Performancing Metrics

There's A Book

Earlier today I had the marvelous opportunity of sharing my review of The Billionaire’s Curse by Richard Newsome, the first book in The Archer Legacy trilogy. It’s an unbelievable adventure that I was thrilled to have the opportunity to read. Yesterday marked the release of Richard’s second book in the series, The Emerald Casket, which is also amazing (review coming shortly). So, when I found out I had the opportunity to have Richard stop by today to talk about some of his own real life adventures I jumped at the chance! I have no doubt you’ll find his adventure’s just as fantastic as the young Gerald in The Archer Legacy books and there’s even a surprise at the end for my readers who happen to work in education. So, without further hesitation on my part, Richard Newsome…

My first job after leaving school was as a cadet reporter for the local newspaper. I was a fresh-faced 17-year-old with no clue how the world operated. But I was fortunate to be taken under the wing of an old newshound, who took it upon himself to teach me how things worked.

Apart from introducing me to the importance of a morning coffee, he gave me a piece of advice that has been a mainstay of my writing ever since. That is, you learn as much through your eyes as through your ears. The news reporting game is all about taking the reader to the scene of the crime. Unlike television news, you can’t rely on the pictures to tell the story. You’ve got to transport the reader from their seat on the train or at the kitchen table; you’ve got to take them to aftermath of the bushfire, to the busted front door of the bank following the robbery, to the steps of Parliament House. And all you’ve got is words.

A good set of eyes is invaluable to any writer. You have to be able to describe what you’ve seen and place it in context. I was lucky enough to be schooled in that craft on a daily basis for many years. The observation skills I picked up while writing for newspapers still serve me well. Because, I have a confession to make. I don’t have a great imagination. In my fiction writing, if I need to describe a scene, I really need to have gone there first. I need to see what the light is like, what smells float in the air, how the streetscape melds with the surrounding countryside. In short, I need to report my books.

When I was planning the second book in the Archer Legacy series, THE EMERALD CASKET, I knew the main action was going to take place in India. And for me to adequately describe life in that amazing country, I knew I had to go there. So in April 2009, I booked myself on a two-week research trip to one of the most fascinating places on the planet.

So much happened on that journey that I was able to incorporate into the book; if I hadn’t gone, the book would have been very weak indeed. For example, at one point, my three heroes needed to get from the capital New Delhi to Chennai in the south. The best way to get there is by train, a 43-hour journey down the spine of India. So I took the train, just to see what it was like.

Now, 43 hours on a train is an endurance test at the best of times. But 43 hours on a train in India, with no air conditioning, in 110 degree heat and crammed in with a thousand other people was an experience almost beyond description. I met some amazing people and saw some extraordinary things, all of which helped flavour my writing for THE EMERALD CASKET. I could never have written the following, without experiencing it firsthand: He grabbed the handle of the door and pushed hard, exposing a narrow corridor to a sleeper carriage. Bunks were stacked up three high on either side. There were bodies and limbs everywhere. Men, women, children, babies – lying, sitting, standing, lounging, talking, coughing, eating, laughing, praying, singing, crying – it was a compressed sausage of life stuffed into a twenty-metre-long metal tube and cooked at forty-three degrees Celsius.

My essential writer’s kit includes a notebook, a pencil, a camera and a passport. Because you never know what you’re going to see, or where you’re going to go.

Photo: Richard Newsome on the Tamil Nadhu Express train from New Delhi to Chennai, with some of the people he met along the way.


As part of our Book Publishers 101 feature with Walden Pond Press this month I have a very exciting giveaway aimed specifically at the wonderful educators that read There’s A Book!
The winner of this giveaway will receive a complimentary 30-45 minute Skype visit with author Richard Newsome as well as 3 sets of his books, The Billionaire’s Curse and The Emerald Casket!

The contest is open to all teachers, librarians, and other educators who work with children in an instructional capacity. Please keep in mind Richard’s books are written for age levels from grade 4-6 when submitting your entry. Class/group size must be a minimum of 12 children. One entry per educator only. You must fill out the form below to enter. Giveaway is open to US residents only. Entries must be received by 11:59 p.m. (EST) May 31, 2011.

Today’s post is part of our month long celebration of Walden Pond Press for our monthly feature “Book Publishers 101“. Make sure to stop by the Walden Pond Press Site for more information about this title and more. For more information about our Book Publishers 101 feature take a look at this month’s opening post.

Make sure to stop by our huge month long giveaway from Walden Pond Press, including The Billionaire’s Curse & The Emerald Casket by Richard Newsome!

Thank you to Walden Pond Press for coordinating this guest post and offering this great giveaway! Find Walden Pond Press on Twitter and Facebook!
Purchasing products by clicking through the links in this post will provide us a modest commission through our various affiliate relationships.

This giveaway is now closed. Thank you to all who entered! Please check back soon for more great giveaways!

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