My Books

My Books

Friday, 1 October 2021

ELKWOOD by Dawn Meredith - new Young Adult urban science fiction novel

New Book!
I am very excited to tell you that my new book, Elkwood is about to be released this Sunday! It is a novel for young adults, but I think adults will enjoy it too. 
check it out here: Elkwood by Dawn Meredith
Elkwood is set in the fictional town of Harlington, which I based on the real life geographical area around Durham in England where the river Wear bends around itself, creating an island upon which a castle stands. Charlotte Campbell is the main character and she's a bit different. Don't yawn! She really is. When we first meet Charlotte, she thinks the most important thing in life is being beautiful and fashionable. She spends all her time making sure she is the 'queen bee' at her high school, Harlington High. But one day she discovers a terrible secret about herself that blows apart her entire world. 
Here's the blurb, which you will find on the back of the book:
Seventeen year old Charlotte Campbell has to be beautiful, rich and ruthless to stay Queen of Harlington High School. But one day she discovers a terrible secret her father has kept from her since she was eight years old. Her past is incredible. She is a scientific anomaly with a dangerous ability. The merciless organisation, Elkwood, want her DNA and they will kidnap the person who means the most to her in the world to get it. To rescue him, Charlotte will have to forget everything she once was and embrace a new kind of human that she has become.
Why science fiction?
I love it! I have been a fan of space stories and robot stories my whole life. As a four year old I was fascinated by Doctor Who, even though it was terribly scary! I also grew to love fantasy stories, reading such authors as Susan Cooper's The Dark is Rising series, Tolkien's Lord of the Rings, C.S. Lewis' The Chronicles of Narnia series and in particular, a book called Merryl of the Stones by Brian Caswell, which was a huge influence upon my interests. Of course George Lucas' Star Wars ignited a further passion for space dramas.
In Elkwood I explored the idea of transhumanism - what will humans evolve to next? Will we be part machine? Will we have super powers? What if it all goes wrong... 

The Characters!
I began with the absolute opposite to a science fiction buff - Charlotte Campbell - a fashion queen. She's shallow, obsessed with her appearance and has no idea what real friendship is. On the day her carefully constructed, safe world collapses she must throw away everything she thinks she knows about life and embrace something completely alien to her. And its very scary. She must ask for help, trust people and care about their feelings. Because whether she likes it or not, her body is changing and with it comes incredible power and a terrible price to pay. I won't say anything more! But if you have heard of Buffy the Vampire Slayer you'll have an idea of the courage Charlotte must find within herself. There's a ruthless secret enemy agent called Anna Povic who is trying to force Charlotte to Elkwood, by any means. There's a mysterious guy called Gabe hanging out with the nerds who help Charlotte who has a secret past of his own, because we're all running from something, right? He seems to know all about Charlotte, all the things she is trying to hide from everyone and she hates that! 

There's humour too! Because being able to see the funny side of things helps us cope when life goes wrong. Sometimes the absurd, random thing that happens is what makes you laugh and keep striving towards your goal.
Brutalist Architecture
In setting up the physical surroundings for Harlington and the scary place called Elkwood, I researched Brutalism, which is a form of architecture that was popular in the 1950s in Britain, following the second world war. Two words describe Brutalism - ugly but interesting! Essentially, it was about re-using factory buildings but soon grew to include new architecture which used concrete and bare, exposed materials in very creative ways. Intricate decoration and elegance, such as had been popular in Victorian times, with wrought ironwork for instance, was completely ignored in Brutalism. For Elkwood, part of a very organisation called the Genetic Security Alliance, the appearance had to speak of its cruelty and relentless pursuit of control over human DNA.
Here are some of the photos I used to inspire me, including abandoned buildings, which are very interesting! Also my own drawing, which helped the book designer get the cover image right.

How long did it take to get Elkwood published?
I started writing Elkwood in January 2013, so 8 years! It was called Super Charlotte back then. The title went through a few changes, to Dead Again, back to Super Charlotte and then finally to Elkwood. It was submitted to several different publishers too, until it found appreciation at Shooting Star Press, who aren't afraid of a little transhumanism! 

