Tag Archives: young adult fiction

Publication day – Would you like a dash of sunshine with your noir?

1 Aug

My new Olivia Grace teen PI novel, ‘Trouble is my Business’ comes out today – hooray! It’s the second in my teen mystery series set on the Gold Coast, and in Byron Bay.

Most people who read crime fiction are familiar with Nordic noir, also known as Scandinavian noir. It’s all about dark deeds in cold countries with morose detectives. Think ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’ or ‘Miss Smilla’s feeling for Snow’. 

‘Trouble is My Business’ is pretty much the opposite of that. It’s not Nordic noir, but sunshine noir. In teen PI, Olivia Grace’s world everything is fun and colourful on the surface, but rotten underneath. The sea is sparkling, but dark deeds are afoot.

Olivia might not be treading the mean streets of urban California like Raymond Chandler’s Philip Marlowe, or Sue Grafton’s Kinsey Millhone, but her beat has its share of both glamour and grunge.

As in the Florida crime novels of Carl Hiassen and Elmore Leonard, the happy holiday exterior provides cover for a seedy underbelly. Florida has been called a sunny place for shady people, and this could be said of the Gold Coast and Byron Bay as well. An eclectic mix of real estate developers, tourists, and eco-warriors can lead to a whole lot of trouble.

In ‘Trouble is My Business’, as Olivia gazes out at the sparkling blue sea in Byron Bay, she muses that people would, quite literally, kill for this.

Brisbane launch:

‘Trouble is my Business’ will be launched by Kay Kerr, author of ‘Please Don’t Hug Me’ at Where the Wild Things Are, in West End, Brisbane, on August 19th, 6.30pm. This is a free event, but bookings are essential. Click here to register.

Here’s the blurb …

Olivia Grace, recently retired teen PI, has her priorities sorted. Pass first-year law, look after her little sister, and persuade her parents to come back from a Nepali monastery to resume … well, parenting. But after Olivia’s friend Abbey goes missing in Byron Bay, she can’t sit back and study Torts. It’s time to go undercover as hippie-chick Nansea, in hippie-chic Byron Bay: hub of influencers and international tourism, and home of yoga, surfing and wellness culture, against a breathtaking backdrop, a short drive from Olivia’s Gold Coast home.

Olivia’s looking for answers, with the help of her stash of disguises, the PI skills her irresistible ex-boss Rosco taught her … and a nose for trouble. Her suspects include a hard-core surfer who often argued with Abbey in the surf, a charismatic cult leader and an acrobatic botany student. And then there’s Rosco, officially assigned to the case, and proving impossible to avoid.

Lisa Walker’s second Olivia Grace novel is another rip-roaring excursion into madcap sunshine noir, with nods to Nancy Drew and Sherlock Holmes, and a flavour of Veronica Mars meets Elmore Leonard.

Goodreads

Add ‘Trouble is my Business’ to your to-be-read list on Goodreads.

Order

Order ‘Trouble is my Business’

Early reviews

‘I loved being swept up in this mystery. A wonderful combination of comical, high-stakes and genuine.’ 

Emily Gale, author of ‘We are out with Lanterns’

‘New mystery, new trouble, new(ish) normcore clothes… Forget Sherlock Holmes and Nancy Drew, teen PI Olivia Grace going deep undercover as Nansea is everything I never knew I needed. 

Fearless, fun and fake tanned, has Olivia found the perfect disguise in Nansea to take on cults, bad boy surfers and dangerously attractive acrobats? 

Trouble is my Business kept me reading, guessing and laughing late into the night.’

R.W.R McDonald, author of ‘The Nancys’

‘I am here for a brilliant young protagonist who’s solving mysteries and showing up for herself. A page-turning read.’ 

Claire Christian, author of ‘Beautiful Mess’

‘Hilarious, tender and fun, this sun-drenched teen PI mystery drips with humour and style. I adored it.’ 

Poppy Nwosu, author of ‘Taking Down Evelyn Tait’

‘Trouble is my Business’ Book Launch

9 Jul

My second Olivia Grace teen PI novel, ‘Trouble is my Business’, comes out on August 1st! It’s had some lovely early reviews and I’m pretty excited about it.

I’m thrilled to be launching ‘Trouble is my Business’ as a Byron Writers Festival satellite event on Saturday August 7th, 6pm. Kayte Nunn, bestselling author of ‘The Last Reunion’, will be doing the honours and it should be a fun evening. It’s a free event, but click here to book on Eventbrite.

Here’s the blurb …

Olivia Grace, recently retired teen PI, has her priorities sorted. Pass first-year law, look after her little sister, and persuade her parents to come back from a Nepali monastery to resume … well, parenting. But after Olivia’s friend Abbey goes missing in Byron Bay, she can’t sit back and study Torts. It’s time to go undercover as hippie-chick Nansea, in hippie-chic Byron Bay: hub of influencers and international tourism, and home of yoga, surfing and wellness culture, against a breathtaking backdrop, a short drive from Olivia’s Gold Coast home.

Olivia’s looking for answers, with the help of her stash of disguises, the PI skills her irresistible ex-boss Rosco taught her … and a nose for trouble. Her suspects include a hard-core surfer who often argued with Abbey in the surf, a charismatic cult leader and an acrobatic botany student. And then there’s Rosco, officially assigned to the case, and proving impossible to avoid.

Lisa Walker’s second Olivia Grace novel is another rip-roaring excursion into madcap sunshine noir, with nods to Nancy Drew and Sherlock Holmes, and a flavour of Veronica Mars meets Elmore Leonard.

