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Christian Writers Down Under

Meet our Members 

Today’s interview is with Hazel Barker

Question 1: Tell us three things about who you are and where you come from.
1. I was born in Burma of an Iranian Muslim father and an English Catholic mother, and have lived in Australia for 50 years.
2. I’ve always loved reading – especially the classics.
3. As a teenager, I dreamed of freedom, travel and love.
Question 2: Tell us about your writing (or editing/illustrating etc). What do you write and why?
. I write memoirs and historical novels, and wanted to be a writer from an early age, after reading Little Women. But my writing journey only commenced in 2013, when my short story, ‘Hunger’ was selected for publication in the Redlitzer Anthology.
. 2016 saw the publication of my memoir, Heaven Tempers the Wind: Story of a War Child, Armour Books, and my debut novel, Chocolate Soldier. The Story of a Conchie, Rhiza Books.
. Part 2 of my memoirs, The Sides of Heaven, Armour Books, was released in February this year. I’m now working on Part 3, Count Your Blessings.
. My historical novel, The Soprano is in the pipeline.
Question 3: Who has read your work? Who would you like to read it?
. My memoirs have mainly attracted female readers, but my novel, Chocolate Soldier. The Story of a Conchie is popular with both sexes. This is probably because of the war theme and romantic scenes, but particularly due to the message of PEACE.
. I’d love all those who wish to give glory to the Lord by witnessing his message and forgiveness, to read my books.
Question 4: Tell us something about your process. What challenges do you face? What helps you the most?
. My greatest challenge is the lack of time. I usually spend my mornings writing, but I can’t hold back the clock, and my age is against me. I ask myself, ‘Will I be able to complete Part 3 of my memoirs and finish my novel? How long will the Lord give me the health and strength to continue writing?
. My husband Colin helps me the most. He encourages me and takes me to writers’ meetings, conferences and workshops. He’s most understanding and considerate. God Bless him!
Question 5: What is your favourite Writing Craft Book and why?
. My favourite writing craft book is K.M. Weiland’s, Structuring Your Novel.
. It was recommended to me by Iola Goulton when she did a sample edit of my work. It helps keep my writing on track. Thanks Iola.
Question 6: If you were to give a shout-out to a CWD author, writer, editor or illustrator – who would they be?
If I were to give a shout for a CWD writer, it would be Paula Vince. I met Paula when I first joined Omega Writers at an Omega Conference in Brisbane, and was struck by her kind and gentle ways. I enjoyed the fellowship, the encouragement and the workshops. I love her books on Divine Healing. Her romantic suspense novels. I enjoyed reading her books, particularly Picking up the Pieces and The Risky Way home.
Question 7: What are your writing goals for 2018? How will you achieve them?
. My writing goals for this year are:
. to polish Count Your Blessings and to revise my historical novel, The Soprano.
Question 8: How does your faith impact and shape your writing?
. My faith and my writing go hand-in-hand. My faith is like a candle that lights up my work. My faith rules my life, and hopefully, my writing will strengthen my readers’ faith, hope and trust in the Lord. My faith and prayers too, may lead the despairing to hope, the sinner not to despair of the Lord’s mercy and the prodigal to return to the Fold.

sides of heaven_front



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Author Talk at Logan Hyperdrome Library

Chocolate Soldier: the Story of a Conchie by Hazel Barker


Event Type: Adult Literacy
Age Group(s): Adults
Date: 22/11/2017
Start Time: 10:00 AM
End Time: 11:30 AM
Local author Hazel Barker speaks about her journey to publication and her debut novel Chocolate Soldier: The Story of a Conchie, which tells the story of Clarence Dover, a conscientious objector during World War II. You will learn how to avoid the mistakes the author has made on her writing journey.
Library: Logan Hyperdome Library

Location: Meeting Room

Phone: 34124120 to book a seat

Refreshments provided

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Heaven Tempers the Wind by Hazel Barker

Review by  Kathy Stewart

I knew very little about the conflict in Burma during the Second World War and read this book with great interest. It struck me as the story of many wars, both personal and on a larger scale, as mother and father come into conflict, as they battle to keep true to their values, and as the father’s growing alcoholism impacts on his nature and his relationship with his family. All this is played out against the backdrop of a vicious and confronting war that had consumed the whole world.

Hazel Barker was just a small child, unable to grasp the enormity of what was about to be thrust upon them when the bombs first fell on her home town, Rangoon. They had lived an idyllic lifestyle, wanting for nothing, but their magical world was soon shattered and they were forced to flee, before being propelled into a battle for their very existence. Facing many hardships, not least of which were famine and the death of a beloved family member, they struggled to keep their family intact while their war raged both internally and externally.

An interesting and honest account of the ravages of war and also of individuals’ struggles to maintain their strong sense of self and of their values.44


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Book Review: Past Imperfect by Winfreda Donald

Publisher: FeedARead.com.Publishing

Author’s Overview
Freya is the middle child and odd-one-out in the close but dislocated Dunbar family in Australia. When Freya meets soul mate Alexander Marcou at High School in 1976 her thwarted efforts to forge an identity amid secrets and gaps in the family history lose their urgency. Fate intervenes and the pair are suddenly oceans apart – Freya helping Gramma in Scotland. They make the best of a lengthening separation by studying to prepare for their travel adventures around nursing, teaching and flying. But destiny hasn’t finished with them. Malevolent forces swirl under their radar to part them permanently. Bewildered and betrayed, both grieve deeply in disbelief. Eventually Alexander marries. Scarred by her experience with Alexander, Freya shies clear of commitments. Superficially serene, the questions simmer and identity issues trouble her again. Immersion in work is a forlorn but effective way to suppress dreams of a lost future. In the 1990s while undertaking nursing research, Freya meets Reg Prentiss an Australian IT expert. After their professional friendship transforms to a whirlwind courtship, they marry and head for a new life DownUnder. Determined to set the past aside, Freya commits to this marriage and the children she and Reg plan to have.

Review by Hazel Barker
Past Imperfect is the first book in the Long Shadows Series. It is a brilliantly conceived plot, which lets the action unfold, and culminates in an unexpected climax.

The author intersperses action with dialogue, and every now and then waxes into a lyrical style. Although written with clarity, the book tends to have too much detail at times, and pace slows down a bit.

The warm and wonderful letters between the two parted lovers are a delight to read. Like Thomas Hardy’s Far from the Madding Crowd, romance lovers will be kept biting their nails, wondering when the twain will meet.

I recommend Past Imperfect to all who are anxious to follow the characters and witness the mystery and suspense unfold with each successive book.


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