Tag Archives: history

Interview by Michelle/Share Your Story

Meet Hazel Barker

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Hazel Barker lives in Brisbane with her husband Colin. She taught in Perth, Canberra and Brisbane for over a quarter of a century and now devotes her time to reading, writing and bushwalking. From her early years in Burma, her passion for books drew her to authors like Walter Scott and Charles Dickens. Her love for historical novels sprang from Scott, and the love of literary novels, from Dickens. Her short stories have won awards and been published in magazines and anthologies.
Hazel’s debut novel Chocolate Soldier was released by Rhiza Press in October, 2016. Book One of her memoirs Heaven Tempers the Wind was published by Armour Books in August, 2016. Both books are set during World War Two – the former in England and the Far East; the latter in Burma.
Part 2 of her memoirs, The Sides of Heaven, was released in February, 2018.

What has your background been before you starting writing?
I taught English and History at high schools in Perth, Canberra and Brisbane.

How were you introduced to writing?
I literally started writing at three when my mother held my hands to form the first words of the alphabet. Mum used to read to me even before I went to school and I grew to love books. I wanted to be an author ever since I read ‘Little Women’ at the age of eight. My love of books led to my love of writing.

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I’ve always been a bashful child. Becoming an author has made me love talking. I love to speak to others who have the same taste for books and I’m no longer embarrassed when giving talks about my books.

How is your writing making a difference for you right now?
Right now, writing occupies a large part of my time. However, I try to divide my time between my other loves – my husband Colin and my hobbies.

As a child, what was your relationship with books?
As a child of two, Mum gave me picture books. I remember them being made of cloth so I couldn’t tear them accidently as I turned the pages and they were washable too. Later, I moved from picture books with large letters to fairy tales, then on to adventure stories, the classics and romance.

What is the most important thing about what you want to do?
I want to enjoy a healthy life with my husband and get the rest of my manuscripts published.

Do you believe books can change the world?
I have no doubt that books can change the world. This is the reason why thousands of books were burned by the Communists in Russia and China. Books by Jewish authors and anti-Nazi books were also burned by the Nazis in the 1930s and 1940s. The latest burnings to date have been those by ISIS in Iraq, Syria and Libya. Fear of their influence on people led to such destruction.

What do you hope people will take away from your writing?
I hope that my readers will realise the value of faith, hope and prayer and that they will learn from my mistakes.

What is your ultimate goal?
My ultimate goal is to please the Lord and live a blissful life with my dear husband.

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Has Share Your Story helped you in any way?
I have only joined Share Your Story for a few months, and I’m already reaping the benefits of joining by being able to share my stories with others.

What results have you experienced, good or bad, about being a part of the publishing industry?
I’ll start with the bad. I was too impatient to get my books published and sent my manuscripts to publishers too early, with the result that I had so many reject ions at first. The good is that since 2013, when my short story was included in the Redlitzer Anthology and I received a trophy from the mayor, my writing career went ahead by leaps and bounds. After that, many other short stories have been selected for publication in anthologies. In 2016 Part One of my memoir, Heaven Tempers the Wind. Story of a War Child was published by Armour Books, and my debut novel, Chocolate Soldier. The Story of a Conchie was taken up by Rhiza Press. In 2018, Part 2 of my memoir, The Sides of Heaven was published by Armour Books.

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If you could change one thing about the world, what would it be?
Peace. Peace in the world through the love of God.

Contact Hazel
https://hazelmbarker.wordpress.com

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GUEST SPEAKER: Hazel Barker from Burma
DATE: Friday July 27, 10:30 – 11:45 a.m.
VENUE: Redland Museum, 60 Smith Street, Cleveland

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Join Hazel as she shares her story of life in Burma with you.

Hazel Barker arrived in Australia from Burma in 1967. She completed her Arts degree at the University of Western Australia. After teaching English and History at various high schools she took early retirement to devote her time to writing.

