Q&A With Author Bram Connolly!

Today’s Q&A post features Bram Connolly, author of the newly released novel Off Reservation, published by Allen & Unwin, RRP $29.99.

Firstly, congratulations on the release of Off Reservation. Is Matt Rix’s character going to be part of a continuing book series?

Yes, The Fighting Season was designed to introduce the character, his background and some of his back story. I wanted Off Reservation to show the reader that he could operate outside of the military context. My plan into the future is to slowly unravel his life and have him operating further outside of a legal framework. He might not always realise that he is breaking the law, as the premise is that he is fallible and therefore manipulated by different government agendas and people with money and power.

You mentioned previously that Steph’s character was a challenge when writing The Fighting Season. In your latest novel, Off Reservation, which character was the most challenging to write?

This time the hardest character to write was Glyn, the Welsh SBS Officer. The SBS have a different culture to that of Australian Special Forces, so the danger was that Glyn and Matt would seem like the same person to the reader if I didn’t capture and convey their culture correctly. I have worked with Royal Marines and the SBS before, and I wanted to make sure that they were still seen as the highly credible force that they are. Glyn’s personality is also a little foreign to me. My default is to be self effacing, where an Alpha male like Glyn is always on the attack, so that took a lot of observation of people like that.

How did you brainstorm for writing Off Reservation?

To start with, there were a few scenes I just wanted to write. The ship under way scene at the start, Matt being released from 2nd Commando Regiment and the fight scene in Istanbul. I already had an idea that I wanted to write these. However, I think what you are asking is how do I structure the plot? Well, I sit in a cafe and just start day dreaming about a movie I’d like to see. I come up with a plot, then some twists, a setting and then I write a start and finish point and then the chapter descriptions in between. In this way I can start to imagine different scenes and interactions. For Off Reservation I actually went and walked the ground too. London, Istanbul, Sydney – all the locations except Iran, where I had to rely on lonely planet – I’m not sure the Iranians would love to have me poking around there cities looking for inspiration. Not yet anyway.

What book has grabbed your attention lately and why?

I have just finished Tribes, by Seth Godin. I’m in the middle of designing an online mentor business for people looking to join the Australian Defence Force. It’s called WarriorU and I wanted to make sure that I understood the most contemporary way to reach the people that matter, my tribe, so to speak. I highly recommend it. I have also just finished Chris Allen’s Defender. I don’t read other authors fiction while I am writing, so that I can be sure there is no crossover of thought or ideas. I’ve been waiting to read this for so long and I wasn’t disappointed. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Chris writes a James Bond in the future, he’s that good.

What can readers expect next in your writing endeavours?

I am currently writing a non-fiction book. We haven’t gone firm on a title yet; however, the premise of the book is a lifestyle engineering manual based on the principles of Special Forces. Each chapter starts with a military story from my career and is then broken down to its component parts, so that the reader can gain some insight and perhaps adopt the techniques, skills or attitudes that are conveyed. The chapters range from time management, mental resilience, nutrition, physical training and life planning. I’m writing the parenting chapter at the moment, and while I‘m not a parenting expert it has been interesting researching the principles behind what I do naturally, based on special forces training.

 

About Off Reservation by Bram Connolly

Australian Special Forces commander Matt Rix in another action packed adventure.

Ultra-tough and ultra-lethal, Australian Commando Captain Matt Rix is one of Special Forces’ most lethal operators. But when a training exercise goes horribly wrong, he is given an ultimatum that brings his world crashing down. There is only one choice left to him and that’s to go ‘off reservation’.

What follows is the frantic pursuit of escaped Taliban commander Faisal Khan. Chasing Khan across Turkey would be easy; stopping a nuclear weapon he has received from falling into the hands of the world’s most feared terrorist organisation, that’s going to be the hard part.

Rix might be disgraced and discarded, but he should never be underestimated. Nothing is ever as it seems…

Purchase Links

Allen & Unwin  *  Google Play  *  Amazon Australia  *  Booktopia

 

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New Release! The Late Show by Michael Connelly

The Late Show is the first novel I have read by author Michael Connelly, and I was not disappointed. The story’s lead character Reneé Ballard, often depicted as a strong protagonist, was genuine and intense, in a gripping tale that was a stand out read. A great series starter.
Review copy received from Allen & Unwin Australia

 

About The Late Show by Michael Connelly

Los Angeles can be a dangerous city – never more so than in the dead of night.

