Tag Archives: reading

Word of Mouth TV: Episode 1, Graeme Simsion and Anne Buist

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Strap yourself in, people, your new favourite show has just arrived on YouTube. It’s called Word of Mouth TV and it is about books and food. Think The First Tuesday Book Club meets Kitchen Cabinet. I’m so excited because the hosts, Kate Forsyth and Sarah Mills, are both authors and both love books. I know I’m going to hear about the things they love and they’re not going to waste my time bogging me down with negativity. The only thing they’ll be roasting is food, not authors. But enough about my excitement levels, let’s get down to business. Claire Absolum is working all the magic behind the scenes so we can be assured that the visuals will be just as delicious as the food.

The episode starts with Kate and Sarah driving around beachy Sydney looking glamorous. There are hats and lipstick, this is the glamorous life I want for successful authors. Sarah is questioning and Kate is driving. Kate is a magnificent driver and she answers all the questions calmly. This is so different from my own car trips where I have three kids (6, 4 & 4) questioning me and I feel like crying because I just want to concentrate on driving. I want to be Kate. I want to be able to drive, answer questions AND look fab all at the same time.

Kate reveals that they’re having Anne Buist and Graeme Simsion over for dinner. Holy crap, they’ve gone big quick. First episode and they’ve already got Anne Buist, author of the Natalie King series, and Graeme Simsion who wrote that little known book The Rosie Project. Together, Anne and Graeme wrote Two Steps Forward which follows two characters, Zoe and Martin, whose paths cross on the Camino de Santiago (the Way of Saint James). Zoe is a vegan so I automatically wonder if this will be a vegan meal.

Sarah has not read the book so she sits down to read and Kate vaults out of the car and into the kitchen. She’s making chicken, people, chicken. A traditional French dish because the pilgrimage is between France and Spain. Kate goes through the ingredients, it looks delicious, you’ll have to watch to get the full details. Sarah is still reading so Kate starts talking dessert. She’s gone all out, she has gotten a recipe from Anne and Graeme’s daughter.

Kate realises that she’s doing all of the cooking so lures Sarah away from reading with some wine. Think getting a kitten out of a tree with cat food. It’s white and sparkling, and if I’m to be honest, it’s also luring me. I wonder if Claire is also tempted. So parched. It works on Sarah, she comes running. She even gets to lick the beater now that she’s helping cook. Yummy ingredients are being added such as berries and almonds. And the food is done.

Time for a brief shot of an incredibly cute hound and then the literary guests arrive. Anne is wearing the heck out of a red dress and Graeme is wearing a purple t-shirt. Kate shows here guests her water views, which are stunning, and I declare her Australia’s Nigella whilst the guests cheers. I’m excited for the guests but we do need to see more of that dog in the future. Own Insta account?

Graeme and Anne mention that they’re happy for the champagne, typical writers. Kate and Sarah are also happy with the champagne and not using the French setting of the novel as an excuse to drink it, again, typical writers.

Anne talks about how she walked the Camino de Santiago twice. So that’s like 4000km. She says the trick was to take it one day at a time and not crunch numbers. She also mentions that after the walk she was incredibly fit, her red dress agrees. Kate mentions that one day at a time and not crunching numbers is a great way to approach novels as well. ‘Today I’ll write a scene.’ ‘Today I’ll write a chapter.’ Graeme mentions that he was actually inspired to walk the Camino by another book and then walking it inspired him writing a book… and now I want to walk it. This is so meta and I am loving it. Graeme talks about how you often think that you can just toss everything aside and then go on a pilgrimage but in reality, as his characters and he found out, all that baggage sneaks along with you.

There are some close ups of dinner and they are bordering on erotic. At least, they are for me because I really like food. I could just watch this in slow-mo. So delicious.

After Anne and Graeme have a good meal in their bellies and are no doubt feeling content Sarah smashes out the hard question. How did your marriage cope with writing a novel together? Anne wrote Zoe and Graeme wrote Martin. Anne identified with Zoe’s grief and so found it easier to writer her. Graeme likes grumpy Englishmen and so he took Martin. Apparently they coped better cowriting a novel than I, a dyslexic, cope with having my husband proofread a cover letter. My blood pressure is up just thinking about it but they’re happy. #couplegoals They even talk about how they met. So definitely still in love.

