Friday, August 31, 2012

It's SPRING tomorrow!!!

In case you haven't noticed... this post may have given it away... I'm really looking forward to spring! So I thought I would regale you with a list of what I'm looking forward to about the upcoming sunny/silly season.

♥ Reading Katherine Mansfield's short story collection, Catcher in the Rye, and Nancy Wake in a sunny spot outside somewhere

♥ Swimming in the ocean

♥ Cheery blossoms

♥ Walking barefoot

♥ Eating summer fruit

♥ Feeling sand between my toes

♥ Having lots and lots and lots of barbecues

♥ Roasting marshmallows

Ahhh sunshine, welcome back :)

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Wednesday Writers: Emily Walker

As an aspiring author, it’s always good to hear stories of other people’s success. They inspire us to not procrastinate, and reassure us that there is a light at the end of that proverbial tunnel.

This week, we talk to Emily Walker about being consumed by the writing bug, living high in the mountains, and the other side of the zombie story.

Name: Emily Walker
Location and one thing you love about living there: I live in the mountains of North Carolina. I love my view! Look at it!

Author of: Zombified
Book available: In September

Tell us a bit about yourself: Let’s see. I am going to be twenty nine this year, eep! I live on top of a mountain with my boyfriend of nine years and work at the college I graduated from. In less than twenty days I take the GRE so I can go to grad school. I love to write and that is what I spend all of my spare time doing. I also run a blog where I talk to other authors and have fun learning all about their process and what goes through their minds.

Tell us about the book you have coming out in September: Zombified is a little different than other Zombie books because it follows the Zombie instead of the people running from them. You see Cassie deal with the invasion, become infected, and then try to make it after. I am very excited about it, and hope people will like it.

What sparked your passion for books and the art of a good story? I have always loved to read, and I have a very active imagination. I come up with story at the most random times and I just have to write it down. I think what sparked my passion is reading books by Robert Heinlein, and even Nora Roberts. I feel like these people are leaving something behind that will far outlast them, and that is what I want to do.

Is there a particular book that changed or affected your life in a big way? Honestly every book I read effects me. An example of this is I have lost a lot of people in my family in the past two years, and I recently read Michelle Muto’s book Don’t Fear the Reaper for review and loved it. It touched me because I was dealing with death that was fresh, and I think all books have that power to connect with something in your life.

What was the seed of inspiration for Zombified? I love Zombie movies, Zombieland and Sean of the Dead being two of my favourites. I just started to think about their perspective, and what it would be like to change into the Living Dead.

Is there a message in your book that you want readers to grasp? Really the only message is that Zombies have feelings too, which is ridiculous, but that is kind of what the book is saying in a roundabout way.

What challenges have you faced in your writing career? So far, time management. I have so many ideas going through my head and I just don’t know whether I am coming or going sometimes. I have to sit down and get really focused before I can do anything.

What has been your best moment as a writer? Starting my website has been my best moment so far. I love connecting with other writers and reading their work.

Who is your author idol? I have so many. I think Robert Heinlein inspires me the most, and is my idol. He wrote about things completely outside the box. He had multi-sexual characters and things that were far before his time in his books. His style of writing is something that some people cannot get into. My father had me read all of his books growing up and I have read a couple dozens of times.

Do you see yourself in any of your characters? Sometimes I write what I know into characters without even realizing it. I will go back and read over something Taryn says or Cassie thinks and I am like, that’s me!

Do you feel like your dream has come true or is there much more to do? There is so much more I want to do, and I want to write. My dream hasn’t come true yet, but I am getting there.

What is your personal cure for procrastination? The Pomodora Method. You work for twenty five minutes and then take a five minute break. I get so much done in that twenty five minutes because I am locked in.

What does your workspace look like? It is my bedroom and it is super clean because my boyfriend is a neat freak. Sometimes I go upstairs and write in the window overlooking the mountains, but most of the time I just sit in the bedroom floor or on the bed. A desk would be ideal!

Are there any occupational hazards to being a writer? Lack of sleep can be one. There are some nights where I stay up past the point of sanity because I am so into what I am writing.

Have you ever had a day when you just wanted to quit? Yes, there are some days where I go, what are you doing? I think, no one cares what you think, but then I push it away and keep going.

