Love Between the Pages is an author event series that features WA writers Sasha Wasley and Anthea Hodgson meeting readers in various locations across WA between 19 – 27 June. Further details on the locations of these events can be found here. To celebrate these great events, I have a Q & A with both authors and a review to share on the blog this week.
About the author…
Sasha Wasley was born and raised in Perth, Western Australia.
She has completed a PhD in cultural theory and loves nature, Jane Austen and puns.
Sasha is a farming wannabe, with a passion for animals and the land. Although she’s in her forties now, she still wants a pony.
Her debut novel, a young adult paranormal, was published in 2014. Today, she lives and writes in the Perth hills region with her partner and two daughters, surrounded by dogs, cats and chickens.
Sasha writes mystery, paranormal and young adult novels as S.D. Wasley.
Hello Sasha. It is my pleasure to welcome you to my blog, Mrs B’s Book Reviews. I greatly appreciate the time you have provided to answer a few questions. To begin, True Blue, your much anticipated second novel for Penguin Books Australia has just been released. Can you give us an outline of what we can expect?
A. You can expect humour, intrigue and warmth – and Free Paterson’s own brand of gentle chaos. What happens when a pure-hearted idealist falls for the town’s newest constable? A powerful attraction, a rapidly developing mutual connection, and a comedy of errors as they muddle their way through miscommunication, subterfuge and differences. Readers will enjoy revisiting the characters they met in Dear Banjo, seeing where Willow and Tom are now, learning more about Beth and following Free’s bumbling, no-filter approach to life.
Free is such a gorgeous character – funny and sweet, with an artist’s eye for all the colour and beauty in the world around her. Finn, the hot Irish copper living next door is everything she wants in a man but they’ve got some hurdles to leap before they achieve their happily ever after. Not only is there something sinister going on in Free’s new job, Finn refuses to admit his true feelings and, for someone like Free, that just drives her to push even harder for the truth. What’s Finn’s problem? You’ll have to read True Blue to find out!
Q. What came first in the creation of this novel – the title, the plot, the characters or the setting when you first set out to write True Blue?
A. The characters and setting came first. I knew this would be Free’s story and I knew it would be set in Mount Clair. The title came next – Free’s pursuit of art, her passion for honesty and integrity, and Finn’s job as a copper – all of them led me to True Blue. The plot was last! I had several ideas and had to play around with them quite a bit before I settled on the right one. Max the cat helped enormously.
Q. What research did you need to undertake to bring True Blue to life?
A. I had to learn a lot about ceramics – specifically tile making and glazes. That was probably the biggest learning curve. But my Nanna was a potter, so I already had some background knowledge of clay. There was a load more research required: art, art teaching, painting with oils, arts funding, diversion dams, the environmental impacts of dams, snake venom, multiculturalism in the Kimberley, barrel racing, police rank and procedures, and what happens when you get detained by the cops.
Q. Let’s talk setting. What made you decide to base True Blue in the Kimberley?
A. I love the Kimberley. It’s harsh and wild, rich with natural colour – a place of extremes. Free is a traveller so this book could have been set anywhere in the world. But for me, it was important to bring her home to tell this story because she has always been a wanderer – a runner. She’s tended to run when things get hard. So bringing her home and putting her in some challenging situations was her test of character. Will she run?
Q. Freya (Free) Paterson, your main character in True Blue, is involved in an exciting art project. Is art a pursuit you personally enjoy?
A. I’m not an artist (in fact I’m woefully bad at art) but I’m surrounded by them! My mum is a talented oil painter, my partner is an artist and photographer, with his works regularly appearing in exhibitions, my eldest child is venturing into fashion design and even my youngest has a flair for quirky little characters and comics. So art is a big part of my world and I was able to use this experience to show Free’s passion for art and the unique way she sees the world.
Q. What character did you most identify with in True Blue?
A. Partly Free – although she’s very different to me – because she has a strong sense of justice and needs to live with integrity. But also Beth, her older sister, because Beth has a relentless need to help people which can result in her inadvertently being a tad controlling or trying to push people into things they might not want. It comes from a good place, but she needs to learn to tame her inner control freak – a side storyline that feeds nicely into Beth’s book, out next year!
Q. What was the most challenging and rewarding aspects of writing your second novel?
A. Second novel syndrome! Lots of self-doubt and angst. The thing that I struggled with most was Free’s character arc – her development as a character. She doesn’t change an awful lot because Free is already kind, brave and authentic. She has a couple of little lessons to learn but I’m used to my characters needing to learn some HUGE lessons so this was a bit of a change for me. The most enjoyable aspect was writing Free’s dialogue. She really cracks me up. But the most rewarding aspect was hearing that people are enjoying True Blue as much as Dear Banjo.
Q. WA based writers seem very supportive of one another. What support have you personally received?
A. I’m so lucky. I’ve been included and invited to events, my books supported and shared, and had writers ask me to write posts for their blogs. Tess Woods read Dear Banjo at extremely short notice (and thankfully loved it) so that she could provide a cover quote for it. I have a couple of great author friend networks in the indie and tradpub worlds who have always been there to help me stay sane!
Q. How do you balance life with writing?
A. Balance? *manic laughter* I write every moment I can in amongst a part time job, raising two teenagers, volunteer work and all the other little things that fill up a woman’s day.
Q. Can you tell us about your creative working space, where do you write and is there anything vital you need to get started?
A. I have a cluttered desk in the living area. I often have to fight the cat for a seat. I write there, or while nesting in bed with my laptop, or occasionally in a paper notebook. The vital thing I need is generally a hot drink – tea or coffee – or a wine if it’s in the evening. I can generally work through the noise, chaos and demands of my family although sometimes I wish I could put them all on mute!
Q. What is next on the horizon for Sasha Wasley? Do you have any writing projects you would like to share with us?
A. I’m doing some editing work on Book 3 in the Paterson sisters series but my next book is first-drafted and will shortly go to my agent to see what she thinks! It’s called Spring Clean for the Peach Queen and is about Lottie, a young actress whose life takes a disastrous turn and lands her back home in the little orchard town where she was raised. There, she faces an angry mother and helps an elderly neighbour while Lottie tries to work out who she is. In the meantime, my next WIP has commenced and it’s turned into a noir or suspense novel, which is a bit different for me! We’ll see how it pans out.
Q. Finally, what 2018 book releases are you most excited to read?
A. I think I already read it – The Cowgirl by Anthea Hodgson!
Thank you for taking the time to visit Mrs B’s Book Reviews Sasha and congratulations on the publication of True Blue!
Connect with Sasha here:
If this Q & A enticed you to read True Blue, here is the blurb:
Love is random. Accidental. You just live your life and then one day it’ll hit you with the right person.
Wandering soul Freya ‘Free’ Paterson has finally come back home. Idealistic and trusting, she’s landed the job of her dreams working on an art project with the local school, but she hadn’t planned on meeting the man of her dreams as well.
With his irresistible Irish accent, Constable Finn Kelly is everything Free wants – genuine, kind . . . and handsome as hell. He’s also everything Free isn’t – stable and dependable. Yet despite the passion simmering between them, he just wants to be friends. What is he trying to hide?
As Free throws herself into the challenges of her new job, fending off the unwelcome advances of a colleague and helping to save her beloved Herne River, Finn won’t stay out of her way, or out of her heart.
But just when she needs him the most, will Finn reveal his true colours?
True Blue by Sasha Wasley was published on May 28th 2018 by Penguin Books Australia. Details on how to purchase the book can be found here.
*My review of True Blue can be found here.