Going Upside Down

Lori Malone is at a crossroads in her life: should she return to her Sociology degree which she carelessly abandoned, or should she follow her dreams and travel to the other side of the world? Although tempted by her friend Toni’s incessant persuasion to join her in Australia, Lori knows that her funds just won’t stretch 16,000 kilometres – that is until she receives the wedding invite.
Accompanying her widowed father to a family wedding in Brisbane, Lori is intrigued to delve further into her new Australian family’s rich history and subsequent secrets. A recurring dream resurfaces, throwing light on an elusive and unspoken member of her Australian family. Thus, Lori Malone is on a quest to find out.
Before Lori is reunited with her extroverted friend Toni in Sydney, she meets her Cousin Luke and his best friend Red, who share their lives together in a plush Bondi Beach apartment. Lori is instantly attracted to the toned and tanned red headed surfer, but can’t quite work out his relationship with her cousin: If they are partners, then why did she wake up next to Red after a boozy night out and why was Luke with her best friend Toni ?
Leaving the safety net of Sydney behind, Lori and Toni prepare to embark on an adventure, travelling and working their up north to Queensland, closely followed by Toni’s new Australian boyfriend, Greg. Securing jobs on a prestigious Whitsunday Island, life is bliss apart from Lori’s recurring dream – there’s someone or something watching her every move.
Determined to shrug off her increasing paranoia, Lori, Toni and Greg move onto Cairns. In Cairns they meet up with Rob, a fellow Yorkshire man, who they briefly met on Hook Island where they were completing a PADI course. Toni, intent on putting her match making skills to work, perseveres to ignite a mutual attraction between her friend (who is now emulating a gooseberry) and Rob. Toni pulls out all the stops to bring them together – after all, they are perfect for each other. Thus, she is thrilled when Rob whisks Lori up to Cooktown to trace her family history.
Love triangles, perilous outback adventures and a few dodgy jobs along the way, contribute to the mystery that surrounds Lori’s elusive relative. Now, all Lori has to do is confront her heart. Does she return to her studies in England where there is a good chance she will meet back up with Rob, who coincidentally lives a mere 20 miles away? Or does she follow her lifelong dream of living in Australia? Unfortunately, Lori is an extremely indecisive individual.
Just who or what will help her choose the right path? And will she ever find out who this elusive relative is? 

 

My Review

This book is where ‘rom com’ meets a travel guide. It’s a whirlwind tour of Australia as Lori Malone visits Australia with her Yorkshire family for a wedding down under. I loved the descriptions of Australia as they vividly brought alive a country I would love to visit one day. Elise Williams also treats the subject of the native Aborigines with great sensitivity without being at all preachy. Running throughout the book are Lori’s romantic encounters as she can’t decide between her cousin’s friend and a Doncaster lad she meets on her travels. Will she stay in Oz or return to the UK? You’ll have to read it to find out. I did get a trifle confused at all Lori’s family’s distant relations but thankfully there is a guide in a nutshell at the end to clear up any misunderstandings. A very enjoyable holiday read.

 

4/5

Interview with Elise Williams

 

I am originally from the suburbs of Manchester, but now live with my two teenagers in a small market town in Lancashire. My love of reading started as a young girl, following the adventures of Enid Blyton’s  Secret Seven and Famous Five books. My formative years saw me furtively loaning racier novels from the library by Harold Robbins and Jackie Collins, much to the consternation of my mother! However, besides the racy elements, I enjoyed being transported to the glitzy world of Hollywood and beyond. I was soon unable to control my itchy feet and at the age of eighteen, having finished college with a view to working in the local travel agent, I decided to see the world with my own eyes. With little funds and the constant need to work, I experienced cultures and customs, otherwise unknown to the tourist industry. Like many people, I can’t remember what I did yesterday, but I do remember vividly memories of my travels, some of which inspired my debut novel - Going Upside Down. I like to describe my writing as ‘chick lit with a travel kick’ and have a plethora of drafts running around in my head, eager to make their way to my laptop.

