Tag Archives: hong kong

What’s your story?

I hope you’ve had a great Easter break. I’ve been in Noosa – paddling, swimming, catching up with friends and doing some writing (I promise).

I’ve had some questions about my books over the holidays, so I thought it was a good chance to wrap up the story so far …

A QUICK SUMMARY

Books by Julie FisonI have written eleven books for children and young adults. My books include the Hazard River series (Shark Frenzy, Tiger Terror, Bat Attack, Snake Surprise, Toads’ Revenge and Blood Money.) for young adventure lovers, How to Get to Rio and The Call of the Wild (part of the Choose Your Own Ever After series) that let readers decide how the story goes. I’ve also written three books for young adults: Tall, Dark and Distant, Lust and Found and Counterfeit Love. The latest is about an ambitious young television reporter trying to make a name for herself in Hong Kong and was inspired by my own time in Asia.

WHERE DID YOU GROW UP?

IMG_7907I was born in Mackay, North Queensland and grew up in Brisbane. I loved swimming and nature. I spent a lot of time exploring my local creeks and poking around the rock pools on Moreton Bay’s many islands. I hoped one day to become a vet, but I realised somewhere along the way that I was too squeamish for that, so I studied Journalism at QUT and became a news reporter instead. I worked in Australia, Hong Kong and London, covering all sorts of stories and exploring the world, gathering ideas that would eventually turn into books.

HOW DID YOU GET STARTED WITH FICTION?

My first book was inspired by a family holiday on the Noosa River in Queensland. My two sons teamed up with friends and spent the summer dodging stingrays, exploring the bush and building secret camps. I had to write about it.

Hazard River series by JE Fison
The Hazard River series – for young adventure lovers.

I had no experience in writing fiction for children, but I had spent a decade working as a television news reporter in Australia, Hong Kong and London. I rather naively thought that this would see me through, but it turned out I had a lot to learn. My children, who were five and eight at the time, set me straight when my writing got too newsy!

By the end of the summer I had written a series of books about a gang of kids holidaying on Hazard River, coming up against rogue fishermen, smugglers and dodgy developers. The stories were full of fun and adventure, with a subtle message about threatened wildlife. My kids loved them. I just hoped that I could find a publisher who felt the same way.

A year or so later I met Ford Street Publishing’s Paul Collins at a book launch. I used the opportunity to subtly sidle up to Paul and pitch my books. (Paul tells a different version – apparently I was rather pushy!) A month later I had a four-book contract. Less than two years later Ford Street Publishing had released six books in the Hazard River series – Shark Frenzy, Tiger Terror, Bat Attack, Snake Surprise, Toads’ Revenge and Blood Money.

TELL US ABOUT YOUR LATEST BOOKS.

The Call of the Wild (Choose Your Own Ever After)My most recent books are for girls. I’ve written two stories for the Choose Your Own Ever After series – How to Get to Rio and The Call of the Wild. The books let the reader decide how the story goes – with girlfriend dramas, boy troubles, family fun and plenty of decisions along the way.

In How to Get to Rio – schoolgirl Kitty McLean has to decide whether to go camping with her old friends or spend the holidays at an exclusive beach resort with her new friend. The big decision for nature-loving Phoebe in The Call of the Wild is whether to go to a party with her besties or help out at the save-the-orangutan fundraiser. The emphasis is on fun, but the stories present realistic dilemmas for girls to consider. For every choice there’s a consequence. But unlike other Counterfeit Lovestories in the choose-your-own-adventure genre, no one dies in this series when they make a bad choice!

My latest book for young adults is Counterfeit Love. Lucy Yang is an ambitious young television news reporter trying to get to the bottom of a murky story. It was inspired by my years as a reporter in Hong Kong, but Lucy gets into more trouble than I ever did!

WHAT INSPIRES YOU?

I get my ideas from everywhere – my own misadventures, things that happen to my children, stories I read in the paper, conversations I overhear. Everything! Places that I’ve visited also feature heavily in my stories. Noosa is the setting for my first YA novel – Tall Dark and Distant. The magical ruined temples of Angkor, in Cambodia, is the backdrop of Lust and Found, while Counterfeit Love takes place in my old stomping ground – Hong Kong.

IMG_4180There’s a little bit of me in all of my stories and a lot of me in some of them! Phoebe from The Call of the Wild is a wildlife lover just like I was when I was a girl. I devoured everything I could find on African wildlife and hoped one day to work on a nature reserve. My life didn’t quite turn out that way, but I did go on a safari in Africa, which was amazing. I was also inspired by a visit to Borneo to see Orangutans. They are truly incredible but sadly they face a bleak future due to the destruction of their habitat.

