5 things I’ve learnt about writing historical novels for young adults: Michelle Morgan

Today I have the pleasure of hosting a blog post for Michelle Morgan’s new book,


Michelle is going to tell us the 5 things she has learnt about writing historical novels for young adults:

 1.      Inspiration is the starting point – I was inspired to write Flying through Clouds by two historical events – the opening of the Sydney Harbour Bridge in March 1932, and the landing and take-off of Southern Cross by Sir Charles Kingsford Smith on Seven Mile Beach in January 1933.

2.      Do lots of research before you even start to write – Before writing a word, I immersed myself in research. I read books about aviators, the Depression and Australia in the 1930s. I watched videos, listened to podcasts, visited museums and searched for old photographs and newspaper articles. I had to understand how people lived in the 1930s and become familiar with that world before developing my characters and narrative. The most difficult research was learning how to fly a 1930 de Havilland Gypsy Moth. I needed to understand the steps involved and the terminology that was used. I read books about flying adventures and watched technical videos on how to fly a Gypsy Moth plane. I also interrogated everyone I knew who had flown before. Research is vital to developing a sense of place, and can also inspire the narrative and character development as it did with me.

3.      Develop multi-dimensional characters who appeal to readers today – When writing for teenagers, the main character is usually a teenager, although there are exceptions. A support cast of interesting secondary characters is also vital. I had to develop personalities and behaviours for all my characters. I often use dialogue to reveal and develop characters, and I keep physical description of characters to a minimum, concentrating more on what they say and do.

4.      Build a strong narrative with tension and conflict – I make it clear in the first chapter of Flying through Clouds that Joe’s dream is to become an aviator. I then put obstacles in his way and explore his reactions. But Joe also has agency and initiates some of the action. He devises a plan and makes choices, sometimes bad choices, which inevitably lead to conflict with other characters. And there’s no story without conflict. Teenage readers also like elements of surprise incorporated into the narrative.

5.      Develop a distinctive voice –  I chose to write Flying through Clouds in the first person from Joe’s point of view. I wanted readers to be able to experience the world of the 1930s through Joe’s eyes, to be accomplices in all his well-intentioned but poor choices. But the first person also has its limitations because the narrator can’t possibly know everything that’s going on around them or get inside the heads of other characters. It was challenging to develop the voice, behaviour and personality of a teenage boy growing up in the 1930s. I read widely but also observed significant males in my life, and dug deep to find the rebellious teenager within.

I hope that Flying through Clouds engages readers with its compelling blend of humour, drama and historical detail.

Flying through Clouds is available now at bookshops, educational and library suppliers, and can be ordered on my website: www.michellejmorgan.com.au

 AUTHOR: Michelle Morgan

 Thank you Michelle. They are all valuable lessons for us all to learn. Good luck with your book.

I was born at the age of four

photo-dr-judith-o-malley-fordToday we continue our interview with author, Dr Judith O’Malley – Ford to discover who she is and what prompted her to write this book. Follow the promotional tour to learn a little more each day.

 The Book: The Secret Stalker of the Prostate by Judith O’Malley-Ford

 Synopsis: This book has the potential to save many lives. Every question regarding anatomy, disease processes, decision making procedures for the treatment and considerations of the side effects, psycho-social effects and the impact on relationships, are concisely covered – all in layman terms.

cover-front-smlFor those men who are in the process of taking that difficult step of presenting prostate problems to their doctors, including those unfortunate enough to be facing investigation for prostate cancer, this book is for you.

More about Judith:

  1. Other than writing, what else do you love?

I also love painting, and drawing and reading. I have had 2 watercolour exhibitions. I love quilting and spending time with family and friends.

14. Describe your perfect day.

Every day I achieve the things I set out to do.

15. What five words best sum you up?

Hard-working, passionate, dedicated, positive, meticulous.

Author profile:

I wrote a story once, starting with the statement, ‘I was born at the age of four”. I think this says a lot about who I am. If I set myself a task, I will always see it to the finish.

My heritage is a mixture of Irish, Scottish, and French. My paternal grandparents were born in Ireland. My grandfather was a stonemason craftsman and died before his time from an associated occupational lung disease. There are enduring examples of his work in public places in Brisbane where I live.

Recently I compiled a picture book of the family history, with pictures dating back to family gatherings of my mother’s family and her great grandmother.

Check out the posts on the other blog tour sites to learn more.

The book is available at all book stores. If it is not in stock yet, ask them to order it for you. It is also available from the Morris Publishing Australia’s website http://www.morrispublishingaustralia.com/the-secret-stalker-of-the-prostate.html And on Amazon as an eBook.  

