A Tea Break with Mrs B: Alli Sinclair

I had a lovely tea break with Mrs B chatting about writing, research and future projects.

Mrs B's Book Reviews

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It is a pleasure to welcome Alli Sinclair back to my blog, Mrs B’s Book Reviews for A Tea Break with Mrs B, a author interview series. To help celebrate the release of The Codebreakers we sat down for a chat. Thanks Alli!

Hello Alli. It is my pleasure to welcome you back to my blog,Mrs B’s Book Reviews. I greatly appreciate the time you have provided to answer a few questions. To begin,what is your drink of choice as we sit down for a chat about your new book?

I do love a cup of lemongrass and lime herbal tea. It helps kick the brain into gear!

Can you give us an overview of your writing career to date?

It’s been quite the journey. My first book, Luna Tango, was published by Harlequin MIRA in 2014 and since then five more books have been…

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New Release The Codebreakers

Today’s the day The Codebreakers is released in Australia and New Zealand in print and e-book! It’s a story very close to my heart as it’s inspired by the real-life codebreaking women in Brisbane in WWII.

When I first learned about the Garage Girls and Central Bureau, it felt like a treasure trove of endless stories had been unearthed. Female codebreakers in Australia in World War II? Who were they? What did they do? Why had we not heard about them before? My investigating led me into an amazing world and I’ve met and interviewed many fascinating and courageous people who worked for Central Bureau and other signals intelligence departments and outposts. They generously shared stories not only about the work, but their personal experiences of living with secrets and how it affected their lives during and after the war.

People who worked top-secret jobs during the war often felt there was an invisible wedge in the relationships with their loved ones. For those families, to know someone for decades and learn about this other life they led was sometimes shocking and hard to fathom but, more often, it was a source of immense pride. Learning about the reaction of family and friends, and the relief of Central Bureau members after they could finally tell their story, gave me great insight when creating the characters in The Codebreakers

Many of the real-life women of Central Bureau had never lived away from home or experienced any degree of independence. When they joined this elite organisation most were young, often without tertiary qualifications but with natural aptitude for the work they did. Not only did they learn new skills and adapt to working in non-traditional roles in a male-dominated environment, they had other challenges to deal with such as homesickness, the grief of losing loved ones and the heavy responsibility of working with some of the country’s biggest secrets. 

The Codebreakers is the result of two years of research which included countless interviews with the actual codebreakers who inspired the story of Ellie and the Garage Girls. I hope you enjoy learning about these amazing women and help the legacy of their work live on!

The Codebreakers is available at all book retailers in-store and online, including:

Give away!

Not long now until The Codebreakers is released and I have one special Advance Reader Copy available to give away. To enter, all you need to do is sign up for my newsletter here (and if you’ve signed up previously you are already in the draw!). Entries close 11.59 AEDT, 2 February, 2021.

Stay tuned for a special announcement for pre-orders!

Cover reveal!

One of the best parts of writing a book is seeing the cover for the first time. I’m so lucky the cover fairies at Harlequin MIRA (ANZ) are so brilliant and always create incredible covers. And here’s the cover for my March 2021 release, The Codebreakers!

This story is very close to my heart and it’s been a privilege to meet the real life female codebreakers who worked in Brisbane in WWII. They generously shared their experiences with me about what it was like to work for Central Bureau, an elite intelligence organisation. They had to remain silent about their work for decades and it’s only in recent times they’re able to talk more about it. This has helped me shape my characters and their experiences in this story and celebrate and honour the real women of Central Bureau.

The Codebreakers is now up for pre-order online and at your favourite bookstore, so you can be one of the first to receive it upon release.

About the book:

They will dedicate their lives to their country, but no one will ever know… A compelling story about tenacity and friendship, inspired by the real codebreaking women of Australia’s top-secret Central Bureau in WWII. For readers who love Judy Nunn and Kate Quinn.

1943, Brisbane: The war continues to devastate and the battle for the Pacific threatens Australian shores. For Ellie O’Sullivan, helping the war effort means utilising her engineering skills for Qantas as they evacuate civilians and deliver supplies to armed forces overseas. Her exceptional logic and integrity attract the attention of the Central Bureau—an intelligence organisation working with England’s Bletchley Park codebreakers. But joining the Central Bureau means signing a lifetime secrecy contract. Breaking it is treason. 

With her country’s freedom at risk, Ellie works with a group of elite women who enter a world of volatile secrets; deciphering enemy communications to change the course of the war. Working under immense pressure, they form a close bond—yet there could be a traitor in their midst. Can the women uncover the culprit before it’s too late? 

As Ellie struggles with the magnitude of the promise she’s made to her country, a wedge grows between her and those she holds dear. When the man she loves asks questions she’s forbidden to answer, how will she prevent the double life she’s leading from unravelling?