Renee Ballard works the night shift at the LAPD in Hollywood, beginning many investigations but finishing none as each morning she turns her cases over to day shift detectives. A once up-and-coming detective, she’s been given this beat as punishment after filing a sexual harassment complaint against a supervisor.

But one night she catches two cases she doesn’t want to part with: the brutal beating of a prostitute left for dead in a parking lot and the killing of a young woman in a nightclub shooting. Ballard is determined not to give up at dawn. Against orders and her own partner’s wishes, she works both cases by day while maintaining her shift by night.

As the cases entwine, they pull her closer to her own demons and the reason she won’t give up her job – no matter what the department throws at her.

The Late Show by Michael Connelly is published by Allen & Unwin, RRP $32.99.

Purchase Links

Allen & Unwin Australia * Booktopia * Amazon Australia  *  Michael Connelly.com

 

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New Release! Hello, Goodbye by Emily Brewin

What a powerful, thought provoking read. The portrayal of May’s character was stunning. Set in an era that was contentious, uncertain and undeniably controversial. Hello, Goodbye by author Emily Brewin was enthralling reading that I could not tear myself away from. So many sad moments in the story that affected May’s character that as the reader, could not help but feel the effects. The conclusion had me elated, in that something finally went some kind of right for the protagonist. My heart was pounding and my gut was churning throughout and by the story’s conclusion, I was left breathless. The author’s depiction of events and the character challenges, collectively, made for some stunning reading. A book for the fave reads list to be sure.
Review copy received from Allen & Unwin

 

About Hello, Goodbye by Emily Brewin

It’s 1968 and free-thinking country girl May Callaghan’s world is turned upside down when she finds out she’s pregnant to her boyfriend Sam, who is awaiting draft orders. A profoundly moving story of love during a time of great social change, with an ending that will leave you cheering.

May Callaghan is seventeen years old and on her own. At least that’s how it feels.

Her devoutly religious mother and her gentle but damaged father are fighting, and May’s boyfriend, Sam, has left their rural hometown for Melbourne without so much as a backward glance.

When May lies to her parents and takes the train to visit Sam at his shared house in Carlton, her world opens wide in glorious complexity. She is introduced to his housemates, Clancy, an indigenous university student, and Ruby, a wild bohemian. With their liberal thinking and opposition to the war in Vietnam, they are everything that May’s strict Catholic upbringing should warn her against.

May knows too well the toll that war has taken on her father, and the peace movement in the city has a profound effect on her. For a while, May’s future burns bright. But then it begins to unravel, and something happens to her that will change her life forever.

Hello, Goodbye by Emily Brewin is published by Allen & Unwin, RRP $29.99.

Purchase Links

Allen & Unwin Australia * Booktopia * Amazon Australia * Google Play

 

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Q&A With Author Emily Brewin!

Today’s Q&A post features Emily Brewin, author of the newly released novel Hello, Goodbye, published by Allen & Unwin, RRP $29.99.

In your words can you tell us a bit about your new book.

Hello, Goodbye is a coming-of-age novel set in 1968. Seventeen-year-old, May Callaghan, a country girl from a strict Catholic family follows her boyfriend, Sam, to Melbourne where she discovers a more liberal way of life.

In Carlton, she meets bohemian students, Clancy and Ruby, and finds herself swept up in the anti-Vietnam War movement. For a while she thinks she has shed her stifling past until something happens that drags her backwards, threatening the future she’s worked so hard for.

Hello, Goodbye explores the issues of forced adoption and the anti-Vietnam War movement in Melbourne. The 1960s were a time of incredible social change. The women’s liberation movement was building, the sexual revolution was in full swing and people were protesting in the streets. Yet, many young people still fell victim to archaic beliefs that saw unmarried mothers secreted away to homes and young men conscripted into war. Hello, Goodbye is based on their stories.

Which character was the most challenging to write about?

I found Sam, May’s boyfriend, quite difficult to write as he was so conflicted. He was hard to pin down, and for a while there was pretty one-dimensional. It took me a good few drafts to get to know and understand him.

In the end, I realised this internal conflict stems from the fact that he is very young and impressionable, and is struggling to make sense of the world and the expectations placed on him.