What a great episode! Only ten minutes but crammed with info and food.

Watch the full episode here.

Learn more about Word of Mouth TV here.

Find Kate’s website here.

Find Sarah’s website here.

Find Claire’s website here.

Find Anne’s website here.

Find Graeme’s website here.

Buy Two Steps Forward here.

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Daniel Pilkington: #Robinpedia

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Black and white photo of Daniel Pilkington. He has stubble and short but floppy hairy. His shirt is fine checks. Quote: In publishing we all want each other to do well because we’re all passionate about the industry. Photo was originally in colour without text and on the NSW Writers Centre’s website.

Daniel Pilkington is the Head of Sales for Hachette Australia, but before we get to his career journey let’s cut straight to the important bit, judging him based on his appearance. Because if Hollywood profiles of the likes of Liane Moriarty and J. K. Rowling have taught me anything, it’s that judging books based on their cover is imperative. Daniel’s Twitter profile states that he would be considered good-looking in the 1950s. He has periwinkle eyes and good hair, beautiful even. It’s got that floppy Hugh Grant quality but in a dusty blonde. But is it the best hair in publishing? Alas not quite. Alison Green still holds the title. Do better Hachette.

Born to teacher parents Daniel Pilkington decided to break with family tradition, leaving school at the age of 17 to work at Kmart. Daniel had big dreams and they didn’t involve sitting behind a university desk, no, they were of freedom and wind blowing through his magnificent hair. He yearned for the only thing that would make this happen, a Kombi.

Picture of the character Fillmore from the movie Cars. Green Kombi van with sleepy face and the word PEACE and some flowers spray painted down his side.

A Kombi was to be Daniel’s ticket to traveling Australia and so he procured a job at Katoomba Kmart in order to earn some of that sweet Kombi cash. He was initially placed on the door to greet and farewell customers but soon found that being at a constantly opening door in the Blue Mountains during winter is fecking cold and so eager for a warmer position Daniel buckled down and was soon promoted to manager.

Surely on a manager’s salary Daniel could now achieve his dreams of buying Kombi? But by that stage Daniel had discovered that he loved watering the plants at Kmart, unpacking the books and chatting to customers, so he stayed. He stayed and continued to be promoted until he was managing the great Kmart of Chatswood Chase and Warriewood. Under Daniel’s love and care Warriewood became the highest selling Kmart for books. Publishers liked this very much. In 2007 he was declared Young Retailer of the Year. Surely now he could get his Kombie?

Long story short, he didn’t. Or maybe he did but he didn’t ride off into the sunset in it flipping off everyone as he went. No, he stayed. He stayed until one fateful evening Hachette invited him to an author talk and dinner. The dinner was free, young Daniel eagerly licked his lips and leapt the chance. At that dinner Daniel impressed the then Head of Sales at Hachette so much with his passion for selling books that he slipped him his card and told him that should his Kombi van not be rockin he could come knockin for a job. Six months later Daniel came knocking and was offered a staggering pay cut. He accepted.

Daniel initially became a Sydney Account Manager, then worked his way up to National Account Manager, Head of National Accounts and eventually Head of Sales. He loves this because he gets to see all of the books. Fictional, non-fiction, children’s, all of them. This also means print books, ebooks and audiobooks. It might seem like an unconventional route, but aren’t all the best journeys a little bit winding and different?

Daniel has run the whole gamut from Kmart greeter to Head of Sales at Hachette but did he ever buy that Kombi? I don’t know but I’d really like to find out. Let me know about his Kombi in the comments section below. Also add any other tidbits that you think would help flesh out this entry. 😚

Characters from the movie Tangled saying ‘Go, live your dream.’ Rapunzel on the left wearing purple dress, big guy in the middle meant to look criminal, Flynn Rider on the right has brown hair and is meant to look handsome.

Find Daniel Pilkington being 1950s handsome on Twitter here.

Hot new tip off: Daniel Pilkington loves the Foo Fighters.

No word on where things stand regarding the Kombi but I’m uncovering new leads.