German release day!

I’m very excited to see the paperback release of Under the Spanish Stars German translation out today! Three years ago it was released in hardback and today in paperback – two very different covers and I love them the same (the white one is the hardback)! Normally I go to Germany for book tours (any excuse to go to one of my favourite countries!) but alas, this year it’s not possible. Here’s hoping the world can right itself again and we are all doing the things we love safely. For me, it’s travelling with friends and family. How about you?

https://www.aufbau-verlag.de/index.php/die-tanzerin.html

Behind the Story: Darry Fraser

x240Darry Fraser’s first novel, Daughter of the Murray, is set on her beloved River Murray where she spent part of her childhood. Where The Murray River Runs, her second novel, is set in Bendigo in the 1890s, and her third novel, The Widow of Ballarat, takes place on the Ballarat goldfields in the 1850s. Darry currently lives, works and writes on Kangaroo Island, an awe-inspiring place off the coast of South Australia.

Welcome to Behind the Story, Darry! Please tell us about your brand new release, Elsa Goody, Bushranger, and also about your give away!

You know me and historicals – how did we women really fare back in the day? Not too far back for me, I only go back to the late 19th century in Australia but still, how did things work for women then?

So many things were happening. Some big iconic events – Eureka Stockade, for one, trade on our rivers. Federation was around the corner, some colonies had the vote for women and – there were bushrangers. I’d already written The Widow of Ballarat set just after the Eureka incident (and there are many stories still to be told from those days), and set three books on the Murray, our beloved, beleaguered river – Daughter of the Murray, Where the Murray River Runs and The Good Woman of Renmark. Many stories there, too.

So, bushrangers. Australia loves them, hates them but they’re ours – Ned Kelly and co being probably the most famous. Ben Hall another. They definitely take a writer’s eye; some thought they were heroes of their day. Now the not-so-bad ones are legends we love to love (mostly) for all sorts of reasons. But there weren’t so many bushrangers after Ned’s demise in 1880, so how was I going to write about a bushranger, and a female one at that sixteen years after bushranging stopped being safe for one’s health?

My heroine came to her fame accidently. She was on a mission to find what she believed to be rightfully hers and ‘something’ happened on the way. Throw in a deadline to be back home for the first election in Australia in which as a woman she was entitled to vote, a snarky older sister with her own agenda, and a family of three brothers in another colony. What could stop her? What could go wrong?

Elsa Goody BushrangerI was also able to use a family legend of my own in the form of the tin of gold coins Elsa Goody is trying to retrieve. Gold sovereigns were hard to come by, much less thirty of them. And how would a dirt-poor farmer be able spend one, let alone more of them, without raising suspicions?

I found a wonderful line of country in which to set Elsa Goody, Bushranger: Robe through Penola in South Australia, across the border into Victoria and the town of Casterton, the home of another of our icons, the kelpie.

So I was set – great countryside, an icon, a quest for gold, a so-called lady bushranger – with a twist.

Hope you enjoy the read.

Thank for having me, Alli.

http://www.darryfraser.com

BUY LINKS:

AMAZON AUSTRALIA

GIVE AWAY!

Darry is kindly offering one lucky commenter a copy of her new release, Elsa Goody, Bushranger. All you have to do is leave a comment below and tell us about your favourite historical female – real or fictional. Give away entries are open until 1 July, 2020 at 11.59 pm AEST. 

 

 

 

Behind the Story: Lucienne Diver

headshot by PeteI’m very excited to welcome the fabulous Lucienne Diver to the blog to find out about her new release, Disappeared. In addition to Disappeared, Lucienne Diver is the author of two other YA thrillers, Faultlines and The Countdown Club, as well as the Vamped YA series and the Latter-Day Olympians urban fantasy series. More information can be found on her website www.luciennediver.com.

Welcome, Lucienne! Please tell us about your inspiration behind your new release, Disappeared.

The jumping off point for DISAPPEARED was a Forensic Files episode that really caught my imagination. It told of a boy who heard something the night his mother went missing and pretended to be asleep when his father came to check on him. That much stayed the same in my novel. Almost everything else changed, but that stuck with me.

All I could think about was what it must be like to be that boy living in that house with his father, who he couldn’t trust, who he feared had done something to his mother, but who was the only parent he had left. And how much worse if he’d left things unsaid, maybe angry at his mother because she’d tried to get out, even while he understood that she absolutely needed to go, even if it meant leaving them behind, at least until she could come back for him and his sister. Because he had a sister. I knew that. Younger. Someone he had to protect, and that brought all the weight down on his shoulders when he was already struggling so hard with everything he knew or thought he did, and everything he had to discover.

