Michael Earp: Author Q&A

Michael is a Children’s and Young Adult bookseller and writer.
He is the editor of the collection Kindred: A Queer #LoveOzYA Anthology which will be published by Walker Books Australia this coming June.
And he also contributed the story ‘Meet and Greet’ to Underdog: #LoveOzYA Short Stories, ‘Regulation’ to Aurealis #99 and ‘The Next Stop’ to The Victorian Writer.

Michael graciously took the time to do a Q&A with me earlier in the week and I am very excited to share it with you.


DID YOU ALWAYS DREAM OF BECOMING A WRITER? 

My desire to be a writer developed gradually. I’ve always written. Starting with the terrible teenage poetry, of a 14 year old. But I never stopped journaling in free verse. Then I got a job in a bookshop as a 19 year old and rediscovered my love of books. Then started wondering if I couldn’t write them myself.

CAN YOU TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOUR WRITING PROCESS; WHERE YOU DRAW INSPIRATION FROM FOR YOUR STORIES, DO YOU HAVE ANY PRE-WRITING RITUALS OR MAYBE EVEN A PREFERRED WRITING PLACE?

I often have to tidy my desk. Clear workspace, clear mind and all that. And while I can journal and/or daydream stories anywhere, I find it very difficult to write or edit a work in progress with other people around, so I tend to do most of my writing at my desk at home, trying hard to pretend the rest of the world doesn’t exist. I’m VERY easily distracted.
As for inspiration? A lot of my ideas come from images, or snapshots from a scene that appears in my head. Then I get really curious to what came before, or what comes next, and I tease it out. Occasionally a story is in direct response to something I’ve heard. Regulation, my story in Aurealis #99 for example, was my reaction to comments someone said during the Safe Schools debate and I just felt erased in a single statement. That story just poured out of me, and I’m really proud of it.

[Note from Sarah: I purchased Aurealis #99 specifically to read Micheal’s short story Regulation. It was gripping, poignant and beautiful. It was a story that resonated within me. I am now feeling an even deeper level of connection to Regulation, after reading how it came about – I encourage you all to read it]

HAVE YOU FOUND THAT ANY WRITERS, CHILDHOOD FAVORITES PERHAPS, HAVE INFLUENCED YOUR WRITING?

There are certainly authors that while I don’t actively try to emulate their style, I maybe try to channel their vibe? Because I want my writing to be mine. But it’s hard not to aspire to be like the people you admire.

ARE THERE ANY BOOKS YOU WISH YOU HAD WRITTEN?

Ummm YES! But only in that the writer in me has grabby hands every time I read something I feel is brilliant. Margo Lanagan, Patrick Ness, David Levithan, David Almond just to name a few.

WHAT ISSUES DO YOU LIKE TO EXPLORE IN YOUR WRITING?

I’m really interested in the way that people relate to each other. The nuance of individual connections and relationships is what makes them fascinating. This includes people (or characters) relationship with themselves. All these connections are so bolstering and fraught that regardless of what the plot is doing, it’s that balance that intrigues me most.

I WAS ELATED WHEN I HEARD THAT YOU WERE PUTTING KINDRED TOGETHER (Kindred: A Queer #LoveOzYA Anthology). THE WORLD NEEDS MORE QUEER BOOKS! HOW DID YOU FEEL WHEN YOU GOT THE GO AHEAD?

ELATED! The world does need more queer books, so the fact that I was going to be able to help usher these amazing stories into the world was so exciting! I’ve been riding that wave for almost 2 years now. So now that the release is so very close (!) I’m ready for the world to have Kindred in their hands!

CAN YOU GIVE US YOUR TOP FIVE QUEER READS? – I KNOW, I KNOW, ONLY FIVE WHAAAAT. JUST GO WITH THE FIRST FIVE THAT POP INTO YOUR HEAD.

How. Dare. You.
Only 5? Sigh. Ok, here we go:
Release by Patrick Ness
Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan
Welcome To Orphancorp by Marlee Jane Ward
I’ll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson
Deadendia by Hamish Steele

WHAT ARE YOU READING AT THE MOMENT OR WHAT WAS THE LAST BOOK THAT YOU READ?