What do you do when you’re not writing? I work out. I love to work out even if it is the hardest workout ever. I challenge myself daily and it makes me feel good about myself.

What are the most important attributes to remaining sane as a writer? Have a sense of humour, and good friends that will be there when you need to talk through a scene.

What was the greatest thing you learned at school? I would say probably time management, because I have the attention span of a rock.

Did you have a moment when you realised you were meant to be a writer? I think it was when I was writing a book report for The Clockwork Orange and I had written thirty five pages for a ten page assignment.

What advice would you give to aspiring authors? Never give up, don’t be afraid to be controversial, and write every day. Even if it is just a couple of paragraphs, you are working towards your goal.

If you are an author and would like to be featured on You May Say I'm a Dreamer, email me at: sarah.hardie[at] and I'll get back to you.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Classy, fabulous sister

On Saturday my sister went to her last ever school ball. Doesn't she look gorgeous?! Of all the balls she's been to, she's never paid to get her hair or makeup done - I always do it for her and every year it's one of those afternoons that you just treasure. Sitting in her bedroom curling, straightening, spraying, pinning, and talking non-stop has always been something we both look forward to. I've been doing her hair ever since she got hair as a little one. Makes me a little sad that she's not going to any more balls, but I'm sure we'll have other events in the future to primp for and gossip over. I keep having to remind myself that my baby sister is an adult now, it happened so fast! One minute she's the world's cutest toddler with wispy nearly white hair, buck teeth, chubby cheeks and a motor mouth, and next minute she looks like this... and is about to leave school and experience all that the big wide world has to offer. Love you sister xo

Monday, August 27, 2012

Happy Monday :)

Good morning all! Happy Monday! Good weekend? Mine was busy, busy, busy as usual but good, good, good at the same time. Spent Saturday afternoon curling my sister's beautiful long blonde locks and doing her makeup for her last ever school ball (will post pictures tomorrow), then stayed to watch the All Blacks beat the Wallabies (again), winning the Bledisloe Cup (again) with my parents. Was kinda weird saying "I should go home now" once the game was over, but a cool feeling all the same.
Yesterday I wrote some of my novel! Which led to a discussion about grenades, cannons and landmines with dad and Joshua last night when we had my family round for dinner. Very excited to be making some headway, and it's all thanks to the wonderful comments on this post from you lovely people. I've also promised a friend in America I will send him part one of my novel at the end of the year, so I'm getting it done man!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Updated photography page

I got bored... so I updated my Photography Page! It looks much prettier now! And I found a couple of photos I forgot I had... my new favourites:

Hello? Spring? Are you there?

Ever get that feeling at the end of winter when you're just so fed up? You're sick of jumpers and socks and scarves and boots. They all feel itchy and uncomfortable and heavy and you just want to walk around naked. You're sick of being cold. You find yourself longing to feel sand under your toes, a cotton skirt floating around your legs, the warmth of the sun on your face; to hear the sound of cicadas, the sizzle of the barbecue.
A couple of days ago I was so desperate for spring that I spent my walk home from the train station searching for a sign, any sign of it, and I found a tiny blossom peeking through on an otherwise barren tree. I went to take a photo of it last night, but my battery died, then I went to charge said battery and my charger died, so I can't use my camera right now, which is a little annoying since I've been without it for weeks as my sister's been using it and there are so many things I want to capture right now, but never mind, out comes the credit card for a new charger - I can't be without my camera this close to spring! So the photo above is not mine, it's from here.
It's. Just. So. Close. I smelt it in the air yesterday when we were treated to a rare day of sunshine after weeks of rain and grey skies, and I've decided that I'm over winter. It's time for spring! Seven days to go!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children

Wow. Just... wow. I never new "book trailers" existed, but I stumbled across this one - I think it was a link from Twitter -  and I had one of those "why didn't authors think of this before?!" moments. I have never heard of the book, but now I so desperately want to read it.
When I actually finish my novel (this blog post is my procrastinaton), I will definitely be doing this - I know lots of artsy people who can help me out so it can't be too hard. I can imagine my own book trailer clear as day right now. An old man stands at the Wellington cenotaph wearing his medals on Anzac Day as the Last Post rings out, signalling dawn. He thinks back and what he sees is the crashing of the waves at the Red Rocks, a beautiful girl, a crazed young man, a young woman lying in a pool of blood, and a ship sailing away from the harbour with his young self on it, waving goodbye to his family and trying his best to forget about the woman who ripped out his heart.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Wednesday Writers: Brandi Salazar

As an aspiring author, it’s always good to hear stories of other people’s success. They inspire us to not procrastinate, and reassure us that there is a light at the end of that proverbial tunnel.

