Howdy folks and welcome to the September edition of Friday Night Fictions, a monthly club set up to promote the work of debut authors (and short story/microfiction writers: where are you hiding?) both local and international, working in any genre or format (ebooks and indie authors welcome). There’s a sea of talent listed below. I hope you will read these new writers, let them and us know you think, and help them on to pursue their next book. I look forward to your comments and reviews on the blog.
If you want to be included in Friday Night Fictions, see the guidelines. And check out the August edition: I have updated with reviews where people have sent them to me. If you are featured in August or September, and have new reviews, interviews or social media links to mention, let me know…
Last month I announced that I would feature Nina Smith, and her book Hailstone, on the blog. Look out for a profile and review early next week [here it is…].
And to be featured from the September club? Michael Adams‘ YA debut, The Last Girl, brings this great writer on film and pop culture (and you may have seen him on SBS talking about movies) into the fiction realm. I look forward to hanging out with him in late October…
If I have missed anyone (it does happen), let me know, and I’ll add you to the October club.
MICHAEL ADAMS, The Last Girl
The end of the world happens in an instant. But it’s not caused by an asteroid or zombies or any scenario we’ve ever conceived. The apocalypse comes from within us. One second we’re wearing our usual social masks — and the next our every secret thought and feeling is exposed as a global telepathic outbreak drowns humanity in a psychic tsunami.
Within minutes, suburbs erupt in madness, cities explode in flames and countries collapse in chaos.
Sixteen-year-old Danby Armstrong is protected from the worst of the phenomenon because while she can tune into other people’s minds, no-one else can read her thoughts.
But it’s not much consolation when her family implodes, her neighbours start killing each other and every road out of town offers only more death and destruction.
Set in a very recognisable near-future, The Last Girl combines literary and pop-culture smarts with spectacular action in a frightening scenario that echoes our obsession with constant connectivity.
Buy the book.
See Michael talking about his YA novel.
Kirsten Krauth reviewed The Last Girl and interviewed Michael Adams for her September debut author profile.
ROSS CROTHERS, Running Dead
An exclusive London hotel. Two shots, two men executed. Ten years earlier they helped convict a conman. Ash Todd of the Australian Federal Police assisted Scotland Yard in that case. Now The Yard has called him in again.
The search for the killer propels Todd across Europe, the US and the Caribbean. In every city his life is threatened, his trust betrayed, his every move anticipated.
Worse, on the cusp of a breakthrough, The Yard seemingly withdraws support — which leaves him hanging.
Did they really want the case solved — or were they just Running Dead?
Alone and increasingly isolated, he can rely on no-one but himself. With a mounting death toll, and twists in the end that leave him distraught, Todd discovers some vital truths — to the murders; to the 10-year-old fraud case, and ultimately who had betrayed him.
Buy the book (paperback or e-book) from Ross’ website .
Read an extract.
SAM ELLIOTT, Sisters of Satan
It all began as a fairytale…
Fast forward to a devastating text from Amelia and this magical evening becomes a terrifying nightmare. Devastated, Seth soon commits to drinking himself into oblivion.
Dead drunk and thirsty for conflict, the wayward soul stumbles into adesolate park.
Reality returns, Seth finds himself naked and shackled to a wheelchair, listening in disbelief to their unspeakable plans, his death wish may be answered but now he decides he wants to live.
To do that he will have to break free and rise against sadistic monsters.
The Sisters of Satan intend to carve him up and feast on his soul. Seth is all that stands between an endless rampage leaving many dead in its wake—a journey taking him through a labyrinth of blood and fire to a vicious showdown with the sisters in the arena where their wicked ways were born.
DAVID M HENLEY, The Hunt for Pierre Jnr
This is a return to classic science fiction with a contemporary spin. While juggling a pacy storyline, filled with unexpected turns, David M Henley brings fresh ideas to the genre.
Book one of a trilogy, The Hunt for Pierre Jnr begins in 2159 CE. There has been fifty years of peace since the great collapse and a complex but egalitarian society controls the planet, but the foundation of their peace is rocked when a psychic event destroys a suburb of Paris.
Nobody is really sure who was responsible, but many believe it is the semi-mythical child Pierre Jnr.
This triggers a capsizing in the governing hierarchy and a new harsher Prime takes over the operation to find and pacify Pierre Jnr.
“I was deeply impressed with the way that neither side (and there are definitely sides to be taken) has a monopoly on what is absolutely right.” Read review.
Meet David at his website.
Buy the book.
JANE JERVIS-READ, Midnight Blue and Endlessly Tall
When Jessica, a recently divorced mental-health carer, meets her new patient, Eloise, their lives quickly become entangled. The boundaries of their roles begin to dissolve and questions from the past are uncovered, revealing the fractured histories that brought them together.
Midnight Blue and Endlessly Tall is an original and unpredictable novella about the relationships that consume us when we’re least expecting it.
Winner of the 2013 Viva La Novella Prize.
“Jane Jervis-Read’s beautiful little book … kicks above its weight … and shows the power of leaving things unsaid.” Cate Kennedy
Buy the book.
Jane read Ellie Marney’s book (see below) and commented: Just finished ‘Every Breath’ in two sittings. Total page-turner with a well-crafted plot and interesting characters. Loved every… breath of it.
SALLY-ANN JONES, Stella’s Sea
Stella moves from her wheatbelt family home to a run-down house in Cottesloe on WA’s coast. Her daughter, Miff, has died in a motorbike accident; her husband can’t bear to look at her; her father is in a nursing home; her brother is overseas. Her only company is her daughter’s dog.
