Thursday, March 23, 2017

Interview with Goldie Alexander

Goldie Alexander’s 85 books and prizewinning short stories appear both in Australia and internationally. Her ability to bring both the past and other worlds to light, touches the hearts of both adults and children. Her most recent novel for young adults include That Stranger Next Door, and In Hades: A Verse Novel short listed in 2015 for an Aurealis Award.

Recent books for older children include The Youngest Cameleer  How Moslem Cameleers helped find Uluru, Neptunia, My Holocaust Story: Hanna, and Cybertricks.  She speaks in schools, tertiary and community centers, festivals and run classes in creative and memoir writing. Her website is

What is the inspiration for your current book?

I have written seven historical fictions/ In the last few years, the most interesting to me were The Youngest Cameleer about the finding of Uluru, My Holocaust story: Hanna set in the Warsaw Ghetto. But for the purposes of this blog. I will concentrate on the YA That Stranger Next Door published in 2014 by Clandestine Press.

Is there a particular theme you are exploring in this book?

 Yes. The plot has as its background the 1954 Petrov Affair.  I was intrigued by how that anti-communist push was used politically to reinstate PM Menzies and was aware of how it was replicated by Howard in the Children Overboard’ incident.

Which period of history particularly interests you? Why?

Right now I am exploring the Weimar Years in Berlin. Again I see political parallels to the present.

What resources do you use to research your book?

Everything I can lay my hands on. Friends who work as historians. Books, articles and newspapers of the time. If the period isn’t too far back, I interview people who remember those years.

What is more important to you: historical authenticity or accuracy?

Both. I don’t think they can be separated.

Which character in your current book is your favourite? Why?

Young Ruth and her attempts to unravel herself from her mother’s expectation as a ‘good Jewish’ girl’.

Are you a ‘plotter’ or a ‘pantser’? How long does it generally take you to write a book?

Basically, I think I am a pantser, though I do have an idea of how the book will progress and then how it will end. Once the character takes hold of me, I go where he or she takes me.

Which authors have influenced you?

I read so widely I don’t know how to answer this. Probably the last historical fiction I read. When it comes to kids, I am a great admirer of Marcus Zusak.

What advice would you give an aspiring author?

To read very widely. To make the historical background quite normal and to avoid the trap of inserting too much detail that will hold up the narrative. The characters should live in those times and behave as naturally as in the present.

Tell us about your next book or work in progress.

I am halfway through a time-warp presently titled HISTORY CHANGER where my protagonist is miraculously transported from 2016 Melbourne to Berlin 1928, a time of remarkable innovation and freedom of speech. If the Great Depression hadn’t hit the world in 1929, perhaps WWW2 might have been prevented? Who knows?

In 1954, Melbourne is still reeling from WWII, the Cold War sees suspicions running high and the threat of communism and spies are imagined in every shadow.  15 year old Jewish Ruth is trying to navigate her own path, despite her strict upbringing and the past that haunts her family. A path that she wishes could include her first love, 17 year old  Patrick. But the rich, Catholic boy is strictly off limits.

When a mysterious woman moves in next door in the dead of night, Ruth becomes convinced that she is none other than Eva or Evdokia Petrov, a Soviet spy and wife of famous Russian defector, Vladimir Petrov.

That Stranger Next Door can be bought through Clandestine Press 
The Youngest Cameleer can be bought through Five Senses Education 
My Holocaust Story: Hanna can be bought through Go Books.

Thank you for sharing your journey with us, Goldie! 

Goldie will be appearing in one of our Meet the Author satellite events on 9 April 2017 at the Mail Exchange Hotel, 688 Bourke St, Melbourne, discussing writing fiction for children and young adults with Pamela Rushby, Robyn Bavati and Elizabeth Jane Corbett. More details can be found on our satellite events calendar. Bookings can be made via Trybooking.

HNSA 2017 Conference

The HNSA 2017 Conference in Melbourne is being held on 8-10 September 2017 at Swinburne University, Hawthorn. 

Early bird registration is open for the HNSA 2017 Conference. You will receive 15% off the full price for our weekend programme.  The same discount also applies for tickets to our opening reception

This celebration of the historical fiction genre will showcase over 60 speakers discussing our theme, inspiration, writing craft, research, publishing pathways and personal histories. Among the many acclaimed historical novelists participating are Kerry Greenwood, Kate Forsyth, Deborah Challinor, Lucy Treloar, Sophie Masson, Sulari Gentill, Robert Gott and Arnold Zable. The HNSA’s speakers’ list is available on the HNSA website.

In addition to the two stream weekend programme, there will be ten craft based super sessions and two research masterclasses. You won’t want to miss our interactive sessions on armour and historical costumes either! Manuscript assessments will be conducted by industry experts, Alison Arnold and Irina Dunn. And there are two calls for papers in our free extended academic programme.

Our First Pages Pitch Contest offers an opportunity for submissions to be read aloud to a panel of publishers. And we are delighted to announce the introduction of our inaugural HNSA Short Story Contest with a $500 prize!

Let’s make a noise about historical fiction!

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