Elise McCune

Elise McCune is an Australian, Melbourne-based writer.

Elise McCune (33)Welcome to my website where you can see images of the places which inspire me and learn more about my stories.

Born in New South Wales, Australia, I moved to Perth, Western Australia where I raised my two children. I worked for ten years in the Western Australian Museum and during this time I travelled to Egypt and stayed in Cairo and Alexandria for an extended visit. I loved Egypt, its people and culture, and its history.

In 2016 I participated in, and passed, the University of Iowa’s International Writing Program on fiction writing, centered on female authorial voices and female literary characters.

The online program was taught by Margot Livesey, Professor at the acclaimed Iowa Writers’ Workshop and author of seven novels and one short-story collection; and Christopher Merrill, Director of the International Writing Program, Professor of English at the University of Iowa, and author of six collections of poetry, five works of nonfiction, and many works of translation

I have a fascination for the beautiful landscapes of Australia which I weave through my stories. A sense of place is important to me and I like to explore how characters are shaped by unfamiliar places. I enjoy writing dual narrative stories set in two time periods: the past and the present and I also explore the theme of how the past impacts on the present.

Love, regret and yearning, and nostalgia for the past are things that most people can relate to and love is the most important of these.

I receive wonderful letters and emails from my readers, I answer every one, and I am grateful that through my stories I have, in some small way, given people something special.

Allen & Unwin Australia published my novel Castle of Dreams in April 2016.unknown

A poignant, luminous novel about two sisters, about a mother and daughter, a loved granddaughter, the past that separates them and the healing that comes with forgiveness.

Norwegian publisher Cappelen Damm published  Castle of Dreams in translation in April 2017.

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I am currently writing my second novel. One narrative thread is set in southwestern Australia and the other in the lovely Tumut Valley in New South Wales, Australia.

Book Club discussion questions are on this blog at the Castle of Dreams page.

You can buy a copy of Castle of Dreams here:

https://www.amazon.com.au/Castle-Dreams-Elise-McCune-ebook/dp/B01ASQ8X22

https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/castle-of-dreams-2

http://www.booktopia.com.au/castle…/prod9781760291846.html

https://www.bookdepository.com/Castle-Dreams-Elise-McCune/9781760291846

Contact details:

https://www.goodreads.com/EliseMcCune

http://www.elisemccune.com

Email: elisemccune1@gmail.com

And please visit my Facebook author page for updates and to chat with me.

https:///www.facebook.com/elisemccuneauthorpage

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Elise McCune

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Ella Carey-Australian Author

Ella Carey will be a speaker at the HNSA Conference Swinburne University Hawthorn, Melbourne, September 8-10 Visit our website to purchase tickets:http://hnsa.org.au/conference/buy-tickets/

about

Ella Carey is the internationally bestselling author of three novels inspired by the discovery of courtesan Marthe de Florian’s abandoned apartment in Paris, published by Lake Union Publishing in the US: Paris Time Capsule, released in 2015 and now adapted into a feature film screenplay, The House by the Lake, released in March 2016 and From a Paris Balcony, releasing in October 2016. Paris Time Capsule is going to be re-released with Harlequin Australia in September 2016. Ella has an arts degree majoring in European history and nineteenth century women’s literature, and a music degree in classical piano. She has traveled extensively in Europe and has a particular fondness for Paris. When Ella is not hard at work writing her fourth novel, she is either busy with her pair of teenagers, walking her pair of Italian greyhounds while cooking up future books and greeting the many people who think the dogs are whippets, reading or dreaming of being in Paris. For more information about Ella’s books and her writing, please visit her at https://www.facebook.com/ellacareyauthor/ or at http://www.ellacarey.com/

