This page discusses some local authors who are not members of the U3A. For local authors who are members of the U3A, click here.
We are grateful to Meera Govil from Eltham Bookshop for alerting us to the existence of these authors.
Andrew Lemon, who lives in Eltham, has written a number of books about Australian history. His debut novel, The Pebbled Beach at Pentecost, was published in April 2022. Here’s the blurb: “Vernon Lee Walker, a young Englishman from industrial Wolverhampton, meets his death on a beach on Pentecost Island in the South Pacific on the eve of Christmas 1887. Why did Vernon die, in what circumstances, and who was responsible? Was he, as once branded, simply a ‘bad colonist’? Or was he a Candide, an innocent abroad, mixing invisibly with the rich and famous, manipulated by a calculating brother, unable to change the world around him? An historian finds Vernon’s letters home to England, spanning a dozen years. With decreasing frequency, these follow his trajectory, first in Melbourne and Sydney, then as he yields to the spell of the Pacific. But what happens between the lines? Does he fall in love with his brother’s wife? What does a boy not tell his mother? The novelist steps in. This is a unique fusion of authentic history and informed invention – a tragic story of colonialism in Australia and the Pacific, told with compassion, humor and a deep understanding of time and place.“
Cath Moore, who lives in Eltham, published her debut novel, Metal Fish, Falling Snow in July 2020. Here's the blurb: "Dylan and her adored French mother dream of one day sailing across the ocean to France. Paris, Dylan imagines, is a place where her black skin won't stand out, a place she might feel she belongs. But when she loses her mother in a freak accident, Dylan finds herself on a very different journey: a road trip across outback Australia in the care of her mother's grieving boyfriend, Pat. As they travel through remote towns further and further from the water Dylan longs for, she and Pat form an unlikely bond. One that will be broken when he leaves her with the family she has never known."
Elizabeth Vercoe, who lives in Warrandyte, has written a novel for young adults (Keep Your Hair On!), a non-fiction book for young adults (The Grief Book, strategies for young people) and, most recently (in 2016), a children’s picture book (Mac the Dog Man). Here's the blurb for Mac the Dog Man: "Set on the banks of the Yarra in Warrandyte, readers will recognise local landmarks and enjoy 'walking the map' at the front of the book. The joyful true story of dog-whisperer Mac as he collects dogs of all shapes and sizes to explore the river path. With fresh, vibrant watercolour paintings and scribbly line drawings!"
Read a recent interview with Elizabeth by Eltham Book Shop. We are grateful to Meera Govil for publishing this and other interviews with local authors.
Kate Mildenhall, who lives in Hurstbridge, has published two novels: The Mother Fault (2020) and Skylarking (2016). Here is the blurb for The Mother Fault: “Mim’s husband is missing. No one knows where Ben is, but everyone wants to find him – especially The Department. And they should know, the all-seeing government body has fitted the entire population with a universal tracking chip to keep them ‘safe’. But suddenly Ben can’t be tracked. And Mim is questioned, made to surrender her passport and threatened with the unthinkable – her two children being taken into care at the notorious BestLife. Cornered, Mim risks everything to go on the run to find her husband. From the stark backroads of the Australian outback to a terrifying sea voyage, Mim is forced to shuck off who she was – mother, daughter, wife, sister – and become the woman she needs to be to save her family and herself.“
Click here to watch a short video by Kate filmed in August.
Penny Harrison, who lives in Warrandyte, is a prolific author of children's books. She published three books in 2020 (Rainbow is my Favourite Colour, Me and My Boots and Extraordinary) and has already published two books in 2021 (The Little Coven and The Best Mum). Here is the blurb about The Little Coven: "Three best friends mix magic – they whisper secrets of the soul. And the things that make them different, when together, make them whole. A story of three girls who are different in many ways, but are united by the special bond of friendship. The unique power of female friendship is celebrated as we watch these friends support and uplift each other as they move through life – from children playing at casting spells and making potions to young women coming together to talk and laugh under the stars."
R.B.R. Verhagen, who lives in Yarra Glen, has written two novels: In the Company of Madness (2020) and Murder at the Mountain Rush (2016). Here's the blurb for In the Company of Madness: "A fast-paced novel set in 1820s Van Diemen's Land at the height of convict transportation. Crime and punishment define the lives of soldier John Cuthbertson, prisoner Alexander Pearce and priest Phillip Conolly. By fate, choice or circumstance these three men, born 18 miles apart, are transported to Van Diemen's Land where they act as captor, convict and confessor to one another. Each of them attempts to carve out lives that make their arduous journeys to Australia worthwhile. Alas, the New World looks remarkably like the old one, and in the process of seeking promotion, penitence and peace, they must confront the forces that have brought them together, and yet set them so far apart."
Sandy Jeffs is a poet who lives in Christmas Hills. Over the years, she has written many poetry anthologies. Her latest book, published in 2020, is entitled Out of the Madhouse: From Asylums to Caring Community? Here's the blurb: "Larundel Psychiatric Hospital was 'the madhouse on the edge of town' – until the 1990s, a Melbourne cultural icon shrouded in mystery in the outer suburb of Bundoora. What was it really like inside this madhouse? This story takes us into the heart of Larundel through the voices of former inmates and staff, exposing the best and worst aspects of the mental institutions of the times. It shows the shifts in psychiatric treatments, the social forces at play, and changes driving mental health policy. It explores what de-institutionalisation and 'care in the community' actually meant for those suffering mental illness, as well as for those treating, and caring for them. What did we lose with Larundel's closure in 1999 and the move to acute psychiatric wards in general hospitals? The notion of asylum? Is the more recent notion of 'recovery' a hopeful signpost towards a brave new world for mental health?"
Trevor Hay, who lives in Greensborough, writes books about China, both fiction and non-fiction. His latest book, published in 2020, is entitled The Tengu: Tales from the Temple of Ordinary Terrors. Here's the blurb: "A novel narrated by an older man who has been living in solitude in the north eastern suburbs of Melbourne, Australia. It takes the form of his diary for six months up to January 1, 2020. It involves a number of ghost tales and horror stories, Chinese culture, political observations, humour and neighbourhood interaction. These are all interestingly woven together. It is about exorcism of demons of all kinds.".
Vikki Conley, who lives in Eltham, writes childrens books. Her latest book, published in 2000, is entitled The Lost Moustache. Here's the blurb: "When Frankie finds a moustache, she is completely baffled. Who loses a moustache? Determined to return the moustache to its rightful owner, Frankie launches an investigation. Engaging, amusing and delightfully quirky." Here is the 'official trailer video'.
Read an interview with Vikki by Eltham Book Shop. As Vikki says in the interview: "Most of my stories usually choose me, rather than the other way around. They often come to me like a dream."
In 2020, Vicky Shukuroglou, who lives in Eltham, co-authored a book with Bruce Pascoe (author of Dark Emu) entitled Loving Country: A Guide to Sacred Australia. Here's the start of the blurb: "Loving Country is a book that inspires ultimate respect for Mother Earth and the role of her custodians. While readers are encouraged to discover the sacred country of Australia in an open-minded and sensitive manner, the intention of this book is to foster communication and understanding between all peoples and country, to bring about a range of environmental and social changes." And “For those who want to do more than a whistle-stop tour of Australia, this book offers some keys to unlock and reveal the heart of this loving country.” Vicky was responsible for around half of the writing and all of the photography.