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Sep 27,2014

To help you choose which amazing book you should vote for in this year's Inky Awards, we're going to get to know a little bit more about the authors behind them. The Inky Awards Judges have been asking the important questions, and the shortlisted authors have answered!

Today Inky Awards Judge Vinhara gets inter-galactic with Amie Kaufman and Meg (Meagan) Spooner, authors of shortlisted book These Broken Stars.

File 25867Vinhara: What is your book about?

MegThese Broken Stars tells the story of two extremely unlikely companions—a soldier from humble background and the daughter of the richest man in the galaxy—who end up thrown together as the only two survivors of a massive spaceship crash. They end up on a planet that raises mystery after mystery, and they must not only find a way to survive the wilderness, but also a way to get rescued. It's a science fiction action/adventure love story, and it was hands down some of the best fun Amie and I have ever had writing together!

 

VinharaWho wrote the male voice? What was it like having to write literally "like a man"?

AmieThat was me! I actually really enjoyed it—when we got to write a short story about Tarver recently, it was like getting into comfy clothes all over again! I grew up sailing, and spent a lot of time on teams with boys, sometimes as the only girl. If only I’d known I was researching at the time, listening into all those (occasionally gross) conversations! I think it’s also helpful to remember that however much it might sometimes seem otherwise, we’re really all the same underneath—we have hopes and fears and struggles that don’t change no matter what your gender is.

 

VinharaWhat was it like coming up with such an exotic idea?

MegOriginally, the only "idea" we had was "shipwreck in space".

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Sep 26,2014

To help you choose which amazing book you should vote for in this year's Inky Awards, we're going to get to know a little bit more about the authors behind them. The Inky Awards Judges have been asking the important questions, and the shortlisted authors have answered!

Today Inky Awards Judge Angus enters the mind-garden of Rachel Hartman, author of shortlisted book Seraphina.

File 25864Angus: What is your book about?

RachelSeraphina is about a land where dragons can take human form, and the half-dragon girl who has to hide what she is to survive. More importantly, though, it's about overcoming fear and shame, and about how sometimes we have to choose between protecting ourselves and doing what's right.

 

AngusHow old were you when you started writing?

RachelI started writing at age eleven. My first novel, scrawled longhand in spiral notebooks was a dreadful Lord of the Rings knockoff. The second was a terrible space-opera about the interstellar adventures of a girl named Cow. Luckily, no one will ever read those stories. I think I had to get them out of my system before I could write anything good.

 

AngusHow long did it take to get Seraphina from an idea to the finished book?

RachelNine years.

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Sep 25,2014

To help you choose which amazing book you should vote for in this year's Inky Awards, we're going to get to know a little bit more about the authors behind them. The Inky Awards Judges have been asking the important questions, and the shortlisted authors have answered!

Today Inky Awards Judge Lena sits down to dinner with Will Kostakis, author of shortlisted book The First Third.

File 25853Lena: What is your book about?

Will: What if a quirky Greek grandmother gave a 17 year old her wildly inappropriate bucket list to complete...

 

LenaWhat do you think is the best thing about having a Greek grandmother?

WillI know I'm supposed to say, "The food." I know she wants me to say, "The food." But for me, what I love most are the muttered off-colour remarks she makes about people and situations in Greek, usually in the thick of things. Hilarious.

LenaWhat about the worst thing?

Will: Knowing that it's all temporary. I suppose it can be said for all grandparents, but the particular breed of Greek grandmother that came to Australia in the 50s and 60s, they're one of a kind in terms of potent ethnic hilarity. When they're all gone, there'll be nothing quite like them ever again. And knowing that means even the sweetest moments are tinged with sadness.

 

LenaThere's a ton of funny moments in The First Third! What's the funniest book you've ever read?

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Sep 24,2014

To help you choose which amazing book you should vote for in this year's Inky Awards, we're going to get to know a little bit more about the authors behind them. The Inky Awards Judges have been asking the important questions, and the shortlisted authors have answered!

Today Inky Awards Judge Jacob takes a ride with Jon Skovron, author of shortlisted book Man Made Boy.

