1.) First, tell us about yourself- where you live, your family and those sorts of details.
I live in the suburbs of Melbourne, Australia and I'm lucky to have a housemate who shares my passion for writing so we spend a lot of time discussing ideas and hashing out plots. We also spend a lot of time watching British cooking shows like Masterchef and The Great British Bake Off. I have a dog who looks like she belongs in a Disney movie but can turn into a terror in the blink of an eye.
I'm one of nine so my childhood was spent playing with all my brothers and sisters. There was always something to do and some new game to try. And I'm now the proud auntie of fourteen nieces and nephews so it's a whole new generation to share my wisdom with. Which for now doesn't really go beyond 'read Harry Potter' but to me that's a very important piece of wisdom to pass on.
2.) How long have you been writing?
I've been writing stories on and off since I was seven or eight. One of my earliest memories of writing was creating a story with a friend of mine where a jar of peanut butter and vegemite had a day out together. So it's definitely been something I've always been interested in but it wasn't until my twenties that I realised that writing was what I truly wanted to be doing.
3.) Do you have a favorite place to write?
I alternate between my study, kitchen table and the couch. It all depends on what mood I'm in! I've tried writing at cafes, just because it seems like a very writer thing to do, but I definitely prefer the comfort of my own home. Mainly so I can sit there in my comfiest (and coincidentally daggiest) clothes, listen to my music, and have easy access to the fridge.
4.) Why did you decide to write The Jewel of Kamara?
Because no one else was doing it! It was frustrating that no one could read my mind and write the story I had in there so I really had no choice but to do it myself. It was just a bit of a pipe dream for a while, one of those 'one day I'll do it' things, but then I couldn't get the characters out of my head and it became all I could think about so I did it.
5.) Do you proofread/edit your own books or do you get someone else to do that for you?
I try to proofread and edit as much as I can but because I've looked at it so much by the end I'll miss some really obvious errors. For The Jewel of Kamara, I hired someone to edit the final draft.
6.) Please tell us what you’re working on at the moment.
A sequel to The Jewel of Kamara that follows a different main character and path but still weaves in your favourite characters from Kamara. It has a different feel to the first one so it's been fun working on it.
I'm also working on a contemporary YA, tentatively titled A Distant Voice.
Title: The Jewel of Kamara
Author: Birdie Blake
Genre: YA Fantasy
A TYRANNICAL KINGDOM. AN OPPRESSED PEOPLE. AN IMPOSSIBLE QUEST.
Tempani of Amarill, a young noblewoman of mixed race, dreams of a Kamara united in race and class. Thrust from the convent into court life, Tempani struggles to find her place in a city she no longer recognizes.
Starved commoners fight the crown, women have no rights, and her mother’s people hide in the south to avoid persecution.
Banned from using her powers, Tempani feels helpless. But her magic is always there. A gentle hum under her skin, threatening to explode the more she sees people suffering.
She wants change, but is she willing to spill the blood of innocents to get it?
Bridie Blake is a writer and book lover based in Melbourne, Australia. She waited years for someone to write the story she had in her head, but it never happened. So fuelled with a lot of caffeine, and listening to movie soundtracks on repeat, she wrote it herself.
Her first book, “The Jewel of Kamara”, was released in October 2013.