This week, we hear from Brandi Salazar, author of Spring Cleaning, who gets through the long list of a writers' occupational hazards with a sense of humour and bucketloads of confidence.

Name: Brandi Salazar
Location and one thing you love about living there: I have lived my entire life in Ohio. What I love about my area is that it represents a potpourri of cultures. Spring to fall, there are so many different celebrations happening from Greek to Polish festivals, and more. I have always found that a congregation of people laughing and having fun to be infectious. 
Author of: Spring Cleaning
Book available: When it is released, it will be available via Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords—and probably a few others, including, hopefully, Kobo.

Tell us a bit about yourself: I am a wife and a mother of three wonderful children, and the owner of far too many animals. I suffer a terrible addiction to sweet tea and will probably end up in a rehab one day for the growing book hoarding problem, as well. I also enjoy photography, and would love to one day travel the world capturing all kinds of beautiful memories, but my true passion is editing. I am currently attending university to obtain the degrees needed to become a professional book editor (This does not mean I am, in any way, very good at editing my own stories!).

Tell us about Spring Cleaning: Spring Cleaning, which is due out at the end of August 2012, is about an abused woman who is trying to live under the radar while making a fresh start. When she learns her husband has been released from jail, she turns to the embrace of her new-and irresistibly attractive boss-for protection.

What sparked your passion for books and the art of a good story? My passion for writing has always been there, I think, just buried beneath the rigors of life. Once a friend of mine told me she had started up writing again, I felt the stirrings of anticipation. Once I started, I couldn’t stop.
My passion for reading and appreciation of a good story followed on the heels of my writing. Curious to see how everyone else did it, I picked up a book at the library and simply couldn’t put it down. Then one book turned into another, and before I knew it, my bookshelf was straining under the pressure.

Is there a particular book that changed or affected your life in a big way? Early in my own writing, I picked up the first book in the Vampire Huntress series, and was completely swept away by it. The characters were so complicated and deliciously formed, the plots ingenious, and I said, “I want to write like that!” I don’t think I have, or ever will, come close to its perfection, but I strive for it every day.

What was the seed of inspiration for Spring Cleaning? Sometimes, between racking my brain for the next chapter in a book and going insane with the lack of ideas, I simply cast it aside and write something—anything—that comes to mind. Spring Cleaning was a result of one of these moments. I sat down and just spilled out a chapter. Then I wasn’t sure where exactly it would go, so it was cast aside for a couple years until I finally came back with some solid ideas to throw at it.

Is there a message in your book that you want readers to grasp? Yes. This book is geared toward female readers, but I think the message can also be appreciated by the male persuasion. I think it has a couple of messages really. First, I want women to recognize that abuse can come in all forms and, although it is never their fault if it is, in fact, a reality they live in, it is also a symptom of something greater. Patterns of abuse are exactly that, patterns, and I want them to recognize that. Second, it’s important to recognize your own bad behavior and own it. All too often people are quick to blame others rather than look too closely at themselves.

What challenges have you faced in your writing career? Time is always a challenge. Balancing family, education, and writing can be tricky. There is far more that goes into writing that I ever could have imagined, but I think one of the biggest challenges is finding the strength to put myself out there to being criticised and being able to walk away relatively intact.

What has been your best moment as a writer? Hands down, the best moments are when someone comes to me privately and says how much they enjoyed my work. I am my own worst critic, so when someone outside of my circle (and my head) can say that what I did was great or inspiring, it feels especially amazing and wonderful and all that sappy stuff.

Who is your author idol? Hmm, there are so many, but I think the one that stands out the most is J. R. Ward. To me, she is a picture of exactly what I want to be—a powerful, successful, intelligent and talented woman.

