of photos that you are enjoying here. These photos are all pictures that represent Phillipa’s themes in The Fragment Of Dreams. I hope everyone runs out immediately and buys these books! You will not be disappointed I promise!

BlondiieC

xox

Author Interview with Fleur McDonald

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This week I had the absolute pleasure of interviewing a woman I admire not only for her beautiful writing, but also for her generous spirit and the fact that above all else she is a devoted wife and mother. To me Fleur McDonald proves that old adage that women really can do anything. She inspires me with her stunning words, her blog is a place of reflection and calm and she does the hardest job in the world and takes it all in her stride and with a smile on her face. Fleur really is one of my heroes and I know many who read her interview, her books, or her blog will agree with me.

1. Firstly can u give us a little background information about yourself?

Well, I grew up in a small country town in SA, called Orroroo. I spent heaps of time as a child, running free, going to my grandparent’s station, north of there, playing sport and camping. At twelve I was hoisted off down to Adelaide, to boarding school – which I really didn’t like! I spent five years there and hot-footed it back to the country, as soon as I had finished year twelve.

I spent a year Jillaroo-ing down the SE of SA, at a place called Meningie, and then came to WA where I met my now-husband. We own around 8,000 acres, on which we run a prime lamb production, some cattle, a bit of cropping and whatever else fits in around that!

2. You write beautiful novels set in the Australian Outback do you draw on a lot of personal experiences for your books ?

Oh, thank you! Well, I guess the most experience I draw on is the setting – living where I do, makes it easy for me. Thankfully we’ve never been hit up by thieves, nor have I had an unexpected relative come out of the closet!

3.  You write a blog about your experiences on the farm how do you find the writing you do for your blog differs to writing novels?

I find it a bit of a warm up. When I first started my blog, I didn’t think I would have anything to write about, but as time has gone by and I’ve had feedback from people, I’ve found that things we, as farmers, find mundane, people who aren’t involved, actually find interesting. I blog about most things, now.

In a way, it helps me to write the descriptive scenes in my novels. I have to look at everything so closely, find the small things in the environment – that’s what I believe makes writing believable, it’s the small details.

4. Do you read reviews of your writing and if so do you let it affect you ?

I have read reviews, but I really try not to now.

I remember I had one exceptionally bad review and the lady that wrote the it actually contacted me and told me that I obviously hadn’t lived in the areas I was writing about (I think from memory, they were Melbourne and Canberra) and I was talking about things I knew nothing about. She really gave me a hard time and I felt sick for days. Then I got to thinking, ‘hey I didn’t even write about those places, so what was she going on about?!’

I think every author reads reviews to begin with and then gets that really bad one that makes you feel terrible, sad and plays on your mind for ages. That’s when you stop reading them (unless they’re good!)
5. Every writer finds their characters in different ways, how do find inspiration for yours?

I just pretend they’re my friends, or people who I know. I obviously never actually use people who I know, but I have coffee with the characters, talk to them (I’m sure when I’m first planning a book I could be put into a mental asylum!) I’ve also been known to dress up as my characters when I go to town and see how they would react in different situations. The blokes where we buy our farm merchandise from often ask me who I am, the day I go in!

6. You live on a farm with your family how is life in the Outback for a mother of two ?

It’s busy, especially with my husband’s mum being ill and my family in SA. I don’t have baby sitters at the drop of hat or people to help out. Sometimes it’s tiring and sometimes it’s just so much fun!

The kids love helping on the farm and they’re expected to. In saying that, I’m not sure either of them want to be farmers.

I think the most exciting bit about my life, is that I never know what’s going to happen next. We very rarely do the same thing twice over a week. I could be sitting writing and I’ll get a phone call, asking for help to get in cattle.  It’s different and stimulating.

7. Your son was recently diagnosed with Autism how has that changed your life ?

It hasn’t really. We’ve always know that Hayden was a bit different. The most frustrating thing was trying to find out what was wrong, so we could put the right strategies for him, in place. For so long, we’ve just been treating the ‘symptoms’, like his speech problem. Now the school should be able to get access to funding for him, for help at school. He is high-functioning, so once he starts to get all the help he needs, he should be able to live a pretty normal life.

8. Will you write a character that has been through that experience do you think ?

You know, I thought about that, a long time ago, when things were really bad. I thought it might be a sort of therapy thing for me. I’m not so sure now. I’m still thinking about it!
9. Is there something that you would like people to know about your family’s experience with Autism ?

Hmm. That’s a really difficult question. When Hayden was little, I really felt like my world was crumbling – he would scream all the time and neither of the kids slept until they went to school, so I was beyond tired – I don’t think I had a coherent conversation with anyone until Hayden went to Kindy. Everyone kept saying that was what it was like to be a mum and basically to get used to it.

During this time, I suffered very badly from Post-natal depression.

When we finally realized something else wasn’t quite right and we went to our GP, he sent us straight to the WA leading Autism doctor, John Wray. He knew there was something wrong, but they couldn’t put their finger on what it was – ‘Hayden’s a very interesting case study,’ was what he used to say. Great!