I’m currently reading Prisoncorp, the 3rd and final in Marlee Jane Ward’s FREAKING BRILLIANT series that started with Welcome to Orphancorp. Really, if you haven’t read it, go out and get it in your face.
My last 2 reads were After the Lights Go Out by Lili Wilkinson which was great (and I loved that the main character was bi, even though it wasn’t about her sexuality at all and the romance storyline was F/M). The other was Highway Bodies by Alison Evans, which all I can say is: If zombies are your thing, then what are you waiting for, and if they’re not, read it anyway. The characters and relationships Alison has created are heartwarming, crackling with life and so delightfully queer.


THANK YOU SO MUCH TO MICHAEL FOR TAKING THE TIME TO ANSWER MY QUESTIONS!

You find Michael here > >
Goodreads | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook | Website

Kindred: 12 Queer #LoveOzYA Stories – June 1st 2019, Walker Books Australia.

What does it mean to be queer? What does it mean to be human? In this powerful #OwnVoices collection, twelve of Australia’s finest queer writers explore the stories of family, friends, lovers and strangers – the connections that form us.

Compelling queer short fiction by bestsellers, award winners and newcomers to the #LoveOzYA community including Jax Jacki Brown, Claire G Coleman, Michael Earp, Alison Evans, Erin Gough, Benjamin Law, Omar Sakr, Christos Tsiolkas, Ellen van Neerven, Marlee Jane Ward, Jen Wilde and Nevo Zisin.

Sign ups are OPEN for the queer own voices Kindred tour.

To sign up or for more information see HERE.

Thanks for visiting The Adventures of SacaKat.
Until next time, enjoy your shelves :-).

The Quiet at the End of the World: YA Review

32716442The Quiet at the End of the World by Lauren James
Genre: YA Sci-Fi
Publication: March 7th 2019
Publisher: Walker Books
Source: Review copy from Publisher – Thank You
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Rating: ✵✵✵✵

How far would you go to save those you love?

Lowrie and Shen are the youngest people on the planet after a virus caused global infertility. Closeted in a pocket of London and doted upon by a small, ageing community, the pair spend their days mudlarking for artefacts from history and looking for treasure in their once-opulent mansion.

Their idyllic life is torn apart when a secret is uncovered that threatens not only their family but humanity’s entire existence. Lowrie and Shen face an impossible choice: in the quiet at the end of the world, they must decide who to save and who to sacrifice . . .


Oh, Lauren James you’ve done it again. “A boy and a girl, living on the outskirts of a collapsed civilization, watching their species go extinct.”

The Quiet at the End of the World is a YA Sci-Fi mystery that follows Lowrie and Shen, the last teenagers on earth, as they live in the aftermath of a virus that caused global infertility.

I love that Lauren’s leading ladies are always strong, smart and sciencey. Lowire is an adventurous and spirited young lady with her engineering mind always whirling and a backpack full of tools always ready to go. Lowire identifies as bisexual and there are also Bisexual and Transgender side characters, so yay for representation. Ultimately Lowire ends up with her childhood bestie, a boy and the only other teen, the intelligent and thoughtful Shen. It’s more than a romance of convenience though, as the two complement each other’s strengths and weaknesses magnificently.

A highlight for me was the interlaced life of Maya in the past with Lowrie’s present, via Lowrie reading Maya’s posts on old social media servers – It really created a depth, relatability and realness to the story. AND Mitch the robot was awesome! a handy pal and he made for a little humorous relief at times.

The Quiet at the End of the World has plenty of twists and turns, plenty of moments that make you ponder life, the future of the human race and what it means to be alive, what it means to truly live!

I thoroughly enjoyed it. Bravo Lauren James.

 

Lauren’s links: Web | Twitter | Amazon | Booktopia | Bookdepository | Walker Books

Thanks for visiting The Adventures of SacaKat.
Until next time, enjoy your shelves :-).

The Rift: YA Review

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The Rift by Rachael Craw
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publication: November 1st 2018
Publisher: Walker Books Australia
Source: Review copy from Walker – Thank You 
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Rating: ✵ ✵ ✵ ✵

When the Rift opens, death follows.

For generations, the Rangers of Black Water Island have guarded the Old Herd against horrors released by the Rift. Cal West, an apprentice Ranger with a rare scar and even rarer gifts, fights daily to prove he belongs within their ranks. After nine years away, Meg Archer returns to her childhood home only to find the Island is facing a new threat that not even the Rangers are prepared for. Meg and Cal can’t ignore their attraction, but can they face their darkest fears to save the Island from disaster?


So many unanswered questions and possible plot continuations. Please let this turn into at least a duology, PLEASE RACHAEL! What becomes of Rilke? What goes down with the Nutris Pharmaceuticals a######s and the cull? I need answers Rachael, please!

