Tag Archives: Julie Fison

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?

The Call of the Wild (Choose Your Own Ever After)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!

Voices (and amazing sunsets) on the Coast

Julie Fison, Voices on the Coast 2016Thirty writers, illustrators and performers, 75 schools, 4000 students, teachers, volunteers, storms, howling winds, misplaced authors, missing cars, laughs, tears and an unforgettable sunset – that was this week’s Voices on the Coast.

And I loved being part of it.

It was so much fun sharing stories with students and hanging out with a heap of amazing authors. I laughed at Sarah Kinsella and Russell Fletcher’s

Comic improvisers, Sarah Kinsella and Russell Fletcher, taking care of baby.
Comic improvisers, Sarah Kinsella and Russell Fletcher, taking care of baby.

hilarious improvisation, and shed tears at Philip Wilcox’s poignant poetry. I loved Gregg Dreise’s didgeridoo performance and was touched by Children’s Laureate, Leigh Hobbs‘, sincere words on writing.

Now, I return to my desk a little fatigued but  enriched by the incredible creative buzz of the festival.

Sunrise at Alex Heads
Sunrise at Alex Heads

 

The sky is on fire at Alex Heads.
The sky is on fire at Alex Heads.

Thank you to my gorgeous Immanuel Lutheran College introducers and the clever media crew for keeping my talks and workshops running smoothly and to the super-talented Samantha Wheeler for being such a great roomie at our comfy beachside digs – the Mirage, Alexandra Headlands.

Philip Wilcox, Australian Poetry Slam champion
Philip Wilcox, Australian Poetry Slam champion

A massive congratulations to coordinator Kelly Dunham on a wonderfully successful youth literature festival. You are a legend!

I look forward to seeing you again on the Sunshine Coast soon!

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).Voices on the Coast 2016

 

The Call of the US

BUY IT NOW

Get ready, girls of the US – the Choose Your Own Ever After series is heading your way. The US publisher Kane Miller has just acquired rights to my second book in the series The Call of the Wild. My first book in the series How to Get To Rio is due for release in the US in Jaunuary 2015. Thank you to my clever colleagues at Hardie Grant Egmont for making this happen.

Choose Your Own Ever After is a pick-a-path series that lets the reader decide how the story goes.

Choose Your Own Ever After - The Call of the WildIn The Call of the Wildnature-loving Phoebe has to choose between helping out the Wild Club at a save-the-orangutan fundraiser, and going to a super-cool party with her besties.

‘Tween girls will simply love this choose your own adventure style new series. Dealing with real world issues, How to Get to Rio gives the reader a delicious amount of power over the story they read.’ The Little Bookroom

How to get to Rio by Julie FisonIn How to get To RioKitty has to choose between going camping with her best friends, like she promised, and going to a beautiful beach resort with her new friend, popular-girl Persephone, where she might just get to meet the very dreamy Rio.

“This is a perfect girls novel, where the reader gets to make Kitty’s decisions. Full of friends, family, school and first love, this book is fun, sensitive and has great characters that the girls will recognise and relate to (especially the annoying little brothers!). Best of all, you can read this book lots of times with lots of different stories. Perfect for Year 7 & 8 girls.” Lamont CHECK OUT WHERE TO BUY JULIE’S BOOKS

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

Sugar is sweet

Heart-shaped reef, Queensland
Heart-shaped reef on the Great Barrier Reef, Queensland

There’s nothing like a break from the daily grind to get the creative juices flowing (or dripping at the very least), and a holiday never lets me down. A week in the Whitsundays was going to be my chance to do lots of reading – always useful before the start of a new project. Unfortunately sailing, snorkelling, paddle boarding, bush walking and eating (lots of eating) got in the way of that.

Catseye Beach, Hamilton Island
Catseye Beach, Hamilton Island

I did have a moment to pick up a book when the rest of the family spent the morning go-karting. Given my history of holiday accidents, I wasn’t going anywhere near crazy underage drivers.

It feels like the end of the world when the cane is set alight to burn off the old leaves, before harvesting.
It feels like the end of the world when the cane is set alight to burn off the old leaves, before harvesting.

But as luck would have it, I discovered a new muse after leaving the islands. Flat, green and oozing with potential – a sugar cane farm in the Burdekin is calling my name, and who am I to ignore it. The farm is taking centre stage in a short story I’m writing for a new Ford Street Publishing anthology due out in February next year. Stay tuned!

Trust Me TooYou can check out Ford Street’s previous anthologies Trust me and Trust Me Too – here.

The Call of the Wild

A super-cool party or a save-the-orangutan fundraiser – that’s the choice facing Phoebe Wright in my newest Choose Your Own Ever After story – The Call of the Wild. The book lets you decide how the story goes. You can follow your heart right to the end, or go back and choose all over again. Out now!

Phoebe Wright and her besties, Annabel and Kimmi, have been invited to the coolest part of the year! But when Phoebe realises it’s on the same night as her Wild Club’s movie-night fundraiser, she’s totally torn about what to do.

Should she go to the party or the movie night?

Choice 1: Phoebe decides to help out with the fundraiser. But soon Annabel is hanging out with Wild Club cutie, Liam, and Phoebe feels weird about it. Sure Liam is hot, but Phoebe only likes him as a friend, right?

OR

Choice 2: Phoebe decides she can’t abandon her friends, who are desperate for her to go to the party. Besides, Annabel and Kimmi are setting Phoebe up with Highgrove hottie, Saia. But will the party be all the girls hope it will be?

Which path will you choose?

Buy The Call of the Wild now.

BUY IT (USA)

Choose Your Own Ever After - The Call of the WildISBN: 9781742977751

ISBN-10: 1742977758

Classification:General fiction (Children’s / Teenage)

Format: Paperback (198mm x 129mm x mm)

Pages: 256

Imprint: Hardie Grant Egmont

Publisher:Hardie Grant Books

Publish Date: 1-Aug-2014

Country of Publication: Australia

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.

‘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