Other influences and research topics
Other things I researched were: 
100 female role models of the world
30 alternative titles I could use
female super hero characteristics
space-time principles and time travel. I also asked physicists for advice
Ben Ten Alien Force, where Ben, Gwen and Kevin are teenagers. It was fun! 
So, you never know, when you start writing a book, quite where its going to end up! I didn't know Charlotte would have a super power. I knew something bad was happening to her body, but I didn't know how I would get around that. Or the price she'd pay for using her power. Anyway, buy the book and find out what happened!
order here:



Saturday, 18 September 2021

Writing groups really help!

Exciting News! 
I am part of a local writing group in Tasmania. We are a diverse bunch of people of all different ages and backgrounds. Many have not been previously published, but now they can say they have! Our 2021 anthology, Ideas Are Like Rabbits is now available online through bookdepository.

click here to see it and order! Ideas Are Like Rabbits

So, you may ask, why the strange title? It's a quote from Australian writer John Steinbeck, who described the process of writing as collecting rabbits which pop up, sometime at random moments: "Ideas are like rabbits. You get a couple and learn how to handle them, and pretty soon you have a dozen."

What's in the anthology?
Lots of short stories and poems! Including some of mine. As an author of children's and young adult books, I have some stories in this collection that have never been published before!

Short stories/picture book texts - 
1. Mr Twigg - about a street where lots of interesting characters live. It's a true story of a real street in England in the 1940s.
2. As a Bird Sees It - a very short story about how it feels to jump out of a plane with a parachute!
3. Crystal - a story about a very unusual girl with Autism.
4. The Secret Box - a little sister falls inside four of the most dangerous fairytales in the world. Her elder sister has to find a way to follow her inside each one and rescue her against giants, witches, wolves and naughty gnomes.

Writing Groups are Fun!
You know what's so great about writing groups? We chat about writing and share information on how to write, how to get published, how to design book covers yourself or through a book designer, how to format your work correctly, how to send to a publisher. We also talk about our own work, helping each other when we get stuck or aren't sure what to do next.

Neverending Stories 
We also write stories together! They are called 'Neverending' stories, in which some of us write a chapter then send it on to the next person, round and round. Eventually we have to decide how to end it. But who knows how long that will take?

Monday, 13 September 2021

Spring into writing! How to keep motivated


I have almost finished the first draft of my current young adult novel, Runaway, which is the second in the FLIGHT series and my 14th book. The main character is Sye - a beautiful but troubled dragonkind girl with finely scaled golden skin and wings. She is trying to figure out who she is meant to be, what she is supposed to do with her life since the end of the war. She has a dark past and struggles to be close to people. Then a fearsome creature of legend asks for her help, (well, kind of tricks her into helping him) and they embark on a dangerous quest to the icy north, to Shagrath, the White Kingdom.

I planned this novel for six months, covering the wall of my studio with scene ideas on index cards, a whiteboard with plot stages, numerous A4 sized notebooks on culture, languages, characters and events. I thought I had enough to get me over the line, keep me on track.

But alas! The closer I got to the end the more anxious I became. Because I just couldn't figure out how it ended. That sounds absurd, doesn't it? After all, I'd spent all that time planning the book...

This is nothing new to me. I always reach a moment in the writing of a book where I seriously begin to wonder why I started it! Doubts creep in. But, you know, there are ways around that, so that I can finish the book and be proud of it. Here's my top tips:

1. Sometimes you just need space from your work. Put it aside for a few weeks. Don't think about it, if you can! Sure, if you get a brainwave write it down, but don't agonise over it. Give your brain a chance to think outside the box you have created.

2. Ask for help. I have test readers, marvellous people who read my work and make suggestions, provide feedback and critique. I love it. They see things I can't see. Often, they come up with an idea that just fits perfectly and away I go again!

3. Think of several different endings, no matter how wild. Something will spring from the chaos!

4. Read books of a completely different genre.

5. Watch a TV show that takes you away from your book. Something entirely different.

6. Go for walks and use your phone to dictate thoughts and frustrations. Just by identifying what is not working can sometimes help you realise what needs to change. Walk along the beach, or with the dog at the park etc. Walking helps you think.

