Being Ambassador to the MS Readathon has been fun and I am grateful for the opportunity. I am excited to announce that I will be returning to the role for the fifth occasion.
Last year the Australian MS Readathon was launched at my school. I was proud to lead the charge to encourage more participation. For the first time, kids could review books on their website, just like I do. The Readathon was incredibly successful and as a result three times as many families can now enjoy special MS camps.
I have been doing the MS Readathon since I was in Kindy and there have been a lot of changes over the years. This week, Tash from MS Australia joined me for lunch to start planning our awesome 2019 program. I can’t wait to share our new plans and am looking forward to having more kids reading with me for such an important reason. But I wasn’t expecting a gift…
Tash presented me with an artwork, by Book Tees HQ. It suits my book-loving personality and couldn’t have been more fitting. I am so thankful and have found the perfect place for it.
I am very honoured that famous author, Adriana Mather is joining us today on my blog. She has written How to Hang a Witch which has landed itself a place on the New York Times bestseller list. It is one of my favourite books and you can find my review HERE. Thank you Adriana and to Walker Books Australia for helping to make this possible.
1. The main character, Sam is bullied. Have you been bullied before?
I’ve never experienced anything as bad as Sam. But yes, I’ve been bullied. I also once unknowingly participated in bullying. I was in elementary school and a group of kids were making fun of a boy for his appearance. Everyone was laughing, including the boy who was being made fun of. When I went home that day I told my mom about it and she said that was cruel. I told her she had it wrong, that it was just a big joke. And she said: “That boy may have laughed in front of all those people, but what if he went home and cried?” And I burst into tears. I hated the thought that I had laughed at him and I hadn’t told them to stop. So I never let that happen again. If I saw someone being bullied, I jumped in immediately and stood up for them.
2. Sam and Jaxon are great role models. Are they like anyone you know?
I’m so happy you think so! They aren’t like anyone in particular in my life. But Mrs. Meriwether is a bit like my mom.
3. You are a direct descendant of Cotton Mather who features in your book. If you met him right now, what would you ask and why?
I would ask him about his brother Nathanael Mather, who I’ve always been curious about and who was buried in Salem. Cotton wrote the epitaph on his gravestone that reads: “An aged person that had but seen nineteen winters in the world.”
Also, I would ask him what he learned from his life. From writing How to Hang a Witch, I came to realize that history repeats itself. But if we revisit history, question history, and discuss the mechanisms behind it, not only can we learn from it, but we can break the cycle.
4. You live in LA, but How to Hang a Witch is set in Salem. Did you go there to research your story?
Absolutely! Salem is one of my favourite places with its houses painted all black and its cobblestoned streets. You’ll find potions and spell books in lots of stores, and witch logos on cop cars. People dress up in gothic clothing and costumes year round and everyone says the town is super haunted. In fact people don’t ask you if you believe in ghosts, but rather when was the last time you saw one.
5. Did you study The Crucible by Arthur Miller at school, which is also set in Salem?
I did! We studied it and we saw the play.
6. When did you become interested in writing books?
In 2013 I broke my arm snowboarding – two plates, 12 screws later and I was couch-bound for two months. I’m a very active person, always taking on new projects. So when my arm was finally healed, I found myself in a strange spot – everything in my life was on hold and nothing was demanding my attention. For the first time in forever, I had open space before me.
And in that space, I had an idea for a screenplay. It involved my ancestor Cotton Mather who instigated the Salem Witch Trials, modern day Salem, and a mystery with an enigmatic ghost. But when I sat down, the screenplay wasn’t flowing. So I decided to try the story in long form. I never knew I wanted to write a book, but once I started, I never stopped.
7. What is your favourite age group to write for?
I truly love YA.
8. I heard that you are an actor. What kind of characters have you played?
I’ve played everything from absurdist comedy to someone dying of cancer. Acting is an adventure, but it’s also such an amazing way to put yourself in other people’s shoes and learn.
9. Are you writing anything at the moment?
I’m working on a new series called The November Strategy that I’m super excited about, in which a girl named November is shipped off to a secret boarding school that boasts an eye-for-an-eye punishment system. When a student is found murdered, November is the main suspect.
10. What was your favourite book/series when you were in Year 7?
I loved The Belgariad and Lord of the Rings. The Golden Compass was out, but I didn’t know about it until years later. But I bet if I had it would have been one of my faves.
11. Apart from transport, if you were stranded on a desert island and got to pick one thing to bring with you, what would it be and why?
My pirate. When I first met my husband, I didn’t think he looked like a James so I started calling him Pirate instead. And what’s a desert island without a pirate?
My delight in The Medoran Chronicles began when I happened across Akarnae in the school library. You can read my review of it HERE. This fantasy/adventure series has continued to thrill readers with Raelia, Draekora and now, Graevale. Here is my Q&A with amazing author (drumroll please…) Lynette Noni.
