Losing Kate

Australia Day 2016

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I’m feeling patriotic this year. So here’s what Australia is, to me:

School breaks that stretched forever, days filled with monopoly marathons, fighting for the front seat and inventing stupid ways to avoid the swelter.

Days lost pestering soldier-crabs running ink-blue stains across the beach. It’s about sand in your sheets and suncream in your nails, riding your bike as far as daylight allowed (to be home before the streetlights flickered).

It’s the joy of eating king prawns sandwiched between fresh white bread, the art of licking mango juice dripping between your fingers, sneaking to the sleep-out come dishes time to avoid your turn.

It’s days spent lying in the spinifex with an always-damp towel and library book, bolting across tacky bitumen to line for hot chips with chicken salt.

Australia is eternally sunburn shoulders stinging in the shower, bagsing bbq’s for sunset sausage fry-ups listening to a chorus of cicadas.

It’s about making memories with those you love, being who you want to be, and not taking yourself, or life too seriously.

I hope you’re soaking up the sun somewhere special today, making new memories, feeling grateful to be here. Because I sure am.

Happy Australia Day!Australia Day Book Giveaway.

Book Giveaway!

To celebrate, I have one signed copy of either Losing Kate or Missing You (both set in Queensland) up for grabs for one lucky Aussie Resident.

cropped-LosingKate_MissingYou_FacebookImage_1200x628.jpgThe competition opens 24th Jan and closes Midnight Wed 27th January 2016. (I won’t make you sell your soul to enter – just add a blog comment.)  Here’s the link to leave your entry:  COMPETITION CLOSED
ENTER HERE

The winner will be chosen via random.org and notified by the email address you provide by next weekend (your email will not be used for any other purpose).

Jean B is our lucky random winner! Congratulations! I have emailed you regarding your prize. Thanks to everyone who entered and for your lovely comments. 

There’s a lot to love about our country – including the plethora of Aussie authors who exploit the great landscapes we share for their literary pursuits. Find many of them (including dozens more Australian Books up for grabs) here on this blog hop!

Click here for more chances for free Aussie books at the Bookdout Blog-Hop Giveaway

 

The Finish Line; A published Book. But will it change me or the way I write?

Losing Kate Kylie KadenMost writers spend months (years?) wondering if their little story has enough gumption for the big bad world, and I was no different. But my secrets out. It has happened – my final  copies of Losing Kate have arrived – with much fanfare (our dog bailing up the courier, and my three boys running naked in the yard with water-pistols).

I’ve had a busy few weeks flaunting Kate about, and now that the dust has settled it has finally sunk in. Publishing a book feels like a child leaving home. A hope that you’ve done your best, that you’ve brought them up right.

She’s gone. Out in the world. Alone. With only a thin coat of high-gloss and that fresh-book-smell to keep her Bembo-Font warm.

But so far, LK seems to be doing just fine; holding her own, keeping out of trouble – and has even been asked to pop over to Germany! (Guten Tag!) I am no longer worried that she’ll turn up at my door (by the box-full), demanding her old room back. She seems to be reveling in her new-found independence and I hear quite a few not-insane people outside-my-family have actually bought it!  So not a dismal failure! Phew!

So has the simple act of ticking “publish a book” off my bucket list, changed me?

I’m a fairly down to earth person (and still have the odd thought that perhaps Bev and Lex might’ve gone a bit nutty in that slush-pile-room picking my script). So I was sure this writing caper – that started as nothing more than a housework avoidance strategy, would not overwhelm me. I’ve never considered myself an arty person. I value honesty and saying it like it is. I’m not into art galleries, poetry, naval gazing, or the like.  I’ve always been one to not speak out unless I’m absolutely sure what I have to say is relevant, correct, and not about to bother anybody else.  I have confidence in my writing, and I am proud of my debut novel, but part of me has a slight twinge of unworthiness, being categorised as an “artist”. (Who asked me anyway?).

But now that my work, which despite being fiction, has pieces of me hiding-in-plain-sight on every page (even if it’s just a description of a person I observed on a train or the anecdote told to me over coffee), the rules have changed. In deciding to publish, I’ve been given the chance to speak, so by all fairness, the reader has the right of reply.  And of course, any self-obsessed author wants to know about it when they do.

I’ll admit, since the launch of Losing Kate a few weeks back I’ve become one of those self-obsessed people that Google their own name. All the time. Variations, just to be sure I haven’t missed a review, a mention, a new plug. And I tell you, self-obsession can be very draining! Even with corker reviews.  Although I am sure my condition is temporary..,I hope. (There’s washing to be done!)

