KIRKUS will publish this on their site next week, but I’m just too happy not to share now. So here it goes:
CreateSpace (310 pp.)
$24.00 paperback, $8.99 e-book
ISBN: 978-1478157458; September 19, 2012
In Uaro’s debut novel, a young girl must adjust to life after her parents’ divorce.
Seventeen-year-old Sydney, who lives in Australia, details the shock and heartache of learning that her parents, seemingly the perfect couple, are divorcing. She discovers this the day that she gets her first real job, working at a call center. She wanted to tell her parents about the new gig, but she catches her mother kissing another man, and everything sours. Sydney throws her energy into work, a job that is made all the more exciting by the upcoming Olympics, which generates many calls to the Transport Information line, where Sydney works. But nothing prepares her for the biggest excitement of all: Pete, a handsome young man from Boston who charms Sydney. As she withstands endless rude phone calls and navigates a steep learning curve at her job, she builds new friendships and a budding relationship with Pete. But Pete has secrets of his own, ones that jar Sydney as they stir up the trauma of discovering that her parents were cheating on each other. Sydney faces her fears and works through her concerns with Pete. But as her life finally seems to be turning in a positive direction, Pete returns to Boston and falls out of touch, leaving Sydney to suspect the worst. Something far more tragic has occurred, however, and it threatens both of their futures. As Sydney continues to transition into adulthood, she becomes all the more aware of how pain can change a person.
Told with the breezy, fanciful narration of a young adult, Sydney is a lovable, memorable character. Her trials through love, disappointment and betrayal help shape her as the novel traces her development. The well-drawn characters she meets and the lessons she continues to learn keep the plot riveting, with no telling what will come next.
A warm, enjoyable coming-of-age tale.
Kirkus Indie, Kirkus Media LLC, 6411 Burleson Rd., Austin, TX 78744
Today, we are honoured by a visit from an angel, my very special friend Sadie Duarte, who, I originally stumbled upon on Twitter. When my son accused me of having thousands of fake friends, he was sorely mistaken. Like in real life, cyber friends are humans too, and they come in all kinds of quality. Sadie Duarte, is among the most precious. When I shouted out an invitation to review my book, Sadie Duarte took it up. She happened to like it, especially, as I found out later, she herself has been living with disabilities for quite a time. When I asked her, Sadie promptly went on to translate my work to her native language, Castilian Spanish, which, to my astonishment, she completed amazingly fast. This brilliant author and poetess is very thorough, and works very efficiently.
Born in Zaragoza (Spain), Sadie Duarte is a writer/scriptwriter who holds a B.A. in English Studies at UNED and an M.A. in Textual and Cultural Studies in English Language (British & Hollywood Cinema) at the University of Zaragoza. She has received eleven literary & academic awards and also works as a teacher of English & a translator.
Hello Sadie. Thanks for visiting. Would you be so kind to give readers a one-sentence synopsis of Alas para Soñar (Wings to Dream)?
“Silence can dance too”
What inspired you to write this book?
When I was a child, my dream was to be a dancer. Not that I dreamt of being famous, but I needed to escape from the world I was living in, my daily life, the everyday problems… I wanted to be free. Nobody taught me how to dance, but I had some kind of talent which I used to participate in the school festivals and with my friends, just for fun. I was hoping to take up dancing classes, but then, I had an accident which led to a major operation when I was only 18. All my dreams shattered. There was very little chance for me to walk again, but the worst thing to me was when I was told that I’d never dance again.
It was so difficult for me to face up reality and start living a life where the word “disability” was in front of me, just like a label attached to the strings of my heart. Since that day, I devoted myself to trying to get my life back. I thought there had to be a way to bring back the same person I used to be. It was incredibly hard, but fortunately, I recovered from everything.
I’ve always said that no matter how difficult life can be, you just need to have will power to fight and get what you want. Nobody can silence you for even silence has so much to say… even dance to the dance of life.
I thought that I could tell my own story in a fictionalized way so other people, especially teenagers with similar problems and their own families, would know there’s always an open door waiting for you. In this way, Alas para Soñar should be considered not as an elaborated short novel, but more like a teenager’s diary where feelings are much more important than the story.
That is very touching, Sadie. I congratulate you on being a survivor and on your contribution in motivating others. How real are your characters?
They’re all true to life. My friends inspired me as well as other people who I found along the way, though I changed their names and jobs. The two sisters in the story, Marcy and Eileen are both myself. Eileen is the voice of the conscience, the one that tells you where you should go, which road to take and what’s best for you. She’s supposed to be sensible, though sometimes she’s wrong. Marcy is the voice that comes from the heart, the rebel, the one who needs to shout out to the world that she has something to say.