So, there are a few of my suggestions!  Don't give up! I will go back to Runaway in a couple of weeks. In the meantime, I have a new book coming out soon with my publisher, Shooting Star Press, called Elkwood. 

What's it about? 

Imagine you find out you are a clone of yourself, that you actually died when you were eight years old! And your clone body is starting to change... You can do things no one else can, but there's a price to pay for using this new power...

Sunday, 10 January 2021

Paperbacks and ebooks - which do you prefer?

As an author, I am interested in what format people favour for their reading. Is it ebook  on your e-reader? Is it paperback, for that physical experience? Do you like hardcover, as opposed to paperback?

As a voracious reader I don't really mind paperback or hardcover but I find ebooks rather tedious. So it's a last resort for me, if I can't get hold of the 'real thing.' But you may feel differently! I love the smell of a book, the feel of the pages, the weight of it in my hands. And I am always borrowing books form my local library to take with me when I have to sit in a waiting room. Each night I read in bed. It's wonderful to dive into other worlds just before you sleep.

Lots of people take an e-reader away with them on holiday, as they can carry many books on a small device. There are benefits there, definitely!

In the lead-up to Christmas I sold lots of my books at local events. It was great to get out and meet readers, as well as parents and grandparents who buy books for their families. As I currently have a broad range of genres - children's, teen and adult, fiction and non-fiction, it's wonderful to be able to offer people what they are looking for and sometimes I get to hear their thoughts on a particular book of mine they have read and enjoyed. click here for info about my books

My fantasy novel Rebel (book 1 of the FLIGHT trilogy) was released in August. I absolutely LOVE the cover! You can buy your own copy here:

REBEL - paperbook and ebook

'A young rebel is called to lead - with a broken wing and absolutely no idea what he is doing.'

Remote School Visits

During covid in 2020 I managed to get involved with a couple of schools for workshop and appearances. Through the magic of the internet I was able to speak to students at Brisbane Grammar and a lovely public school in NSW for the Books in Homes program. It's not the same as being there, of course. And I can't sign their copies of my books, but it's great to hear what they're interested in, the books they read and see their drawings.

New Books for 2021

I have signed contracts for two more novels and I am hoping they come out this year! 

Elkwood  is Urban Science Fiction for teens, (kinda Buffy/Legally Blonde/Big Bang theory) about a girl, Charlotte, who goes from fashion queen to dying superhero with a strange ability to manipulate spacetime, just a fraction! She used to worry incessantly about her clothes, makeup, what her so-called friends thought of her, now she finds herself worried about whether she will live long enough and have the strength to save her father from the mysterious and dangerous organisation called Elkwood. Her friends are now a bunch of geeks, who are the only true friends she has and try to help her understand what is happening to her body. Charlotte finds herself falling in love with a boy who has secrets of his own.

Secrets of the Water Meadow  is for younger readers, age 7+ and is about two sisters who live on an island in Norway. The younger sister, Freya, befriends a creature of the deep fjord, a mermaid of sorts, called a 'havfrue', whom legend says drags small children down into the fjord to live with them. Freya's elder sister Lisbet has a terrible secret she won't tell anyone. Freya confides in her new friend, whom she calls Lorelei, who seems to listen and understand, even though she can't actually speak. When Lisbet runs away and her uncle almost drowns trying to find her, will Lorelei help the humans, because of her friendship with Freya?

Well, that's it for now. At the moment I am working on book two of the FLIGHT trilogy. It's called Runaway. The first book is about Reeve, but this book is about Sye, a girl of dark secrets who must travel to the frozen north to find the Ice Dragons to help save a friend of hers. She is an apprentice blacksmith, so I am having lots of fun researching that!

Have an excellent 2021! I hope you got LOTS of books for Christmas!

Wednesday, 2 September 2020

NEW BOOK for author Dawn Meredith REBEL, book 1 of the Flight trilogy

 I am SO EXCITED to share with you my latest book, for young adults, REBEL!

Here is the gorgeous cover! REBEL is about Reeve, a dragonkind youth. All his life he has been told it is forbidden for him and his kind to fly, despite them having the most glorious wings. The Meer, who are overlords in his country of Avendor, treat Dragonkind like slaves. But Reeve, being the daredevil prankster that he is, decides the law is STUPID and jumps off from Eagle Lookout to test his wings. That have never held his weight, mind  you.