If he had been diagnosed earlier, we would have access to a lot of early intervention programs that we didn’t have which may have made some difference, but as it was, I employed private therapists to help, until we could access other places
10. And finally is there anything you can let us in on that we don’t already know about you ?

I wanted to be a lawyer, when I was in high school, but I realized that I wasn’t clever enough!

I want to take the time to personally thank Fleur for her honesty and unflinching responses to my questions. I asked some pretty personal questions and I am so thankful for her frankness. Autism is a topic close to me heart as well and I hope that anyone who reads this takes some strength from Fleur’s answers.

I enjoyed this interview so much. And I hope everyone who reads it enjoys it as much as me.

Cheers

BlondiieC

xox

Interview with the FAKE Campbell Newman

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This week I took the time to interview someone who I have wanted to know more about for quite some time now. I am a fairly political person and I find a great amusement from anyone who is willing to stand up to traditional politics with their middle finger firmly extended. And this is what the Fake Campbell Newman is doing but not just to the Real Campbell Newman but to politics as a whole.

He gets more genuine feedback from punters around Brisbane than real politicians and a lot of it is truly helpful and insightful suggestions. Perhaps if the real pollies spent as much time engaging with voters as the fake ones do we would have a more efficiently run government, or maybe that’s just wishful thinking?

I hope you enjoy reading this interview as much as I enjoyed putting it all together for you. I think the Fake Campbell Newman is someone for people to keep their eye on, because whether you agree with what he is doing you have to admit he is damn funny !

Well first I know everyone wants to know, you could impersonate anyone why Campbell Newman ?

There were some big issues that I didn’t agree with, but it was a couple of little               ones that tipped me over the edge. Also my wife went away for a few days and I was bored…..

You seem to have a lot of insider information from the LordMayors office and now from inside the campaign for state parliament, how much can you tell us about how you come into possession of this information?

Over the last few months, I have discovered quite a few people within the organisations that feel they need a voice, but their positions mean that they  that they can’t come out publicly. I can say what ever I want and that gives a lot of freedom. Kinda like a mini wiki leaks, but without being run by a creepy dude who looks like an escapee from “Children of the Corn”

Recently there has been a lot of interest surrounding you identity, will you ever reveal who you really are ?
Whats the point of finding out who I am? I am really nobody. And who I am is not important, it’s the message that is.
You get a lot of attention from your Twitter followers, Have you had any bizarre feedback or requests ?
I’ve had a few folk who seem to think I am a “Stooge for The Young ALP” They are wrong on all counts. I aint a stooge, I aint young, and I have never been a member of the ALP or any other political party….
There was recently some very negative feedback from the LNP what is your response to that ?
They can kiss my hairy arse. Some grumpy old grey-headed Luddites, who seem to think they run the show. How fucking wrong they are.

 Your twitter followers send a lot of genuine feedback about services in Brisbane especially about projects like the Clem 7 tunnel and City Cycle, does any of that find its way back to the “real” Campbell Newman ?
Only if he reads my twitter feed. Which I highly doubt. These guys don’t listen. They tell. And therein lies the biggest issue. 

There is a growing number of “fake” politicians online now why do you think they are so popular?
Australia has a great history of larrikins. And taking the piss out off self-important wankers.

 Is there any truth to the rumour that you are a member of the very successful band Tism ?
I wish I was. I have long admired those guys. One of Australia’s greatest comedic talent

People have drawn a comparison between you and such comic heroes as Batman/Bruce Wayne, is it you intention to be a crusader of sorts ?
Crusader is a funny term, but I prefer mischief-maker. And I really like the interaction with the great people who follow me.

And finally can you give us a hint to your real identity ?
Well I certainly ain’t Lady GaGa, and I am really not Justin Bieber. Oh and for the record, I am NOT John Birmingham either. He is way smarter than me at this writing caper.

A BIG thank-you to the Fake Campbell Newman for agreeing to be interviewed and for the great feedback ! This was a funnier and stranger interview than what I’m used too but I have to say I enjoyed the process a lot! 
I love anyone who will stand up and have a say about what they are passionate about and I think this is the way of the future, if people wont start to listen to what people want, well we will have to find a way to make them listen ! 
BlondiieC
xox

Author Interview with Peter Koevari

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I recently interviewed Fantasy writer Peter Koevari, Peter is an australian author of Legends of Marithia the first in a series of fantasy books. The Legends of Marithia was released in the USA and has had great success. I had the pleasure of asking Peter all about himself and his experiences with writing, I hope you enjoy the interview.

First of all, tell us a little bit about yourself?

I was brought into this world in Hungary, Europe and my parents immigrated into Australia when I was 6 years of age. My upbringing involved a lot of time playing video games, writing short stories, watching countless movies, and loving English classes in high school. I used to daydream a lot in classes that didn’t interest me and would take myself to places far in the depths of my imagination. I have a career in IT, love spending time with my family, love music, play guitar, enjoy blogging and love bringing the worlds in my imagination to life through writing.

