My latest novel, The Ozone Café, published by Adelaide Books, New York USA on 14th December is available for readers of book clubs. Notes on the storyline provided. Contact Helen @ hagemann(dot)helen(at)gmail(dot)com
Satara Bay NSW, 1957 and the Ozone Café is a newly built three story café adjacant to the beach and esplanade. A few months before the cafe was built, its first owner Vincenzo Polamo befriends three children, including Nicolas Battersby who is in a wheelchair. The connection of the children lasts throughout the novel including the eldest, Winifred. She becomes the driving force behind the events of three separate owners; firstly Vincenzo Polamo, Joe Pendlbury and finally the Greek boys, Con & Dion Lasaridis. The narrative, however, is not only about the occupiers of the cafe, but also about its demise through council corruption.
The Ozone Café is an exploration of power and control and of those who survive the most powerless of unfair situations. It is a David and Goliath story; the café just as fragile as the people who inhabit it, does not survive while Shire authorities prepare to tear it down. One small glimmer of hope remains – a surviving last piece of the Ozone Café.
On 17th November 2020, I visited a charming group of ladies at their monthly book club. We had a very interesting discussion about my novel and there were mixed reactions to the Gothic inclusion of Cheryl – the ghost. In my book club notes, one of the points asked the reader – ‘were they able to suspend disbelief to enjoy a work of fiction?’ Two readers were able to, but the other three (that included notes from an absentee) could not believe in such things. Questions that were raised stemmed from, ‘how long did it take to write the novel’ to ‘had I previously met any first nations people?’ One lady, a stickler for dates, wanted to know what year the novel was set in, and pointed out (possibly an anachronism) that Isaac’s uncle listened to the races on his iphone while he was growing up. I must check how long iphones have been around. 😃
By the end of the afternoon, most ladies were satisfied that the book was definitely speculative fiction, not something they usually read, but reflected that I had introduced them to something different.
Oh, Angela Carter I wish you were still here!
The group has been meeting for over 35 years and have read some amazing books during that time, such as Coetzee’s Disgrace, Craig Silvey’s Jasper Jones, Carey’s Oscar & Lucinda, Josephine Taylor’s Extinctions, Annie Proulx’s The Shipping News, Helen Garner’s Joe Cinque’s Consolation, to name just a few. One favourite has been The Book Thief. There were many books that the ladies didn’t like including Boy Swallows Universe. I guess mine might be added to that list, ha!
Addendum: The iphone was first introduced in Australia around 2008! Excellent this fits in with my dates and esp. Isaac’s uncle. He would have been quite rich winning on the horses and able to afford the latest technology!
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One of the events that I am connecting with since having a novel published is Book Clubs. I have recently supplied 8 books to a Cottesloe Book Club and I will be their guest on 24th August. Hopefully, the group will like the novel. I know that a lot of readers do not like the Speculative genre and many book buyers have said to me ‘it’s not something they usually read’, but once they got into the story they liked it. That’s all an author needs. A reader who likes the book. Some interesting comments have been, ‘part love story, part mystery & part thriller.’ ‘quirky, loved the Gothic included, ‘storyline most unusual but grabbed me in.’ ‘I found it very interesting in a subject I was not knowledgeable in’ and mostly (which I love) ‘I couldn’t put it down!’
I am offering a good supply of books to any Perth Book Club at a discount of 20%. My offer of books includes personal delivery, background notes, plus author visit to the meetup group.
I can be contacted @ firstname.lastname@example.org or SMS to +61404666156 – Please mention “books” in the text.
The Last Asbestos Town is published by Adelaide Books, LLC New York, USA – You can buy on Kindle @ amazon.com.au or directly from the publisher!
An Australian National law has been passed and a group known as the Asbestos Task Force (A.T.F.) is formed by the government to systematically remove all known asbestos from towns, cities and suburbs. The city of Perth, WA and surrounds have undergone this removal, and gradually the task force spreads further afield into the South West. Their target has reached Farmbridge, an old pioneer town with numerous asbestos houses and buildings. Newly married, May and Isaac who plan to renovate their home, an old Girl Guide Hall, experience the imminent threat of losing their home after receiving their fateful letter. Believing their home is not made from asbestos, the couple set out on a relentless quest to save the hall from demolition.