Skip to main content

Coffee chat with Aussie author Belinda Crawford, sci-fi author of The Hero Rebellion by Odyssey Books

I'm back from holidays and the coffee chats are lined up ready to go. Thanks for waiting while I soaked up the sun.

Let's continue with the coffee chats highlighting Aussie authors. It's my pleasure today to have Belinda Crawford in my virtual cafĂ©. Belinda is a self-confessed geek who loves Star Wars and Doctor Who

DL: Firstly, since this a virtual coffee chat, how do you have your coffee? Are you a morning or afternoon person?

Belinda: Actually, I’m a tea drinker and I like it when it comes in a pot, preferably Lady Grey with plenty of milk on the side. Or, if it’s on offer, a nice flavoursome chai brewed the traditional way (in milk on the stove).

I am definitely not a morning person, at least not for the first hour. By the time I’ve thrown the cats outside (pity those poor beasts), fed horses and had breakfast, the neural pathways that facilitate speech have warmed up and I’m usually capable of communicating in more than grunts and growls.

The family knows not to expect a great deal of sense out of me until then.

DL: The first book in the series is Hero. It's a YA story without any of the usual love story trope, which is hugely refreshing. Did you find any pressure to add romance into the story, and can you explain why you opted out of romance?

Belinda: Frankly, I got sick of reading YA books where the heroine met a boy and obsessed over it to the point where she starts doing really stupid things, because, apparently, she lost her brains the moment she saw him. Invariably, the boy in question appears just in time to save her and from that moment on she’s stuck in a ‘sweet, innocent, fragile, not-to-bright female’ role.

It’s not a particularly flattering or accurate depiction, and it's incredibly disempowering for female readers. For one, it implies that the defining aspect and singular goal of a girl’s life should be to find herself a romantic relationship, and that she's weird if she doesn't (and comes doubly packaged with the idea that being weird is bad, which is horse poo. Embrace your weird, I say). There's also the implication that a girl can't kick butt, follow her dreams and change the world just fine on her own, which is what I find most offensive and why I wrote Hero the way I did.

What's really awesome is that, along the way, people only had good things to say about my decision to forego the romance angle. I think, if anyone had been inclined to say otherwise they lost their nerve as soon as I told them why I did (I’m quite passionate about the subject), or at the very least, realised that their opinion wouldn't have swayed me and saved their breath.

DL: Riven is Book 2 of the series. Is there still the illegal street racing? And does any of Wombat's - your horse - personality make it into the book?
Belinda: Yes, we have street racing and many other illegal things including blackmail, theft and err…can't tell you that bit, but it's awesome. Trust me.

A little bit of Wombat does make it into the book. Riven takes place a year after Hero and Fink isn't quite the ruc-pard we all know and love. He's become really grumpy (which is Wombat all over) and he and Hero tend to argue a lot, but they trust each other when it counts.

DL: I saw you at Oz Comic Con and at Conflux signing "Hero" and meeting readers. Is promotion a necessary evil or is it something you enjoy?

Belinda: I love meeting readers, and after the actual writing it's my favourite part of the whole author gig. It's both gratifying and humbling to meet people who enjoy the world of Hero as much, if not more than I do.

Some parts of promotion are more scary than fun, like going on panels at conferences such as Conflux, but that I’m slowly coming to like. 

The promotional activities that I find tedious tend to be the ones I don't do, my view being that I only have so much time and many, many books to write.

DL: And last question, what is your favourite biscuit and/or cake at the moment?

Belinda: Well, I'm honour-bound to eat any sweet, deserty thing called ‘Death By Chocolate’ (it's like waving a red flag in front of a bull), but I’m pretty happy with anything chocolate, and if it has mounds of gooey icing on top, all the better.

