Goldie Alexander has authored 75+ books for adult and young readers of all ages. In the following interview, Goldie talks about her latest two novels for readers aged 9 to 12 Neptunia and Cybertricks 2043, and the junior novel Gallipoli Medals.
Q. You are in the unusual position of having three books out at the same time. How did this happen?
It was just one of those extraordinary co-incidences. I had written the first drafts of Cybertricks 2043 and Neptunia some time ago. No publisher picked them up, possibly because at that time they were interested in reality fiction. In 2012 when Roger Furness of Five Senses Publications picked up The Youngest Cameleer and then eSide: A Journey through Cyberspace he also took my next two novels.
Gallipoli Medals is published by the Anzac Society. This junior novel was intended to come out three years ago, but the lady who looked after the publishing side of the company died and the project was put on hold.
I think these stories should inspire anyone who has a text presently rejected not to lose heart. Of course, when I resubmitted, after such a stretch of time, I was able to edit and rework.
Q. How did these ideas form and grow? What inspires your stories?
Most of my ideas come from what I read, what is happening around me, movies and TV, conversations I listen to on trams and trains, my own grandchildren and what children suggest when I visit schools. I am a magpie who uses everything I come across as "grist for my mill". I try to write stories that I would have enjoyed reading when I was the same age.
Here is something about these latest books.
Neptunia: Cassie Georgiana Odysseos has the potential to become an Olympic swimmer. However, after her parents separate, her training is interrupted when she and her little brother Timmy are sent to live with elderly Mike and Peg Calypso in Ithaca, a small country town without a training pool. Asked to deliver an important message to the underwater city of Neptunia, Cassie must use all her strength, strategy and spirit to survive a marathon swim. But can she overcome King Neptune’s terrifying obstacles?
Cybertrick 2043: It is 120,43 AD, and Pya, Zumie, Jafet and Trist live in tiny Cells cared for by tutor-holos only able to communicate via an avatar. Pya narrates how the giant computer ComCen sends their actual bodies back to the mid 21st Century where they meet Rio and Charlie. But if they manage to survive in an increasingly dangerous world, can they also achieve Independence and Cooperation?
Gallipoli Medals: Major Peter Romsey contacts Jaxson’s dad to ask if some medals he found in an op shop could possibly belong to the Donoghue family. Intrigued by the story of his great, great uncle being part of the Great War, and what happened to him after that, Jaxson reads about Gallipoli. As a result his close friendship with Abi wavers. Even if this conflict took place ninety odd years ago, Abi’s family are Turkish. Does this make Abi his enemy?
I am also interested in what I perceive as the two important issues for our times - climate warming and tyranny. I believe that food is children’s sex, and what my protagonists eat become symbols of the strange worlds they enter.
Q. Your characters are strong and resourceful. You always have girls in powerful, leading roles, regardless of age. Is the female protagonist a preference of yours? If so, why?
In The Youngest Cameleer I am writing as a 14 year old Muslim boy. Killer Virus and Other Stories has ten varied stories about boys, all aged 13. Space Footy and Other Stories has ten stories about boys aged 12. I use the gender that best suits a situation. However, my four Dolly Fictions, which is where I got started, demanded strong resourceful females, and I think that concept has stayed with me. However, Gallipoli Medals is all about boys. Cybertrix 2043 features the "Hatchlings" two girls and two boys: Pia, Zumie, Jafet and Trist.
Q. Your novels are character driven. How easy/difficult is it to create characters who carry the whole story?
Creating characters is the most important element of a story. Once a writer has established a character’s likes, dislikes, his or her settings, conflicts and needs, the plot is almost written for you. Can I give some examples from my own work?
In Neptunia, Cassie Georgina Odysseos aims to be an Olympic swimmer, and is thwarted by her circumstances. She has to undergo a number of physical and mental trials to be proved worthy of the task.
In Cybertrix 2043, the "Hatchlings" must undergo amazingly difficult adventures before they achieve the desired Independence and Cooperation.
In Gallipoli Medals, Jaxson has to understand what happened to Great Great Uncle Jack in WW1 and overcome his own misgivings about Abi before he can resume their friendship.
Q. Adventure, personal challenges, mystery and suspense fill your writing, while your themes are many and varied. How do you choose what you are going to write about?
I move between adult, young adult and books for younger readers, and I try to vary them so I won’t get bored. I choose themes that will involve a particular reading level.
For example, my latest YA novel Dessi’s Romance (www.indra.com) concentrates on issues that interest 18 year old teenage girls. In my forthcoming verse novel In Hades, which will appear late next year from Celapene Books, the issues are perhaps more profound, as my hero and heroine are already dead. I suppose I am looking at "lives not so well lived", looking at remorse, love and redemption. This manuscript is based on Homer’s Odyssey which is also the basis of Neptunia. Though Cybertricks 2043 is set in a dismal future, the adventures my four youngsters go through are very scary. I get stuck on an idea and there’s no rest until I carry it through. I sometimes wonder what I would do if I didn’t write. The thought is too horrible to contemplate.
Part Two of this interview will be uploaded tomorrow. Please come back for more. See you soon.