Welcome to the Smorgasbord Open House and today my guest is Australian author Fiona Tarr. Her two books in the Covenant of Grace Series are Destiny of Kings and Seed of Hope with book three well under way.
Fiona’s website and blog A Time to Write features details of her books but also quotes, short stories and articles on another area that Fiona is passionate about, self-empowerment and personal growth. She believes that we should all be making a positive difference in our own lives and also in the community that we live in.
Fiona began writing in 2007 and published Destiny of Kings in 2014 followed by Seeds of Hope in 2015. The novels combine historical, spiritual and theological fantasies reflecting Fiona’s fascination with anthropology, religious history and its effects on society throughout the various ages of man. There is a strong theme throughout her writing of personal freedom, equality and the power of community.
You can find out more about Fiona’s background on her website About Fiona Tarr
You will also find a wonderful Farmers Wife Series on Fiona’s blog that is a real life memoir of her early days as a dairy farmer’s wife. Here is a post that features mementos of that time. Farmer’s Wife Series
Books by Fiona Tarr
Destiny of Kings (Covenant of Grace Book 1)
A boy’s destiny hangs in the balance…
The King is going slowly mad, bewitched by the dark magic and seductive powers of the Egyptian Princess. As war breaks out, his trusted General seeks to raise an army and will find a young shepherd boy, bound for greatness.
Reading this book each night was like my indulgence in decadent chocolate. By Ms Rachel Ratajczak on June 11, 2014 Format: Kindle Edition
Reading this book each night was like my indulgence in decadent chocolate. I love the strong, passionate female lead characters Jeezabel and Francesca and their internal battle between their ego, control and beliefs.
David’s constant faith was inspiring for me and took this book into a whole new level, triggering me to question the depth of my own faith and beliefs.
You can enjoy this book as a historic fantasy with its dashing characters and exciting plot twists or read between the lines and embrace so much more as you do with Traci Harding novels.
I can’t wait for the sequel and see where these characters end up!
Buy Destiny of Kings on Amazon: Destiny of Kings
Seed of Hope (Covenant of Grace Book 2)
Sometimes sacrifices have to be made….
Rumours of the new King, his young wife and her unborn child have reached Martinez and the former general has been summoned from retirement. The prophet claims the King must seek out the Ark of the Covenant of God and insists Martinez should join him in the quest.
Martinez has reservations and a foreboding feeling, yet he will put aside his personal aspirations, leave his beloved quiet farm life and return to the Capital with a heart burdened with responsibility.
Buy Seed of Hope on Amazon: Seed of Hope
Now I would like to welcome Fiona and apart from discovering more about her family history and the books that she loves we will also find out more about one of her favourite activities… Kite surfing.
If you have looked into your family history have your found any surprises that you can talk about!
When I was young, I had no interest in reading; I hated it actually because I found it so challenging. So I never really paid any attention to my Grandmother’s family. My Great Uncle was a writer.
George Johnston was a famous Australian literary writer who authored My Brother Jack. The book later became a mini TV series. He was also well known for his war correspondence. I wish I had known him.
My husband’s family is way more interesting than my own. His Grandfather was one of London’s illegal bookies and I hope to write a memoir for his mother over the next few years.
Which book in your opinion is the best you have ever read and why?
That is really hard, but the book I can re-read over and over is David Gemmell’s Waylander.
In this book, Waylander the protagonist represents human reality personified. Waylander was a loving man who, after the savage murder of his family became an assassin. Deep down he struggles with his inner demons and despises those who judge him for his deeds without ever being in his shoes.
It is indicative of our society today, where people constantly judge other people without really understanding their plight. We all want to make ourselves feel big, to hide our inadequacies, so we work hard to judge others harshly to justify our own faults.
What do you believe is the most important event to have affected our lives in the last 100 years?
That would be 9/11 – I remember my son waking me up in the morning, mortified because the cartoons were not on and the same ‘silly’ news story was on every channel. The Western world was shaken to the core that day, but we should not really have been too surprised. I am a keen philosopher at heart and throughout history; great nations have tried to dictate to other nations. It nearly always ends in such an act of outrage.
What are the top five experiences or activities that you feel that everyone should complete in their lifetime?
I wouldn’t say particular activities but everyone should try something exhilarating and slightly frightening. Learn to kitesurf, take a sky dive, ride a roller coaster or all of the above. But try something which makes your heart race and pushes your control boundaries.
I learnt to kitesurf over 8 years ago now. I was nearly 40 years old and considered it might have been too late to start something new, but my husband and I had just purchased a kitesurfing business (Adventure Sports) and I really needed to ‘walk the walk and talk the talk’ so to speak.
I have never found anything quite so challenging, yet rewarding before in my life. I had learnt to drive trucks, pick up hay, milk cows, ride motorbikes, perform ballet and water ski (just) but the fear factor of learning to kite surf was almost overwhelming. It wasn’t until I went through this learning curve that I realised I had often put fear of failure ahead of new experiences in my life.
With good equipment and quality instructor anyone can learn to kite surf. From young kids to over 60’s, we have taught them all to push through the boundaries of fear and experience pure freedom.
I strongly believe that the experience of learning to kite surf made self-publishing my first book a reality. Putting yourself out there without knowing if you can really do it or if people will enjoy your work is an extremely vulnerable experience, but one which didn’t seem insurmountable after pushing the control boundaries and learning to kite surf. Kitesurfing is still my ‘go to’ experience for stress relief when I can’t write.
Work in Progress.
I am currently writing the 3rd book in my Covenant of Grace Series. It should be ready to release in June this year. All the books in this series are stand alone, but are connected with the one overarching plot and characters.
The Covenant of Grace series is loosely based on the Old Testament story of King David. The old Bible stories are full of horrific acts of genocide, rape and religious fanaticism. I take modern themes and work them into the history of this time, fleshing out fictional characters, controversial religious and spiritual understanding and political turmoil in the process.
I will be visiting the Adelaide Writers Festival this year and I am really hoping to hear some inspirational speakers and writers. With any luck and a bit of networking I should be able to meet up with a few more people in the Australian writing industry.
I will be finalising a local print run of my first two books in time for the release of the third. With the local pricing, I should be able to offer good margins to local Australian bookstores and offer free copies to the libraries. I can also continue to sell copies from my website with better margins. I have a few marketing strategies I will be testing out and I am pretty exciting about the potential.
My blog continues to develop around creativity and personal development and I am trying new concepts in the coming year to help develop my niche. I am also considering running writing and creativity groups to help encourage people to push through the fear barrier and give their creative selves a chance.
Connect to Fiona on her website and social media.
Thank you very much for dropping in today and it would be great if you could sign in on the comments section and also share to spread the news about Fiona’s books.