From Ella’s website

I grew up in a house full of books. Bookshelves tumbled with old copies of Beatrix Potter, Aesop’s Fables, whole collections of Kipling and LM Montgomery, The Secret Garden, The Wind in the Willows and everything else- often bound together with old sticky tape, having been read and loved a thousand times before they reached me. There were navy blue and deep red leather bound classics in the formal rooms of the house, their spines inlaid with delicate gold ink. It was a privilege to be able to handle the fine paper that contained thousands of words- and stories, always wonderful stories. I have written since I could pick up a pen; first, in a series of odd little journals, made of folded paper stapled together carefully at the spine. I used to draw characters in bright texta pen or soft Derwent pencils. I always loved the feel of putting a pen or pencil to paper. This led to further writing, several novels that are for my eyes only, and poems written when I was studying at university, all of which I threw out, horrified that someone might find them and read them if something were to happen to me. I was furiously passionate about classical music as a teenager, so went to the conservatorium and studied the piano. I did an Arts degree majoring in English literature and Modern European history. It was when I was at university that I knew I wanted to write, properly. Our entire English class was sent to spend the week at a local writer’s festival by a wonderful lecturer, and that was it, for me. I have a passion for travel- particularly to Europe; I am fascinated by its history. I think history adds depth to life. Every time I go away I come back with a new idea for a book. If something resonates with me, it might be an idea, or a person, or an event, then I find it impossible not to write about it and I end up weaving it, along with several other strands, into a story. I write every day. It’s just something I have to do. I’m afraid that I’m probably terribly grumpy if I can’t write.

Secret Shores-Ella’s new book

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In 1946, artist Rebecca Swift’s dreams of love and a life free from convention are crashing like the waves of the Australian coast below her. And it’s into those roiling waters that she disappears. Forty-one years later, Tess Miller’s dreams are crashing, too. The once-successful New York editor has lost her most prestigious author to the handsome new golden boy of publishing. Meanwhile, she’s stuck with Edward Russell, a washed-up Australian poet writing a novel about some obscure artist named Rebecca Swift. But Tess may have underestimated Russell. His book is not only true—it’s a searing, tragic romance and a tantalizing mystery set in a circle of postwar modernists. When Tess uncovers a long-hidden secret, she’s drawn even deeper into Rebecca’s enigmatic life and death. As Rebecca’s past intertwines with the present, Tess finds herself falling for the last man she thought she’d ever be drawn to. On the way, she discovers the power of living an authentic life—and that transcendent love never really dies.

The HNSA Melbourne Conference will be a fabulous event with authors such as Ella Carey presenting.

Elise

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Kelly Gardiner- Australian Author

Kelly Gardiner will be a speaker at the HNSA Conference Swinburne University Hawthorn, Melbourne, September 8-10 Visit our website to purchase tickets:http://hnsa.org.au/conference/buy-tickets/

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From Kelly’s Website

I grew up on the edge of Melbourne, Australia, lived in Sydney for a while, and later on Waiheke Island in the Hauraki Gulf of New Zealand. Now I live in an old cottage  called Thelma in Melbourne, and in a beach shack on Waiheke for some of the year. I teach creative writing at La Trobe University a few days a week, and run writing workshops at schools, libraries, community organisations and festivals. Here’s my official-sounding biography. I have a BA in Professional Writing and Editing, a Master of Arts (Literature) and a PhD in English (Creative Writing). In my spare time I write, research, read, walk, sit about staring at nothing, and do an awful lot of gardening and cooking. Not necessarily in that order.

Kelly Gardiner’s most recent book is ‘1917’ (published early in 2017), a novel for young readers set during the First World War. Her previous books include Goddess, based on the remarkable life of the seventeenth century French swordswoman and opera singer, Julie d’Aubigny. Kelly’s historical novels for young adults include The Sultan’s Eyes and Act of Faith, set during the time of the English Civil Wars and the Inquisition. Both books were shortlisted for the Ethel Turner Prize in the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards. Her books for younger readers are the ‘Swashbuckler’ adventure trilogy – Ocean Without End, The Pirate’s Revenge and The Silver Swan – set in Malta during the Napoleonic invasion, and a picture book, Billabong Bill’s Bushfire Christmas. Kelly has worked on newspapers, magazines and websites, and her articles, poems, book reviews and travel writing have appeared in journals, magazines and newspapers as diverse as ‘The New York Times’, ‘Marie Claire’, ‘New Idea’, and ‘Going Down Swinging’.

https://kellygardiner.com/tag/hnsa/

The HNSA Melbourne Conference will be a fabulous event with authors such as Kelly Gardiner presenting.