What Reeve failed to realise was that not only would he be caught and punished, but his close friend Sye would also be imprisoned. And tortured. There is something very special about Sye that nobody knows. Not even herself. 

Lucian, the (evil dude), has been described as 'delightfully odious' by reviewer Craig Cormick. Anyway, Lucian hates Sye and everything she represents. She is a symbol of hope for her people and he can't have that interfere with his rise to power.

So he makes an example of Reeve by having him publicly flogged. 

Unknown to both Sye and Reeve there are Dragonkind living in secret in the forest called Valley of the Giants. These forest cousins, called The Red Branch, have been waiting for a hero to set them free, a war to end the Meer overlords. Recent events have forced their hand. So now they merge from their hiding place. And go to war. Reeve has a huge role to play in uniting both city and forest Dragonkind. Will he accept it? And how can he lead when his wing is broken? 

But Reeve is a rebel, after all. And rebels don't give up.

You can buy your own copy here: 

paperback - REBEL by Dawn Meredith paperback

ebook - kindle version of REBEL

ebook - smashwords version REBEL

Friday, 26 June 2020

Kitchen gardens, pear pies and drawing - what Covid 19 did for me

As a childrens' author I am constantly thinking of cool ideas to write about. Sometimes there's a bit of a traffic jam in my head as all the ideas start shouting at once! That's when I have to get organised.

I used to write everything in notebooks. Then I filled 18 of them and couldn't remember where I wrote things! So I switched to a totally different system - index cards. whatever idea that comes to me is jotted down, whether its a story idea, a character, a scene or random stuff i don't know where to put. If I can't sleep  because an idea is buzzing inside my skull I reach for a pen and a card, which are next to my bed. Then the next day I file them with similar ideas. So far its working really well! If I have ideas about the book I am currently writing, the cards help  me keep important bits of information close by, where I can access them, rather that hunting through all those notebooks!

So, being a bit organised helps me keep all these exciting little tidbits handy for when I want to use them. Try it!

So, living through Covid 19 has been interesting hasn't it? Some families have unfortunately suffered from a parent losing their job. Other families have had to adjust to working from home, with all the distractions and jobs to do! PLUS kids being home schooled! What it unique is that every country int he world has been experiencing this together, AT THE SAME TIME. Never have we all been so closely connected by experiences.

Lots of new music and films and books have already begun to emerge from this interesting period. I have gone back to serious drawing, which I used to love so much! I completed the eagle drawing, then a horse and now I am working on a tabby cat. (somewhat ambitious I think, because it's a lot harder than I thought!).

We live on a beautiful 100 acre farm in Tasmania, where there is always lots to do! In a few months we will have lambs popping out, so things will get VERY BUSY! (see my other blog about the farm )

During isolation we home schooled our daughter, so that took up lots of writing time. I also had a very productive kitchen garden (not a garden in the kitchen, silly, a garden FOR the kitchen!) and was cooking, bottling and chopping all sorts of yummy stuff. I cooked pies, bottled pears and tomatoes, made jam and all sorts of things. It was all very exciting, but there was little time to work on book 2 of my FLIGHT trilogy. Remember book 1 - Rebel?

Isolation made things very difficult for my publisher too, Shooting Star Press. Consequently Rebel is only an ebook at the moment. Print version will be available soon. We've all had to change how we do things,  haven't we? Except Harry, of course. He just does what he pleases most of the time, which generally involves sleeping. I bought him a harness and we go for walks outside now. He is a little scared of the sheep! But quite happy to sniff noses with Polly and Flossie, our border collies. Sometimes he 'helps' me in the kitchen. 

apple pies!

Harry 'helping'

Harry and Flossie pear picking

some produce from my kitchen garden

Harry on a day trip to our bottom 50 acres to pick rosehips
As we all start to get back to the 'new normal' I find myself quite keen to get moving with new projects. So I am working on the tabby portrait, AND book 2 (called Runaway) AND planting out vegetable seedlings in my garden AND planning what flowers I want for spring. Phew! Covid 19 has made me very busy.