Brilliant! You and your alternate ego. Don’t we all need one? I wish you success in helping people with that one. Now please tell us about your upcoming book, Almas de Fuego (Souls of Fire). What is it about? How did you come up with the title Almas de Fuego?
This is an illustrated fantasy novel for young adults and is part of a trilogy. I wanted to write a story involving mythology, alchemy, magic, reincarnation, love and passion, without forgetting to give readers the chance to unveil a message between the lines.
The story is set in mysterious places like Shamballa, Hades and the African desert. It has exotic protagonists like a water-diviner, a thief of souls and the legendary alchemist Fulcanelli. The storyline conveys some kind of a dreamland atmosphere where everything is possible.
The book brings to the fore the old-time confrontation between good and evil and also makes readers wonder to what extent people’s destinies can be influenced or changed. One way or the other, most people are looking for something: happiness, love, a comfortable life… I guess we are all ‘souls of fire’, just trying to make our dreams come true.
How much do you have in common with your characters?
Well, there’s always something about me in all the stories I write, though not in every character. Those characters that stumble, fall, learn from their mistakes and keep trying are very much like me.
What’s your latest news?
Almas de Fuego (Souls of Fire) will be published in English and Spanish versions in March 2013. The book will be available worldwide in paperback, PDF and Kindle. I intend to have an illustrated tale for children published later on this year and also have an ambitious project to shoot a short movie in Spain.
You translation of Sydney’s Song has received glowing praise. Readers have come to me to say they like your work. Why did you agree to translate it? How long did it take you to translate this book?
It was the first time I was offered to translate a book into Spanish, so I really liked the idea. At the same time, I knew it would give me the chance to let other people know about the kind of work I can do, so I agreed. I really enjoyed the experience as Sydney’s Song is such a compelling story, so touching and full of life. I’ll always be grateful to Ia Uaro for thinking of me as a translator.
The translation took me about one month and a half. I spent about 15 hours per week each time and once it was finished, I also revised, re-read and corrected the manuscript a couple of times too. I’ve always been a perfectionist, so if I ever feel that something should be improved, then I go for it!
Thank you! My deepest gratitude for a job very well done!
What is your favorite line in Sydney’s Song, Sadie?
I’d choose the line where Nina tells Sydney, “No one will think badly of you, except the low people. Nobody will honour you, except the honourable.”
Would you visit or live in Australia, Sadie?
Sure! I love travelling and as I’ve never been to Australia, it’d be great to make a trip there in the near future.
Looking forward to your visit then, I really hope we can meet for real.
Now, wo would you say have been the most influential authors in your life? What is it that really strikes you about their work?
I believe the Spanish author Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer (1836-1870) has been the most influential to me. His rhymes and legends are so romantic and inspiring. The same goes for Antonio Gala and Alberto Vázquez Figueroa, who are not only good writers, but brilliant poets. I love good literature in general, Ovid, Shakespeare, Charles Dickens, Jerome K. Jerome, Jane Austen, E. M. Forster, Nicholas Sparks and… even Hugh Laurie! When I read a book, I also want to ‘feel’ something. That’s what matters to me the most.
I hope one day you can introduce the great Spanish authors to us by translating their work into English; perhaps someday when you aren’t busy.
What story would you like to share about the joy, challenge, or hardship of writing?
I’ve been writing since I was 7-seven-year old. I still keep several folders full of short stories, tales, poems and two novels. They may not be very good and I have no idea if I’ll ever have them published, but they’re part of my life. No matter what happens, they’ll always be there, in writing, waiting for someone to read them, hoping to inspire. So many times people have told me to stop writing ‘cause ‘it’s a waste of time’. I disagree. I believe if you have a talent, you should not put it aside. My piece of advice is that everybody should be free to try and make their dreams come true.
Who gives you the most encouragement? Why is that important to you?
Other artists, not only the famous ones, but also normal people who are good at something and yet don’t know what to do to be noticed. That’s why I opened my Twitter and Facebook accounts. I want to give artists from all over the world the chance to be heard.
You have a caring soul, Sadie.
You are also a perfectionist with attention to details. Any tips for us in writing or translating?
Just listen to your heart. We all have something to say, so take a look deep inside your soul and try to put it in writing. If it’s hard to do it, if it’s painful and takes you some time, then you bet it’s something good.