At first I made the sister too young to have enough agency. Because she’s got a journey of her own. While Jared lashes out, much like his father (and fears becoming him), Emily turns her pain inward, sometimes even cutting to relieve it. It’s something she has to hide. Like her mother hid her bruises and covered for the abuse. Emily can’t believe her mother would truly leave them. Not for good. No matter what their father says.

The actual mystery of what happened to Jared and Emily’s mother was as important to me to develop as the dynamics of an abusive household, and the rippling repercussions. But it’s about more than that too, relationships that go beyond Jared and Emily and their father. Others who are involved for better or for worse.

And then the discovery of their mother’s car at the train station in what would look like a clean getaway…except for the blood.

There are layers to be peeled back. Layers of mystery. Of discovery.

DISAPPEARED was one of the most difficult books I’ve ever written, and, I hope, one of the most powerful. It’s a young adult suspense novel, because the characters are teenagers and struggling with their own issues, but I think anyone can identify.

If you think you might like to try, here’s a bit about the book:

Quotes:

“A fast-paced murder-mystery with relatable characters and a shocking twist.”—School Library Journal

 “DISAPPEARED is a wonderfully creepy read! Full of devious twists and filled with characters who are so real you genuinely care about them. Highly recommended!” —Jonathan Maberry, NY Times bestselling author of ROT & RUIN and V-WARS

disappeared coverDISAPPEARED by Lucienne Diver is a gripping YA suspense with a twist that readers won’t see coming.

The story their father tells about their mother’s disappearance doesn’t add up for Jared and Emily Graham.

Foul play is suspected, intensifying their fears.

Their mom’s car is discovered, abandoned and covered in blood. No one will tell them what’s going on, so they’re going to find out for themselves. Their investigations into what really happened to their mother may have killer consequences for them both, especially if the truth hits close to home.

You can buy a copy by clicking on the links below:

AMAZON 

AMAZON AUSTRALIA 

BARNES & NOBLE

 

 

Cover love

My fabulous publisher asked their authors to recreate the cover of their latest book for a bit of fun. My gorgeous four month old spoodle Luna volunteered (okay, she may have been bribed with lots of treats …) and my son did the artwork and came up with the new tagline. I think Miss Luna is a bit of a Hollywood diva in the making. What do you think?

Book to film? Maybe!

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Every author I know has dreamed about one of their books being adapted for the screen. For many of us, it’s a dream we cherish but we know the reality of it happening is remote. So when an opportunity popped up with the Queensland Writers Centre and Screen Queensland for authors to win a chance to meet with producers, screenwriters and show runners at a special market day, I couldn’t resist entering. Out of 250+ entries, only 25 were chosen and I am super happy to say one of the authors selected was me!

So in April I’ll be heading to the Gold Coast Film Festival to meet with screen industry experts and hopefully find one who wants to see one of my books on the big screen. This is such a great opportunity and wouldn’t happen without the hard work from the staff at Queensland Writers Centre and Screen Queensland and Gold Coast Film Festival. I’ll be honing my pitch over the next few weeks and even though I’ll be super nervous on the day, I’ll take a moment to enjoy the ride – you never know where it could take you!

 

 

A fabulous new release!

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I’m so pleased that my lovely friend Kerri Turner has her new book out and it’s fabulous! If you would like to read an excerpt, you can click on the link below. She’s an amazingly talented writer and an absolute sweetheart. Congrats on your wonderful book, Kerri!

An enthralling story of one woman’s determined grab for freedom after WW2 from a talented new Australian voice.

‘PART CABARET, PART BURLESQUE, AND LIKE NOTHING YOU’VE EVER SEEN BEFORE! GENTLEMEN, AND LADIES IF YOU’VE DARED TO COME, WELCOME TO …

THE VICTORY!’

1945: After the thrill and danger of volunteering in an all-female searchlight regiment protecting Londoners from German bombers overhead, Evelyn Bell is secretly dismayed to be sent back to her rigid domestic life when the war is over. But then she comes across a secret night-time show, hidden from the law on a boat in the middle of the Thames. Entranced by the risqué and lively performance, she grabs the opportunity to join the misfit crew and escape her dreary future.

At first the Victory travels from port to port to raucous applause, but as the shows get bigger and bigger, so too do the risks the performers are driven to take, as well as the growing emotional complications among the crew. Until one desperate night …

1963: Lucy, an unloved and unwanted little girl, is rescued by a mysterious stranger who says he knows her mother. On the Isle of Wight, Lucy is welcomed into an eclectic family of ex-performers. She is showered with kindness and love, but gradually it becomes clear that there are secrets they refuse to share. Who is Evelyn Bell?

PRAISE FOR KERRI TURNER

‘Beautiful, daring, deceptive and surprising.’ The Australian Women’s Weekly

‘An impressive debut … one of the strengths of the novel is the tapestry it creates of everyday life in an era of great turbulence.’ Queensland Times