What are you favourite stand out reads and why?

There are so many! The books I’ve read recently that have stayed with me are Josephine Rowe’s A Loving, Faithful Animal, Zoe Morrison’s Music and Freedom and Anne Enright’s The Green Road. The characters in these books are incredibly vivid and alive, in all their strength and fragility.

Also, A Loving, Faithful Animal deals with the intergenerational impacts of the Vietnam War, which is a subject I am particularly interested in.

What inspired you to become an author?

I’ve always loved reading and writing, and have wanted to be a writer for as long as I can remember. I studied journalism because I believe words have the power to change the world. I still believe this and tend to write around social issues.

I started writing fiction again while going through a particularly tough period in my life. A very wise woman asked me what made my heart sing. When I said writing, she told me to go ahead and do it then… I did, and I haven’t looked back since.

Doing what you love isn’t always easy. Spending hours alone at a computer often makes my head spin and pursuing writing, as a career, is such a gamble. But when it goes right it is immensely satisfying, and I honestly can’t think of anything else I’d rather do.

What projects are you currently working on?

I have a second novel coming out mid next year with Allen and Unwin. It is contemporary, but also set in Carlton (My subconscious seems to be particularly interested in this location. It must be the coffee!). It follows the lives of two very different women who find themselves bound together by a tragic incident.

Apart from this, I am working hard to finish the first draft of a third novel, which explores the links between homelessness and mental illness.

 

About Hello, Goodbye by Emily Brewin

It’s 1968 and free-thinking country girl May Callaghan’s world is turned upside down when she finds out she’s pregnant to her boyfriend Sam, who is awaiting draft orders. A profoundly moving story of love during a time of great social change, with an ending that will leave you cheering.

May Callaghan is seventeen years old and on her own. At least that’s how it feels.

Her devoutly religious mother and her gentle but damaged father are fighting, and May’s boyfriend, Sam, has left their rural hometown for Melbourne without so much as a backward glance.

When May lies to her parents and takes the train to visit Sam at his shared house in Carlton, her world opens wide in glorious complexity. She is introduced to his housemates, Clancy, an indigenous university student, and Ruby, a wild bohemian. With their liberal thinking and opposition to the war in Vietnam, they are everything that May’s strict Catholic upbringing should warn her against.

May knows too well the toll that war has taken on her father, and the peace movement in the city has a profound effect on her. For a while, May’s future burns bright. But then it begins to unravel, and something happens to her that will change her life forever.

Hello, Goodbye by Emily Brewin is published by Allen & Unwin, RRP $29.99.

Purchase Links

Allen & Unwin Australia * Booktopia * Amazon Australia * Google Play

 

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New Release! Half Wild by Pip Smith

Sydney, 1938. After being hit by a car on Oxford Street, sixty-three-year-old Jean Ford lies in a coma in Sydney Hospital. Doctors talk across her body, nurses jab her in the arm with morphine, detectives arrive to take her fingerprints. She has £100 in her pocket, but no identification. Memories come back to her – a murder trial, a life in prison – but with each prick of the needle her memories begin to shift.

Wellington, 1885. Tally Ho doesn’t need to go to school because she is going to be a fisherman or a cart driver or a butcher boy like Harry Crawford. Wellington is her town and she makes up the rules. Papa takes her fishing, Nonno teaches her how to jump fences on his horse Geronimo – life gallops on the way it should, until a brother, baby William, is born. ‘Go and play with your sisters,’ Papa says, but wearing dresses and sipping tea is not the life for Tally Ho. Taking the advice of her hero, Harry Crawford, she runs away.

Sydney, 1917. The burned body of a woman is discovered on the banks of the Lane Cove River. Was she a mad woman? A drunk who’d accidentally set herself on fire? Nobody knows, until-three years later – a tailor’s apprentice tells police that his mother went missing that same weekend, and that his stepfather, Harry Crawford, is not who he seems to be. Who, then, is he?

Based on the true lives of Eugenia Falleni, Half Wild is Pip Smith’s dazzling debut novel.

Half Wild by Pip Smith is published by Allen & Unwin Australia, RRP $29.99.

Purchase Links

Allen & Unwin Australia  *  Amazon Australia  *  Booktopia

 

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