WHAT IS YOUR WORK ENVIRONMENT LIKE?

IMG_4007I write best when I’m sitting at my desk. I don’t like distractions of any kind – which is very strange after working in a noisy, smoky newsroom. I also like to write when I’m on holidays on the Noosa River, where there is no internet!

WHAT DOES YOUR WRITING DAY LOOK LIKE?

Once I have an idea in my head I write quickly. I settle myself in front of my computer and pound away for as much of the day as I can. I forget to pick up the kids from school, I ignore requests for dinner and Molly, the dog, looks on forlornly waiting for some attention. When I need a break to recharge my ideas I dash around getting things done and take Molly for a walk. I find walking, bike riding and napping extremely useful for getting through any kind of block.

DO YOU PLAN YOUR STORIES?

I always have an idea of where a story will start and finish before I begin writing. The details of the middle section get worked out as I go along. The Choose Your Own Ever After series was an exception. Each story has eight possible endings and various other choices along the way, so there were a lot of threads to tie in. I couldn’t just wing it with those stories, the plots had to be meticulously planned.

WHY DO YOU WRITE?

I write because I enjoy it. Also, it gives me an excuse to read a lot (to improve my writing), to travel (for inspiration) and to nap during the day (because it clears my head).

HAS ANYTHING SURPRISED YOU ABOUT WRITING?

Voices on the Coast 2016: The full line-up for Voices on the Coast 2016:  (Some didn't make the photo but I'll let you work out who was there and who wasn't!) Deborah Abela, Christine Bongers, Janeen Brian, Peter Carnavas, Gary Crew, Shelley Davidow, Gregg Dreise, Kirsty Eagar, Brain Falker, Fleur Ferris, Julie Fison, Serena Geddes, Leigh Hobbs, Dean Jacobs, Andrew King, Sarah Kinsella, Russell Fletcher, Jan Latta, Rebecca Lim, Lynette Noni, James Phelan, Darrell Pitt, Leila Rudge, Katryna Starks, Ellen van Neervan, Nova Weetman, Samantha Wheeler, Philip Wilcox, Lesley Williams, Tammy Williams and Kelly Dunham (Festival Coordinator).I don’t think I was prepared for how much work goes into a book after it is published. Marketing is a vital aspect of writing, and school visits are an essential part of the job if you write for children. Anyone with a flair for stand-up comedy has an advantage in front of a group of school kids!

HOW ABOUT AWARDS?

I’ve been shortlisted for the West Australian Young Readers’ Book Awards. That’s exciting! And I’m on the list of Australia’s Amazing Animal Attacks. (See section on Garfish.) That’s a list I didn’t want to be on!

Good luck with your projects!

So, that’s what you think

Countefeit Love - Julie FisonWriters can be fragile little things. I cried long and hard when my editor returned my first manuscript covered in comments and changes. I think I’ve toughened up a bit since then, improved my writing, and decided not take take every comment personally. But positive feedback? Well, I’m taking that very personally.

Thanks to Written Word Worlds for putting a smile on my face with their review of my latest young adult novel – Counterfeit Love.

Counterfeit Love kept me intrigued and left me smiling. I absolutely adored every second of reading it. I definitely recommend this book to everyone who likes a good romantic mystery. I’d give Counterfeit Love by Julie Fison a score of 9 out of 10.’ (Full review at Written Word Worlds.)

RowReads also gave me a warm fuzzy feeling when she posted her review of Counterfeit Love, giving the book four and a half stars.

‘Lucy is strong, independent and determined but also sweet and very likeable. Byron is swoon worthy, hilarious, sexy with a hint of mystery. Together they make one of my favorite smitten romance couples. Also diversity … It’s refreshing to read a casts of Asian characters as main characters. Love smitten romance books as they always leave me with a big smile when I am done.’ (Full review at RowReads.)

Feel free to buy Counterfeit Love here and leave your own glowing review. Happy reading!

Julie

Counterfeit Love

The wait is over!  Counterfeit Love, my new book for young adults, is now available at bookshops and online. 

Countefeit Love - Julie FisonLucy Yang is loving her first television job in Hong Kong. She works hard and plays hard, and she doesn’t have time for a relationship if she wants to become a TV news anchor by the time she’s twenty-one. Besides, what man could live up to her impossibly high standards?