You’re a writer of Fantasy novels, what drew you to that genre?

There is something fascinating about fantasy which makes me feel as if anything is possible. Rules that we know in the real world can be bent or broken and we meet creatures and elements that we would otherwise never know. I have fond memories of watching Star Wars, Labyrinth, The Dark Crystal, Back to the Future, and countless movies that sent my imagination wild. I tried writing many genres when I was younger and attempted everything including mysteries, action, erotica, and fantasy. Out of everything I wrote, fantasy was the only genre that flowed out of me onto the pages and I loved returning to. I knew for the past 10 years that I had many worlds of fantasy within me and I wanted to share my stories with the world.

A lot of author’s first novels are said to be semi-autobiographical, is there anything of your real life in your books?

It’s funny that you say that as there are elements of my life in the books. An interesting story is that in a particular scene in Legends of Marithia: Prophecies Awakening, I clearly saw a songstress who played the violin and for some reason, she remained un-named. To cut a long story short, when I met my other half long after the manuscript was written and she first played violin, I just knew that she was the one that I saw in the book. Of course, I didn’t know that at the time, but when she sat down and played a beautiful song, it was exactly as I saw it in the scene. One of the main characters’ names is actually created from someone in my family that now sadly lives far from me. There are many other secrets hidden in the book which tie into my real life, but some are best kept wrapped.

How did you find the creative process of writing your first book?

It took me a long time to internally process how I was going to picture, build, and grow the characters in my books. A penny dropped for me many years later and I began my journey of penning the stories that have been locked away in my mind for a very long time. That journey was difficult to begin. I was like a child that was learning to walk, but I knew some of the theory. At times it just flowed onto the pages and other times it was like hand crafting the tiles for the Sistine Chapel. It took me two years to write my first book and I went through some personal hard times along the way that put big hits into the writing schedule.  I took months of not writing at all, but eventually got the first Legends of Marithia book back on track and completed it.

Do you have any strange quirks or rituals that you undertake to get yourself into the creative process?

I have my moments of craziness as all writers do. I tend to play fantasy themed music at times to help the process. As a visual writer, I need to experience what is happening and see the events unfold in my mind to be able to write. Music helps take my mind back to Marithia. Inspiration strikes at bizarre times and I tend to have to note something down. I have been unable to sleep sometimes if something or someone is begging to be written and I have been known to work a 10 hour day in IT and spend hours writing because I just *have* to get it out.

Do you read reviews of your work and if so do you let it affect you?

Our work is very close to our hearts as writers, but one has to be able to step back and appreciate a reader’s point of view. Do I read reviews? Of course I do, but if I get a negative review… my first reaction is to find out what it is that caused that reader to feel that way and to take that on board for my future writing. I have had situations of people giving me quite harsh feedback on a preview which had no grounds for it and the fact remains that not everybody will like a book and some people are out there to drag someone else down. Does it sting? A little… but if there is merit and reasoning in constructive feedback then I am all for it, otherwise I take a deep breath and do not let it stay with me.

Who is your favourite character from your book and why?

This is like asking a parent to choose their favourite child, I like all of them. Although I have found that readers tend to like the antagonists, in particular, Kassina. I have to admit, she is quite the character. A vampire sorceress that is dangerous, but exciting and sexy. She is very fun to write.

What do you think makes a good story?

I think that a good story is one that taps into reader’s emotions and gives them something that they do not expect. There is nothing worse than reading or watching something that is entirely predictable or has plastic characters. I watch movies, read books, and write books to feel a connection. I recall many times when I was writing that I shed tears, shook with adrenaline, was drenched with fear, and I try to convey that through words.

What is your greatest writing goal?

I wish for my books to be shared with as many people as best sellers and to be brought to life on screen. Many of my readers have told me that my books would make amazing movies, albeit incredibly difficult to make.

Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?

Inspiration comes to me from many sources and sometimes it completely surprises me. I might be having a conversation with someone and something that they say triggers an image in my mind. Sometimes it can be from movies and video games. I have had many ideas from dreams and those can sometimes give us images and thoughts that I may otherwise never think of when I am awake.

If you could give up your day job, so to speak, would you?

If planets align and I make a bigger career out of my writing than IT, then I would definitely consider it. I would definitely try to hand on to both careers for as long as possible.

And finally, do you have anything new in the works?

I am in the midst of writing Legends of Marithia: Book 2 as we speak and it is making incredible progress. As of yet, I am undecided of who it will be published and how it will be published, but I am open to agents and publishers. For fans of the first book, I will be very excited to make the second book available for them to read. There will be many books in the Marithia series.

I really enjoyed reading Peter’s book and I’m sure everyone else will as well.

http://peterkoevari.com/blog/

http://torchundertheblanketbooks.com/2010/06/25/legends-of-marithia-book-1-book-review/

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