Okay now that I got my little beg session out of the way let’s continue shall we.

Rachael Craw has developed a rich and evoking world with her Actaeon’s Bane, Rift Hounds, Black Water Ranger community and Fortune Hunters. On an island in our modern world that is hardly been touched by modern luxuries and technologies. Think Yukon Men gets paranormal in the beautiful rugged wilderness of the most remote parts of New Zealand – actually drop the paranormal and that is my idea of heaven on earth, bye bye modern world, I’ll pop my head back out every other month or so to say hello. But this is a story and not my idea of paradise and as you all know I love my stories with a paranormal twist. So perfect… yeah kinda.

I found The Rift to be an unsettling read, as in I couldn’t preempt what was going to happen and I was on the edge of my seat the whole time.

The story swaps between protagonists Cal and Meg chapter for chapter.

The story begins with Meg’s return to the island nine years after the event that scared her physically and emotionally, cost her her best friend and her dreams of growing up to be a Ranger like her father.

Cal has spent the last nine years trying to appease those that don’t think he belongs. He spends so much time hating on himself and struggling with the aftermath of the night that led to Meg being taken from the island, that it is a relief by the end of the story to get to see him live again, to see him with love back in his life.

The bad guys are a little too real for comfort. Selfish, self-righteous and filled with greed. Because they exist in real life, because men act like this in real life, it makes them all the scarier on the page. I kept thinking about tigers and how they’ve been hunted to near extinction for their medicinal properties – although this is Deer not Tigers.

The story deals with grief, longing, acceptance, bravery and the ethical ramifications of hunting. There are possible triggers for people, what with all the animal death and attacks, but I found nothing was unreasonably graphic, gory or over the top. I think Rachael has managed to tell a beautiful story that deals with some very dark things. And I truly hope to read more about Black Water in the future.

 

Rachael Craw Links: Twitter | Instagram | Facebook | Website | Goodreads | Bookdepository | Amazon | Booktopia |

Thanks for visiting The Adventures of SacaKat.
Until next time, enjoy your shelves :-).

The Dog Who Lost His Bark: Review

The Dog Who Lost His Bark

The Dog Who Lost His Bark by Eoin Colfer
Genre: Childrens /MG Fiction
Publication: November 1st 2018
Publisher: Walker Books
Source: Review copy from Walker – Thank You
Add to Goodreads
Rating: ✵ ✵ ✵ ✵

A warm, uplifting story about a boy, his dog, and the healing power of music marks a first-time collaboration between two former Irish Children’s Laureates, Eoin Colfer and P.J. Lynch.

Patrick has been desperate for a dog of his own for as long as he can remember, and this summer, with his father away, he longs for a canine friend more than ever. Meanwhile, in his short doggy life, Oz has suffered at the hands of bad people. Somewhere out there, he believes, is an awesome boy — his boy. And maybe, when they find each other, Oz will learn to bark again. Illustrated in light charcoal by two-time Kate Greenaway Medalist P.J. Lynch, this heartwarming story by Eoin Colfer, internationally best-selling author of the Artemis Fowl series, is certain to enchant.

Eoin Colfer’s links: Website | Twitter  | Bookdepository | Booktopia


The Dog Who Lost His Bark is a heart wrenching yet heartwarming tale that touches on animal abuse, the wonderful work rescue shelters do, marriage separation and the power of music. Yeah that does sound like a lot to be crammed in 149 pages, but Colfer’s story flows beautifully and accompanied by Lynch’s illustrations this really is a masterpiece.

Firstly we meet Oz as a little no name pup, see him go onto to his first home, be abused, then dumped.

Secondly we meet the boy, Patrick, going of to spend his summer holidays with his mum at his granddads. As an adult reading the story you pick up up on what’s going down between Patrick parents quite early on, but depending on the age of the child either reading the book or having it read to them, they might only learn this as the character does.

Ultimately Boy and Dog end up up saving each other. Through love and care and patience Patrick gets through to Oz and they build a loving friendship. Patrick shuts down after learning the truth of his father abandoning him and his mother for a new woman. Patrick’s instincts is to push Oz away, to push love away. But Oz persists with his doggy awesomeness and finally breaks through to Patrick.

Yeah you’ll cry while reading this one. But I think it’s worth it. Colfer gives the reader some really important life lessons through a beautiful story of love, friendship and recovery.

