Harper Holt’s close-knit family is always moving. All she wants is to have a normal, quiet life – in one place. But when she experiences a devastating loss, she realises that her future will never be the way she imagined it. She will have to find a support system and a strength she never knew she had to overcome her grief and redefine herself.
This is a heartbreaking but ultimately hopeful story about the way one unexpected moment can change your world.
Hello! Welcome back for another Christmassy chat! Tonight I’m excited to have author Di Walker with me to talk a bit about her books and her favourite things about Christmas.
Hi Di! Thanks so much for joining me on my blog!
Your first book, Unpacking Harper Holt came out in 2018, and your next, Everything We Keep, is on the way next year. Can you tell us a little bit Unpacking Harper Holt, and maybe give us an idea of what to expect from Everything We Keep?
Hello Bron, thanks for having me pop into your blog. Harper Holt has moved to Melbourne, with her parents, and is about to start a new school – again. Just as she is starting to find her feet, an unexpected tragedy happens that turns her world upside down. It’s an emotional read for mature upper primary, early secondary independent readers – the middle grade audience and their parents!
Everything We Keep (Scholastic Australia) is for the same target audience as Harper and also has a strong female protagonist – Agatha. She’s been in and out of foster care and is caught in the dilemma of loving her parents but knowing that she can’t live with them. As the story unravels the reader becomes aware of the tragedy Agatha and her parents have experienced – and why the title Everything We Keep really says it all.
It is due for release in April 2021 and I’ll be releasing more details about it – including the cover (which I just love) on my website https://www.diwalkerbooks.com/
Do you like to read seasonal books, and do you have a favourite Christmas story or book?
I am a huge fan of Jackie French’s wombat series – so it is the Christmas Wombat. When I was young, I loved reading a series – so Christmas meant the something from the Faraway Tree series. I remember keeping a list of all the ones I had – some got lost or damaged along the way, but I still have two.
Is there a particular book you’d love to find under your Christmas tree this year?
I have already put together a small stack to read over the summer but the one I want to add to it is Rosalie Ham’s The Dressmaker’s Secret.
Do you have a favourite book you’ve read this year then you’ll be recommending (or giving as a Christmas present!) to everyone you know?
I loved Jane Harper’s The Survivors – read it in one sitting, and highly recommend it. My go to book when writing is Stephen King’s On Writing – I recommend it to anyone who tells me they are interested in the writing process or being a writer. I also want to mention one of my favourite rereads of all time: Rohinton Mistry’s A Fine Balance – it is moving and confronting.
Can you share a favourite Christmas tradition or memory, or recipe?
My favourite memory of Christmas in my childhood was my mum making forcer biscuits – like yo-yos but she used a forcer tube with different discs to make patterns on the biscuits. After they were baked, she would join them together with soft pink icing. One year she tried red and green icing – to be more Christmassy – but it was just wrong! You can’t mess with tradition. As kids we would hover, because if the biscuit dough didn’t come out right it was up for grabs!
Now, I feel like it’s a bit cheeky to ask this when you have a book coming out soon, but are you working on something new and can you tell us anything about it?
I have two projects on the go. I have another middle grade novel about three friends who have to find a way to deal with the changes that they are each going through as they transition from primary school to secondary and a tragedy they face together. I don’t know if it’s ready yet – that is one of the challenges of writing, isn’t it, actually finishing – there’s always something that can be changed.
I’ve also just finished the fifth short story in a junior series I have been working on – that is a lot of fun to write – plus I have a map. Maps in books is one of my favourite things!
Big thanks to Di for taking the time to answer my questions and tell us a bit about her books and writing! I really appreciate all the authors who have agreed to come and chat Christmas with me! I’ll be keeping an eye out for Everything We Keep next year!
Author Bio – Di Walker
Di lives in a small regional town in Victoria, Australia, which is still close enough to Melbourne for a day trip. She lives with her son and their two rescue dogs – Ruby and Fifi! She likes to get up early to write, around dawn, while the house is quiet and her mind can focus on the characters and not be distracted by the regular happenings of the day. When she’s not writing Di likes to think she can garden, she’ll walk the dogs or listen to podcasts, mainly of writers talking about writing.
Recently Di started writing a blog – about her experiences of writing and getting published. You can find it here.
Unpacking Harper Holt was her debut novel, released in September, 2018. (Find it on Goodreads here).
Di Walker’s second novel Everything We Keep, will be released in 2021 by Scholastic Australia.