Rhiza Press Blog

Rhiza Press blog is the place to keep up to date with all the goings-on in the world of Australian books for Adult and Young Adult readers.

Rhiza Catches Up With Patricia Weerakoon About Winning The Caleb Prize

WeerakoonPatriciaEmpire’s Children by Patricia Weerakoon recently won the Caleb Prize for faith-inspired fiction at the Omega Writers Conference. Rhiza Press caught up with Patricia to discuss her novel and what it means to her.

1) Sum up Empire’s Children in one catchy sentence.
Set in the tea plantations of Sri Lanka in the dying days of British colonial rule, Empire's Children is a story of the redemptive power of love over the destructive force of exploitative power, racial tensions and abuse.

2) What first impelled you to write this story?
My father was a tea-maker during the time of British colonial rule of the plantations in Sri Lanka. This novel is both recognition of and a dedication to the Sri Lankan natives like my parents and the Indian indentured labourers like Lakshmi and her parents, who made a life under difficult and often demeaning circumstances.

3) Empire’s Children follows so many individual stories. Did you have a favourite, or one you liked writing the most?
Dr Jega Jayaseelan is my favorite. The illegitimate son of the British superintendent and Indian coolie labourer turned sex worker, he has the resilience to withstand the prejudices of Sri Lankan culture towards Eurasian children and makes an outstanding career for himself. Yet, when faced with the decision, he is unselfish and self-sacrificing enough to give up Shiro, the girl he loves, to his half-brother Anthony so they could find happiness.

4) Which character do you think readers most relate to in the novel?
I hope they relate to Shiro. She is feisty, brilliant and determined, yet deeply vulnerable when it comes to love.

5) Even though it is set in Sri Lanka fifty years ago, do you think there are a lot of parallels to modern day Australia?
Racial prejudices and power play between the rich and poor across countries, cultures and time.

6) What is your favourite part about being an author?
I live with my characters. My readers see only a sliver of my characters’ lives, I know them intimately. I know what happened in their life before they enter the page and what they do long after. They wake up with me and walk through the day by my side.

7) What is the hardest part about being an author?
Letting go of my characters when I move to another novel or story.

8) Explain how you felt when Empire’s Children won the Caleb Award?
Unbelief! My first novel! Surely, it couldn’t be that good? Then a deep gratitude for the recognition from my peers.


Read the award-winning Empire's Children for yourself.

Rate this blog entry:
Continue reading
1677 Hits

Friday Chats with Rosanne Hawke

0 RosanneWhat made you become an author?

What finally gave me the push to write seriously was my daughter, Lenore asking me to write a book for her based on a story I told her. She made me become a writer.

What was your first published book?

A book called Re-entry which has been rewritten and is now in its 3rd edition called Dear Pakistan.

What inspired you to write the Beyond Borders series?

I had changed states when I was a teenager, and as an adult I lived overseas in voluntary work with a mission. My children became third culture kids, and watching their culture shock (and mine) as we returned to Australia inspired the series.

 Have you travelled to Pakistan since? Was it still a culture shock?

Yes, the first time I arrived in Pakistan I had culture shock and, as a woman, it took me a year to adjust. In coming back to Australia we also had culture shock. Possibly that is worse because you don’t expect the culture shock to be so bad in your own country, but it was. When I visited Pakistan in 2006 on an Asialink Fellowship to research more books, it was only for two months and the culture shock was less.

Why do you think Jaime is an inspirational heroine in the story?

Jaime is going through a difficult time of her life that people around her do not understand. She has to learn to adapt to different cultures and yet discovers the joy of doing that even though it is difficult each time she moves. During this process she picks up some wisdom and realises her experiences have helped make her who she is, a teen with unlimited potential. 

Who is your favourite character in the series?

Tricky question. Besides Jaime, possibly Jasper in The War Within.

Can you give readers a hint at what they can expect in the next installment of the Beyond Borders series?

In 2002 terrorists attacked an international Christian school in the Himalayas, Pakistan. It was the school that my kids had attended and is the school which inspired Jaime’s school which she visits in The War Within. In Liana’s Dance Jaime writes the story of what happens to Liana when her school was attacked by terrorists a few years earlier.