Sunday, 29 December 2019

2019 - surprises right til the end!

Well, we're nearing the end of 2019! I think I will concede defeat and start saying 'twenty...' instead of 'two thousand...' It seems simpler and less tongue twisty! What did you get up to over Christmas? We had a couple of gatherings and lots of great food! Harry loved his new toys. And the dogs' toys too!

We swam in the big dam for the first time since we moved here last year. That's now possible because of all the work hubby has done to clear away nasty thistles, bracken and bulrushes, so there's less places for snakes to hide... The water is so deliciously cool! next I'm going to buy some old pallets and make a sort of platform and then a floating raft thing you can swim out to. Won't that be fantastic?

So what's new?
I'm in my studio, facing its first summer here on the farm and its so far been pretty cool inside. The Lithuanian pine log cabin style seems to keep the heat in nicely in winter the cool inside in summer. I have been working very hard in my garden since the weather improved. Such lovely days we have now! Sunny, gentle breeze and around 25 Celsius. That's a Tassie summer for you! I have some gorgeous colours to gaze at while I beaver away at the keyboard and watch the birds splashing in the birdbath, catching insects on the fly and hopping about.

Superb Blue Wrens
Speaking of birds, the Superb Blues wrens are nesting in my big flower bed, among the pansies! If you look at the photo below you can see some red and yellow flowers. The wrens are nesting somewhere between them, quite low to the ground. I only found this out because I was hauling out the ridiculously long and overgrown pansies and came across the nest. The female takes 3-4 days to build it. Unfortunately the three chicks in the first nest died so this is her second attempt. Good luck Mrs Wren!

In other news, we have a beautiful new girl in our lives - Kelly. She is a three year old palomino, quarter horse/warmblood. She is stunning! And has a sweet temperament. She's only very young (horses can live to 40 years old) and full of mischief! Adjusting to life here on our farm has been different for her, because she had never left the stud where she was born. Kelly is learning lots every day and getting on with the sheep and our border collies Polly and Flossie.

Kelly the palomino

You can see more of all of them on instagram @mytasmaniangarden.
Kelly has her own hastag - #kellythepalomino
So does Harry #harryatcrumbletonmanor

For my new book coming out soon, a young adult fantasy novel, Rebel, I have finished drawing a white eagle, which is one of the characters in the book. Everyone who pre-orders a copy through the publisher's website Shooting Star Press will receive a copy of Freya, the giant white eagle! Here is the finished drawing:

New Book
In other news, I have started writing my next book! All you mid graders out there may be interested to know that I'm working on a farmstay series called Hartfields. The first book is called The Foal of Emerald Queen. Chapter one is complete and now chapter two is coming into life. It's about Jessica Jane, called JJ by her friends, whose family decides to up and move to Bear Island. Lots of chaos and fun! And horses. So if you are interested in how horses think and feel and act, this book will be great! If you're into adventure you'll love it too. I'd love to tell you more but... not yet.

Well, that's it for now. I have to get  back to writing. Have an excellent New Year's Eve and many warm wishes for fun and excitement in 2020.

Saturday, 6 October 2018

Christina Booth - Australian Author/Illustrator of fabulous stories!

Christina Booth and me
Recently I attended a CBCA (Childrens Book Council of Australia) function here in Tasmania and met Christina Booth, author/illustrator, who was the guest speaker. Not only is she an amazing and talented author and illustrator, but a really nice person to boot! And quite funny! I can see why she enjoys writing for children so much and why they enjoy her workshops/visits.

Christina has written, authored and illustrated many books for kids, some winning awards, such as The ANZAC Tree, which won a Notable award this year.

"The Anzac Tree is the story of those left behind at times of war. Inspired by the true story of two brothers who planted two trees before departing for The Great War, The Anzac Tree follows the stories of the children left behind in each generation as Australia faces a new conflict. After one hundred years of Anzac Commemorations and war history, we journey through the changes in attitudes, events and circumstances looking through the eyes of Phillip (WW1), Kenneth (WW2), Sophie (Korea), Emily (Vietnam), Chris (Iraq) and Jack (Afghanistan). Presented like a scrapbook of memories and notes, this story is suitable for younger children through to adults." (from Christina's website: click here

One of her favourite books is Too Many Sheep, which is such fun!