What courage! Very inspiring when plenty of people simply give up when faced with difficulties.
Would you take translating a career besides writing?
Yes, I would. Actually, I’d be very pleased to translate into Spanish other author’s books. I enjoy doing many things and being busy, so I’m looking forward to that.
I can attest to how fabulous your work is!
What are your hobbies? When do you find the time to write?
I enjoy listening to all kinds of music, going to the cinema, theatre… anything that has to do with the performing arts. I absolutely love musicals!
I only write if I have something to say. When I have a good story in my head, I try to write it in a couple of months. It’s compulsory. I sit in front of the computer every single day and write until the story is finished, even if I don’t feel like it.
Excellent discipline. What one thing is important for your readers/audience to know about you? Why?
To be or not to be a best-selling author is not important to me. I only want to make people ‘feel’ when they read my stories. I want them to close their eyes and think of the message between the lines. That’s the meaning of success. You’re successful if you manage to touch people’s hearts. And that’s not easy. So many times we read stories that are easily forgotten. If they remember mine, then I’ll be grateful.
Looking forward to read your work, Sadie. Tell us about your Spain.
In my opinion, Spain is a fine place to go on your summer holidays, but not a very good country to live in because of the economic crisis. More and more people are going to live overseas now as there are no working opportunities here. I truly hope that things change in the near future, though many of us are already sad and disappointed.
Sadie’s first fiction novel for young adults, Alas para Soñar (Libros Certeza)—a story about a ballerina who has to deal with disability—was published for charity purposes in November 2000.
Readers, watch out for Sadie’s upcoming book. Authors, contact Sadie for a translation that you will be extremely pleased with. Find her on:
Book Purchase Links: http://www.certeza.com
Today I released my Spanish edition La CANCIÓN de SYDNEY to the Sydney’s multi-cultural society and to Spanish readers worldwide.
Oh well, it’s past midnight now in the Aussieland, but like most of you I was busy celebrating the day. I hope you all had fun, and will have fun in making great contributions to the world’s betterment this year.
Thanking my non-Aussie friends for sending me their best wishes today. Many of you have often told me, “Australia? Lucky country!” Well, it sure is a lucky country, because here we’re guaranteed the freedom of human rights and given a fair go in the things we do and believe in; and here’s a country when after a disaster people will roam the streets, not to loot, but to lend the victims a helping hand in every possible way.
Spanish readers: Lea los capítulos de muestra GRATIS aqui.
Other news: my English brochure for 2013 London Book Fair:
“She better be,” my daughter piped in.
Ha! This is only the beginning of a new chapter… I don’t have the heart to tell them that, but I do plan to spend more time with my family. Apparently a female writer has to be a super mum, and I do miss my family. Tomorrow we are going to the Blue Mountains. We will do some trekking. And of course it’s September, spring in Aussieland, so I’ll be taking pics in Leura too… even when my daughter has said she’ll scream if I take another one.
I will update this entry later. For now I would like to thank anyone and everyone who has been with me from the start in every way.
I’ve been tagged to answer ten questions about my current current WIP (Work In Progress) by these two lovely lady writers:
Ui Poznansky of http://uviart.blogspot.com.au/2012/09/the-next-big-thing.html
And Susan Taitel – ABNA’s semi-finalist of the hilarious “Random Act of Nudity”, an upcoming YA –not and an adult novel, of http://susantaitel.com/week-14-the-next-big-thing-blog-hop/
First visit their marvelous blogs, and then read the following. Thank you.
Currently I have three WIS – Works In Suspension. My WIP, the one I’m still working on is the soon-to-be-released SYDNEY’S SONG. It is still my WIP, as I’m currently occupied in learning about post-release steps. Following are my answers to the Ten Interview Questions in this blog-hopping, The Next Big Thing:
What is the working title of your book?
Where did the idea come from for the book?
Life experiences. My life has always been very, very eventful—either things happen or I go out to make things happen. I shuffle these true experiences like a deck of cards. I arrange the cards like a beautiful fan. I glue them together with fiction.
For example, on the day I decided to write, an old uni friend posted an ancient pic on Facebook. It was of our group singing by a lake, together with an Australian friend from Beecroft. She had come all the way across the ocean to be with me, so distraught by her parents’ recent divorce. When I was busy during the day, I left her with my music-playing friends. They looked after her very well and she ended up having a wonderful holiday.
What genre does your book fall under?
Real-life socio fiction. Fiction/Humorous. Self-help/motivational.