Now to showcase these amazing YA books

"Hero" Book 1
I bought the print copy at Conflux in Canberra.
I enjoyed reading Hero. It was well written, the description was lovely, and I was quickly pulled into this off-planet world. Loads of action, great technological contraptions, cute names for the genetically engineered animals which, as an adult reader I had to remind myself at this that this is aimed at young adults, so yeah, Hero is going to be feisty and cheeky. She's meant to be!
I have to admit that I loved Fink. He's a six-hundred kilogram genetically engineered ruc-pard. He's Hero's best friend, and they share thoughts. I want my own Fink, though I doubt my mini fox terrier will agree to this. Fink is one of those side-kick characters who steal the show - like Hans Solo.
There was suspense, intrigue, and I kept reading because I wanted to find out what happened. As with all series, I didn't find out what happened. Very clever. Now I have to buy Riven to see what happens, and see if those loose threads whose foundations are laid in book one are tied up in the next two instalments.
4 stars from me.

"Riven" Book 2
Published by Odyssey Books

Belinda is currently writing Book 3. If you'd like to stay in touch with Belinda about this YA sci-fi series, you can connect/contact via the below links:
Twitter @belindacrawford



  1. Thanks for the interview Debbie and Belinda. Love your reasons why you don't have a romance angle in your YA Hero, Belinda. I write YA too, sometimes I have romantic elements, sometime not - but I do hope none of my heroines are 'bella-esque'. All the best with writing your third book :)

    1. I know what you mean, Jeaneatte. I did the same thing with Little Red Gem. I got to the end of the novel and I said to myself, I can't have this character just forgive her boyfriend and pretend nothing's changed. And so I didn't. girl power rules.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Latest news! I've signed up to write a post-apoc series

When I started writing, I had one set goal: to become a prolific author. At the time I was into reading Stephen King and Dean Koontz, and I wanted to write books, lots of them.  Now I have that chance. After writing, publishing, and promoting 10 books, I've signed up to to write a series of post-apocalyptic fiction books for  Mission Critical Publishing. The reason I signed up was simple. They're innovative. The publishing industry today is fast and fluid.  I've agreed to write 3 books in 6 months. Each book will be around 60,000 words when completed. I'll need to become a writing machine. To accomplish this I'll need to do  2 things: #1 Write fast The only way for me to write fast is to write an overview of the entire book (or series). This can be one page per book. Then I write dots points that become the chapters. Complications, conflicts, solutions, all fit into these chapters. Then I set a daily word count. I'm

Top 10 Australian independent magazines for teenage girls

First up, I have to say that there aren't 10 blog/magazines listed, only 9. I couldn't find 10 so if you know of any please please please let me know who they are so I can include them on this list. Flicking through the internet for stories is a bit like flicking through a pile of magazine clippings on the floor. It can be fun putting everything you want to read together in one pile, but after a while you might want to sit in a chair and have that pile put together in more manageable fashion for you to read, say maybe like the magazines or blogs the articles were cut out of. Okay, that's enough of that analogy. This article is about finished product of blogs and magazines that compile together a host of articles on subjects a reader is interested in. I'm featured ten nine Australian independent magazines both virtual and tangible which I came across during one of my wild searches through hundreds of internet sites. Magazines have really taken a bashing over the pa

How a doorbell ringing at 2am can spark many story ideas

People often ask me how I come up with my story ideas. THIS is how I come up with story ideas. The following is a true event. I woke to the sound of the doorbell ringing and glanced at the clock. It was 2am. I thought I had just woken from a dream. Then my husband rolled out of bed and stood up to stare out the bedroom window. I mumbled, "What's up?" He said, "If you can believe it, the doorbell just rang." "So it wasn't a dream," I said. Our front doorbell had chimed at 2am in the morning. Our front door is downstairs, we were sleeping upstairs. The husband was staring out the bedroom window which overlooks the driveway, but I don't need to get up to know that we can't see down to the front door.  I gave him the most logical explanation I could think of at 2am in the morning. I said, "It's probably the battery dying." He agreed, and we both did a quick look out the front and back windows before heading back to bed. I never we