Thanks for visiting The Adventures of SacaKat.
Until next time, enjoy your shelves :-).

Begone the Raggedy Witches: MG Review

36131823Begone the Raggedy Witches by Celine Kiernan
Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy
Publication: February 1st 2018
Publisher: Walker Books
Source: Review copy from Publisher
Thank you Walker Books
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Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

On the night that Aunty dies the Raggedy Witches come for Mup’s mam. Pale, cold, relentless, they will do anything to coax Mam back to Witches Borough. When they kidnap Mup’s dad, Mup and her mam must leave the mundane world to rescue him. But Mam is strange on this side of the border – striding, powerful, and distant. Even if they can save Dad, Mup is not sure anything will ever be the same again…


Begone the Raggedy Witches has been dubbed as Ireland’s answer to JK Rowling, but I got more of an Alice in Wonderland vibe then Harry Potter. So, maybe it’s Ireland’s answer to Lewis Carroll? Hmmm, no.

Mup was an easily likeable main character. You couldn’t help but root for her, on her journey through a strange and exciting new land, to save her father.

Mup’s baby brother Tipper turning in a dog was a highlight for me. I have an eighteen month old son and I kept imagining him running around as a puppy. I also loved the inclusion of the old family dog on the adventure, really rounded out Mup’s ragtag band of adventurers.

Begone the Raggedy Witches by Celine Kiernan is a whimsical fairytale-esque story about self-discovery, making friends, writing wrongs and good triumphing over evil. I would highly recommended this book for any younger fantasy fans.


Celine Kiernan’s Links: Twitter | Website | Facebook | Goodreads

Raggedy Witches Links: Booktopia | Bookdepository | Amazon US | Amazon AU

Thanks for visiting The Adventures of SacaKat.
Until next time, enjoy your shelves :-).

The Wolf, the Duck, and the Mouse: Children’s Picture Book Review

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The Wolf, the Duck and the Mouse
Written by Mac Barnett
Illustrated by Jon Klassen

Publication: November 1, 2017
Publisher: Walker Books
Source: Review copy from publisher
Thank You Walker

Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

They may have been swallowed, but they have no intention of being eaten… A new comedy from the unparalleled team of Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen.

Early one morning a mouse met a wolf and was quickly gobbled up…When a woeful mouse is swallowed up by a wolf, he quickly learns he is not alone: a duck has already set up digs and, boy, has that duck got it figured out! Turns out it’s pretty nice inside the belly of the beast – there’s delicious food, elegant table settings and, best of all, dancing. And there’s something more: no more fear of being eaten by a wolf! Life’s not so bad, considering the alternatives. That is, until a hunter shows up… With a nod to traditional fables and a wink to the reader, the award-winning Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen of Sam and Dave Dig a Hole, Extra Yarn and Triangle offer a tale of cooperation and creative cuisine that is sure to go down easy.


Early one morning, a mouse met a wolf, and he was quickly gobbled up.

The Wolf, The Duck & The Mouse is a fantastical story of a Duck and a Mouse who refused to be eaten and a humorous lesson in why wolves howl.

“I may have been swallowed,” said the duck, “but I have no intention of being eaten.”

Quick plot rundown: A Mouse meets a Wolf. The Wolf eats the mouse. The Mouse meets a Duck inside the Wolf, they then proceeded to live happily partying it up. The Wolf gets sick from all the hubbub inside him. Now weak and sick the Wolf becomes the target of a hunter. The Duck and the Mouse knowing their new way of life is in danger jump out of the Wolf and scare off the Hunter. Then they all live happily ever after, sort of – The duck and the Mouse do, the Wolf, not so much – but you’ll have to read it to understand what I mean by that.

When I opened the box from walker I actually gasped out loud. The hardcover’s illustrated sleeve is a real treat for the eyes. The book is full of delightful and easily “readable” earthly toned illustrations – simply glorious!

The Wolf, The Duck & The Mouse is an easy and well-paced read (text to picture ratio) and flows well off the tongue. I would recommend this book for ages four and up. I think children any younger wouldn’t be able to grasp the impossible and bizarreness of Duck and Mouse’s activities and the humour that makes this book a joy to read.

If you have any kiddlets in your life, The Wolf, The Duck & The Mouse would make a captivating Christmas present.

Goodreads | Walker Books | Booktopia | Bookdepository 

Mac Barnett: Website | Twitter – Jon Klassen: Website | Twitter