Elise

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Alison Stuart-Australian Author

Alison Stuart will be a speaker at the HNSA Conference Swinburne University Hawthorn, Melbourne, September 8-10 Visit our website to purchase tickets:http://hnsa.org.au/conference/buy-tickets/

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Born in Africa in the dying days of the British Empire, at the age of ten award winning Australian author Alison Stuart moved to Australia. After a long and varied career as a lawyer, including stints with the military and fire services, Alison turned to her first passion, history.  Most of her stories have an English Civil War setting and several of them have  been shortlisted for international awards. She is loved by her readers for her ability to breathe life into the dry bones of history, particularly a lesser known period of history such as the civil war.

Alison learned her passion from history from her father. She has been writing stories since her teenage years but it was not until 2007 that her first full length novel was published. A past president of the Romance Writers of Australia, Alison has now published seven full length historical romances and a collection of her short stories. Many of her stories have been shortlisted for international awards and BY THE SWORD won the 2008 EPIC Award for Best Historical Romance.   Her inclination for writing about soldier heroes may come from her varied career as a lawyer in the military and fire services. These days when she is not writing she is travelling and routinely drags her long suffering husband around battlefields and castles.

Ref: http://www.alisonstuart.com

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When grieving widow, Australian, Helen Morrow and her six year old daughter, Alice arrive at her husband’s previous home, Holdston in rural England, she is welcomed by his mother Evelyn. But the meeting with wounded and reclusive Major Paul Morrow,  her husband’s cousin, does not go so well. He wants nothing to do with them.  A coded diary, written by Paul’s great-grandmother, is found and Helen and Paul haunted by ghosts from another time and another conflict they search for answers. While they search for answers to the past mystery there is also a mystery surrounding the death of Helen’s husband at Passchandaele. I love reading stories with a past and present thread and the two stories entwine brilliantly.  The novel is character driven, which all the best novels are, and the scenes in early 1900’s England are a delight.

Gather the Bones by Alison Stuart is a fabulous read. This is the first book by this talented storyteller I have read and I look forward to reading more.

(This writer is NOT the Alison Stuart who also writes as Kate Tremayne and authored Fateful Shadows, Sin No More, Barefoot Angel, Innocence Betrayed or Loyalty Defiled.)

The HNSA Melbourne Conference will be a fabulous event with authors such as Alison Stuart presenting.

Elise

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Jackie Ballantyne-Writer

Jackie Ballantyne will be a speaker at the HNSA Conference Swinburne University Hawthorn, Melbourne, September 8-10 Visit our website to take advantage of our early bird discounts. http://hnsa.org.au/conference/buy-tickets/

contact

email: jgb2@xtra.co.nz

facebook

twitter: SollyMcKeen@Solly McKeen

journal (blog)

Jackie Ballantyne began writing fiction while she was working in advertising in Melbourne. Since then she has won awards and commendations for her short stories. Her first novel, ‘How to Stop a Heart from Beating’ (Random House New Zealand, 2007), was met with acclaim. This was followed by ‘The Silver Gaucho’ (The Doby Press, 2014), subsequently shortlisted for The Rubery Award, UK, in 2015. Jackie has recently returned to live and write in Melbourne after twelve years in Dunedin, New Zealand.

 Jackie Ballantyne (in her own words). 

It’s always been words. As a child I liked to read dictionaries. I sat on the floor of my aunt and uncle’s living room and read the Chambers Dictionary that they used as a doorstop. I dipped into the Greater Oxford English Dictionary that my grandfather revered and kept away from the light (?) under the escritoire. I loved our family Webster’s with its intricate line drawings. In time I built my own dictionary collection. I added exotics: a Dictionary of Culinary Terms, a Pictorial Dictionary of Roses, various medical dictionaries, language dictionaries, a Dictionary of Animal Husbandry and the Dictionary of Derivations of the English Language. At some stage I acquired a copy of The Universal Home Doctor Illustrated (Circa 1937) which was to become an essential resource when I was writing How to Stop a Heart From Beating. In the bookcase beside me are four shelves of dictionaries. I buy them pre-loved, often annotated by a previous owner. I once found a poem about a butterfly tucked inside a Dictionary of Biblical Quotations. I began experimenting with fiction while I was working in advertising in Australia.  Starting out as a copywriter, I pursued my passion with words and ways of putting them together. I spent years inventing advertising captions and jingles and one of the hardest lessons in my writing apprenticeship was to compose sentences of more than five words. Even now I am prone to one word sentences. I might no longer agonise over full stops and exclamation marks, but I’m still finicky about punctuation.

