Well, it’s that time of year again, when I give my blog over to shameless self-promotion! My latest novel, Turtle Reef, will be released by Penguin on the 25th March. The official Melbourne launch will be at Readings Bookstore, 701 Glenferrie Rd, Hawthorn on Wednesday 8th April at 6.00pm. Free event. All welcome!
To celebrate, I’m giving away two copies of Turtle Reef. (Aust & NZ residents only) To go in the draw, just leave a comment on this post. Winners announced on Sunday 5th April.
This week I’m posting a Q&A I did for Penguin Australia.
What is your new book about?
Turtle Reef is the story of Zoe King, an unlucky-in-love zoologist who has given up on men. Moving from Sydney to take up an exciting new role in marine science in the small sugar town of Kiawa is a welcome fresh start.
Zoe is immediately charmed by the region’s beauty – by its rivers and rainforests, and by its vast cane fields, sweeping from the foothills down to the rocky coral coast. And also by its people – its farmers and fishermen, unhurried and down to earth, proud of their traditions.
Her work at the Reef Centre provides all the passion she needs and Zoe finds a friend in Bridget, the centre’s director. The last thing she wants is to fall for her boss’s boyfriend, cane king Quinn Cooper, and so she refuses to acknowledge the attraction between them – even to herself.
But things aren’t quite adding up at the Reef Centre and when animals on the reef begin to sicken and die, Zoe’s personal and professional worlds collide. She faces a terrible choice. Will protecting the reef mean betraying the man she loves?
- What or who inspired it?
– Turtle Reef was inspired by my passion for the Great Barrier Reef, the largest coral ecosystem on our blue planet, and one of the seven natural wonders of the world. It holds a special place in the hearts of Australians. I wanted my story to show the important part the reef plays in the human and animal life of coastal communities. It was also an excuse to write about dugongs and dolphins!
- What was the biggest challenge, writing it?
– The biggest challenge was not letting the animals hijack the story. They wanted to hog the plot!
- What did you want to achieve with your book?
– I wanted to share my love of the Great Barrier Reef, and pay tribute to its unique wildlife. I also wanted to entertain readers with a passionate and unusual love story. If Turtle Reef sparks debate about reef protection, that’s a bonus.
- Are there any parts of it that have special personal significance to you?
– The story of the black Arabian mare, Aisha, is loosely based on the life of my own mare, Starfire. And like Zoe King, I’ve always been fascinated by marine mammals.
- What do you see as the major themes in your book?
– The main themes in Turtle Reef are: change versus tradition, the risks and rewards of freedom and learning to challenge your fears. The book also explores our relationship with animals and nature.
- To whom have you dedicated the book and why?
– Turtle Reef is dedicated to the Australian Marine Conservation Society. They provide Australia’s ocean wildlife with a vital voice.
- Who do you think will enjoy your book?
– Anybody who likes horses, dolphins, or ripping yarns in magnificent settings.
- Describe yourself in three words?
– Passionate, compassionate and nerdy
- What three things do you dislike?
– Cruelty, indifference and greed
- What three things do you like?
– Horses, the wilderness and champagne.
- What would you like to think people can get from reading your book?
– I hope Turtle Reef can transport readers to the southern tip of the Great Barrier Reef, and immerse them in the lives of its unique people and wildlife.
- What do you think your life will be like 20 years from now?
– Not very different from today I hope – riding horses and writing books.
- What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
– I always have a special good-luck symbol for each book I write. For Billabong Bend it was an unused bird-shot cartridge. For Turtle Reef it was a crystal dolphin on a piece of amethyst that my brother gave me.
- Where do you get your information or ideas for your books
– Mainly from my own imagination, although I always undertake research trips to ensure settings are authentic. Google and the State Library also get a good workout.
- As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
– Write books and ride horses.
- If you were for sale the ad would say…
– ‘Well-bred aged mare. Nice nature. No vices (well, hardly any!) Quick on feet and loves bush riding. Can be stubborn. Needs experienced rider.’
- What is your life motto?
– ‘If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again.’
- What is your most memorable moment?
