I’m delighted to be hosting Nicole’s answers to the Next Big Thing book meme. I have been following Nicole’s books right from the start, and her wonderful, epic stories, set in Australia, are in hot demand. In the last two years she has published The Bark Cutters and A Changing Land, while her latest release is Absolution Creek. Read on to find out what Nicole has got planned for Book 4:

1) What is the working title of your current/next book?

Sunset Ridge

2) Where did the idea come from?

My paternal grandfather was a Lewis Gunner during WW1 and was awarded the Military Medal for Bravery. I have a deep interest in military history and long wanted to write a story set during The Great War. My grandfather, whom I never met, inspired me.

3) What genre does your book fall under?

Although I started within the Rural literature genre my works now fall into  popular fiction. The term is broad, however all my works to date have included both historical and contemporary narratives which I guess have broader appeal.

4) Which actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

Hmmm, let’s get the work optioned first. I’m not fussy!

5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book? 

I am keeping this under wraps at the moment….

6) Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency? 

Represented by Curtis Brown Australia Pty Ltd

7) How long did it take you to write the first draft? 

I am on a book a year contract which means I am continually re-drafting as I write.

8) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre? 

I have been told the work is a cross between Legends of the Fall and War Horse.

9) Who or what inspired you to write this book? 

See answer to Q.2

10) What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest? 

Once again I have been fortunate to be able to draw on my family’s archival material, which include my grandfather’s war diary and many original publications from the period.

Thanks Nicole! Sunset Ridge sounds wonderful, and I’m already looking forward to reading it. Find out lots more about Nicole by visiting her website here.

Last week I also tagged Annabel Smith, and you can find out about her fantastic new project The Ark here.

Nicole and I would now like to pass the baton on to Lisa Heidke – keep an eye on Lisa’s website to find out what she’s planning next. 

Yesterday, one hundred bottlenose dolphins were driven into the Taiji Cove. Thirty-two have been captured, while the rest await their fate tomorrow. This probably means that they will be brutally killed. Dolphins are captured every day that the fishermen can find them between September and March. Find out how to add your voice to the protest here: http://digitaljournal.com/article/338890

Last week, David Whish-Wilson tagged me in a book meme called the Next Big Thing, which asks authors to answer ten questions about their books. David and I have both been writing about Western Australia recently, and his new book Zero from the Bone sounds fascinating. You can read his responses on his wesbite, and here are my answers to the same questions:

1) What is the working title of your current/next book?

I’ve just released SHALLOW BREATH, which is my third novel.

2) Where did the idea come from?

The book was formed from all sorts of different ideas that came together. However, the first image I had was of a woman looking out to sea, watching the water, waiting for something, and obviously in distress. I couldn’t get her out of my mind, and I began to watch the water with her, trying to figure out what had happened to her and what she was searching for.

3) What genre does your book fall under?

I usually describe my books as psychological suspense, because my characters’ internal states influence story development as well as external action.

4) What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

Good question! I have some clear images of the characters in my mind but I’m having trouble matching them to anyone famous (plus the story is spread over 20 years, which makes it difficult). For one of my favourite characters, the American dolphin research scientist, Connor, perhaps Jake Gyllenhaal. I’m struggling with the rest – I’ll have to think about it!

5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Two years ago Desi made a tragic mistake, but when she comes home to her family to make amends, she finds a stranger is waiting with a question that will change everything.

6) Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

All my books so far have been published by Random House Australia, and I’m lucky to be represented by Tara Wynne at Curtis Brown. Beneath the Shadows is also published by St Martin’s Press in the US, and Rowohlt Verlag in Germany.

7) How long did it take you to write the first draft?

About six months. I was writing to a deadline so I had to get a move on!

8) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

That’s a difficult question, as with this book I’ve really tried to do something different. As well as being a multi-generational story of a very unique family, it also touches on how we perceive animals, so perhaps something like Ape House by Sara Gruen.

9) Who or what inspired you to write this book?

The many people I’ve met who have cared for and loved animals in all sorts of different ways have inspired this story.

10) What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?