Do you have any hints for aspiring authors out there?

Read a lot and learn to read like a writer: decide what you like about a writer’s story or technique and takes notes. Write down golden lines, but always put the author’s name underneath so you don’t mistakenly plagiarize. Always find out as much as you can about your characters because your characters will make or break your story. Most importantly work out what they want the most in the whole wide world; something important enough that would motivate them long enough for you to write a story about it. When you’re finished the first draft get your secateurs out and start cutting out the dead wood. Learn to enjoy editing and re-writing.

Rate this blog entry:
Continue reading
1566 Hits

Adele Jones Does it Again in Her Sequel: Replicate

Adele Jones Does it Again in Her Sequel: Replicate


Is it life-saving research or a devious attempt to salvage a failing institute?

Suspecting the embryonic cloning has breached ethics agreements, Blaine Colton soon discovers truth comes at a high price.

“Blaine, now an 18 year-old man, is juggling with the discovery of who he was, is and what will become of him. The reader is taken along an amazing journey as he reaps the rewards and lows of scientific achievement, human greed and the pulls of friends and family,” said Wendy Szabo, special education teacher.

“Author Adele Jones is on a winner here with a wonderful combination of scientific advancement, suspense and action interwoven with ethics and the basic forces of life. Highly recommended.”

In this sequel to the award-winning, Integrate, the appearance of an identity from Blaine’s past sees him questioning everything he knows of his life.

“Blaine’s ‘messed up DNA’ ensures he has to deal with more than the usual problems of negotiating maturing and changing relationships associated with emerging adulthood,’ said retired teacher, psychologist and academic, Majella Albion, PhD.

A keen observer of human behaviour, Majella added, “On a different level, the story also deals with complex ethical issues around genetic research, and explores Blaine’s moral conflict as he sees how the research might actually benefit him in the future. Another gripping tale from this award winning author.”

With help from close friends Sophie and Jett Faraday, Blaine begins putting the pieces together. Then tragedy fractures his world. Uncovering a link to these events and the embryonic cloning, he seeks justice—whatever the cost.

“Friendship and a sense of self-worth are vital for each of us, especially as a young adult. Blaine draws value from meaningful relationships with his peers, even as he continues to wrestle conflicting views on life, faith, ethics and identity,” said author, Adele. “He also learns just how unpredictable life can be.”

Australian author, Adele Jones writes young-adult and historical novels, poetry and short works. Her first YA novel Integrate was awarded the 2013 CALEB Prize for unpublished manuscript. Her writing is inspired by a passion for family, faith, friends, music and science—and her broad-ranging imaging.

Replicate is available in all good bookstores or online at rhizapress.com.au.

Rate this blog entry:
Continue reading
9725 Hits

Aussie author Dr Nick Hawkes wins US Award!

Aussie author Dr Nick Hawkes wins US Award!

Dr Nick Hawkes, author of the upcoming, The Summary of the Bible won the 2014 Selah Award: Bible Study Category.

The 2014 Selah Awards were announced at the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference, USA last week. Adelaide based author, Dr Nick Hawkes won the Bible Studies Award for his book The Bible on the Key Issues of Life.

On hearing of his award, Nick Hawkes said, "I'm thrilled and humbled by this award. My passion is to make the Bible known in a really useful, easily accessible form. I'm delighted to think this might occur."

This award-winning book contains Bible studies on 50 of the most common questions asked about life and faith. Issues covered include: guidance; suffering; healing; getting a job: sex; the environment; and the resurrection.

Dr Hawkes' next book, A Summary of the Bible set for release in August 2014 continues his passion for providing the Bible in a simplified form. It is about one sixth the size of the full Bible and provides a simple, concise and easy to understand summary of its contents.

Dr Hawkes has two degrees in science and two in theology. He is an author, radio broadcaster, college lecturer and pastor.

Find out more about Dr Hawkes and his upcoming book A Summary of the Bible.

Rate this blog entry:
Continue reading
6661 Hits
1 Comment