Promotional tour dates and addresses:

19th November https://clancytucker.blogspot.com.au
20th November http://karlenepetitt.blogspot.com
21st November http://www.morrispublishingaustralia.com/news-update-blog
22nd November http://peterfrederick.blogspot.com.au/
23rd November https://www.facebook.com/AuthorJohnHickman
24th November https://elaineoustonauthor.com
25th November https://www.facebook.com/KellyLyonnsAuthor/


all-of-us-together-front-coverToday I am pleased to welcome the amazingly talented,  award winning author Bill Condon. Bill is celebrating his new book, All of Us Together with a promotional tour. Just for something different, I’m posting a play that Bill wrote based on the book. Enjoy this extract from the story. It’s bound to make you smile.

We don’t have to wish Bill good luck with his book, his reputation as a great writer is so well known that I’m sure it will fly off the shelves.

All of us Together is a junior fiction novel set in Australia’s Great Depression of the 1930s.

When John O’Casey leaves his family to go in search of work, his wife Margaret is left to raise their three young children, Daniel, Adelaide, and Lydia. Daniel, being the eldest, tries to take on the role of being a leader, but as he discovers, it’s hard to be a man, especially for a boy who’s only twelve-years old.

Although the events within these pages take place many years ago, it is not primarily an historical novel, but one that examines the lives of the same kind of down-to-earth people, who live and breathe today. This is about a family who remain hopeful and resilient, as they stand together through the hardest of times.

All of us Together is an uplifting story, told with poignancy and humour.


A short play adaptation by Bill Condon from All of Us Together, a novel for children aged 8 to 12 years, published by About Kids Books (RRP $14.99)





NARRATOR: When John O’Casey left home to look for work his family knew he might be gone for a long time. Mum would need her son Daniel’s help, more than ever before. But was he up to the task?

MUM: If your sisters see you being brave, Daniel, then they’ll probably be brave, too. Today more than ever, you’ve got to be a leader.’

DANIEL: I’ll try, Mum.

MUM: I know you will. Now, have you brushed your teeth?

DANIEL: I’m not sure.

MUM: It’s either “yes, I have” or “no, I haven’t”. Which one?

DANIEL: No, I haven’t.

MUM: Leaders brush their teeth without their mothers telling them. It might be something to keep in mind.

DANIEL: All right.

MUM: Oh, while I remember it — I haven’t seen your underpants in the washing lately. How long have you been wearing those ones you’ve got on?

NARRATOR: Daniel does a quick calculation and come up with four. It sounds too high.

DANIEL: Only about two days, Mum.

NARRATOR: She looks at him like she’s having trouble believing a word that falls out of his mouth.

MUM: Before you leave this house, boy, I want you washed and brushed. Every last living bit of you.

DANIEL: Yes, Mum.

MUM: As for the state of your underpants — what if you got yourself skittled by a bus on the way to school? With dirty underpants on? How would that be?

DANIEL: Not the best.

MUM: That’s the first thing you’ve got right all morning. It would be a disgrace. There you’d be lying dead, and people would be looking at your dirty underpants. They’d think I was a neglectful mother. Is that what you want?


MUM: I should hope not. There’s hot water in the kettle. You can nip into the bathroom and get yourself washed. I won’t tell the girls about your father until you come back. Hurry along.

NARRATOR: But Daniel has a question that won’t let him leave.

DANIEL: Mum . . .

MUM: There’s a pair of clean underpants in your drawer. Off you go.

NARRATOR: He still doesn’t go.

MUM: Goodness, boy. You’re hanging around me like a bad smell. What is it you want?

DANIEL: There’s something I have to ask you.

MUM: I’ve got a mile of things to do. Won’t this keep till later?

DANIEL: One question, Mum. It’ll only take a few seconds.

MUM: A few seconds then, but not a breath more. Out with it.

DANIEL: I wanted to know if . . . if . . .

MUM: Oh for heaven’s sakes. If what, Daniel?

DANIEL: If you’re going to leave us, too?

NARRATOR: Mum stares at Daniel. For a moment it looks like she’s getting ready to bite his head off.

MUM: Oh yes, mister, I’ll pack my bags and leave this very day.

NARRATOR: Her stare becomes a smile.

MUM: If you don’t change those underpants!

Bill will also be touring online to promote his latest junior novel, All of Us Together, in the following blog tour:

17 November Di Bates http://www.diannedibates.blogspot.com.au

18 November Clancy Tucker http://clancytucker.blogspot.com.au

19 November Sally Odgers http://promotemeplease.blogspot.com.au

20 November Sandy Fussell www.sandyfussell.com/blog

21 November Dee White http://deescribewriting.wordpress.com 22 November Dimity Powell http://blog.boomerangbooks.com.au/author/dpowell

23 November Elaine Ouston https://elaineoustonauthor.com/ 24 November Melissa Wray http://www.melissawray.blogspot.com.au 25 November Susan Whelan http://www.kids-bookreview.com 26 November Romi Sharp http://www.justkidslit.com

A rollicking adventure from start to finish

sharp shooter cover

If you love an action packed adventure written by someone who understands how to grip you from the first sentence and hold you until the end, you need to read this book.