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
Mia Wasikowska for Sydney:
Before her parents’ divorce: http://img1.bdbphotos.com/images/orig/w/b/wbzs4i8g6g7pzb47.jpg
Alone in a foreign land:
I can’t quite find an actor to play Pete yet, but Andrew Garfield can play Ettore:
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Grounded firmly in suburban settings where heartbreaks are juxtaposed with humour, a beautiful love story amid tragedies showcasing a young girl’s courageous journey to adulthood.
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
I met a critic who liked my work, and soon after a retired über agent praised it but advised that traditional publishers only take mainstream work. This made me look into indie publishing.
Today’s self-publishing authors have full control on the final product. A friend celebrates the freedom of unrestricted word count in her epic fantasy. Another finds delights in mixing his poetry and prose. And I appreciate the freedom to illustrate my work my way. The result isn’t just a beautiful story, but a beautiful-looking beautiful story. The rare, unique hardcopy will delight readers who are lovers of arts.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
Three delightful months.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
None from the recent books. SYDNEY’S SONG is complex without being complicated. A vivid portrayal of the people of Sydney, this is similar to the ancient Pepys Diary; however, its subtle depiction of modern workplace slavery is close to Max Havelaar. The book contains true stories of love and survival.
Who or What inspired you to write this book?
The first half, friends I used to work with, once upon a time. The second half, hubby.
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
Tragically humorous, SYDNEY’S SONG will entertain readers of any genre who occasionally want something different in their bookshelves.
Now hop over to the following blogs and meet these fantastic talents:
Hattie Gunter of http://thevoveva.blogspot.ca/
Hart Johnson of http://www.waterytart23.blogspot.com.au/
Ey Wade of http://wade-inpublishing.blogspot.com.au/
(Awaiting confirmation from a few more bloggers)
In addition, we’re featuring some phenomenal books you should check out AND giving away X-amount of Cash (announced after Blogger signups completed).
Other bloggers can join in for this great opportunity to gain new traffic. We’re excited to spread the word about some fantastic authors and Wayman Publishing; we hope you’ll join us for this fun event.
I would invite you all to celebrate my book launch with me. Why? Because I’d love to share my joy with the world. SYDNEY’S SONG is a delightful novel for readers of any genre who occasionally want something different. Check it out and come celebrate with me ONLINE!
Jump in to SYDNEY’S SONG’s Book Launch. Register your attendance early and you’ll be in the draw to win one of 100 Large-Print copies for your local libraries. I’ll be rolling out the programme and a new excerpt every day, and of course, answering YOUR questions. Visit regularly for updates, and stay tuned for more exciting news. And oh, any actor or talented prose reader out there? Come participate in my Excerpt-Reading Competition!
SYDNEY’S SONG will be available in ebook, paperback, and large-print paperback. But you don’t have to buy my book, though I’m sure it will bring smiles to your hearts. Just celebrate with me, get to know me and my work.
AN UNDEFEATABLE HEROINE…
Olympic fever runs high in the Australian summer of 1999 and 17-year-old Sydney has caught it. Little does she know taking a holiday job in the beehive that is the Olympics’ public-transport call centre will be life altering. Shaken by her parents’ divorce, the sheltered Aussie is further plagued by abusive callers, obnoxious government agencies, constrictive office rules, and liberated friends. She is trying to negotiate these challenges as her own personal Olympics when Pete finds her.
A HERO TO LIVE FOR…
Pete, Boston’s former child prodigy whose soothing voice floats across her workstation, sees through Sydney’s tough outer shell. Pete knows what it takes to present a dignified front when all you want to do is howl at the moon. Treating their friendship like an art, he invests time and creative effort to pull Sydney out of her despair.
A LOVE NO READER WILL EVER FORGET…
Tragedy strikes when an accident leaves Pete with a major brain injury in a Boston hospital. When the going gets very, very tough, will you abandon the one who’s promised to love you until he dies? What if YOU are the one who became disabled?
A TRUE STORY…
Set in Sydney and Boston where heartbreaks are juxtaposed with Sydney’s sense of humour, SYDNEY’S SONG is a young girl’s courageous journey to adulthood. A work of fiction based on real events, this novel with an Australian accent also shows the world that living with disabilities does not prevent a person from attaining happiness.
PART OF SYDNEY’S SONG’S PROCEEDS WILL BE DONATED TO THE BRAIN FOUNDATION
Read the OPENING CHAPTER and more on my website but here’s an excerpt:
“To Pokolbin Prison, please,” requested a woman in a very weak, barely audible low voice I could well relate to. A vision came to me of a gaunt, sickly, very depressed lady.
