« 1 2 3 4


e-book collaborators, Jane & Hazel

Today, we’re lucky to have popular Australian author, Hazel Edwards visiting. Hazel created that very famous Hippopotamus who sits on the roof eating cake.

Hazel Edwards (www.hazeledwards.com) is a readaholic  (reads in the bath & listens to audio books in the car but not simultaneously ) She has been writing since she was in Grade 6. Best known for the picture book series ‘There’s a Hippopotamus on our Roof Eating Cake’, which is now a film, Hazel writes YA novels such as ‘f2m;the boy within’ , co-written with Ryan Kennedy and has even co-written ‘Cycling Solo;Ireland to Istanbul ‘ with her son Trevelyan Quest Edwards , but he did ALL the cycling.

Currently Hazel is collaborating with illustrator Jane Connory on e-book junior mystery series ‘The Frequent Flyer Twins’ and ‘Project Spy Kids’ where Art, a non-reader is the hero. Next is ‘Astrid the Mind-Reading Chook’and the lost voice at the Grand Final.

Hazel mentors young writers, is an Ambassador for 2012 National Year of Reading and a 2012 nominee for the Astrid Lindgren Award. She also writes a story each birthday for the children in her family. ‘Henry-Garnet, the Serial Sock Puller’ was the latest for 1 year old Henry’s birthday.


Co-writing is a great way to write a better book. If you team up with someone who has different skills, together there are two brains and two imaginations working on the project. If you’re a ‘procrastinator'(that’s someone who puts things off) having to get your share of the writing done before you next meet, helps.

From my ‘f2m;the boy within’ co-author Ryan, I’ve learnt how plot a novel on Skype(Ryan lives in New Zealand) , create a book trailer and do a 3 way webchat and book launch online. I also learnt facts about punk music and new words, because our 18 year old character is a punk musician.

From Jane, I’ve learnt how to format better, and that she thinks in shape and colour and graphics and I think in abstract ideas. I love her character cameos of the frequent flyer twins. and especially the BIG dog called Tiny from the Project Spy Kids series. Check out our ‘Design Your own Mystery’ sheet.Jane illustrates the covers, and the characters ,formats the e-books and draws artwork to go on t-shirts, coffee mugs etc. This is called merchandising.

From the ‘Cycling Solo;Ireland to Istanbul’ project, we’ve learnt that cyclists and backpackers love to read adventures which are short entries. Many people keep blogs, but you need to write for your reader as well as yourself.So we crafted the candid, funny stuff. This is a factual book.

Hints for Co-writing

1. Choose someone who works at your pace.

2. They can live anywhere, because you can co-write online.

3. Your story can be in different formats .

4. An e-book with photos or illustrations, or an audio story can travel internationally, quickly.

5. Series mysteries can have similar covers to link them, just change the colour.

6. Expect to re-draft work. We did 30 drafts for the 30,000 words ‘f2m;the boy within’

7. Work regularly, Jane and I work on Thursdays.

8. Accept criticism of your work. Consider the reason.Then re-write.

9. Read aloud to hear if the story flows.

10. Craft the story for your reader. Choose an apt title.

Make a new friend, via writing & have fun.





Title:”f2m:the boy within” (FOR YOUNG ADULTS)


Author: Hazel Edwards and Ryan Kennedy

Publisher: Ford Street Publishing

EBook Versions: Kindle edition on Amazon.com  and

Readings  bookish ebooks


Click on the picture on the right of Hazel Edward’s great Design Your Own Mystery activity and download the PDF.

This activity is lots of fun for all ages.

We hope you enjoy writing your mystery story.

Keep watching this blog for more great author interviews and activities.

Feel free to share the links:)




Share This Post


Paul Collin’s, author of many books for kids and young adults says that the secret of his success is persistence.

Paul’s books for young people include The Slightly Skewed Life of Toby Chrysler and series such as The Jelindel Chronicles, The Earthborn Wars, The Quentaris Chronicles and The World of Grrym in collaboration with Danny Willis. His latest book is Mole Hunt, book one in The Maximus Black Files. The trailers are available here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3S-eKDYqpEs and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n4tTn_WXCiw He is also the author of over 140 short stories.

Paul has been the recipient of the A Bertram Chandler, Aurealis, William Atheling and Peter McNamara awards and has been shortlisted for many others including the Speech Pathology, Mary Grant Bruce, Ditmar and Chronos awards.

Visit him at www.paulcollins.com.au

Paul talks today about how he wrote his YA novel, Mole Hunt.


I learnt many things while writing The Maximus Black Files. Mole Hunt is book one of a trilogy. I first wrote a very rough draft. Rather than polishing it, I wrote books two and three in first draft, too. I did this because I knew important material in book one might need to be changed to accommodate the other two books as they evolved. I see no point in slogging over a manuscript that might need severe editing or changing due to new ideas materialising further down the track. So this was the lesson in planning.


Here’s how I first started the plot, and this was the outline albeit in a much revised form  that I sent to publishers:

Special Agent Maximus Black excels at everything he attempts. The problem is, most of what he attempts is highly illegal. Recruited by the Regis Imperium Mentatis when he was just fifteen, he is the youngest cadet ever to become a RIM agent. Of course, being a certified sociopath helps. He rises quickly through the ranks, doing whatever it takes to gain promotion. This includes murdering the doctor who has certified him, as well as a RIM colonel who Black deems to be more useful dead than alive. Now seventeen, he is a valuable member of a highly secret task force whose assignment is to unearth a traitorous mole. Unfortunately for RIM he is the mole, a delightful irony that never ceases to amuse him.

In the two years he has been with RIM he has only met his match once. Anneke Longshadow, another RIM agent, who nearly succeeded in exposing him. But nearly wasn’t enough. Now she is dead and he is very much alive to pursue his criminal activities.

Right now, Black has a new problem; one that will challenge him to the max. He has a lot of work to do and little time to do it but as with every facet of his life, he plans each step with meticulous precision.

Maximus needs to find three sets of lost coordinates to rediscover the power of the dreadnoughts a powerful armada of unbeatable power, long since put into mothballs by the sentinels whose job it is to keep peace and harmony in the ever expanding universe.

Sadly for Black, complications arise. It seems Anneke Longshadow isn’t dead after all. Every bit his match, Anneke eludes the traps Black sets for her. Born on Normansk, a planet with 1.9 gravity, Anneke is more than capable of defending herself against Black’s hired help, the insectoid Envoy, and his professional mercenary and hitman, Kilroy.

Power-hungry, Black usurps the throne of Quesada, a powerful crime syndicate. His ultimate aim is to replace the Galaxy gate-keepers, RIM, with his own organisation. Matching him step by step, Anneke collects as her allies all those who Maximus has deposed in his march to becoming ruler of the universe.


Another lesson, one I already knew but this book reinforced it, was that persistence pays off. Mole Hunt’s road to publication was long and arduous. Just about every Australian publisher also knocked Dragonlinks and The Glasshouse back before they finally found a home. Both books are my best-sellers. Many of the world’s classics were rejected for years before someone cluey enough to recognise brilliance accepted them. The first Harry Potter book is an example of this. I find persistence is the best piece of advice I can ever give to writers starting out.


Science fiction isn’t just about the future and spaceships and falling asteroids. There are many different streams of science fiction called sub-genres.

1 Research the following sub-genres of science fiction. Write a sentence that

describes each of the sub-genre and give an example:.


2. Which sub-genre/s do you think Mole Hunt may fall into? Why?

[Helpful tip: Google is a researcher’s best friend. Google Mole Hunt +Paul Collins and read the many reviews for your research.]

Buy the book:









Share This Post