It’s time for a small moment of triumph and extreme excitement.
I’m on the Razorhurst blog tour!
Yesss. This is a book like nothing I’ve read before and I’m reviewing it plus (it’s your lucky day, peoples) I’m interviewing the author! Who is an awesome Aussie, I might add.
Thanks to Allen & Unwin for the review-copy and having me on the tour!
The setting: Razorhurst, 1932. The fragile peace between two competing mob bosses—Gloriana Nelson and Mr Davidson—is crumbling. Loyalties are shifting. Betrayals threaten.
Kelpie knows the dangers of the Sydney streets. Ghosts have kept her alive, steering her to food and safety, but they are also her torment.
Dymphna is Gloriana Nelson’s ‘best girl’, experienced in surviving the criminal world, but she doesn’t know what this day has in store for her.
When Dymphna meets Kelpie over the corpse of Jimmy Palmer, Dymphna’s latest boyfriend, she pronounces herself Kelpie’s new protector. But Dymphna’s life is in danger too, and she needs an ally. And while Jimmy’s ghost wants to help, the dead cannot protect the living . . .
Meet The Author!
Justine Larbalestier is an Australian young-adult fiction author. She is best known for the Magic or Madness trilogy: Magic or Madness, Magic Lessons and the newly released Magic’s Child. She also wrote one adult non-fiction book, the Hugo-nominated The Battle of the Sexes in Science Fiction (Best Related Book, 2003), and edited another, Daughters of Earth: Feminist Science Fiction in the Twentieth Century.
Larbalestier was born and raised in Sydney, Australia. She now alternates living between Sydney and New York City. In 2001, Justine married fellow author Scott Westerfeld.
CAIT: How long did it take for Razorhurst to change from an idea into published novel?
JUSTINE: From the first inkling of Razorhurst to publication this month was three years.
Do you have a favourite quote and can you tell us what it is?
It seems too immodest for me to say so here’s a bit that one of my editors loved:
Neal Darcy was a published writer. He was not the Hills’ only author. In the streets surrounding the Darcys’ home there were novelists, playwrights, poets and reporters, not to mention scribes of polemics, catalogues, advertising and greeting cards. Writers being not well paid, and Surry Hills being cheap, it was only natural the Hills had more than its fair share of scriveners.
What’s the best writing advice you’ve ever received?
I’ve been very lucky to have been given loads of fantastic writing advice over the years. I’ve had many mentors and supporters. The best I was given when I was an unpublished writer was Samuel R. Delany and Karen Joy Fowler. They told me to not give up, keep writing, and keep trying to improve.
The best advice I’ve received as a published writer was from Pat Murphy who told me not to pay too much attention to good reviews. Because if you believe what the critics say when they’re telling you you’re a genius then do you have to believe them when they say you’re a useless hack who should never be published? She said to concentrate on the writing not on what the greater world thinks of it. Which in a way is the same advice as what Delany and Fowler told me: that the writing is what’s important.
That is excellent advice! I’m loving it! Since Razorhurst is set in a criminal underworld, can you tell us how you’d survive in the world you’ve created in the book?
Alas, I wouldn’t.
Sadly, RIP to you then. And lastly, was any chocolate harmed in the making of this novel?!
Not that I know of. I am one of those rare people who does not like chocolate. Please don’t hate me.
WHAT?! … just kidding! We still like you. Thanks so much for chatting with us, Justine!
Razorhurst was a totally new reading experience for me.1930s in Sydney? Ghosts? Gang wars? People slicing each other up with razors (because guns are illegal and Aussies are very thrifty)? Colour me intrigued.
I had a great time reading it! There’s a few things I’m twitchy about, but let’s talk about the awesome first, yes?
It actually features two strong female characters! Huzzah! I love books about girls with strong friendships, and Dymphna and Kelpie are awesome. They’re total opposites. Kelpie is a malnourished little wisp, and Dymphna is a neck-deep in gang wars. They meet over a murdered body. That’s always BFF material, don’t you think?
Also: Ghosts. Ghosts everywhere.
The ghosts were frustrated and sneakily hilarious. My only issue was that there was so many ghosts, it took me a while to figure out who was alive and who wasn’t. Awkward for me. But Kelpie was practically raise by ghosts (isn’t that awesome?!) and she hears and talks to them. Of all the ghosts books I’ve read, this is the most original and interesting.
So what are my quibbles? I’m only twitchy about how impersonal the story felt. It’s written in 3rd person, and usually I love that, but this time I felt like I was being told a story instead of being in the story. The narration was almost omnipresent. I never got lost inside Razorhurst. Which is probably a good thing, because being sucked into there? I probably would’ve died. Dead people, dead people everywhere.