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.

Chatting with Lora Inak

DSC 4647What do you mean by ‘the cultural tightrope’?

That’s a great question and one that I’ve asked myself. By the term ‘Cultural Tightrope’ I mean: The act of balancing between the culture you’re born into, and the culture of the place or country in which you live.

Like the traditional circus tightrope we all know, the cultural tightrope can be precarious as it swings and bounces over the journey of the walker. For us first, second, and even third-generation Australians, we sometimes find ourselves on an oscillating tightrope, unsure of where we fit. Are we real Australians? We weren’t born here! Or, if we were, we don’t look like the typical Aussie in TV commercials. Inevitably, we look for cues about what is culturally acceptable should we choose to define ourselves as an Australian, and too often change ourselves to blend in, to balance, rejecting the culture of our forefathers. Alternatively, we deep dive into it, immersing ourselves in the safety of where we know we definitely belong.

As I get older, it increasingly dawns on me just how much the culture within us, and the culture without, affects every part of how we exist. And with this awareness, comes the realisation of just how important it is to understand, accept, and be proud of it. Not only is culture a wide and frameless being, it is also complex in its constant evolution and fusion. So, it’s no surprise that balancing that tightrope can be tough.

 Natalie has to balance two lives—her Syrian and Australian identities. Do you think many Australian teenagers walk this cultural tightrope too? Is it tricky to balance?

The ABS tells us that around 30% of Australians are born overseas. This figure covers the entire population and within it, a wide age range so yes, I definitely believe many Australian teenagers find themselves on that precarious cultural tightrope, but so do a great many adults. What I think varies is the type of tightrope we walk.

As a teenager we want so much to fit in, but simultaneously, stand out as an individual – so the balance is more about what we wear, how we speak, our social activities etc. As an adult, the balance changes focus to how we parent, how we behave in our working life, what language we speak at home – do we encourage our kids to assimilate or adopt their cultural heritage. Of course, it’s not the same for everyone and I’ve made some generalisations but for some, that balance can be pretty tricky.

You’re a Turkish-born Australian. Did you have similar experiences to Natalie when you were growing up? I did. My parents were loving, but also strict and overly protective so I missed out on school camps and mixed sex parties. Sleepovers at friends’ houses were a definite no, as was dating boys. I was in constant terror of being caught walking home with male school mates – but in hindsight, some of it was in my head, and as I grew older, I found my parents weren’t as strict and unreasonable as I’d thought. In fact, when I finally introduced them to my now husband, they were really warm and welcoming, despite him being an Aussie 😊.

What was your first impression of Australia when you immigrated?

In my blog – Tip o The Fez I actually recount my first memory in Australia in a post titled 'Immigrant Girl'. I was only four years old when my family immigrated here, so my memories are a little hazy, but what left an imprint on me was a sense of wonder and magic - that this place, Australia, was full of possibilities. Although I was so young, I believe my senses were spot on. That’s exactly how I still feel about Australia.

 What’s it like to be a debut author? Are you excited or nervous?

Absolutely awesome! I’m excited and nervous and still in a state of disbelief but also incredibly happy. I feel very fortunate that the team at Rhiza Press believe in me and my work, and have given me this opportunity to share my story with others.


Lora's debut novel, Unspoken Rules, is out on the 17th of September on Australian Citizenship Day.

To find out more about Lora, visit her website and Facebook.

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New release: Next of Kin

NextofKinesby Carol Preston

Next of Kin tells the story of a woman in colonial Australia who was brave enough to stand against discrimination.

Fanny Franks was raised to believe in honesty, equality and acceptance of all people, regardless of their background or circumstances.  When she meets Jack and Jim Smith, she is determined to intervene and help them find happiness, until trauma in her own life brings a personal experience of discrimination and shame for which she is ill prepared.

Next of Kin is the latest novel from author Carol Preston. Set in the Northern Rivers region of New South Wales in the late 1800s, it is based on Carol’s own ancestors, who took on the many challenges of starting out in a new land and in new communities.