Do you see yourself in any of your characters? Oh yes. I think I have imparted something of myself in all of my characters. Whether they are brainy, kooky, witty, self-absorbed, a little crazed or shy, it all came from the mind that knows it first-hand.

Do you feel like your dream has come true or is there much more to do? I’m close, I think, but not there yet. My goals and aspirations are always evolving, but right now I am focused on my goal of becoming an editor. Once I reach that goal, I am sure I will set a new one—something small, like taking over the world!

What is your personal cure for procrastination? Usually to procrastinate some more. The best solution, which is pretty flimsy if you ask me, is to just thrust myself at whatever I need to stop procrastinating over and hope something good comes of it. Sometimes, however, the drive just isn’t there and a solid day of doing nothing can be the best cure to getting back on track than anything else.

What does your workspace look like? Very neat and organized…if you overlook the stack of reference books, notebook, pen, drinks and snacks piled everywhere.

Are there any occupational hazards to being a writer? -Daydreaming is definitely a problem. Zoning out on a perfectly good conversation because the person said something totally innocent that I suddenly realized I could use in one of my stories, then go off on a mental tangent organizing the whole scene for when I get a moment to sit down and write it out when I should be listening.
-Breaking down every movie I watch into a book narration, each step and facial expression being noted in detail in my mind and filed away for later use.
-When my extensive vocabulary sometimes leaks its way into general conversation and I have to watch as people’s eyes glaze over.
-I mentally edit everything people say to make it better, more exciting.
-Losing sleep because my mind starts spinning out the plotline of my most recent story idea and isn’t satisfied until I have the whole novel cooked up, right down to the conversations.
-Never being alone inside my own head because my characters are pushing and shoving, vying for their chance to be heard.
I think that’s about it…

Have you ever had a day when you just wanted to quit? All the time! Sometimes I get too close to a project and I start to think, who would even want to read this? Heaven forbid if someone doesn’t like it. It just reaffirms my suspicions that it was bad. But then I realize that it’s all relative and I remind myself to take me too seriously. It all passes in time and I am back on the wagon ready and willing to get cracking on the next idea.

What do you do when you’re not writing? Reading. I have a growing stack of books waiting for those moments when I am free from all responsibility, and I take full advantage of it.

What are the most important attributes to remaining sane as a writer? Have a sense of humor—keep it light and fun. Be willing to take risks. Try new things, branch out, don’t pigeonhole yourself. Be patient. Rome wasn’t built in a day. Confidence. You are better than you give yourself credit for. Humility. Don’t get too big for your britches. There is always going to be someone out there who does it better, and that’s okay.

What was the greatest thing you learned at school? That we all possess strengths and weaknesses. Where you are weak, you strive to improve, and where you are strong, you strive to help others improve.

Did you have a moment when you realised you were meant to be a writer? No. I am still not sure I was meant to be a writer. I just know I am enjoying the experience and content just to go along for the ride.

What advice would you give to aspiring authors? Believe in yourself. No matter what, never stop writing. Learn to be accepting of criticism. Sometimes it can be a learning experience, once you get over the initial rage, that is.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Patriotism through fiction