Hazel’s memoir, Heaven Tempers the Wind: Story of a War Child was shortlisted in the Australia and New Zealand-wide CALEB Competition 2017.

Its sequel The Sides of Heaven was released in March 2018 by Armour Books.

Fear holds her a prisoner. Hope sets her free. She longs for freedom – then she dedicates her newly-won freedom to God!

Hazel’s debut novel, The Chocolate Soldier. The Story of a Conchie was published in 2016 by Rhiza Press.

Her short stories have won in various competitions and have been published in several anthologies.

Hazel’s books will be available for sale at the discounted price of $20 each.

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The Gecko Renewal and other stories of life Ed. by James Cooper & Mark Worthing

Hazel’s short story ‘Three Miracles’

was published in 

The Gecko Renewal and other stories of Life, 

Ed. by James Cooper & Mark Worthing, Morning Star Publication, 2017

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Author Talk at Logan Hyperdrome Library

Chocolate Soldier: the Story of a Conchie by Hazel Barker

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Event Type: Adult Literacy
Age Group(s): Adults
Date: 22/11/2017
Start Time: 10:00 AM
End Time: 11:30 AM
Description:
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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“Chocolate Soldier. The Story of a Conchie” by Hazel Barker

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Review by Abigail Cobley.

This book is a true testament to his courage and convictions and I highly recommend it!

Too little is known about conscientious objectors’ roles in the Second World War and Hazel Barker does a terrific job of bringing the story of Clarence Dover to our eyes. To stand in front of a judge at the tender age of 20 in the midst of war and tell him that you will not fight is such a courageous decision. Clarence did so, and by joining the Friends’ Ambulance Unit, he went on to risk his life stretcher-bearing in the London Blitz. After this, he travelled to India and China where he helped transport medical supplies.

This book is a true testament to his courage and convictions and I highly recommend it!

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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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Nothing can make them stumble : the story of the Stoll/Meinel family by Herb Meinel, South Australia, 2013

Book Description
‘Nothing Can Make Them Stumble’ is a remarkable story of intrigue, survival and faith. It has its roots in the Black Forest in Germany, moves to the Middle East and continues in the Barossa Valley in Australia. In a time of social, economic and spiritual turmoil, a small group of people left their homeland of Germany to pioneer a new Christian community in Palestine. They did not stumble when faced with the hardship of the pioneering years, the set back of two world wars and their expulsion from Palestine. In the Barossa Valley they fashioned a new life in peace, security and economic stability.
Review by Hazel Barker
The title Nothing Can Make Them Stumble is a quote from Ps 119:165, and depicts the unshakable trust in God by the author’s grandparents. The family tree drawn up at the beginning clarifies the relationship between characters. The book is not merely a family history; it also contains snippets of the modern history of Palestine and the Barossa Valley.
The rift between the Carmelite Monastery and the colony’s Lutheran Mission Centre on Mt Carmel stimulated my interest. The matter was settled when the German Chancellor, Count Bismark and the Pope in Rome intervened.
Another interesting fact was the White Paper of 1939, limiting Jewish migration to 15,000 per year. It made me want to visit the museum near Haifa to learn more of the Jewish history of the time. I’d been unaware that during World War Two of German Nationals in Palestine were exchanged for Jews in German concentration camps.
The Balflour Declaration of 1917 with its subsequent revision in 1922 was also of great interest to me, and the first-hand account of the American advance into Germany and the family’s faith in Divine Providence stirred me to the core.
The history of German settlement in the Barossa Valley drew me further into the story, because I met my husband, Colin there, while on a tour of the vineyards. God’s ways are indeed wonderful.
Nothing Can Make Them Stumble has been thoroughly researched and edited. The book is well-documented with footnotes and photos. The writing is easy to follow and, at times, similes such as ‘gardens were like outstretched arms bidding a warm embrace to all who came to visit them’ add colour to the writing.
I encourage all those who wish to broaden their outlook to read the story of the Stoll/Meinel family and learn about the history of places they lived in during the last one and a half centuries.

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