Thursday, 4 September 2014

Aussie Blog Tour!! Cooper Bartholomew is Dead by Rebecca James + Guest Post

Cooper Bartholomew is Dead
Behind 352 Pages
Released: 1 October 2014
Genre: NA, Thriller, Suspense
Publisher: Allen & Unwin Australia
Buy Me: Fishpond
At the Other End:
Cooper Bartholomew's body is found at the foot of a cliff.


That's the official finding, that's what everyone believes. Cooper's girlfriend, Libby, has her doubts. They'd been happy, in love. Why would he take his own life?

As Libby searches for answers, and probes more deeply into what really happened the day Cooper died, she and her friends unravel a web of deception and betrayal. Are those friends - and enemies - what they seem? Who is hiding a dangerous secret? And will the truth set them all free?

Featuring Rebecca James' favourite quote!
Rebecca James was born in Sydney in 1970. She spent her early twenties working as a waitress, her late twenties teaching English in Indonesia and Japan, and most of her thirties having babies and working as a kitchen designer. Her first novel, Beautiful Malice, was an international publishing sensation, selling in 52 countries. This was followed by Sweet Damage, published in Australia in 2013.

Published in October, Cooper Bartholomew is Dead is a thrilling novel that delves into the psychology of a group of friends and old enemies.

Rebecca now lives in Canberra with her partner and their four sons.

Find Rebecca:

I started writing Cooper Bartholomew is Dead in 2009 and finished it in 2014. I wasn’t working  on it solidly the whole five years (it had an extended period of rest beneath my metaphorical bed while I worked on what turned out to be my second published novel, Sweet Damage) but, still, it felt like a very slow race between the start and finish lines. By the time I’d finished I felt like the four main characters, Libby, Cooper, Sebastian and Claire, had been living in my head for an eternity. I loved them all (I always love my characters!) but I was ready to say good-bye and send them off into the world to make their own way. 

My work space: 
This is a picture of my desk. As you can see my computer setup is a little bit dodgy. Ergonomic? I’m not so sure, but it works for me. 

Process and plotting and colourful scribbles and whatnot:
See the piece of paper on the left of my computer? It’s an example of the constant scribbles I do when I’m in the middle of a book. I write the actual book on my computer but when I am plotting and working out what terrible fate I can inflict on my poor characters I like to use pen and paper. (Or, more accurately, coloured texta and paper.) 

Whenever I try to describe my process I feel like a bit of a fraud. As soon as I start to say ‘I do it this way,’ a nagging little voice in my head pipes up with the thought,  ‘Hold on, what about the time you did it this way?’  The thing is, my process has been different with each book. (And, like most writers, I’ve written quite a few more books than I’ve had published.) I guess what I can say though, is that I write with a very loose, very flexible plan. I alter and tighten the plot as I go. I don’t usually know how the book is going to end, I work it out as I write. I don’t use a spreadsheet or anything clever and tidy like that, though I have to admit, when my book is getting messy and out-of-control I often wish I were the spreadsheet type. 

Books as motivation:
I always have a pile of books close by. The books on the pile change, but they’re always books that I’ve loved for one reason or another. I dip into them for inspiration and encouragement. 

Sometimes when I’m feeling stuck I’ll  pick up a favourite novel, open it randomly, and read a few paragraphs. It always helps. First of all, it reminds me that books are just words on a page. That writing a book may be hard but it is not impossible. 

It also reminds me what I love and enjoy most about fiction. Picking up a Nikki French or Wendy James book will encourage me to keep my books pacy and energetic. Anne Fine and Richard Yates show how gloriously fascinating the uglier side of human nature can be. 

Occasionally I’ll pick up a book on the craft of writing. A helpful page or two from John Marsden always helps me get back on track. In his book, EVERYTHING I KNOW ABOUT WRITING he has a chapter called, ‘Make Something Happen.’ It’s such simple and obvious advice and yet it can be so easy to forget!  Anne Lamott’s BIRD BY BIRD is full of amazing writerly wisdom. Reading a sentence such as ‘Almost all good writing begins with terrible first effort,’ can be just the encouragement I need when I’m feeling hopeless. 


The last picture is a painting my son, Jack, painted when he was in year 3. It’s not immediately apparent but it’s a portrait of me. This picture always makes me laugh. I love the green skin, the black curly hair, the happy smile, the bright and random mix of colours. It reminds me that making and appreciating art is a subjective, personal experience. There are as many different ways of seeing the world as there are people in it. It’s okay to use your own colours, do your own thing, paint your own story. 

Visit the wonderful, Eugenia at Chasm of Books tomorrow, 5 September for a special giveaway!

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