When asked if it gets easier (with subsequent books) Helene Young, at her recent Brisbane launch of Safe Harbour, said, “No, it get’s harder!”.

And I think that will prove correct. Your first book was written in your own time with no one anticipating it. With subsequent works, readers have expectations, publishers have deadlines, writers can feel rushed (enter second book syndrome).

Last week (whilst self-googling, as you do, as a legitimate branding/business management strategy (cough)) I noticed Losing Kate sitting pretty at #1 on iTunes. In a mad panic I took a screenshot, thinking I’ll blink and miss this moment in (no-one-cares-but-me) history, only to be replaced by a proper-authory-person. But by some miracle LK darted back-and-forth in the big league between some esteemed company for a respectable few weeks, until Matthew Rielly and all his fabulousness took the reigns with a book or three ;). Yes, those self doubts may never go away (and perhaps they shouldn’t).

At the end of the day, I can’t take this gig too seriously, I make stuff up for a living. It’s storytelling, after all – not world peace or a cure for cancer, as this quote eloquently points out:

“Any reviewer who expresses rage and loathing for a novel is preposterous. He or she is like a person who has put on full armour and attacked a hot fudge sundae”  — Kurt Vonnegut, American novelist

So I plan to take any success or lack-there-of in my stride.  You can’t please everyone, no matter how good you think (or don’t) think you are.

Where you can find me:

Thanks to all the reviewers who have taken the time to invest time in a newbie and share your valued viewpoints (you can read some insights on Losing Kate at Goodreads).  Here is a link to a few.

Brisvegas dwellers, I’ll be out and about at local libraries and bookshops soon (calendar below). I am also making my way down to Sydney to meet up with RWA members, and attend the ARRA book signing on Saturday 9th August. (along with an array of other authors).  This is a ticketed event and you can buy tickets here. Please come say hi (I’m not too scary, unless you happen to be one of my son’s and haven’t eaten your peas, then I get pretty hard-core. I may even spit a little.).

Or if you’re a bit shy, drop me a line at contact@kyliekaden.com.au. I’d love to hear about your favourite characters, the annoying bits, and parts you liked best.

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More Than You Ever Needed To Know On How I Write

The Elusive Writing Process.

Contemporary Romance Author Lily Malone: queen of the simile, master of the detail, has kindly tagged me to answer some questions on How I Write. And well, after stroking my ego by saying nice things about me on her blog again, I couldn’t refuse. (That’s not entirely true – who can resist a rare chance to talk about themselves?)

In the year or so I’ve been fluffing around with one story, Lily (the beanie-clad beauty you see there) has managed to churn out THREE fabulous new releases. The latest, Fairway to Heaven is a fun, fresh read. It’s all about the utterly likeable Jenn, and how she got her Mojo back. But Fairway to Heaven offers a lot more than that. Whilst not the central storyline, it’s the first book I’ve read that paints a realistic picture of life with a toddler.  Brilliant stuff, Lily. 

FTHLilyMaloneIf you haven’t discovered Lily’s work, what are you waiting for? 

So, enough about me and Lily, here’s more about me:

More Than You Ever Needed To Know On: How I Write

What am I working on?   Other than folding a weeks-worth-of-washing….my second novel. In the tradition of Losing Kate, it has a what really happened  kind of suspense, but still has a love story as central to the conflict. It’s currently called Unguarded Moments, but my editor has a habit of changing titles on me so that may be temporary (I do trust you Bev!).  I don’t know exactly what it is yet (a tad disconcerting 90 thousand in, but I don’t want to spoil the surprise for myself!?). In essence it’s a catalogue of all the raw, unguarded moments the main characters share, and how each impacts on their lives. At least, I think…

How does my work differ from others of its genre?   Perhaps I’m a commitment-phobe, but I like to think of myself as cross-genre; a little lovin’, a little suspense, a lot of relationship dissecting. It’s eclectic. It’s honest. It’s unashamedly Australian.  

Why do I write what I do?  I guess I write about relationships, as, like a lot of women, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about them. Finding them. Ending them. Improving them. At sixteen it was when will I have one, at twenty-two it was when will I have a good one, and lately it’s changed into fine tuning the right one; he knows me so well so why can’t he read my mind, God damn it!

How does my writing process work?  I read somewhere that writing a novel is a bit like driving at night; you can’t see very far ahead, but you can make the whole trip that way. I’m very much a Pantser; I make it up as I go along. Often it’s a conglomeration of random ideas, little snippets that inspired me, or lyrics that challenged my view on something. These become the spice that are thrown in the slow-cooker in my head – they may, or may not go together. I just drive on till I see where I land. So let’s hope I don’t end up in a ditch with a horrible stew!  But if I do that’s okay, it’s all about the journey.