The book was heavily researched because although the characters and their particular story is fictional, much of the background story, particularly involving animals, is based on fact. I researched everything from dolphin shows in Atlantis marine park in Perth in the 1980s to orangutans in Indonesia today. I’ve set up a website that tells you more about the facts behind the story at www.shallowbreath.com. I’ve been to a lot of the places in the book, and the scuba diving and snorkelling scenes are similar to experiences I’ve had. As well as being a big, entertaining story, I really hope that readers come away feeling like they have learned about some significant issues they may not have been aware of.

So, next week it’s over to four more writers, and my tags are Nicole Alexander, Natasha Lester, Annabel Smith, and Jenn J McLeod. I’m looking forward to seeing what they have to say.

There’s a link to the answers at the bottom of the page when you’ve finished! You can also find the images in the gallery.










When you’ve finished, find the answers here!

I had a fantastic time last night celebrating the launch of Shallow Breath at Tiger Lils in Perth. It was a fabulous turn-out, and I’d like to say a big thank you to everyone who came. As I said last night, writing might be a solitary occupation, but when it comes to getting books out into the wider world, us writers need a lot of support. It means a lot to me when people get behind my books, by letting me know they’ve enjoyed them, by spreading the word, or by turning up to an event like this.
The night got into full swing so rapidly that only hours later, when I went to bed, did I realise I hadn’t had time to put my heels on, and I’d spent all night in my sandals! We had door prizes and a book cover quiz, and then Julienne van Loon gave a wonderful speech to launch the book. She mentioned that there is a a marked bias towards male writers in writing about the ocean, and it’s gratifying to think I’ve played a small part in redressing that. I spoke about my inspirations for Shallow Breath, and then handed over to Leif Cocks, founder of the Orangutan Project, who talked a little about the dire straits orangutans are in today. Orangutans are one of five animals that feature in Shallow Breath, along with dolphins, whale sharks, kangaroos and elephants, so it was great to have Leif there to talk about some of the facts going on behind the fiction.

We also had an unexpected final speaker. My three-year-old daughter Hannah decided she’d like to say a few words – and now everyone knows she’s expecting a unicorn for Christmas I’m going to have to try to find one. Wish me luck with that!

So, now the launch is over, it’s almost time to start thinking about a new book… The idea I have for the next one is VERY different to Shallow Breath – watch this space!

Thanks again to everyone who came and helped to launch the book in style. You can see the full set of photos from the night in the Gallery.


Dymocks Joondalup, November 2012

Finally, the day has arrived when Shallow Breath is officially released into the world. Not only can you read all about it here on my website, but you can check out the book trailer on YouTube (there’s a link to that on the right-hand side of this page), and once you’ve read the book you can go to www.shallowbreath.com to learn more about the facts behind the fiction.

I have spent the last few weeks getting in touch with everybody I could think of to tell them about the book, and – despite the fact I’m pretty sick of the sound of my own voice right now – I’m still going, because I really believe in this story. I want to make sure it gets out there, because I REALLY want to write the sequel!!

I hope you all like it. Many thanks for your support.

PS. The RSVP date for the Perth launch has passed, but if you want to come then just email me at sara@sarafoster.com.au and I’m sure we can squeeze you in!

Jeff Hansen and Peter Hammarstedt from Sea Shepherd

I’ve had some lovely support for Shallow Breath, not only from my friends and family who are busy spreading the word, but also from fellow writers, and readers of Come Back to Me and Beneath the Shadows. Not to mention places like IFAW Australia, and Studio Noah Pet Photography, who have given the book a shout-out already.

I felt very proud to receive this photo of Jeff Hansen and Peter Hammarstedt from Sea Shepherd with Shallow Breath. These two and many others like them have devoted their lives to marine conservation, and I hope the book helps raise awareness of the valuable work that they do.

Every couple of months I send out a newsletter by email, to tell readers what’s happening with my books, events, reading interests, and life in general. I’d love you to sign up to receive these updates, which you can do on the right hand column of this page. If you’d like a sneak peek at the December newsletter, which has just gone out, then click here.

My publisher Random House has put the introduction and first chapter of Shallow Breath onto Scribd, for you all to peruse. You can check it out by clicking here. (If you can’t click on the link, please open this news item by clicking on the headline, then try again.)

I only hope it serves as a teaser, and tempts you further in!