Tag Archives: Survival

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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Last Caravan to Carmelsara by Jack Garrety

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.

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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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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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Heaven Tempers the Wind. A Memoir by Hazel Barker

HAZEL lives in Rangoon with her family in the wonder and bliss of childhood until the bombing of Burma in Christmas 1941 wrenches them from their home.

Sickness and starvation take their toll. The youngest sister gets smallpox and the older one dies of plague. A brother takes part in sabotage against the invaders. Another feeds his younger siblings with bones brought home by their dog.

Caught up in the traumas of war, Hazel thinks she’s on a holiday at first. Later on, she pines for her comfortable home, her dolls, and above all, her beloved sister.

Will the family survive the war, and will Hazel ever overcome her long-lingering emotional aftermath?

 

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