I was recently asked to review Sharp Shooter by Marianne Delacourt. Being a huge fan of Marianne’s books I eagerly agreed. This book didn’t disappoint.

SYNOPSIS: Tara Sharp can see auras, and it’s ruining her life.

When she tries to turn her inconvenient secret into a paying gig, her first job lands her in the middle of a tug of war between the biggest, baddest crime lord in town and the hottest business man Tara has ever met.

With only a narcoleptic ex-roadie, her pet galah and a vanilla slice for back up, Tara is ready to take on trouble with a capital ‘T’.

Sharp Shooter is a hilarious, action-packed novel and Tara Sharp is Triple F: Funny. Fast. Feisty.

WINNER of the Davitt Award 2010 Best Crime Novel and nominated for Ned Kelly Award 2010 Best First Crime Novel


This highly unusual hero reads auras and is at first scared of her ability. But when she meets a mentor who helps her understand how unique her ability is and how it can be used to help other people she is off on a life-changing adventure. Strong, compassionate and dependable she is drawn into the lives of other people and puts herself in great danger to help them.

This book has a fast pace that we are used to from Marianne and the hero’s unusual abilities, feisty attitude and loyalty to her friends and family endear her to the reader. While it could be considered a crime novel, it also has the flavour of chic lit novel.

I am a fan of Marianne’s books and this one didn’t disappoint. I can’t wait for the next.




Michael bauerWhat makes a story funny? Award-winning author Michael Gerard Bauer knows! This knowledge has made him a popular author in many countries.

Want to have your readers rolling around the floor laughing? Want to know if your story has what it takes to be a best seller? Then don’t miss Michael’s workshop on writing humour on October 24th.

Workshop bookings and our competition to win a free evaluation of your humorous children’s story from Michael close Wednesday 21st at 5 pm. To win one of our 4 evaluations your entry must be in by then. Details of the competition are on the website. http://www.gondorwriterscentre.com/workshops.html

In Michael’s workshop, we look at the basic question, ‘What makes something funny?’ Once we’ve identified the key ingredient of humour, we will apply what we have learned to important aspects of storytelling, such as plot, character and language use, in order to produce laugh out loud results.

Michael Gerard Bauer. Michael is a multi-award-winning, Brisbane based writer of YA and Children’s Books. Michael’s most recent publications have been the very popular Eric Vale series and its spin-off series, Secret Agent Derek ‘Danger’ Dale. These hilarious books for younger readers are fully illustrated by Michael’s son Joe Bauer. Michael’s books are used widely in schools and are currently translated into 12 languages and sold in over 40 countries.

Cost: 1 day $80
Book now: Phone 07 54981 332 and pay by credit card or go to our booking page and pay by PayPal. http://www.gondorwriterscentre.com/workshop-bookings.html


October 31st : Tutor Elaine Ouston

Workshop Publishing: We examine all your publishing options and help you create a killer synopsis, perfect pitch and submission letter.

Decided to self-publish?
You will also learn about self-publishing options.

Competition: Send through the first 20 pages of your manuscript (any genre) by October 25th.
Course cost: $50

Book now: Phone 07 54981 332 and pay by credit card or go to our booking page and pay by PayPal. http://www.gondorwriterscentre.com/workshop-bookings.html


Aleesah Darlison_hi resDo you want to write for children? Have you written a picture book manuscript you think might be ready to take to the next step? Do you need advice about publishers?

Writing picture books is harder than it looks. This Saturday, October 17th, renowned children’s author, Aleesah Darlison, provides an introduction to this exciting genre. She demystifies the process and provides insight into how to bring a picture book to publication. Writing exercises will be included. If you have one, bring a work in progress. Handouts provided.

Bookings are filling for this workshop so get in now. We can take 4 more.


Aleesah Darlison writes picture books and novels. Her story themes include courage, understanding, anti-bullying, self-belief, friendship, and teamwork. She has won several awards for her writing and has had numerous short stories, articles and book reviews published in anthologies, magazines, and newspapers.