 So that’s it from me; I’ve done my dash, now it’s time to pass on the Blog Baton to another unsuspecting blogger. Only problem is, everyone I’ve asked was either (a) too shy, (b) too busy (c) done it.  This leaves me in a bit of bother, really. Perhaps someone could help me out. Perhaps you may wish to share how you write with us, make us feel less alone in this rather isolated profession…any takers??  Drop us a line if you do!

(BTW – since this post, the lovely Ali Morris will be picking up the baton. Thanks so much Ali (and Lily for being the go-between… you are making a habit of that!?))

 Losing Kate; a Women’s General Fiction, is being published by Random House Australia and is available on Ebook 26h March, and in Trade paperback 1st April.   

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Pre-order for your Kindle, or US copy at  Amazon

Pre-Order for ibooks at itunes.

Or  you can get the print version at Angus & Robertson – free delivery Australia Wide.

Just like the best people, some of the best books are an eclectic mix.

GenreCon

Just like the best people, some of the best books are an eclectic mix.

For those that don’t know, GenreCon (run by the fabulous Queensland Writers Centre)  is a meeting of the minds, a conference for the writers amongst us that have their stories shelved in their own corner of the book shop.

Whilst, in fact, that isn’t me, I decided to gatecrash anyway, and see what I could glean from their writing conventions, their readers expectations, and their valuable experience.

I write general women’s fiction, and at times, wish I had a few “conventions” to give me some guidance on what readers want and expect. But mostly I think I’m just not creative enough to invent parallel universes or my own species. Similarly to historicals, I’m just too damn lazy to research if a certain poem existed in Federation Australia, or when the zip was invented, before I include it in a novel.

I like to think that the strength in my writing comes from being “real”, the polar-opposite of most genre fiction. Even romance beds itself (pardon the pun) on escapism, with the fantasy hero and all those heart palpitations and visceral reactions. But we all need that escape sometimes, and it delivers that in spades.   After all, who want’s to read about taking public transport or changing nappies? Those experiences are real, but aren’t exactly entertaining.

Hopefully, my strength isn’t in the detailed description of world-building, it’s in the ability for readers to relate. (That’s not to say that people can’t relate to a two headed zombie having a relationship with a vampire, but I’m far too boring to pull that off.)

Whilst you could say I write love-stories, you could say I write suspense, I think I write reality. Reality Fiction. There’s a new genre for you.  I like to think I write in a frank manner that people can relate to – because it’s honest. About relationships. About friendship. About people. And whilst sometimes we want to be drawn away into another time and place, sometimes we just want to make sense of the world we’re in.  I know many of the conflicts of fantasy and sci-fi are universal, but it’s nice to read how someone not-unlike-yourself, got themselves out of a dilemma too.

GenreCon was great. I caught up with some old friends, and made some new ones, and enjoyed the variety of speakers and workshops on offer. But I came away wondering, what is Genre anyway, but a marketing tool? A way to define a work in order to sell it? I understand readers need to be aware of what they’re getting into.  I hate investing time in a breezy chick-lit, only to find the main love interest turns out to be a ghost part-way through (sorry, the ghost thing doesn’t do it for me. Yes. I’m a skeptic to the core).

Genre is useful for that, for creating expectations. But what about cross-genres, and stories with square edges that just don’t fit in the round holes marketers need? Can’t the world hear those stories too? Books are as individual as people. Whilst they have defined personality traits (a bit like genres), there is no accounting for those eccentrics that just rewrite the rules (and, from my experience, some of the best people (and books) are eccentrics).  I’m still not sure what genre Losing Kate is – a mystery? A love story? A general fiction? Who knows (and who cares?!). It is what it is. Eclectic. Skizoid. Weird. The fact that it straddles genres may have made it harder to pitch, harder to sell (and shelve) but it did get picked up. So your cross-genre story can too.

Write the story in you, not the one that fits into a popular genre or the next trend.

Is the very existence of “genres” sucking the originality of our stories, with writers grinding away those rough edges to fit their novels firmly into the pigeon hole their publisher/agent needs?  Let’s hope not.

That would be a sad story.

Praise for Walking On Trampolines

Go Brisbane Writers!

After seven years in the making, Frances Whiting, our favourite Brissy columnist, has released her first novel, Walking on Trampolines.

And it’s a keeper.

She’s Australia’s Marian Keyes – both of whom write stories rich with characters you want to take home, and have you laughing and crying (often on the same page).

I had the pleasure of meeting Frances at her book launch and was not surprised when she was as delightful in real life as she is on the page.

Although not officially set in Brisbane, elements were strangely familiar, and made me feel right at home. I love Australian fiction.