File 25827Jacob: What is your book about?

Jon: Man Made Boy is about the teenage son of Frankenstein’s Monster who creates a living computer virus that turns murderous. He escapes New York City and goes on a road trip across America with the granddaughters of Jekyll and Hyde. But he can’t run from his problems forever, and eventually his creation catches up with him in the glamorous hills of Hollywood, California.

 

JacobWhat inspired you to choose the certain themes inside this book?

JonI don’t think about themes much at the beginning. I just try to tell a story. The themes emerge naturally in the telling. So I wouldn’t say I choose those themes per say. But once I’ve written the story, I go back and try to figure out what themes have come forth on their own, and then I do what I can to highlight them in small ways. To tease them out a bit. But never at the expense of story. Because that is what inspires me: the characters and what they do. For example, the idea that the main character, Boy, is both creation and creator, is a theme that runs throughout the book. I never decided to make that the theme, but looking back on it, I suppose it was somewhat inevitable.

 

JacobHow much research were you required to complete, in order for you to acquire all this detailed information about all these different monsters/myths/creatures?

JonTons! I did so much research! I bravely watched every single Frankenstein movie I could get my hands on, everything from classics like The Bride of Frankenstein to, um…lesser known works such as Rock ’n Roll Frankenstein and Frankenstein Girl vs Vampire Girl. I also watched lots of vampire movies, werewolf movies, invisible man movies, and Jekyll and Hyde movies. It was really hard work!

Okay, I did do quite a bit of book research as well. The thing I love most about monsters is that they appear in every culture. I tried to find monsters that many readers might be less familiar with from places like Japan and Mexico.

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Sep 23,2014

To help you choose which amazing book you should vote for in this year's Inky Awards, we're going to get to know a little bit more about the authors behind them. The Inky Awards Judges have been asking the important questions, and the shortlisted authors have answered!

Today Inky Awards Judge Jacob dons a deerstalker to interview Ellie Marney, author of shortlisted book Every Breath.

File 25821Jacob: What is your book about?

Ellie: Every Breath is about a country girl, Rachel Watts, who's forced to move to Melbourne when her family's farm goes bust. Rachel finds city life a tough adjustment, but one of the bright spots is her friendship with James Mycroft, a highly eccentric teenaged Sherlock wannabe, who lives in her street. Mycroft drags Rachel off to the Melbourne Zoo one night, where they discover the body of a murdered itinerant, Homeless Dave. Against Rachel's better judgement, she's drawn into Mycroft's investigation of the murder, and sparks quickly start flying...

 

JacobIf you had to decide, would you describe yourself as more similar to Watts or Mycroft?

EllieHmm, that's tricky... Well, I think I share some of Mycroft's eccentric interests - we both like tea with condensed milk, and have an affinity for The Black Keys! But I have to admit that Rachel's key personality traits - stubbornness, pragmatism - are ones that I have myself (especially the stubbornness - oh dear). And we both have a history of country life, and a strong preference for boots, flannie shirts and jeans. So I guess I'm more Watts than Mycroft after all :)

 

JacobAre you a fan of Sherlock Homes?

EllieI am a HUGE Sherlock Holmes fangirl - I read all the stories back in high school, and loved them. I love watching the characters mutate and come to life on shows like the BBC's Sherlock, and Elementary (but I'm a bit of a purist in some ways - I'm not as partial to the Robert Downey Jnr movies).

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Sep 22,2014

Welcome to my fourth post on manga and graphics novels! In this post I’m going to list some of the pros of reading manga and graphic novels (GN):

1.  It’s fast, easy and fun to read.

Although volumes of manga and some GN tend to be around 200 pages of story, because they are made up of illustrations they take far less time to read than their novel counterpart, which is helpful if you want something faster to read.

These illustrations are also what make manga and GN amazing to read. You can spend ages looking over one page because the artwork is so beautifully drawn and detailed. Each page can be a ‘wow’ moment that excites you. This kind of punch is something only visual representation can really pull off.