Then she meets Byron, and her world is turned upside-down. Funny, clever and impossibly gorgeous, Byron might just satisfy all of Lucy’s criteria. Sure, he’s a little cagey about his job, but what businessman in Hong Kong doesn’t want to protect trade secrets?

But as Lucy desperately tries to get to the bottom of a potentially huge news story, Byron keeps popping up in the most unlikely places. Is it just a coincidence? Or is Lucy’s perfect man not so perfect after all?

‘Counterfeit Love kept me intrigued and left me smiling. I absolutely adored every second of reading it. I definitely recommend this book to everyone who likes a good romantic mystery. I’d give Counterfeit Love by Julie Fison a score of 9 out of 10.’ Written Word Worlds.

Counterfeit Love by Julie Fison

‘Lucy is strong, independent and determined but also sweet and very likeable. Byron is swoon worthy, hilarious, sexy with a hint of mystery. Together they make one of my favorite smitten romance couples. Also diversity … Its refreshing to read a casts of Asian characters as main characters. Love smitten romance books as they always leave me with a big smile when I am done.’  RowReads.

Counterfeit Love

Buy it here.

Title: Counterfeit Love
Author: Fison, Julie
Category: Kids
ISBN: 9781742977386
Page numbers:
Dimensions: 212 x 138 mm
Price: $19.95
Imprint: YA Fiction
Format: Paperback
Publication Date: 01 Jul 2014

Also, check out my other books for young adults – Tall, Dark and Distant and Lust and Found. 

Tall, Dark and Distant

Lust and Found

Get Smitten

Fall in love with the Smitten series.

Tall, Dark and Distant Tall, Dark and Distant: He’s gorgeous, with god-like abs and an adorable English accent. Then she discovers that he’s actually a member of an obscenely wealthy Russian family, and he wants to get to know her better. Nik catapults Georgia into a world of private yachts, fast cars and expensive jewellery. Having a billionaire for a boyfriend certainly comes with benefits, but it also comes with a price. How long will it take before life in the fast lane spins out of control? Tall, Dark and Distant is out now! Get SMITTEN here

‘Loved it! Georgia is a great character and Nik the perfect leading man. Glam and funny with some danger thrown in. What a fun summer read.’  Kate Forster

Lust and FoundLust and Found: Cambodia is the last place in the world Sienna wants to visit. She likes five-star hotels and exercising her credit card in air-conditioned malls not flea-ridden hostels and trekking through the jungle. But when her brother Eddie starts sending strange messages from Cambodia, Sienna’s mum convinces her to go check on him. Thankfully, her boyfriend agrees to go along. When they arrive, they discover that Eddie has disappeared. Sienna just wants to find him and get the hell out of there. Everything in Cambodia is getting to her – the language barrier, the unrelenting humidity, the mosquitos. But mostly it’s Eddie’s maddeningly hot French friend, Guillaume, who couldn’t be more unhelpful if he tried. Lust and Found is out now! Get SMITTEN here. 

‘Lust and Found takes you on an exotic adventure through the heart of Cambodia. It combines a beautiful background, a curious quest and two main characters who continue to surprise. The characters are confronted with the real problems of travel and the novel explores how they learn to adapt to an unfamiliar world. It perfectly illustrates the idea that getting lost in your travels is not always a bad thing, leaving you wanting to explore the luscious environment of Cambodia for yourself. You will want to finish this book in one sitting as it draws you inexorably onward.’ Yasmine Morssi.

Brand new! Counterfeit Love Counterfeit Love by Julie FisonLucy Yang is loving her first television job in Hong Kong. She works hard and plays hard, and she doesn’t have time for a relationship if she wants to become a TV news anchor by the time she’s twenty-one. Besides, what man could live up to her impossibly high standards? Then she meets Byron, and her world is turned upside-down. Funny, clever and impossibly gorgeous, Byron might just satisfy all of Lucy’s criteria. Sure, he’s a little cagey about his job, but what businessman in Hong Kong doesn’t want to protect trade secrets? But as Lucy desperately tries to get to the bottom of a potentially huge news story, Byron keeps popping up in the most unlikely places. Is it just a coincidence? Or is Lucy’s perfect man not so perfect after all? Counterfeit Love (published by Hardie Grant Egmont) is in bookshops NOW. Also see: Hooked on Hong Kong

Hooked on Hong Kong

Hong Kong isn’t what it used to be. Maybe that’s a good thing.

Courtesy HK Tourism
Courtesy HK Tourism

No-one taxi surfs in Hong Kong these days. The old practice of riding home from night clubs on the roof of a taxi has disappeared along with British governors in feathered hats and the old white-knuckle airport landing.