I worked out her travel plan. She had to catch a bus, two trains, and a bus again, for a three-hour journey. Then she asked, “How much would it cost for a pensioner and a three-year old?”
Tears gathered in my eyes. A poor young mother with a young child trying to visit her worthless husband at Christmas!
And she was not alone. “To John Moroney Prison, please,” said a miserable mother.
“To Silverwater Correction Centre, please.” A sad girlfriend.
“To Long Bay Jail, please.” A wretched daughter.
Long-suffering souls requested travel plans for Lithgow Jail, Parklea Jail, Goulburn Jail – you name it.
Come to think of it, there was hardly a male caller wanting to visit a female prisoner. Either the men did not use public transport or they didn’t bother to visit. What did this tell you?
Here are some of what the reviewers say:
UVI POZNANSKY:“I was too busy laughing and crying.”
MATT POSNER: “SYDNEY’S SONG demonstrates the way in which human beings can thrive under adversity using the power of their hearts and wills.”
IRINA DUNN: “Intelligent, touching, interesting and funny.”
MARY METCALFE: “Haunting.”
PHIL NORK: “The writing was superb, the story kept me interested and the ending touched me in ways most books don’t.”
NORMA FOWLER: “Riveting… a young woman who is very keenly perceptive in all people and situations about her.”
JACOB COATES: “A fantastic love story grounded quite firmly in a suburban setting with real characters.”
BRENDA FRANKLIN: “Touches more than just the surface.”
If you are between the ages of 15 to 99, whoever you are, wherever you are,
you are cordially invited to attend and celebrate with The United Friends of Ia
Did I tell you that I have fans from three decades ago still treasuring my first novel in their goodreads shelves? They hunted me down, asking me to write again… Here’s hoping 200 years from now, SYDNEY’S SONG will still be read. And loved.
After reading Sydney’s Song I have come to the conclusion that growing up, no matter where it takes place, isn’t an easy thing to do. Welcome to Sydney’s life. She is a typical Australian teenager … well sort of. When she comes home one day and her mother and father tell her they are getting a divorce, she can’t believe it. But they both have their separate lives already … and neither one includes the other. They have come to grips with it, but Sydney can’t.
Mum and Dad leave and seventeen-year-old Sydney has the house to herself and her trusty dog, Dimity. She gets a job answering phone calls about public transit. It is a boring and demeaning job, but she puts in her best effort and makes the best of it.
Sydney decides never to drink or do drugs, never to give herself to the beckoning of the boys interested in her, and never to fall in love. But those decisions get tested by the new group of friends she meets at her job. They don’t understand her, but they accept her.
Not to be a spoiler, Sydney does eventually meet a handsome American boy and they start to build a relationship together. He changes her mind about her feelings of wanting to be alone and they grow together. In fact, she decides she can’t live without him. But he has a secret back home … one that Sydney must face head-on. Who should she trust?
That’s as far as I will go. The twists and turns inside this book make the reading fairly easy. I found myself turning pages as fast as I could.
There is SO much more to this story, but I believe that you the reader should experience it for yourself. The morale is to listen to your heart and not always to those around you. Believe in something, anything, and then make it happen. Although some things in life don’t go as planned, that doesn’t mean you can’t learn from your experiences, try new things and eventually still end up happy.
I give Sydney’s Song a 4-star rating. The writing was superb, the story kept me interested and the ending touched me in ways most books don’t. God works in mysterious ways sometimes, and this book proves it. I recommend this book to anyone, male or female, who is trying to find their way in this world. It is a reminder that life can work out if you just trust your insides and follow what you feel.
Real life fiction for real life people
Some readers love stories about werewolves, shape-shifters or science fiction … things that may never happen to them. I write about situations that CAN happen to you and maybe already have … or at least they’re ones you can relate to.
Wow, what a beautiful story! Not just a look at life through the eyes of another, this story takes you on a journey as a girl travels from childhood to become a strong woman who can deal with whatever life throws at her. Tears fill your eyes as she struggles with disaster only to be replaced with pride as she triumphs over each obstacle. You will also find a good balance of laughter that lets you know that no matter how hard life becomes there is always a rainbow after the storm passes.
Merlene M. Allison
Author of ‘A Whisper of Secrets’
The ultimate thrust of the story; the love, honor and valor of a very young woman placed in a very difficult situation, was vividly seen throughout the story! I applaud the author for her compassion in sharing this story and conveying the important issues of brain injuries which could happen to anybody at any time.