In manga and GN it’s easier to understand character reactions. While in a novel it may take a sentence or even a paragraph to explain how a character responds to something, one panel in a manga or GN can convey all of that using little to no written explanation. They also tend to accentuate certain moments, especially comedy. If someone overreacts to someone’s comment or accidently hits their head, then the illustration exaggerates this, which adds to the fun of the moment. 

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2.  It exposes you to a new and different culture.

When I first started reading manga and watching anime, I had almost no clue about certain Japanese references made in them, like: ‘Why are people called by their last names?’ or ‘Why do students put on different shoes when entering a building?’

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Sep 19,2014

To help you choose which amazing book you should vote for in this year's Inky Awards, we're going to get to know a little bit more about the authors behind them. The Inky Awards Judges have been asking the important questions, and the shortlisted authors have answered!

Today Inky Awards Judge Lauren goes behind police lines with Emma Pass, author of shortlisted book ACID.

File 25720Lauren: What is your book about?

Emma: It's 2113. The UK, now known as the Independent Republic of Britain, is ruled by ACID, the most brutal police force in the world. When Jenna Strong was 15, they locked her for a crime she struggles to remember. Now, two years later, she's been broken out and given a new identity by a rebel group who won't tell her why or who they are. When she ends up on the run from ACID with the son of the man who broke her out, she must find out the truth about what happened to her on that dark night two years before.

 

Lauren: Why did you call your novel ACID? Are there certain connotations you would like associated with the word?

Emma: ACID stands for the Agency for Crime Investigation and Defence. The acronym was a happy accident - initially, I was going to call them the Crime Investigation and Defence Agency (CIDA), then realised ACID sounded much better. I also like how the name implies the destructive effects of power when it's used badly. It's the perfect name for such a sinister, corrupt force.

 

Lauren: If you had to change your identity and you got to choose your name, what would it be and why?

Emma: That's an interesting one!

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Sep 18,2014

To help you choose which amazing book you should vote for in this year's Inky Awards, we're going to get to know a little bit more about the authors behind them. The Inky Awards Judges have been asking the important questions, and the shortlisted authors have answered!

Today Inky Awards Judge Lauren and author Claire Zorn take us into the brave new world of shortlisted book The Sky So Heavy.

File 25717Lauren: What is your book about?

Claire: Fin is a regular seventeen year-old guy. His life is unremarkable until a nuclear disaster occurs overseas and the world is plunged into nuclear winter. The power goes out, mobile and internet coverage fails, snow starts to fall, Fin is separated from his parents and soon food starts to run out. The Sky So Heavy is about how far we would go to protect ourselves and our loved ones, how our values change when we’re under pressure, the line between right and wrong, and the importance of baked beans in upholding order in society.  

 

Lauren: What is your end-of-the-world survival plan? 

Claire: Depends on the end-of-the-world situation. Are we talking a meteor shower or a mega-tsunami? Would a battle be involved? Could I have a horse for the battle? I’ve often wondered how I would go in a battle.

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Sep 17,2014

It's here, here, here!

It's finally HEEEERRRRRRREEEE!

Ladies, gentlemen and doggies of good repute - I introduce to thee, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 trailer.

This is not a test people! There are explosions, freakishly white suits, and a whole heap of ultimatums :)

You'll get to see the whole (and by whole, I meant Part 1) shebang on the 20th of  November.  We have to wait for Part 2 until November 2015.

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Sep 15,2014

Hi and welcome to the third post of my manga and graphic novels blog! Hopefully I’ve given you guys some insight into what manga is, so now I’ll move onto novel-to-graphic-novel adaptations.

Novels that are adapted into graphic novels (which I’ll refer to as ‘GN’) are done by either Japanese or Korean mangakas (manga creators). Often these adaptations are done to books that are part of a series. Each volume of these GNs is a compressed version of its 300+page novel. If done well, the GN should give you the same tone of the novel, while still having some originality and not feeling disjointed.

No doubt you guys have seen the GN versions of the Twilight novels on bookshelves, but some other series include Daniel X, Maximum Ride and Witch & Wizard by James Patterson, Infernal Devices (The Mortal Instruments series) by Cassandra Clar, Cirque du Freak by Darren Shan, and Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl.

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