Recently I read an article on called What's so wrong with NZ fiction?. It basically explains (through a bunch of statistics) that New Zealanders love and support New Zealand fiction, but not many of us actually read it.
This article has come about at the most appropriate time for me because I've recently become obsessed with Katherine Mansfield, one of New Zealand's greatest ever writers, and I've also decided that all the books I read next year, for the entire year, are going to be New Zealand fiction.
Why? Because I am one of these statistics. I love and support our fiction, but for the life of me I cannot think of one kiwi novel I've read, and I'm ashamed of myself for that. I figure that if I'm going to strive to become one of the great kiwi writers, I need to know who my predecessors are - I was going to say "what I'm up against" but that sounds like I have a lack of respect for other kiwi writers and I want to be humble and accept that people like Katherine Mansfield were and probably always will be the best.
The article got a lot of comments, and a main theme I noticed was that people think New Zealand fiction is too much about New Zealand and most of them say things like "When I read I want to escape, I don't want to read about places I know, places I can drive down the road and see".
It's the same with young people going travelling and moving to Australia - people that think the grass is greener elsewhere. Sure, travelling when you're young is something kiwi's do - it's a rite of passage and something that I'll be doing myself soon. But, we have a strange culture... we are a loyal and supportive nation when it comes to things like sporting events, tragedies, and triumphs, but when it comes to the quality of life debate, people start complaining, when really, compared to most countries, we live in one of the best places in the world. Yet people still take off in search of greener pastures. Maybe it's because we're a young nation and we struggle with our identity a bit, or maybe it's because we're so far away from everywhere that we have this great amount of curiosity in us.
I understand where those "When I read I want to escape" people are coming from, but I think there is a lot of merit in learning about your own country, even if it is through fiction.
On the other hand, a few months ago I decided to go browsing through the Whitcoulls New Zealand section to see what I had to live up to with my own novel that is set in Wellington, and, first of all, I think our fiction should take pride of place at the front of the store where it can't be missed (some of our bookstores don't even have a New Zealand section!) instead of being squished on a small shelf in between trashy romance and sci-fi. Second of all, I noticed that every single novel I picked up had some sort of international influence attached to it - whether it was written by a kiwi writer and set overseas, or the characters were here from overseas, having immigrated from England or Scotland or Ireland.
And I thought, how sad that is, that New Zealand writers feel they have to draw on outside influences in order to write an interesting story.
In a way, it was a good thing for me, because I'm writing a story with all New Zealand characters (excluding a couple of minor American characters - soldiers who were in Wellington during WWII) set in Wellington during the present day and during the first and second world wars.
We say we are a loyal and proud country, but reading those comments made me question that a little bit - are we really? Do we actually practice what we preach? I know I do and I know a lot of people who do, but it would be nice if more kiwis did.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Happy Monday :)

My what a weekend it has been! I feel like I need another weekend just to get over this one - I mean, I love being busy, but sometimes I just wish for a weekend where there is absolutely nothing on; a weekend that is sunny of course; one that we can spend lazing on the beach. Lucky for us it's spring in less than two weeks! The light is already lasting longer at night... bring on daylight savings!
On Saturday my brother and his girlfriend came back from a trip overseas - she had been gone three months, he was gone for five weeks - and we welcomed them back with a very kiwi weekend (quite unintentionally - the kiwi stuff just kinda happened...) We had a barbecue with both families, drank some beer and some wine, played Pictionary, then watched the All Blacks beat the Wallabies. Then on Sunday we had roast lamb and I made Lemon Meringue Pie, which was pretty darned amazing for a first attempt, and they showed us their photos - yes I was jealous (I've been trying very hard not to be, telling myself "it will be your turn soon") It was great to have them back and hear their stories, and it has definitely made Joshua and I think more about our own trip, which will be happening in 2014.
So what did you get up to this weekend friends? Have a lovely week! xo

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Would you read this book?

Missing Since Tuesday
by Sarah Hardie

It's the year 2009 in Wellington, New Zealand, where orphans Duncan and Sophia Grant live quiet, often lonely lives. He studies history; she struggles through a thankless government job.
Duncan meets a chatty, popular girl named Maria who is drawn to him just as he is drawn to her, despite their polar opposite personalities. Their fragile partnership is doomed from the start, and is shattered one day at Wellington's rugged south coast where Maria slips and falls into the violent sea - or so they think.

On his death bed, Duncan's grandfather tells him the secret of the rocks - they have the power to send people back in time and, determined to save the love of his life, a frantic Duncan, who is slowly losing his sense of reality, finds himself in the midst of World War Two.

Worried for her brother, Sophia follows and begins her own love story with Arthur, a railway worker who has also lost the love of his life, though to murder, not accident, and once their paths cross, powerful secrets are revealed that will test their relationship and their individual lives, which are changed forever as they all chase love through time in a world turned upside down by war, racing against the clock to bring everyone back to where they belong.

This is the blurb to my first novel-in-progress... what do you think? Would you read it?