The HNSA Melbourne Conference will be a fabulous event with authors such as Jackie Ballantyne presenting.

Elise

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Elisabeth Storrs-Historical Novelist

Elisabeth Storrs will be a speaker at the HNSA Conference Swinburne University Hawthorn, Melbourne, September 8-10 Visit our website to take advantage of our early bird discounts. http://hnsa.org.au/conference/buy-tickets/

WELCOME ADDRESS: Welcome addresses by Elisabeth Storrs (HNSA Co-founder) and Sophie Masson (HNSA 2017 Conference Patron)

ELISABETH STORRS HAS LONG HAD A PASSION FOR THE HISTORY, MYTHS AND LEGENDS OF THE ANCIENT WORLD.  She is an Australian author and graduated from University of Sydney in Arts Law, having studied Classics. Her curiosity piqued by an Etruscan sarcophagus depicting a couple embracing for eternity, she discovered the little known story of the struggle between Etruscan Veii and Republican Rome and the inspiration to write the Tales of Ancient Rome Saga. Elisabeth lives with her husband and two sons in Sydney and over the years has worked as a solicitor, corporate lawyer and corporate governance consultant. She is the former Deputy Chair of the NSW Writers’ Centre and one of the founders of the Historical Novel Society Australasia. Elisabeth considers herself a ‘hybrid’ author who was traditionally published in Australia, then gained a readership in the global historical fiction community through self-publishing her Tales of Ancient Rome Saga. This led her to securing an international publishing contract with Lake Union publishers.

http://www.elisabethstorrs.com

What fate awaits a Roman treaty bride married to an Etruscan nobleman from a decadent world?

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As war wreaks havoc, three bold women must fight for their futures with wit and wiles.

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During a siege between age old enemies, can love and loyalty withstand the betrayal of mortals and gods?

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The HNSA Melbourne Conference will be a fabulous event with authors such as Elisabeth Storrs presenting.

Elise

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Skylarking-Kate Mildenhall

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Kate Mildenhall will be a speaker at the HNSA Conference Swinburne University Hawthorn, Melbourne, September 8-10

Visit our website to take advantage of our early bird discounts.
http://hnsa.org.au/conference/buy-tickets/

Inspired by a true story, Skylarking is a novel about friendship, love and loss, one that questions what it is to remember and how tempting it can be to forget.

Kate and Harriet are best friends who are growing up together on an isolated Australian cape in the 1880s. As daughters of the lighthouse keepers, the two girls share everything, until a fisherman, McPhail, arrives in their small community. When Kate witnesses the desire that flares between him and Harriet, she is torn by her feelings of envy and longing. Ultimately, a moment of skylarking in McPhail’s hut changes everything.

Praise for Skylarking

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‘Kate Mildenhall’s impressive debut novel takes an historical case and re-imagines it with such sensitivity and insight that we feel this must be how it truly happened.’—Emily Bitto, author of 2015 Stella Prize winner The Strays

‘Skylarking is a strikingly real and deeply moving meditation on adolescent friendship in all its complexities—a heart-wrenching work.’
—Olga Lorenzo, author of The Light on the Water

‘A brave, beautiful and richly textured book that delicately explores the fault lines in love and friendship.’—Lucy Treloar, author of Salt Creek, Winner ABIA Matt Richell Award for New Writer

‘[Mildenhall’s] research of life on a remote cape in a young colony manifests in lovingly drawn descriptions of the natural landscape … the novel’s strength lies with following Kate’s and Harriet’s stumbles and skylarking from childhood to womanhood; and their close, sometimes stifling, friendship.’ —Thuy On, Sydney Morning Herald

‘It is hard to believe that Skylarking is Kate Mildenhall’s debut novel, as her ability to create both character and atmosphere is impressive.’ —Annie Condon, Readings Monthly

The HNSA Melbourne Conference will be a fabulous event with authors such as Kate Mildenhall presenting.

Have a lovely day,

Elise

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Slottet i Regnskogen

The Castle in the Rainforest (Hardcover)

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This is the lovely cover for the translated Norwegian hardcover edition of The Castle in the Rainforest. The title of the Australian edition is Castle of Dreams.