Submit to Hachette here.

Browse Hachette’s titles here.

If you enjoyed this entry I just know you’ll love my Robinpedia profiles on:

Natasha Lester

Sarah Schmidt

Allison Tait

L.A. Larkin (I love her and occassionally have cocktails with her so you better love her too!!!)

Learn more about Robinpedia here.

Learn more about me here.

Read about my views on being a dyslexic writer here.

Read about my thoughts on author branding here.

A Thank You to Jane Rawson and All the Authors Who Allow Me to Escape

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Things have been getting on top of me of late. You probably noticed from my last post that I’m spiralling down into a depressive state again. I’m exhausted and there doesn’t seem to be a break for me in sight. There doesn’t seem to be a Robin sized shape in my life at all. Yesterday morning I could do little more than cry and vomit. I was trapped inside my own head and couldn’t see the light of day.
But then I had an external mood boost and it has made all of the difference in the world. Yesterday I received an early copy of From The Wreck by Jane Rawson to review.

It is, quite simply, sublime. From the very first sentence the atmosphere is so thick that you could eat it with a spoon. I won’t comment any further on the book right now as that’s not the purpose of this blog entry, and I will definitely write a review closer to the release date in March. The reason I am writing this blog post is to affirm just how important good books are. Not just from an educational point of view. Not just from a place of social commentary. Not just to shine a light on horrendous issues. All those things are important but they can also provide a much needed escape.

As the great J. R. R. Tolkein said, “Why should a man be scorned if, finding himself in prison, he tries to get out and go home? Or if he cannot do so, he thinks and talks about other topics than jailers and prison-walls?” Unfortunately using literature for escapism is often derided as silly. It is as if some people think that you should be intensely feeling and consciously changing your life at all moments of the reading journey. You must feel miserable and outraged. You can’t just grab a book and float away somewhere else, you must be very much here, on Earth, in your own tightly-fitting shoes, and in your own burning skin. Literature like that certainly has its place but so do stories that let us become so utterly immersed in their world that we can switch off our brain from our own troubles from time to time and go somewhere else.
When you have a mental illness such as depression or anxiety, like I do, sometimes you just need to get out of the prison that is your own mind. Books provide a gaol-break. They are life saving, they are necessary, they are not simply trivial nonsense. So never be ashamed of reading to escape because it very well could save your life. And do keep an eye out in March for Jane Rawson’s From the Wreck. It is intensely gripping and has allowed me to escape from my head.

This is me

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wordpresssmallThey say a picture tells a thousand words, so here I am. This is me.

B.U.M. is the word

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I think my love of literature was inspired by the word bum. As a child I adored the word. I would use it at nauseam. I could turn ever conversation back to bum, in particular, bear or bare bum. For example, “What are you watching?” – “Play School. Little Ted has a bear bare bum.” Champagne comedy. My mother, on the other hand, was not overly fond of the word. I must confess that she still is not. She felt it was most unbecoming of a young lady and tried to think of various other things I could say instead. All with no avail, bum was the word I loved, bum was the best. The most success my mother had was after one of my siblings had dropped the c bomb (yes, THE c bomb) and my mother tottered out that tired old adage, “If you don’t know what it means, don’t say it.” I chimed in with how I knew what a bum was and proceeded to define it at length. So my mother told me, “If you don’t know how to spell it then don’t say it.” Despite the fact that this statement had no logic, if this was the case then all I could really say at the time was my name, it stumped me. So I studied the alphabet on my wall for quite some time and then finally burst out of my room yelling, “BUM! I can say it! B.U.M.” My mother, rather than falling over herself congratulating me for my exceptional development in  literacy, was not impressed at all. In fact, she simply sniffed and walked away, shooting a withering glare over her shoulder. For the next few months I proceeded to tell every single person that I encountered that I knew how to spell bum and then spell it for them. Be careful what you say to your children, it does not always quite work out as you’d wish. My mother did not clasp her hand is delight and squee over how clever I was at this point either. Unbelievable! However, I think if it was not for this overwhelming need to uncover the mystery of the word bum then I possibly would not have then started searching for new words. Truly, bum inspired my love of literature. Brava for bum.