Aleesah’s workshop:  Introduction to Picture Books. Cost 1 day $80

Book now: Phone 07 54981 332 and pay by credit card or go to our booking page and pay by PayPal. http://www.gondorwriterscentre.com/workshop-bookings.html


Michael bauerWant to have your readers rolling around the floor laughing? Then don’t miss the workshop on writing humour by Michael Gerard Bauer on October 24th. In this workshop, we look at the basic question, ‘What makes something funny?’ Once we’ve identified the key ingredient of humour, we will apply what we have learned to important aspects of storytelling, such as plot, character and language use, in order to produce laugh out loud results.

Tutor: Michael Gerard Bauer. Michael is a multi-prize-winning, Brisbane based writer of YA and Children’s Books. Michael’s most recent publications have been the very popular Eric Vale series and its spin-off series, Secret Agent Derek ‘Danger’ Dale. These hilarious books for younger readers are fully illustrated by Michael’s son Joe Bauer. Michael’s books are used widely in schools and are currently translated into 12 languages and sold in over 40 countries.

Cost: 1 day $80

Book now: Phone 07 54981 332 and pay by credit card or go to our booking page and pay by PayPal. http://www.gondorwriterscentre.com/workshop-bookings.html


Today we welcome to our blog the lovely and talented writer Dianne Bates. Di’s new books Awesome Animals Cats and Awesome Animals Dogs are sure to be a hit with all children. We wish her well with these new publications.

Awesome DOGS COVERAwesome Cats cover

Please tell readers about your new books.

Awesome Animals (Big Sky Publishing) is an entertaining new non-fiction animal series for kids – a Guinness Book of Records meets Ripley’s Believe It or Not!

Awesome Cats and Awesome Dogs, the first two books in the series, are each an entertaining new read — a Guinness Book of Records meets Ripley’s Believe It or Not! which features fascinating stories about animals from all over the world. As well, there are relevant book lists, jokes and even humorous animal verses. Each beautifully styled book contains true stories and amazing photographs and quirky, illustrated break-out boxes, introduced by funny cartoon animal characters. The book is best suited for children aged 8 to 11 years, but there’s no doubt older readers will love the books, too.

What are the books about?        

Each of the books is a miscellany of fun facts and stories about real-life cats and dogs. As well, there are poems and jokes and a list of children’s books featuring cats and dogs.

Before writing these books I searched for something similar, but found nothing. Yes, there are books about cats and dogs, but the presentation of content in the awesome books is unique. Take cats, for example: in Awesome Cats there are hundreds of short stories about cats in history, cat adventures, famous cats and famous people’s cats, working cats, spoilt cats, and cats in fiction and in TV, on stage and in movies. Here’s just a little ‘teaser’ from the book: ‘In 1976 a mystery cat in Hong Kong killed more than 20 dogs. According to local people it was about four feet long and black or grey in colour. It was never caught.’ Imagine that, a dog-killing cat; certainly not a lap cat!

How did the idea for this series come about?

As a full-time, professional children’s author, I am always searching for an idea which will result in a book that any child would love to read. The three books in the Awesome Animals series are dogs, cats and horses (Awesome Horses will be published in 2016): it would be impossible, I’m sure, to find one of these animals that any child didn’t love, much less cherish. I started researching stories about dogs, first as I’m a real dog lover. Before long, I was finding amazing dog stories everywhere! Here are just a few famous dogs, for example, whose stories are told in Awesome Dogs: Rin Tin Tin, Lassie, Old Yeller, Bullet, Scooby Doo and Benji. I just love dogs and really miss our last beloved dog, Sassy; she has been irreplaceable since she died two years ago of old age.

Where can people buy Awesome Cats and Awesome Dog?

The books retail for $14.99 each. Here’s where you can get Awesome Cats:


… and Awesome Dogs: http://www.bigskypublishing.com.au/Books/Children/Awesome-Animals-Dogs/1124/productview.aspx

Awesome Animals Blog Tour:

  1. 5 October Di Bates http://diannedibates.blogspot.com.au/ Article: Working with Big Sky Publishing
  2. 6 October Karen Tyrrell http://www.karentyrrell.com
  3. 7 October Dee White deescribewriting.wordpress.com
  4. 8 October Clancy Tucker clancytucker.blogspot.com.au
  5. 9 October Susan Whelan http:// www.kids-bookreview.com
  6. 10 October Elaine Ouston www.elaineoustonauthor.com
  7. 11 October Sandy Fussell www.sandyfussell.com/blog
  8. 12 October Alison Reynolds www.alisonreynolds.com.au
  9. 13 October Kate Foster http://www.katejfoster.com/blog
  10. 14 October Robyn Osborne http://robynosborne.com/blog-2
  11. 15 October Sally Murphy http://aussiereviews.com
  12. 16 October Georgie Donaghey www.creativekidstales.com.au
  13.  17 October Melissa Wray http://melissawray.blogspot.com.au


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