Every morning Stella walks with Miff’s dog along the beach. She’s not a part of the scene even though she’s conspicuous in her beekeeper things and mismatched garments.
Her yellow scarf sparks the interest of Ari, an ex-prisoner and coastcare volunteer. As a new friendship slowly forms, Stella recollects her past to deal with her present. But can she acknowledge the guilt that prevents her from moving into the future?
Stella’s Sea is a beautiful novel about the symbiotic nature of life: bees and orchids, loss and love, nurture and growth.
This novel will be released in October.
Pre-order from UWAP.
Read an extract.
KIRSTEN KRAUTH, just_a_girl
Layla is only 14. She cruises online. She catches trains to meet strangers. Her mother, Margot, never suspects. Even when Layla brings a man into their home.
Margot’s caught in her own web: an evangelical church and a charismatic pastor. Meanwhile, downtown, a man opens a suitcase and tenderly places his young lover inside.
just_a_girl tears into the fabric of contemporary culture. A Puberty Blues for the digital age, a Lolita with a webcam, it’s what happens when young girls are forced to grow up too fast. Or never get the chance to grow up at all.
Read an extract.
Book Club Notes are available.
Meet Layla on Pinterest.
Read the ebook on Kobo. International readers please contact me direct…
See reviews of just_a_girl here.
You can see her read from her work at the Sydney book launch, along with Emily Maguire (who introduced it).
DARCY LEE-TINDALE, Her Story, My Story
Darcy’s short story features in the Penguin anthology: Promise.
This anthology includes the top 15 stories selected from over 400 entries in the Monash Undergraduate Short Story Prize.
The book was organised by the Emerging Writers’ Festival.
Darcy is a dramatic arts teacher, director of stage productions, actor, author, theatresports player, puppeteer, and has appeared in TVC, film and on stage.
Her plays, poems, articles, short stories, radio satire and comedy skits have been published, performed and received numerous awards.
She’s studying a BA in Creative Writing.
ELLIE MARNEY, Every Breath
Rachel Watts has just moved to Melbourne from the country, but the city is the last place she wants to be.
James Mycroft is her neighbour, an intriguingly troubled seventeen-year-old who’s also a genius with a passion for forensics.
Despite her misgivings, Rachel finds herself unable to resist Mycroft when he wants her help investigating a murder.
He’s even harder to resist when he’s up close and personal — and on the hunt for a cold-blooded killer.
When Rachel and Mycroft follows the murderer’s trail, they find themselves in the lion’s den — literally. A trip to the zoo will never have quite the same meaning again …
Sizzling chemisty and urban intrigue combine in this thriller from a fresh, exciting new talent.
Buy the book.
Meet Ellie at her website.
November update: Jane Jarvis-Read (see her book above) commented:
Just finished ‘Every Breath’ in two sittings. Total page-turner with a well-crafted plot and interesting characters. Loved every… breath of it
FIONA McFARLANE, The Night Guest
Ruth is widowed, her sons are grown, and she lives in an isolated beach house outside of town.
Her routines are few and small. One night, she wakes to hear a tiger walking around her lounge room.
The next day, a stranger arrives at her door, looking as if she’s been blown in from the sea.
This woman — Frida — introduces herself as a care worker sent by the government. Ruth lets her in.
How far can Ruth trust the mysterious, magnificent Frida?
And, with a tiger on the prowl, how far can Ruth trust herself?
Meet Fiona on Facebook.
Buy her book.
Read an extract.
JENN J McLEOD, House for all Seasons
Four women. Four lives unravelled. The truth will bind them forever.
Bequeathed a century-old house, four estranged friends return to their hometown, Calingarry Crossing, where each must stay for a season at the Dandelion House to fulfil the wishes of their benefactor, Gypsy.
But coming home to the country stirs shameful memories of the past, including the tragic end-of-school muck up day accident twenty years earlier.
Sara, a breast cancer survivor afraid to fall in love;
Poppy, a tough, ambitions journo still craving her father’s approval;
Amber, a spoilt socialite addicted to painkillers and cosmetic procedures;
Caitlin, a doctor frustrated by a controlling family and her flat-lining life.
At the Dandelion House, the women will discover something about themselves and a secret that ties all four to each other and to the house—forever.
Buy, read a chapter, read the reviews at Jenn’s website.
ANDREW NETTE, Ghost Money
Cambodia, 1996, the long-running Khmer Rouge insurgency is fragmenting, competing factions of the coalition government scrambling to gain the upper hand. Missing in the chaos is businessman Charles Avery. Hired to find him is Vietnamese Australian ex-cop Max Quinlan.
But Avery has made dangerous enemies and Quinlan is not the only one looking. Teaming up with Heng Sarin, a local journalist, Quinlan’s search takes him from the freewheeling capital Phnom Penh to the battle scarred western borderlands. As the political temperature soars, he is slowly drawn into a mystery that plunges him into the heart of Cambodia’s bloody past.
Ghost Money is a crime novel about Cambodia in the mid-nineties, a broken country, what happens to those trapped between two periods of history, the choices they make, what they do to survive.
Visit Andrew’s website.
Buy the book at Amazon.
Insight into how Andrew came to write the novel.
Andrew’s October Update:
Ghost Money got this very favourable review on the travel website Vagabonding and will be for sale at The Readers Feast Crime & Justice Festival, 15-17 November 2013, where I will also be interviewing Australian author, Garry Disher.
HAVE YOU READ ANY OF THESE DEBUT NOVELS YET? ANY REALLY GRAB YOUR ATTENTION? I LOOK FORWARD TO HEARING YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE SEPTEMBER CLUB.