Well over a  decade has passed since this city of a thousand shopping malls was returned to China and Hong Kong has morphed into a  stylish international metropolis – urbane, confident and clean.

Hong Kong’s world class hotels are a barometer of the city’s new passion for all things stylish. The InterContinental Hotel, which commands probably the best harbour views, features Nobu and Alain Ducasse’s Spoon along with a Sunday champagne brunch that is virtually de rigeur. On Hong Kong Island, at the Four Seasons Hotel, the food at Caprice is as good as you’ll find in Paris. And the city’s first boutique hotel, the Philippe Starck designed  JIA, has developed a dedicated  following as has the new Landmark Mandarin Oriental. With all the focus on international food and design it’s easy to forget you’re in China. And that would be a shame. Hong Kong is the best place to sample the country’s diverse cuisines.

It’s difficult to think of a more chic place to indulge in Chinese food than the China Club. Wangle a table at this members’ only restaurant through your concierge or American Express and enter the glamorous world of old Shanghai. The restaurant is located in the Old Bank of China Building, which was a towering 17 storey skyscraper in its day. Now it is a quaint little relic of history, dwarfed by the neighbouring towers of steel and glass. The restaurant serves the best of China’s regional specialties, including a tasty selection of dim sum, set amongst a fantastic collection of Chinese contemporary art. Before you leave, visit the library and the outdoor balcony with its lovely view of the harbour.

For a taste of Hong Kong, check out Counterfeit Love - a heady mix of ambition, romance and deadlines.

 

 

 

 

For a taste of Hong Kong, check out Counterfeit Love – a heady mix of ambition, romance and deadlines.

If you can’t make it to Beijing, the Peking Garden is the next best option for a taste of the Chinese capital’s cuisine. This long time favourite with locals and visitors-in-the-know is tucked discreetly in the basement of Alexandra House and reputedly has the best Peking duck in Hong Kong. The nearby Yung Kee restaurant in Wellington Street has also stood the test of time and serves the best of Cantonese cuisine.

To escape the crowds and highrise, head to one of the fishing villages on Lamma Island. The string of seafood restaurants is just a short ferry trip from Hong Kong Island but offers a dramatic change of pace. The restaurants are perched on the edge of the harbour and serve authentic Cantonese cuisine in a casual setting. The view has been impaired by the thick smog from the factories of the Pearl River delta, China’s most noxious influence on Hong Kong. But the restaurants remain a popular destination for day trippers.

Once the sun goes down, Hong Kong really gets going. A laser show lights up the skyline, beams of light dance off the impossibly tall 2IFC building and the other monstrous pillars of finance. The big hotels on the Kowloon peninsular are all good places to enjoy the view. My shopping companions and I are keen to check out the Philippe Starck designed bar at the Peninsular Hotel. We ascend the building in what looks like the inside of a Darrell Lea chocolate to Felix. The bar is suspended like a space ship among the lights, an impressive sight but an awkward space to actually use. I find myself perched precariously on a narrow bench with my back to the view. And I’m sorry I didn’t just enjoy a drink in the Peninsular lobby lounge with its gilded ceilings and walls soaked with the stories of old Hong Kong hands.

Lan Kwai Fong, the collection of lanes behind Central remains the number one night spot for locals and tourists. It’s Halloween when I visit and the whole area has been transformed into a street party. Crowds are spilling out of bars, a pipe band marches up a steep laneway, incongruously followed by costumed trick or treaters. At Schnubart schnapps are being served by the tray and a great cover band is playing at Insomnia.

We find our way into the oh so cool Kee Club, where the music is laid back and the crowd is beautiful. The members’ club is an oasis of style and calm after the throngs of Lan Kwai Fong and part of a growing list of chic late night sanctuaries. Dragon-I, with its mix of local and international celebrities, is another hot spot for late night drinks. On busy nights your chances of getting in are improved if you look like a movie star.

Nostalgia takes me out of these swanky design havens to Joe Bananas in Wan Chai. Many years ago, one of my colleagues married the manager and held her reception here. But some things are best consigned to history. It’s very late and the place is seedier than I remember. The music is the worst of the 80’s and the crowd is down there with it.

When we finally decide that it’s time that women of a certain age were in bed, I discover another new side to Hong Kong – a taxi driver with a sense of humour. Banter with a taxi driver was unheard of when I lived here.  But maybe drivers have developed a happier disposition since gweilos (foreigner devils) stopped climbing onto their rooves.