"When Grandpa Jack can't sleep, he counts sheep, and off to sleep he goes. So what happens if you can't find any sheep to count? you invite them to your house of course. Follow the antics of too many sheep and how they can't help you sleep, or can they?"
(click here)

Other titles include: Kip, Welcome Home, Purinina and Potato Music. At the CBCA function Christina unveiled her newest book, which hadn't been released yet, about the last Tasmanian Tiger, or Thylacine, as they are officially called. I will freely admit we were all affected by her reading of this story. Beautiful detail in her artwork and a very moving and sad tale of the life of the last female tiger, inaccurately called Benjamin, who died in Beaumaris zoo here in Tassie in 1936.

Christina is not afraid to tackle these hefty subjects. She has written about war, whaling, forgiveness, the environment, family and more.

The SCBWI conference is in Hobart soon and I look forward to catching up with Christina again!

Monday, 2 April 2018

Wing's Wildlife Park - fabulous family day out

We finally got to visit Wings Wildlife Park today. Its been owned and operated by the Wing family for 31 years and proudly has 8 generations of the family associated with it. It's a beautifully set out place, very professionally organised and the animals are in the absolute best care. Makes me worry sometimes that animals are kept for or amusement, but Wings has mostly surrendered or injured animals which cannot be released back into the wild.

Fern the orphaned wombat
In recent years they've expanded their collection and now have everything from standard Aussie animals such as wombats, kangaroos, koalas and Tasmanian Devils to American Buffalo, miniature horses, reptiles of all sorts, fish, huge bird aviaries, goats, frogs, deer, alpacas, Marmoset monkeys, an albino magpie and meerkats! I'm sure there are many I've forgotten. There's something cool everywhere you look. Also the food in the canteen is fantastic. Hubby and I shared a massive Buffalo burger with crunchy potato circle thingies and salad. They employ two chefs and about 20 staff. There are plenty of souvenir options for tourists.
Wings Wildlife Park is situated in the lush and gorgeous Gunns Plains valley, along the River Leven. Idyllic location with wonderful views. The animals are so lucky! There are lots of different types of tours and interactions you can choose from. We paid for the guided tour which included special cuddle sessions with baby Tassie Devil, a baby wombat and a young koala. Magic! We also hand fed the Marmoset monkeys, kangaroos and emus. Everywhere we went there were little kids running around with food sacks dishing out grain to animals, in total safety and supervision.
Lottie the koala

Kidlet signed up to become a member of Kids Club, which gives her access to events, workshops, half price entry any time for 12 months and lots more. She can't wait!

young Tassie Devil hand raised

albino magpie


very friendly goat

Chloe the gorgeous wombat

Saturday, 24 February 2018

What are your favourite books to read over and over?

I have to admit I was a huge Enid Blyton fan as a child. I even bought the entire set of Famous Five for my daughter. She gobbled up all 23 books in four months. We are now watching the TV series. Hopelessly addicted to jolly adventures and lashings of good food.

I also enjoy reading other children's authors' work, especially Cornelia Funke. Many try to emulate her and don't quite hit the mark, in my opinion. Perhaps it's that slightly different flavour due to being written in German and translated to English, I don't know, but her use of language is absolute magic.

In adult literature I enjoy pretty lightweight stuff - Jeffrey Archer and Elizabeth Peters. Read all 19 books in the Amelia Peabody Egyptian mystery series twice over. I also enjoyed a good many of Susannah Gregories Matthew Bartholomew Medieval murder mysteries. I do own weightier tomes, but these help me cleanse my writerly palate, so to speak, so I can get on with my own writing. I hate books where I have to anaylse too much or wade through and remember minute or obscure details. I want to enjoy the banter between characters and have a real sense of who they are, not just what they're doing. Perhaps that's the secret to good writing? Connection with the characters is vital, otherwise why continue?

Enjoyment! That's what its all about. And if you find yourself drawn to read books more than once its a very good sign they made an impact upon you in some way. If you find yourself reading them again as an adult and they are still fun, that's even better.