Goodreads

Add ‘Trouble is my Business’ to your to-be-read list on Goodreads.

Pre-order

Pre-order ‘Trouble is my Business’

Early reviews

‘I loved being swept up in this mystery. A wonderful combination of comical, high-stakes and genuine.’ 

Emily Gale, author of ‘We are out with Lanterns’

‘New mystery, new trouble, new(ish) normcore clothes… Forget Sherlock Holmes and Nancy Drew, teen PI Olivia Grace going deep undercover as Nansea is everything I never knew I needed. 

Fearless, fun and fake tanned, has Olivia found the perfect disguise in Nansea to take on cults, bad boy surfers and dangerously attractive acrobats? 

Trouble is my Business kept me reading, guessing and laughing late into the night.’

R.W.R McDonald, author of ‘The Nancys’

‘I am here for a brilliant young protagonist who’s solving mysteries and showing up for herself. A page-turning read.’ 

Claire Christian, author of ‘Beautiful Mess’

‘Hilarious, tender and fun, this sun-drenched teen PI mystery drips with humour and style. I adored it.’ 

Poppy Nwosu, author of ‘Taking Down Evelyn Tait’

Interview with Dee White, author of ‘Beyond Belief’

7 Apr

Today, I chat to Dee White, who is the author of many works of fiction for kids and teens. Dee’s young adult novel ‘Beyond Belief’ has just come out with Scholastic. Welcome Dee!

LW: Where did the inspiration for this story come from?

DW: I was researching another manuscript set in Paris when I stumbled across the true story of Muslims at a Paris mosque who saved Jews during WW2. I knew I had to write about it. I received a VicArts grant through Creative Victoria to spend a month in Paris doing further research. It was amazing. My father fled Austria during WW2 after Kristallnacht. His parents were married in a synagogue and although he wasn’t raised Jewish, he was forced to wear a badge labeling him as a Jew and report regularly to the police. He and his family fled for their lives in 1939 and my father had talked about this to me. So I could relate this experience to my main character, Ruben fleeing from the soldiers and French police in Paris.

LW: Tell me about your protagonist, Ruben. Did he come to you easily, or did he take a while to get to know?

DW: Ruben, my protagonist in Beyond Belief did come to me quite easily. He’s a mix of my oldest brother who was always very gentle and serious and fair, and also trusting. I have two sons and they are very much like that too. They are kind to people and anticipate that they will receive kindness in return. I remember when they were around Ruben’s age and discovered that the world didn’t always work that way and I wanted to capture this vulnerability in my main character. My eldest son has always been a cat whisperer so incorporating this trait in Ruben’s character was quite organic. Ruben was very strong in my head and heart from quite early on. In fact he became almost like another one of my children.

LW: This is your second young adult novel, and you have also written several books for middle-grade and younger readers. What are the challenges and pleasures of the young adult genre for you?

DW: The lines between middle-grade and YA seem to be becoming more and more blurred. To be honest, I thought that Beyond Belief was middle-grade but booksellers seem to be putting it in the 12+ category, I guess because of the themes and also Beyond Belief is YA in length, but then so is Harry Potter and that’s considered middle-grade.  I never think of my writing in terms of genre or readership age. I just write the story I want to tell. I don’t consider my work to be classic YA (even my novel, Letters to Leonardo) and I’d find classic YA hard because I don’t write romance well and I feel like I’m a bit out of touch with the language and lifestyle of older teens. I guess that’s one of the challenges of writing YA. In YA your main characters are the same age or older than your readers but middle grade allows you more flexibility. As long as your main character is a similar age to the reader, you can have other characters who are older or younger, like Daan and Momo in Beyond Belief.

LW: Tell me about your writing process. Are you a plotter or a pantser and what is your writing routine?

DW: I’m quite erratic when it comes to writing process. Different manuscripts seem to call for different methods and each one is like a new experiment, an opportunity to try different things and acquire skills and knowledge that will make my writing better. I used to plot a lot but then I found my narrative lost its spark so now I tend to do a mixture of both. I know what my story is about and roughly what’s going to happen in the end, but not necessarily how my character will arrive at this place. I like to let them guide the story. As their character emerges, what they do and how they react to things will drive what happens next in the story.

When my boys were small I used to get up at 5.00am so I’d have around an hour to write before my kids got up. That way I could focus on being a parent and still feel like I was a writer as well.

Nowadays I tend to treat writing like a day job and work to fairly standard hours. It’s easy to just keep writing and write all day every day, but I’m trying to get balance in my life so I take weekends off and read at night. It can be hard to write when you’re the parent of young children or have a day job, but even if you can snatch just ten minutes a day it will still make you feel like you’re a writer and keep you motivated. Even when I’m under time and other pressures, I always try to keep my writing fun.

LW: Can you give us a sneaky preview of what you’re working on next?

DW: Eddy Popcorn’s Guide to Parent Training, my illustrated MG (Ben Johnston’s pics are hilarious) comes out with Scholastic Australia on 1 May and I’m currently working on the follow up, Eddy Popcorn’s Guide to Teacher Taming, which will be out next year. I’m also researching a couple of historical fiction works and a paranormal thriller screen play.

DW: Thanks so much Lisa, for inviting me to visit your blog.

You can find Dee online at:

Website, Twitter, Facebook

And buy ‘Beyond Belief’ at a range of booksellers, including:

Booktopia, and Angus and Robertson