Vintage heaven

On Saturday, my mum, my sister and I took a trip to Vintage Heaven - yes, it's an actual place, otherwise known as Cuba Street, Wellington. For vintage lovers, even if you don't have any money to spend, a day spent wandering up and down Cuba Street is pure bliss. There's cheap second-hand clothing, well-priced designer vintage, furniture, records, jewellery, books... all in the one street.
My sister and I are never ones to follow the crowd when it comes to fashion, and when ball season rolls around, the last thing we want is to look like everybody else, to buy the same old satin dress from Pagani or Stax that about three other people are wearing. And so we shop vintage.
Last year we were extremely lucky - we found a $20 dress for her and we all ended up buying dresses for ourselves, just because we could - there was almost too much choice. But this year is her last ball, so naturally she was allowed to be extra fussy, and nothing "jumped out" at us, nothing hit us square in the face and said "you must buy me!" as per usual... and we had nearly exhausted every vintage shop we knew of... until we spotted a sign that said Eva's Attic. Crossing our fingers that we would find a gem up there, we made our way up the extremely steep and rickety old staircase to the hidden little nook.
There wasn't much on the racks, but then we looked up and spotted a nice looking coral/peach dress circa about 1950s and she almost didn't try it on, being in one of those "all hope is lost, we're never going to find anything, let's just go home" kind of moods, but I made her try it on and we're glad she did, because it was absolutely gorgeous. It's always an amazing feeling when you find that one-off vintage piece that fits you perfectly, and this one did - she's going to look so freakin' gorgeous! It was only $40, and the best thing about it was that that money went to charity - Eva's Attic is run by volunteers and all their profits go to charity, pretty great huh?

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Wednesday Writers: Catalina Egan

As an aspiring author, it’s always good to hear stories of other people’s success. They inspire us to not procrastinate, and reassure us that there is a light at the end of that proverbial tunnel.

This week we hear from devoted You May Say I'm a Dreamer follower (thanks!) Catalina Egan, who tell us about her writing journey and her novel The Bridge of Deaths, which, coincidentally, revolves around this day in 1939.

Name: Catalina Egan
Location and one thing you love about living there: I live in Delray Beach, Florida. It is a wonderful area to bring up a child/teenager and thanks to our weather we have delicious fresh local produce. I could take a little less heat especially this time of the year but I am thankful everyday for the wonderful life we lead. I make it a point to thank my lucky stars every night!
Author of: The Bridge of Deaths
Social media:
Email m_c_v_egan[at]

Tell us a bit about yourself: I am a 53-year-old writer, mother, wife and dog owner. I have lived in various countries and for the last 20 years South Florida has been my home. I am fluent in four languages; they are Spanish, English, French and Swedish. This has come in handy when I have needed to make a living, especially when I lived in Sweden. Who speaks Swedish other than the Swedes? I was born in Mexico City, Mexico and I am one of my parents 8 offspring! As such I entered this world with a complex life and need to communicate in order to survive the dynamics of a large family.
Aside from writing I delve in many other creative outlets and I simply LOVE life, that is why I am a fan of You May Say I am a Dreamer.

Tell us about The Bridge of Deaths: The Bridge of Deaths is a blend of fact and fiction. Based on an airplane crash in Denmark in 1939, two weeks before Hitler invaded Poland and the world was turned upside down for most.
The story was researched in various archives and other traditional sources as well as through the use of psychometry and past life regressions. All the documented data is footnoted and made easy to confirm by any would be doubter.
The story is told in a fictional manner from the perspective of a young couple Bill and Maggie in present day UK they find themselves researching their past lives to overcome Bill’s present day phobias and nightmares.

What sparked your passion for books and the art of a good story? I am ridiculously tall for a Mexican female, so when I was in Kindergarten my teacher thought I was older and felt sorry for me, so to “fast track” me she taught me to read…as a summer baby I was one of the youngest in the class. I was raised in a house full of a wide variety of books, but my lucky break was when I learned to read in English and my next door neighbour had the MOST amazing collection of books for my 10 year old mind, and a super added bonus the lovely lady Mrs. Gamble would make me an amazing ice cream sundae and discuss the books with me, I devoured her Nancy Drew, The Hardy boys and other collections. I thank my lucky stars for my old neighbour Mrs. Virginia Gamble as well.