1. I've been hooked on The Medoran Chronicles since Akarnae. What was your inspiration for the series?
A few years ago, I was experiencing a really bad reading slump, so I pretty much decided to write the book I wanted to read – and Akarnae was created!
2. Is Alex (the heroine) based on anyone from real life?
No – none of my characters are based on real people. I spend too much time with them in my head, so I think it would be a bit strange if they had counterparts in reality!
3. I've noticed that the storylines in The Medoran Chronicles have been getting darker. Is this because your readers following the series are growing older?
Not at all. I still have a lot of new readers discovering this series every day, many of whom start quite young. (The age range seems to be from about 8 years to 90 years, male and female from all different demographics, which is rather amazing!) The series is growing ‘darker’ because Alex herself is growing as a character, and the situations she finds herself in are declining – exponentially, in some cases. War is messy and brutal, and up until this point, it’s really only been on the horizon, not up close. There are some very difficult days ahead for Alex and her friends, that’s for sure!
4. I understand you have three books to be released this year. Are they all a continuation of The Medoran Chronicles? If not, what are they about?
Two of the books are part of The Medoran Chronicles – the fourth book in the series, Graevale, which releases on February 1st, and another book called We Three Heroes, which releases on September 1st and is three novellas about Alex’s best friends, Jordan, D.C., and Bear. The other book I have coming out in 2018 is called Whisper and it’s the first of a new YA series, releasing on May 1st. It’s comparable to Stranger Things meets Divergent and it’s about a girl who has been locked away in a secret government facility for two and half years and yet in that time, she hasn’t spoken a single word. The question is, why?
5. What are you reading at the moment?
I’m just about to finish an advanced copy of Obsidio by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman – the final book in the Illuminae trilogy, due for release on March 14th.
6. Besides yourself, who is your favourite author?
I don’t have one!
7. What was your favourite book from when you were my age?
Hmm, you’re 12, right? I was obsessed with horses when I was your age, so I loved reading as many books in The Saddle Club and Thoroughbred series as I could get my hands on!
8. Do you have any tips for aspiring writers like me?
I have lots of tips! So many that I’ve actually written a heap of posts about everything from “How to write a book” to “How to get published” to “How to get past writer’s block” to just general “Top 10” tips. You can find all these and many more on my website: www.lynettenoni.com/writing-advice
9. What were you doing before you became an author?
I was working at a photography studio in their post-production department.
10. If you were stranded on a desert island and got to pick one thing to bring with you, what would it be and why?
A boat, so I could leave the island if I wanted. 😊
This is a time of change for me. I'm entering high school, which in my eyes is pretty massive. I built this website two-and-a-half years ago when I first became an Ambassador for the MS Readathon, so I thought it would be a good idea to reflect on my good times at Jazzy's Bookshelf. It has been such a great journey…
My very first blog was called, Adaption Agony and was about whether to read the book before the movie adaption, or watch the movie first. I recommended to start with the book and still stand by this.
My original review was of A Little Princess by Francis Hodgson Burnett. Looking back, it seems so short. Over time, my reviews have grown to be longer and longer, as I have begun to observe the smaller, more obscure details inside novels. However, I still agree with my past judgement that this story deserves five bookbolts for that particular age.
I have never had trouble finding content for my blog as the books keep getting better. My Vile Villain series was lots of fun. Possibly my favourite and most useful blog post was Jazzy's In-Between Reads. It is about some of my books that are not novels, but are super distracting and stare at me whenever I'm contemplating finishing a long series. These are the books that introduced me to new interests like Greek mythology.
Since I began this website, I have met so many amazing authors. I was lucky to meet Deborah Abela, Allison Tait and Tristan Bancks, but I am still yet to meet J.K. Rowling and Derek Landy! These authors inspired me to have a go at writing my own “Choose Your Own Adventure” series which I called When Things Got Weird. What I liked about this was how other kids could be involved and I am considering beginning another one. What do you think?
To this day I possess the same interests. I continue to play netball, study piano and of course, love books. As I grow older and more homework is being piled on me, I still find time to sneak in a read wherever I can, such as in the car on the way to school and when the cicadas wake me up early. Along the way my tastes have broadened. For a long time, I stuck to fantasy/adventure stories, but through my relationship with Megan at Children's Books Daily and Walkers Books Australia, I have been exposed to books of other genres and discovered I like them, too. I also hold a newfound interest in science because of Dr Karl.
You would think that with my obsession for series like Skulduggery Pleasant that I wouldn't be into fairy tales. But one of my favourite books happens to be about just that! This is because the original stories are quite gruesome - did you know that Cinderella's step-sisters ended up having their eyes pecked out by birds? It's called Grimm's Complete Fairy Tales from Barnes & Noble and it is my surprise pick for 2017.