“Writing Next of Kin gave me a new appreciation of the difficulties around multiculturalism,” said Carol. “It was eye opening for me to explore the development of these issues through the eyes of my ancestors and imagine what it must have been like for people of different cultures, languages, expectations and traditions to work together for their common good in an emerging nation.”

In 2000, after many years of researching her family history as a hobby, Carol began writing novels based on the lives of her ancestors, going back to the First Fleet of convicts sent to Australia in 1788. Next of Kin is her ninth novel. 

Next of Kin portrays the struggle of people trying to live together with acceptance and tolerance despite their differences of opinion, language, traditions and beliefs,” she said. “It’s a tribute to a young woman who was courageous enough to stand up for what she believed.”   

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New Release: Mortal Insight

New Release: Mortal Insight

When your life is at stake, are some truths worth bringing out into the open?

Mortal Insight, the first title by E.B. James is a gripping crime drama that will have you flipping pages to follow the insidious work of chemical additive, TDB. Detective Steve Keller has uncovered a dangerous side-effect, but the more he tries to find out further information, the more he hits opposition, and then danger.

Though not this author's first novel, Mortal Insight is the first under this pen name and in this genre. A popular author in her usual genre, James hopes to engage new readers with this political crime conspiracy, addressing legal, political and social issues.

"The overwhelming tide of sexualisation in our culture has been an increasing concern for many people for many years, ranging from the use of sex in advertising through to hard core porn. TDB is my metaphor for this deep social phenomenon," said James.

Mortal Insight follows Steve Keller's investigation into a little known chemical additive called Tanordebetian or TDB. The main problem is, Steve's information about a dangerous side-effect has come through a vision, and that is not something he can tell anyone about.

His main ally is the enthusiastic social reformer, Dorothy Kent, whose big claim to fame is the ridicule she regularly receives as being a kook. If it weren't for the belief that TDB is likely to have a serious effect on sexual crime, Steve would abandon the project altogether, but his own experience tells him it is real and must be investigated. Together they battle against a tide of opposition, until they hit upon something that sees one man dead and death threats against their family. The trouble is, they don't know how deep it goes.

E.B. James has been in the published market since 1997 and this is her sixteenth title, though the first under this pen name. Due to a great response in Australia, some of her previous titles have successfully been introduced into the UK and US markets.

Mortal Insight is available in all good bookstores or buy online now.

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New release: Too Pretty

New release: Too Pretty

Too Pretty has just been released and you can win a copy!

Subscribe and leave us a comment below with the name you subscribed to go into the draw!

Pretty Girls Have Problems Too

Being beautiful isn’t as easy as people think, Ellie Paxton’s stunning looks not only attract judgment and criticism, they also cause breakups with boyfriends who aren’t interested in the real Ellie, just the external one. Too Pretty, by inspirational romance author Andrea Grigg, is a story of faith, love and self-discovery.

‘In a world where importance is placed on fame, fortune, and beauty, being blessed with these qualities should make life easy. Or so we think,’ says Eloise Whyte of Soul Inspirationz, a website dedicated to the promotion of quality Christian fiction. ‘Too Pretty takes us behind the scenes, showing us that such qualities don’t necessarily make life easier – just more complicated, and how having good character is far more attractive and of great worth.’

Ellie always feels on the outer. So does the darkly handsome Nathaniel, for reasons of his own. Both are determined to avoid a relationship, but when they keep bumping into each other their attraction escalates. And then Ellie makes an impulsive decision which may jeopardise everything.

‘How often do we think the beautiful people have it easy?’ asks the author, Andrea Grigg. ‘Writing this story has made me think outside the box and given me a new appreciation of how life can be difficult for those who seemingly have it all. I hope Ellie’s story will help young women (and not-so-young) realise that each of them is unique and precious to God no matter what they look like, and that even though you love someone, your relationship needs work in order to succeed.’

Andrea is a former primary school teacher who lives with her husband on Queensland’s Gold Coast where they have raised their three children. Having been a musician all her life, Andrea received a pleasant shock when writing took over as her number one passion. Andrea’s first inspirational romance, A Simple Mistake, was published in 2012. It was also a finalist in the 2012 CALEB Awards.

Too Pretty is available in all good bookstores or buy online now.

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