Is there a particular book that changed or affected your life in a big way? Many to be sure, but I guess Jonathan Livingston Seagull is a great example of how a small book can make an enormous change! I so identified with the seagull that wanted more out of life.

What was the seed of inspiration for The Bridge of Deaths? The inspiration was my maternal grandfather and the mystery around his death in such a faraway land.

Is there a message in your book that you want readers to grasp? YES! Through knowledge we can try to achieve peace, the more informed we are the less likely we are to agree with our country’s involvement in any war.

What challenges have you faced in your writing career? The most limiting aspect was that when I started to research The Bridge of Deaths we did not have such an amazing access to archives on line as we now do through sites such as or the Parliamentary Archive.UK

What has been your best moment as a writer? My first reviews, especially because they were from sources/people I did not know and they were REALLY positive. By the same token I was crushed by the first bad review…

Who is your author idol? There are really very many. If I must chose one I LOVE W. Sommerset Maugham!

Do you see yourself in any of your characters? Yes but not in the way many reader’s think. I am as sceptical as Bill, I wish I had Maggie’s courage and Catalina and I are only similar in that we are the granddaughters of Cesar Agustin Castillo. On purpose and to detach I made her lonely and confused. I have spent very little time in my life alone, I only lived alone for about 6 months…and I was young 27, divorced out and about having a blast and not lonely.

Do you feel like your dream has come true or is there much more to do? I feel so glad to have finally gotten this done, but my bucket list overflows and there is so very much more to do.

What is your personal cure for procrastination? Lists! Write a list of the MUST DO and make sure you have to face it.

What does your workspace look like? I have a lovely room of my own! The only girly/spiritual/bohemian room in my house!

Are there any occupational hazards to being a writer? Other than potential starvation? Well I guess if you asked Salman Rushdie or any other author who has written a book found objectionable en masse by a large demographic.

Have you ever had a day when you just wanted to quit? Yes, but a long time ago and far more because of the frustration at not being able to find the information I needed, the book I am working on now is a very different story AHHH the freedom of So MUCH fiction.

What do you do when you’re not writing? I take care of my home, cook, and parent a teenager. Hard work parenting, I take long walks in beautiful places. I love to travel. I paint, draw, sew, cook, enjoy a good film and READ!

What was the greatest thing you learned at school? Knowledge is such a valuable asset that no one can take away from you.

Did you have a moment when you realised you were meant to be a writer? I have a very clear childhood memory when I was certain and said so to anyone who cared to listen.

What advice would you give to aspiring authors? Your voice is unique, find it, and use it wisely and no matter how tough it seems, never give up.

If you are an author and would like to be featured on You May Say I'm a Dreamer, email me at: sarah.hardie[at] and I'll get back to you quick smart.

Happy birthday Woodstock!

On this Day 1969, the Woodstock Festival was held on Max Yasgur's 600 acre farm in Bethel outside New York, attended by over 400,000 people. During the three days there were three deaths, two births and four miscarriages. As well as Jimi Hendrix, The Who, Janis Joplin, Joe Cocker... where's my time machine!?

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Dreaming of the perfect first house

Don't ya hate it when you're browsing Trademe dreaming about buying a house, something you have to wait at least another year to do, and you find the perfect first house - it's nothing big or flash, not the ultimate dream home, but it's the perfect one to start with. It's the right size, in your dream location, it's fairly new, it's got a big section, it's surrounded by bush, and it's the right price. And the most torturous thing of all is that it's been on the market for months...
This house was listed in April and I put it on my Watchlist for fun, just to see how long it would take to sell, and so I could go back and look at it and dream some more when I pleased. The best thing about it is where it is - I've always dreamed of living in the Akatarawa Valley. It's one of those places that is close enough to the city so you don't feel isolated, but it's far enough away to make you feel like you live in the country.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Happy Monday :)