Norway is a Scandinavian country encompassing mountains, glaciers and deep coastal fjords. Oslo, the capital, is a city of green spaces and museums. Preserved 9th-century Viking ships are displayed at Oslo’s Viking Ship Museum. Bergen, with colorful wooden houses, is the starting point for cruises to the dramatic Sognefjord. Norway is also known for fishing, hiking and skiing, notably at Lillehammer’s Olympic resort.

My publisher Cappelen Damm is a Norwegian publisher based in Oslo.

I appreciate Norwegian style which is characterised by simplicity although like in Australia I guess some people love their clutter!

Norway is truly beautiful. I’d love to visit one day!

Elise

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The Castle in the Rainforest (Hardcover)

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This is the lovely cover for the translated Norwegian hardcover edition of The Castle in the Rainforest. The title of the Australian edition is Castle of Dreams.

Norway is a Scandinavian country encompassing mountains, glaciers and deep coastal fjords. Oslo, the capital, is a city of green spaces and museums. Preserved 9th-century Viking ships are displayed at Oslo’s Viking Ship Museum. Bergen, with colorful wooden houses, is the starting point for cruises to the dramatic Sognefjord. Norway is also known for fishing, hiking and skiing, notably at Lillehammer’s Olympic resort.

My publisher Cappelen Damm is a Norwegian publisher based in Oslo.

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Bees by Tafline Laylin

Bees in the capital city of Norway now have their own ‘highway’ thanks to a pioneering initiative by environmentalists protecting urban bees. Concerted efforts to sprout pollinator-friendly plants on rooftops, balconies and in gardens throughout Oslo give bees a safe space to proliferate without having to overcome pesticides and other human-caused curve balls that have decimated global bee populations. Headed by Bybi, the project has captured the attention of private individuals, businesses and various state bodies, who can map their section of highway on a dedicated webpage.

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And, I love Norwegian style which is characterised by simplicity although like in Australia I guess some people love their clutter!

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Norway is truly beautiful. I’d love to visit one day!

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Elise

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Hazel Edwards-Australian Author

Hazel Edwards will be a speaker at the HNSA Conference Swinburne University Hawthorn, Melbourne, September 8-10

Visit our website to take advantage of our early bird discounts.
http://hnsa.org.au/conference/buy-tickets/

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An avid reader (who read under the bedclothes and in the bath), as a young girl, Hazel Edwards wrote her first novel in grade six, a mystery about adventurous children stuck in a mine. This passion for writing and character development continued and after working as a secondary school teacher, at twenty-seven, Hazel published her first novel, ‘General Store’, a book based on life in a rural town.

In 2001, Hazel was awarded the Australian Antarctic Division Arts Fellowship and travelled to Casey Station on the ‘Polar Bird’ ice-ship. This visit inspired a range of creative projects including the young adult eco-thriller ‘Antarctica’s Frozen Chosen’, picture book ‘ Antarctic Dad’and the memoir, ‘ Antarctic Writer on Ice’as well as classroom playscriptsand literacy material.

Passionate about literacy and creativity, Hazel has mentored gifted children and proudly held the title of Reading Ambassdor for various organisations. Currently a director on the Committee of Management of the Australian Society of Authors, Hazel was awarded an OAM for Literature in 2013.