All I can say is I hope the second book has a shorter gestation period…

Walking on Trampolines? Straight to the pool-room.

 

 

 

 

Losing Kate

Kylie’s debut novel Losing Kate was released by Random House April 2014.

Losing Kate

Read the official blurb here

#1 Fiction on iTunes April 2014.

“This fantastic debut shifts back and forth between present and past, easing out the suspense at a masterful clip. With a great ear for dialogue, and a crackling sense of humor, author Kylie Kaden makes you care deeply for her troubled protagonists.” iBook Editor’s Notes.

I’m delighted to announce that Losing Kate was chosen in the Random 10 – the top 10 books people are talking about for 2014.

Titles to Bookmark in 2014

Where Can I Get it?

Stocked at Big W, Angus and Robertson, QBD, Bookworld, Fishpond, Airport NewsLink stores, and many independent book sellers.

Got a Kindle? Pre-order your Kindle version from Amazon here (release date March 26th) : Losing Kate – Kindle Copy

If you’re a traditionalist, old fashioned print versions may still be available from bookshops (if you can find one!) or online retailers (such as fishpond (free delivery in Aus) or The Book Depository who offer free delivery worldwide).

Angus & Robertson also offer free delivery Australia Wide.

Already in the know about Goodreads? Add Losing Kate to your reading list here:

Losing Kate

Der Sommer Mit Kate

Losing Kate was also published internationally in May 2015.  The German translation Der Sommer Mit Kate is also available through Amazon here  –  Der Sommer Mit Kate


Parenting Articles

For all the parents out there who like a dose of reality (instead of unrealistic, eternally heartwarming stories that are commonplace), have a browse of the latest My Child Australia Magazine.

Along with a lot of facts on pregnancy and childbirth, you will find honest accounts of parenting in the naughties in my columns.

I’m no expert. The wheels fall off for me every day at some point.  But I hope that sharing my thoughts on the challenges of family life, might just make a fellow parent feel less alone in the daily grind.

 

On Writing

Random House Quote of the Day

Random House Quote of the Day

During one of my first masterclasses at the Queensland Writers Center, a fellow author recommended I join Romance Writers of Australia (RWA). Considering I haven’t even read a Mills and Boon, I said, “But I don’t write romance,” to which she replied “Neither do I!”

She went on to explain how this fabulous organisation takes new writers under their wing, teaches them to write, regardless of genre, and puts them in touch with other writers.  I took her advice, joined up and found her to be correct.

RWA also manage several writing competitions, which I entered once – not in the hope of winning, but with the knowledge that every entrant received a written report, from experienced judges, who scored my work’s readiness for submission. Having an unbiased opinion on your work in progress, from someone who knows (ie not your best friend, mother or partner telling you “it’s great”) can be invaluable, particularly at key points in your manuscript development. By some luck, the synopsis for Losing Kate became a finalist in 2013.  We all need that sort of ego stroke now and then to keep our mojo flowing when we find ourselves staring at a blinking cursor or hitting the delete button more than the full stop.

It was through RWA that I also connected with my fabulous critique partner Lily Malone  who I had the pleasure of meeting at the annual conference in Freo. She taught me many things, like the basics of show not tell, (and avoiding doing both!), pace and editing those unnecessary words. Lily has been a fantastic support through the (at-times) daunting publishing process.

Writing can be a lonely undertaking, when often you only have your imaginary friends to keep you company. It’s true. Sometimes you actually have to converse with real people, so it’s imperative to find your place in the array of writing clubs and support groups available.

I know that’s not always easy – there’s that day job and/or those kids to think of, and unfortunately not all places have established writing centers. But for those in coastal and rural Queensland, Writefest, held in beautiful Bundaberg in May each year, is a great opportunity to be inspired, hone your craft, and even pitch to publishers. After an excellent Writers Surgery with Sandy Curtis (organised through QWC),  with her encouragement, I attended a Writefest masterclass run by editor Deoni Fiford in May 2013. With the knowledge gleaned from those experiences, I did some rejigs, and was offered a contract in July.

I write because I enjoy it. Having the good luck to be published is just a bonus. However, whether you write for yourself, or to be read in some form, it should always be a goal to improve your craft.  Everyone’s pathway is unique. One thing that is guaranteed – the more you write, the better you become, so anything that keeps you spilling out those words and hushing those self-doubts, is a step in the right direction.

Books may not change the world, but I can’t imagine a world without them.

Happy writing!

Here are some links to other blogs on honing your craft:

How to get Published in Australia

Handouts from USQ Bookcase Workshop July 2015: From Slushpile to shelf.

Author Photos