Good morning all and a Happy Monday to you! I hope at least some of you have the kind of life that you feel no need to escape from, and I hope the rest of you can create it! I for one am enjoying this kind of life right now, and it's a beautiful thing. Even with friends and family travelling all over the world at the moment - my little brother is in Paris right now - I feel nothing but happiness for them, that they get to experience the joy of travel, and I don't feel jealous because I know it will be my turn soon (2014) and life is pretty darn good right now.
Hope you all had a great weekend! I went vintage shopping in the wonderful Cuba Street on Saturday with mum and sister - found sister an amazing ball dress for just $40 (will post photos on Thursday)! Then I finally got some of my pictures up on the wall, and we had Joshua's parents round for dinner last night - I think we impressed them with our chicken and spinach risotto and stuffed chicken wrapped in bacon... mmm... it was gooood. What did you all get up to?? xo

Friday, August 10, 2012

Dreaming of... relaxing in Tuscany

For our Big OE, visiting Italy is the one non-negotiable on the extensive list of places we want to go, and it's a place we're hoping to spend at least two weeks travelling around, taking it all in. When I think of Tuscany, I think of rural Tuscany. Low slowly rolling hills, farmland stretching for miles complimented with huge rolls of hay, rows and rows of perfectly kept grapevines used to make some of the world's best wine, and massive old farmhouses lived in by generations of the same family, who sit together at a big scuffed and scratched table eating mamma's pasta.

When I think of us acutally visiting Tuscany, I imagine the two of us sitting on the edge of a rickety wooden trailer, sun beating down on our floppy straw hats, getting towed around these beautiful scenes with an old Italian man shouting stories at us from the passenger seat. We stop to pick some fresh fruit, to try some wine, and for lunch we sit outside at quaint cafe on wooden seats slurping up our pasta.

And at the end of the day, we sink into the warm embrace of the thermal baths in Saturnia...

Have a lovely weekend folks, and dream a little dream...

Hollywood Stories WINNER!

The winner of Hollywood Stories by Stephen Schochet, who I interviewed here yesterday, is Suzy Henderson! Congrats Suzy! Send me an email at sarah.hardie[at] so I can send you the book. :)

Thursday, August 9, 2012

The price of paradise

Mt Ruapehu Eruption, 1995
On Monday night, one of New Zealand's volcanoes, Mt Tongariro went... BOOM! For the first time in over a hundred years. As is expected with these kinds of things, the media has done its best to freak us out... We've always known that if Lake Taupo, a tourist hotspot in the middle of the North Island and also a massive volcano, were to erupt, most of New Zealand would be toast. It would be like Pompeii up in here. Apparently Lake Taupo is a "super volcano, which erupted 1800 years agoin the most violent eruption known in the world in the past 5000 years" My colleague tells me people in Rome saw the ash clouds... how she knows that, no idea... but it's a scary thought... Rome is pretty far away.

Ash from the eruption - photo from

Growing up dealing with earthquakes and seeing the 1995 eruption of Mt Ruapehu among others, New Zealanders have always known they live on some pretty volitile land. But it didn't actually hit me as to just how volitile it is until I took an American friend of mine to Te Papa, the National Museum of New Zealand, last year, and showed him around the Awesome Forces exhibit, which "shows how plate tectonics, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and erosion have shaped one of the most dynamic landscapes in the world". We live on really, really fragile ground... and because New Zealand is so small, Something that happens in Cape Reinga is felt in Bluff - everyone feels the pinch, the worry, the ocassional panic.
There are a lot of whingers in this country who get disappointed by the election results or live in fear of death by nature, who harp on about greener pastures overseas. About how New Zealand's economy is going down the tubes and we're all going to die one day in a volcanic eruption or an earthquake. But you know what, you pay a price for paradise, and I would rather live through earthquakes and the ocassional volcanic eruption than live in constant fear of poisonous snakes and spiders, getting shot as I walk down the street, or destroying my body with polluted "air".
Part of me (a slightly morbid part I'll admit) feels oddly comforted by the fact that there are some things on earth that are simply out of our control. As humans, we like to think we are top of the table in this world, but in fact, we are all at the mercy of nature, and if nature decides to sweep us away with an earthquake, tsunami, or volcanic eruption, then there's nothing we can do about it.
Although we've grown up in a culture that is largely shaped by our active geology and our country, just like any other, is not perfect, we've also grown up with the knowledge that many people who don't live here believe we live in paradise. I believe it too, and I wouldn't live anywhere else.

Click photos for sources