August 27, 2015

STRIKING OUT by Scarlet Bennett {Interview/Giveaway}

Welcome to my tour stop for Striking Out by Scarlet Bennett!  The tour runs August 17 - September 11 with reviews, interviews, guest posts, excerpts and giveaways.

Striking Out is an adult Australian contemporary. The dialogue and and characterizations are distinctly Australian. Check out the tour page for more information.

FrontCoverFinalE-BookSparkling with distinctive Australian humour, this action-packed novel follows one small-town girl’s fight to reach the top.

Sharon Jackson is a small-town girl with big-city dreams. Forced out of her home in regional Western Australia with her singing career in ruins, she hits the big smoke in search of stardom. After signing with a sleazy agent who wants more than a ten percent cut of her earnings, she struggles to earn a place in the macho world of rock-‘n-roll, encountering a series of colourful characters along the way – like Todd, the sexy, brooding muso with a dragon tattoo and Kevin, the whip-smart fighter with some hidden demons of his own.But when her troubled past follows her to the city, Shazza’s dreams begin to unravel. With no home to go back to and a past that won’t stay buried, everything she has worked for is on the line. Shazza must make a decision that will define the course of her future, and time is running out.

Goodreads | Amazon

*What would you be doing right now if you were not an author?

I need creative endeavours in my life in order to maintain my inner balance. I like to write, whether my work gets published or not, because words are my favourite creative medium and I feel more myself when I do. So it’s hard to imagine not writing – I’ve always done it. Having said that, I also design and make my own jewellery using sterling silver and semi-precious gemstones (I’ve got a photo gallery of my creations on my website), and I enjoy that too – it’s much more physical than writing and it’s good to be physically active when you’ve been sitting in front of a computer screen for hours.

I combine writing with occupational psychology work and I’m passionate about helping people (especially other creative people) to survive the professional challenges and achieve their career goals. I love this work and I’m grateful to be able to support other writers, no matter where in the world they reside. Technology is fabulous!

*5 years ago: what were you doing?

I was doing the same kind of work I do now – writing in every spare moment and doing occupational psychology work with individuals, groups, and within organisations. I was mostly writing short stories then, although I’d written an almost complete first novel that I abandoned because I wasn’t happy with it. That particular work will never see the light of day, but I’m glad I wrote it because I developed a lot as a writer through that aborted first effort.

*Do you have a certain writing ritual?

I’m very busy, so I made a conscious decision early on to keep my writing routine as flexible as possible. I prefer to write on my laptop, but I carry a notebook with me everywhere I go so I can work on my story if I have a few unexpected spare moments. And I do use the notebook even though I prefer to type than write by hand – I refuse to get wedded to any particular method. I’m the same with time of day. I have no set routine because my day-to-day working life is highly variable. Sometimes I get up early to write, sometimes I tuck into bed with my laptop and write before I go to sleep. My philosophy is that the story is inside me, therefore the external circumstances shouldn’t matter.

My only fixed ritual is that I always start each writing session with a review of the chapter I’ve been working on previously. Editing is a pleasant way to get my mind into gear – less demanding than staring at a blank page – and by the time I’ve edited the previous day’s work, I’m ready to go.

*What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author?

It’s hard to put my finger on the toughest criticism I’ve received as an author, because sometimes it’s the little things that sting the most, and that’s usually more about the way the criticism is delivered, rather than the criticism itself.

I was sensitive to criticism in my teens and twenties, but I’m much less so now. That’s partly down to maturity, but it’s also because I know how to deal with it now.

I think it’s important for writers to be emotionally robust. Firstly, it makes life a lot more pleasant (no tears!) and, secondly, it frees you to write with courage, to risk causing offence in the service of your story.
*Ever fangirled over another author? Who was it?

I’m afraid I reserve my fangirling for singers and guitarists. I fangirl a bit over Australian author Tim Winton – largely because he’s intelligent, thoughtful and sensitive and that’s very appealing – but I’m mostly a sucker for a handsome singer with a voice that combines raunch with vulnerability, and if he happens to be carrying a guitar, all the better. I also fangirl over Colin Firth, particularly when he comes as Mr Darcy, but that’s only sensible, isn’t it?

*Is there an author you'd like to meet?

I’d quite like to meet Tim Winton – in my dreams, at least. If it actually ever happened, I’d probably be too apprehensive to enjoy it. Circumstances like that usually pass much more successfully in my imagination than in my life. I’m the sort of person who would walk away afterwards thinking… ‘I should have said this… ‘I shouldn’t have said that’… ‘Why didn’t I think to ask him about…?’ It’s agony.

*Biggest writing pet peeve?

Characters, for me, succeed or fail on two criteria: dialogue and action. If the dialogue’s clumsy or inauthentic, all I can see is the writer and the mechanics. The writing becomes a barrier that keeps me out of the story. If the dialogue is real, the writer disappears and the character becomes a person to me – someone I care about and want to get to know better.
The same is true of action, but I think the stakes are possibly even higher here. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve tossed a book aside – disappointed at the wasted investment in reading to that point – because a character has been thrown into some kind of action that’s completely out of sync with the psychological profile the author has created. Once again, that takes me out of the story and into the mechanics (in a way that I find difficult to forgive). Action, in real life, emerges from the intersection of person, place and situation. How we behave is influenced by the time and place we find ourselves in, the social and environmental pressures we face, and who we are as people. Credible characters take themselves with them wherever they go – they don’t suddenly undergo a personality bypass in order to help a writer out with a difficult plot point. Not on my reading list, anyway.

* Do you read other's reviews of your books?

Absolutely! I’m always curious to know what other people think and I’m grateful for the time and trouble they’ve taken to review my work.

Scarlet Bennett spent her formative years in regional Western Australia, and it shows. Years  of city living have softened her broad accent, but the slang she’s stuck with. After earning a Masters degree in Psychology, the colourful characters of her childhood – and that irrepressible Aussie spirit – found their way onto the page. She is a graduate of Allaboutwriting’s mentoring program, and lives in Canberra with her husband, kids, and far more animals than can reasonably fit on a suburban plot.

10 sets of earrings handmade by the author (INT)
Ends September 2nd
Prizing provided by the author, hosts are in no way responsible.
All earrings are made with sterling silver and semi-precious gemstones. The gemstones included are turquoise, rose quartz, red agate, freshwater pearls and amethyst.

This event was organized by CBB Book Promotions.

Check out the rest of the tour....

Review – Her Book Thoughts
Guest Post - Mythical Books
Interview - WS Momma Readers Nook
Interview & Excerpt - the bookdragon
Excerpt - Bitches and Prose
Interview - I Read Indie (Here)
Excerpt - Book Lovers Life
Review - Shelf Life
Excerpt – Born Bookish
Review – Maureen’s Books
Excerpt - Alpha Book Club


  1. Thank you so much for hosting a tour stop today!

  2. Sounds like a good read. kamundsen44(at)yahoo(dot)com. Kim