– Apart from when my children were born, you mean? Getting published for the first time of course.
Just cannot wait for this book to hit the shelves!!
Thanks for your support Raelene!
Ah, Jenny – so looking forward to reading Turtle Reef! I have it pre-ordered at the Kobo bookshop, so it will drop into my Kobo library the minute it’s released. This interview is wonderful – just serves to whet my appetite even further.
If I’m lucky enough to win a copy of the print edition, it will go straight to my beautiful daughter, Annie, who has many traits in common with you – among them, a deep love of animals, a great capacity for compassion and the courage to step up to challenges. For her 21st birthday present, she asked if I could help her fund a trip to the Great Barrier Reef as she fears it might not be there when she gets older. What a heartrending possibility. I was both delighted and greatly saddened by her request.
PS Great choice of surname for Zoe 😉
Thank you Desney. Annie sounds wonderful, a lot like my own daughter Heather. Unfortunately there is a very real possibility that Annie is right about the Reef. xx
Such a fun Q & A thank you. I especially loved the sale ad answer. TURTLE REEF promises to be a fabulous read.
Ha Ha … thanks Mary. Good luck in the draw!
Congratulations on the release of Turtle Reef, the cover is very striking. This is one of the 2015 releases I’m really looking forward to reading. I’m hoping one day you can make it to Perth for an author tour.
Thank you so much Amanda! I would love to come to Perth – my two special nieces live there. And I’m seriously thinking of setting a future novel on the Kimberley Coast.
Oh, this story looks so exciting. I live near the beach and watching the aquatic animals are so relaxing. Your novels are so beautifully written, I’m sure this one will be a hit too.
Thanks Melissa. It’s been so much fun writing a book set on the coast. Lucky you to live near the beach!
Can wait to read this book Jennifer sounds wonderful and about our Aussie reef, would also like to go into the draw for a free copy please that would be the icing on my cake, thank you xx
Thanks Kim. You’re in the draw!
Hi Jennifer. I am so happy you have a new book coming out. I have read them all and they are all different. I would have to say Currawong creek would be my fave as it struck a personal chord with me and wasp season was very intriguing. You hold ones interest throughout all of your reads. I am sure Turtle Reef. Will be no different. I am so ready to go on a new journey to wherever turtle reef can take me in my imagination. Good luck with the new release we are so lucky in Aus. To have our great modern day authors 🙂
Thanks for your kind words Sue. Yes, we have so many wonderful Australian authors, especially rural ones. Good luck in the draw!
Congratulations Jennifer! Just realised, your stories are moving further north with each one. Is this deliberate or just a happy coincidence? Roll on March 25th!
Just a coincidence, but then again, Cape York sounds good for a setting! Many thanks for your kind wishes 🙂
Oh! I’ve never been to Cape York. I suppose you’d have to go there…to do some research…right? 😀
Good book to amuse my wife while I get back into the footy!
Ha ha … that should work Ern!
congratulations on the release of Turtle Reef! I’m looking forward to reading it.
Many thanks. Perhaps I’ll see you at the launch!
How beautiful! It’s a gorgeous part of the world up there, and marine mammals (especially dolphins!) are also a favourite of mine. Looking forward to reading the book.
Thanks Alison. Turtle Reef is chockfull of dugongs and dolphins!
congratulations just the cover makes you want to dive into the book looks exciting
Thanks Brenda. I love the cover too! You’re in the draw 🙂
Looks like a great book set in an amazing place – look forward to reading it 🙂
Thanks Gemma! You’re in the draw 🙂
I am really looking forward to reading Turtle Reef. I have read Currawong Creek and loved it .
Thank you so much Verna! Good luck in the draw 🙂
Congrats on the new book! I was lucky enough to go to the Reef on my honeymoon, and it is truly spectacular and stunning. It’s really sad to think that it could be ruined and no longer with us.
Thanks Karla. Let’s hope that the Reef can be protected in time. You’re in the draw!
Cant wait to read, it would be the best beach to go and hide and get away from it all
Yes Kevin, it certainly would!
I’m excited to read this book it sounds amazing