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Hazel Edwards has written more than 200 books in a career spanning 43 years, but what she calls the “highlight of my literary career” came watching the stage show of her beloved children’s classic There’s A Hippopotamus on Our Roof Eating Cake. “I was absolutely thrilled,” she says. “I’ve got my grandson sitting alongside me, totally engrossed, a mixed audience of adults and children and a cast that were all enjoying themselves. Some of the children were mouthing along with everything, and some turned up in little pink dresses.” The show, Hippo Hippo! combines themes from the 1980 book and its five sequels, all colourfully illustrated by Deborah Niland.  The story is of a small girl and her imaginary friend, a big pink loveable rogue of a hippopotamus who lives on the roof and is causing it to leak. The hippo, as the girl will tell you, can do what he likes, including eating a steady diet of cake. It wasn’t Hazel who first came up with the idea, it was her then-four-year-old son Trevelyan, who explained that it was a hippopotamus who eats cake who was causing a leak in the family’s new Blackburn home. Hazel says her children (her daughter Kim was then aged six) and a neighbour’s child helped her to put the idea down on paper. “So many children aged around four – which is a most imaginative age – want an imaginary friend and many of them have variations of that. But it was just the fact that I captured it. We really did it just for fun.”  A classic Australian book comes to life. Photo: Supplied In its 36 years, Hippo has become one of the most popular Australian children’s books ever. It’s sold more than one million copies internationally, it’s been translated into Chinese, Auslan and Braille, it was turned into a short film in 2011, and it was given as a gift from the Australian government to the newborn daughter of Princess Mary of Denmark. But, most significantly, it’s been loved by thousands of children, their parents and grandparents, for generations. “I was signing books a few years ago in a bookstore and this really well-muscled bikie with tats came along. I had all these four and five-year-olds in a queue, and he stood over me and he said, “great book that, read it when I was a kid” and kept walking,” Hazel says. “Of all the books I’ve published, the Hippo is the one that everybody relates to. Yes I am surprised that it’s lasted that long … But I always knew it was special.” Hazel says she continues to get children knocking on the door of the same Blackburn home where she wrote the book and still resides, asking if this is the house where the hippo lives. “So I say, ‘have a look!’ I don’t say yes and I don’t say no. I think the important thing is that the children use their imaginations,” she says. “A book doesn’t really belong to the author or the illustrator once it’s published, it actually belongs to the reader’s imagination.” And, in case you’re wondering, her roof does still sometimes leak.

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Thanks to Claire Slattery for the article on the stage show There’s a Hippopotamus on Our Roof Eating Cake.

The HNSA Melbourne Conference will be a fabulous event with authors such as Hazel Edwards presenting.

Good writing and reading and like the hippopotamus eat lots of cake!

Elise

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What Elise Wrote-Today

The working title for my work-in-progress is One Bright Day and my story does seem shiny and bright (except for when I come to a great stumbling block in the plot). Now I have made a deadline to finish the novel I find that the words are flowing more easily. Still, I do have some way to go yet until I finish.

It’s April, 1921 and the war that impacted so many people has been over for three years. I’m spending time with Ellen, who at this moment is walking along taking in the sights of historical London. It’s Ellen’s first overseas journey and she left her home in southwestern Australia with some trepidation. It’s the English spring, and there’s nothing like a fine, spring day in England and Ellen and a friend are going on a picnic in Regent’s Park. Ellen is an artist and takes her sketchbook wherever she goes I wonder what she sketched today.

Regent’s Park, London

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Ellen, for a very special reason, goes to St Pancras Old Church in London so I’ve researched part of its history. (I love research and finding some little gem to include in my story.) I found this!

In the churchyard of St Pancras Old Church in London, an ash tree is circled by gravestones.

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Thomas Hardy (before turning to writing full time) studied architecture in London under Mr. Arlhur Blomfield, an architect based in Covent Garden. During the 1860s the Midland Railwayline was being built over part of the original St. Pancras Churchyard. Blomfield was commissioned to supervise the proper exhumation of human remains and dismantling of tombs. He passed this unenviable task to his protegé Thomas Hardy in. c.l865. Hardy would have spent many hours in St. Pancras Churchyard overseeing the careful removal of bodies and tombs from the land on which the railway was being built. The headstones around this ash tree would have been placed here about that time. The tree has since grown in amongst the stones.

It’s fun writing a story!

I particularly enjoy setting my stories in Australia but sometimes my characters travel overseas. In this story it is to England and I have glimpses of the Middle East in WW1.

This the gate Ellen walks through to visit an abandoned house.

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I’m looking forward to being a speaker at the HNSA Conference in Melbourne in September (details below).

This celebration of the historical fiction genre will showcase over 60 speakers discussing our theme, inspiration, writing craft, research, publishing pathways and personal histories. http://hnsa.org.au/conference/programme/ Among the many acclaimed historical novelists participating are Kerry Greenwood, Kate Forsyth, Deborah Challinor, Lucy Treloar, Sophie Masson, Sulari Gentill, Robert Gott, Arnold Zable, Gary Crew, Melissa Ashley, Kate Mildenhall, Juliet Marillier, Anne Gracie, Pamela Hart, Kelly Gardiner and Libby Hathorn. http://hnsa.org.au/conference/speakers/

Let’s celebrate historical fiction!

Elise

Ref. The Hardy Tree:   jinx-in-the-sky.blogspot.com

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