 

Returning to my life in the green hills of Lancashire, I eventually conformed and became a full time housewife and mother for seven years, until my children’s primary school teacher encouraged me to apply for a position as a cover supervisor in a local High School. Ten years later, I am still there - aiding and encouraging pupils to embrace the written word. Needless to say, Collins and Robbins have been replaced by Golding and Steinbeck! I do love reading with the pupils and the calmness that ensues. Furthermore, I feel blessed that for thirteen weeks of the year, I am able to gaze out of my bedroom window at the uninterrupted view of green fields and tap away to my heart’s content on my new laptop.

 

Finally, I hope you enjoy reading my debut novel as much as I have writing it; I assure you, there’s more to come.

 

 

 

Can you summarise your latest work in just a few words? 

Yes, Romance and family revelations

 

 

 What was the inspiration for this book? 

I love a good beach read and the majority of the books I read always have an element of escapism in sun drenched countries. Australia has a special place in my heart thus I wanted to steer away from the typical Australian travelogue and mix chick lit fiction with the cultural indigenous history and also put some of the lesser known outback towns on the map. 

 

  

    Did you do any research for the book? 

Yes I did. Most of it was via the internet, researching the aboriginal culture and facts about the different cities and towns. I also had fun finding humorous Australian colloquialisms, which I hope will make the reader smile.

    

    How do you decide on the names for your characters? 

Sometimes a name just springs to mind. Sometimes I look around the staff room at work and think – ah, yes his or her name will suit my character. However, most of the time, names which I have always liked, form the names for my characters.

 

 Which writers have influenced your own writing? 

I highly respect Emily Barr, author of Cuban Heels. Also, Paige Toone, author of Lucy in the Sky and Belinda Jones, author of I love Capri, introduced me to chick lit novels with an element of escapism and travel. 

 

    What are you working on next? Do you have a WIP? 

Yes, I do have a WIP. I am very excited about this one as it was my first idea to start writing. However, I knew I would only be able to start it when the time was right – like NOW! All I can reveal at this stage is that it is set in Crete and involves a young English girl and a Greek kamaki!

 

    Tell us about your travels.  

I feel blessed that from the age of eighteen, I more or less travelled and worked around the world for ten years. I first got bitten by the travel bug when I answered an advert in the local paper for employment opportunities at the Butlins camps. So, after little deliberation, I boarded a train to Minehead in Somerset and from there, well the rest is travel history. Returning home to the safety net of my parents and home comforts for a few weeks at a time and to recharge my batteries, the countries I visited and worked in thereafter, in chronological order are –  Athens, Jersey, Crete, Israel, Holland, Guernsey, Australia, New Zealand, 16 states of the USA, Canada, Central America – England – my homeland. Since then, the usual package holiday to Spain and Greece.

 

Tell us about your childhood. 

I had a wonderful childhood growing up in the suburbs of Manchester with my parents and two brothers. We were fortunate to live in a drive full of children, where we spent many adventures down on the field, making dens and rope swings over a murky brook. Then in my early teens, while my friends spent their free time hanging around bored and restless on local parks or watching endless television, I was to be found in the back garden helping to build a 27 foot yacht! Five years it took us to finally make it seaworthy. Ironically, when the time came to reap the benefits and eventually sail in her, I decided to go on my travels! However, I did have the opportunity to sail in ‘Megan’ a few times in between travelling. I am forever grateful to my parents who throughout my formative years kept me on an even keel and later on believed in me and persuaded me to follow my dreams. What more could I ask for?

 

 

What are you reading at the moment? 

I am reading ‘Precious Metal’ by Michelle Flatley, part of the Modern Dreams collection from Salt Publishers

 

Do you have any advice for new writers? 

Yes. If you really want to write, then just do it! Just remember, patience is a virtue.

 

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Latest comments

10.05 | 20:40

Mary reading this is fabulous and it will also give help to other people trying to write I love your books roll on 18th may can't wait you are an inspiration x

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10.05 | 11:34

Mary Wood is a fabulous author and definitely one of my favourites. She is a born storyteller, whose characters will live in your mind and heart.

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10.05 | 10:05

Thanks so much Mary x

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10.05 | 09:58

Thank you, Bev, and Julie. Julie, this is a lovely page, so beautifully presented, thank you so much. Much love, Mary x

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