Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Author Interview: Brenda Cheers author of The Secrets of Julia Hawke

Brenda Cheers, author of the book The Secrets of Julia Hawke, stopped by for an interview.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I live in Brisbane but my heart belongs in Greece. I love art-house movies and literary fiction. I always wanted to be an ex-pat, but couldn't quite achieve it. Until recently I was a student of martial arts. I love long walks at daybreak in strange cities.

What do you do when you're not writing?

Thinking about the next story or the current work-in-progress. Walking and running. Watching movies. Reading.

When did your first start writing?

I published my first picture book at age five. I was the author, illustrator, editor and publisher. I even stapled the spine perfectly. It was the story of a car. It possessed human feelings.

Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?

As a young adult I read The Thornbirds by Australian writer Colleen McCulloch. There was something about this novel that affected me deeply. When I taught myself to touch-type, I used passages from this book for practice. It meant that the mundane was made joyful.

What inspired you to write this particular book?

An image came to me--a woman arriving at an airport in her home city, tired and distressed. She has lost the trust of those closest to her when she needs it most.It made me ask questions. The story grew wings and flew.

What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?

The chapters that tell of the friendship between Julia and Rachel were my favourites to write. This theme, of friendship between women almost overtook the main theme. I wish I had a friend like Rachel.

What is best writing advice you can give?

There are two pieces of advice: 1. Write something every day. 2. Read, read, read.

Is there anything else you'd like your readers to know about the book?

The first draft was darker and very edgy in parts. Two of my trusted beta-readers said it went too far. I used the Stephen King method--taking notice if more than one person gives the same feedback. I rewrote four chapters.

About the book:

Julia Hawke and her friend Rachel are celebrating the end of their final year of schooling. 

They deceive their parents and embark on an adventure to the Gold Coast of Queensland.

Many years later, Julia is still keeping secrets in an attempt to hide what happened during those few, fateful days. 

A series of events force her to realise that keeping these secrets comes at too great a cost. What can Julia do to regain the trust of those she loves?

“The Secrets of Julia Hawke” explores, not only the destructive nature of secrets, but also the miracle of unconditional friendship.

About the author:

Brenda Cheers is a novelist and short story writer, living in Brisbane, Australia.

Her passions are art-house motion pictures and literary fiction.

“The Secrets of Julia Hawke” is her sixth published novel.


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