Thanks to Capalaba Library for hold the Local Author Expo, 2019
Meet Hazel Barker
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.
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.
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.
If you could change one thing about the world, what would it be?
Peace. Peace in the world through the love of God.
GUEST SPEAKER: Hazel Barker from Burma
DATE: Friday July 27, 10:30 – 11:45 a.m.
VENUE: Redland Museum, 60 Smith Street, Cleveland
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.
Adventure, magic and a slow burn romance between two people who can’t stand each other.
The Torian, head of the Commonwealth, is dying and his replacement has not yet been found.
Neah, a warrior princess and former slave, receives a prophecy that the new Torian will be one of 800 refugees in a caravan fleeing the invading Shaelene army. Shayla, a dark sorceress and Queen of the Shaelene, is equally determined to find and kill the new Torian before he, or she, can be anointed.
Caleb, a disgraced Commander in the Commonwealth army, has been charged with protecting the caravan. Provided with only seven soldiers and a duplicitous wizard to help him he is given little chance.
Trapped within the forced intimacy of the caravan Caleb and Neah must try and thrust aside their bitter hostilities in order to protect the new Torian from the marauding Shaelene, Shayla’s assassins and a host of mythical, vicious creatures that stand between them and the safety of Carmelsara. In doing so they will have to leave the relative safety of their natural distrust and together weave something new and untried because in a world overtaken by greed only love has the power to save it. If they fail the whole world will fall into decades of darkness.
Review of Last Caravan to Carmelsara by Hazel Barker
This is a story of courage and endurance. The terse and potent prose grabs readers and compel them to keep turning the page. Vivid descriptions enhance the story and give a clear sense of time and place.
The story unfolds itself without rushing or dragging and each scene adds to the story. I particularly enjoyed the prison scene at the beginning of the book and the battle scenes.
The main characters have distinct voices, flaws and virtues with clear goals that influence the plot. The secondary characters are also well-rounded. My favourite character is Caleb. I empathise with him and admire his fighting prowess and loyalty to his men.
The book was an enjoyable read, although I found it difficult to relate with Neah until much later in the story.
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.
Chocolate Soldier: the Story of a Conchie by Hazel Barker
Event Type: Adult Literacy
Age Group(s): Adults
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
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