Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Blog Tour: Dale Harcombe

Today, Dale Harcombe visits this blog as part of her blog tour to promote her book, The Goanna Island Mystery. Dale is travelling the blogosphere talking about her book and about all aspects of being a writer. She has kindly agreed to answer some questions from me about being reviewed.

Welcome Dale.

1. Has Goanna Island been reviewed at all? If so, where?

The Goanna Island Mystery has been reviewed by fellow author Delwyne Stephens on the Aussiereviews site. One of Delwyne’s daughters was also going to send a review to Blake but I don’t know whether it actually ended up happening or not. There should be a review of The Goanna Island Mystery by Dee White probably next week in Pass It On newsletter

2. Can you tell us about your best and worst review experiences as a writer?

I’ll start with the worst first. Not that it was particularly bad, the reviewer did have positive things to say about Chasing after the Wind but towards the end of the review he said, 'Though the novel culminates in a very moving reconciliation( not necessarily the one reader might expect) the potential sprightliness of the story is defeated by its lack of subtlety.’ Of course, no matter how many good reviews, the book got and others were great, they were the words I remembered. Having recently re-read Chasing after the Wind myself, I’m not convinced that he's right, but then reading is a subjective thing. The irony is that the reviewer Stephen Matthews was the publisher who published Kaleidoscope my poetry collection several years later, in what had to be the quickest I have ever had a manuscript accepted for publication. Less than a week after sending it off to Stephen Matthews at Ginninderra Press, I had the acceptance letter in my hand. Kaleidoscope had some great reviews in Artlook, Studio magazine and one by fellow author Sophie Masson. Another great review of it by one Sally Murphy is on the Aussiereviews site.

The best report ever came not from a reviewer but from a family. One is from the girl who read the book and the other is from her mother. According to the mother, her daughter was given Chasing after the Wind as a present by a friend and instead of reading it at school during reading time as she originally intended ‘she grabbed it every spare moment she had. This was exciting stuff as it was the first book to really get her in’ her mother said. 'The other letter came from the girl herself, Kimberly and she said.’ To say that I liked the book you wrote called Chasing After the Wind is not right, actually I loved it! I really got hooked, seeing I’m not a great reader and my Mum enjoyed it too.’ I also had a visit from the girl’s grandmother who was similarly encouraging and positive about the impact my book had on her granddaughter. To know I’d had such an amazing impact on a reluctant reader was better than any review. Interesting enough I had another t letter from tow girls who were avid readers and there response was just as positive as they ‘really related to the characters.’ Those are a few of several letters from readers that I up on the cork board above my desk to remind me during the discouraging times of the impact my words have had on others.

3. You review books yourself. Has being a reviewer influenced your writing, and in what way?

I suppose being a reviewer has influenced my writing, as has past work as a manuscript assessor. I tend to look at things very much trying to see them as the average reader would and make sure I don’t rabbit on with those boring bits people tend to skip over when reading.

4. Goanna Island is published by a publisher whose focus is the educational market. Did they send out review copies or is it up to you to do so? How do you go about seeking reviews for your books?

I have no idea if the publisher sent out review copies of The Goanna Island Mystery. I sent the book to Delwyne Stephens who was published by the same publisher and later to Dee White and Mabel Kaplan who asked for it , when setting up this blog tour. I haven’t seen any other reviews other than Delwyne's for The Goanna Island Mystery but initial comments have been positive indicating people enjoyed it. On the whole though, I haven’t actually done much at all in the way of seeking out reviews.

5. Do you think getting reviews is important? How does it help you as a writer?

With so many books in the market place, getting reviews can be important in bringing a book to the attention of readers, teachers, and librarians. Obviously positive reviews can help boost sales, which is always good for a writer but often word of mouth can generate interest to as readers talk about books they have read and liked.

Thanks for dropping in Dale.
Here are the dates in May and the blogs where The Goanna Island Mystery will be touring.

Monday 25th Dee White at http://tips4youngwriters.wordpress.com/

Tuesday 26th Sally Murphy at http://aussiereviews.blogspot.com/

Wednesday 27th Mabel Kaplan at http://belka37.blogspot.com/

Thursday 28th Claire Saxby at http://www.letshavewords.blogspot.com/

Friday 29th Sandy Fussell at http://www.sandyfussell.blogspot.com/

The Goanna Island Mystery can be purchased online from Blake.

You can learn more about Dale by visiting her website.

And, if you are an Aussie author or blogger keen to be involved in blog tours, you can find out about the Aussie BlogTours group here.