Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Adelaide - The Inspired City.

I'm trying something a little new this week. I'm a member of really lovely little writers group here in Adelaide that started as an informal forum on Facebook. We have since began having get togethers once a month in the flesh and I've been encouraged and inspired by the people I've met from the group. They are a diverse and really interesting bunch of people.

After our last meet-up, the group agreed to set a challenge for July in which we would choose a topic to blog about. The concensus fell upon the question - How has living in Adelaide inspired your writing and/or your job?

In all the years I've been posting to this blog and writing, I don't think I've ever explored this question publicly or privately so I'm actually pretty chuffed to be able to share it here for the first time.

Even after 20 years of living and working in the city of Adelaide, it remains to me, a city that hasn't quite revealed itself fully to me. I haven't gotten her full measure. Perhaps that's on me.

Like the Sting song, "An Englishman In New York", I feel like a "legal alien" here. I've actually lived here longer than I have in Victoria where I grew up, but I still feel like I don't belong. And yet, it's because of Adelaide - because of living here - that I achieved all that I have in terms of career and family and creativity. So, I am thankful to this place. It has inspired me.

As a Nurse, I've experienced more variety as a clinician than I could have imagined when I first arrived here. While the medical community is small, Adelaide does punch above her weight in many medical specialities on the world stage and it is recognized as a leader in a number of fields. I've done and seen so much - particularly in the fields of Intensive Care where I have nursed premature lives at their most precarious and adults facing the most dire of diagnoses. I've had the privilege of meeting and falling in love with my wife and raising our two children in relative comfort, making our home in the city, close to the epicentre of culture and art and entertainment. And, as a writer, Adelaide has served as the setting for two of my four novels. In writing about Adelaide, I have been able to peel back the layers of this city and discover things about it that have been inspiring, illuminating and confronting.

I have delved into her recent past to observe and document stories of marginalized people, the powerful and influential and work-a-day people like myself - those of us who are trying to serve both ends of the "people spectrum". In creating the characters and situations that appear in my novels, I have drawn upon my experiences as a Nurse working in the community among Aboriginal Australians (as I did for Gifts of the Peramangk), among transplant recipients & intensive care patients (as I did for The Recipient & The Hambledown Dream) and among children experiencing the often overwhelming environment of the paediatric emergency department (as I did for The Artisan Heart). By portraying these clinical experiences into my writing, I've been able to lend a significant level of authenticity to my stories without neglecting the dramatic elements that make for good fiction.

Adelaide is a city of contrasting moods and aesthetics which rival any of the great cities of the world. Walking through her streets and among her architecture one can feel a classic European sensibility even as her soul beats with an Australian heart. There are these nooks and crannies along the cultural precinct of North Terrace, under the swaying boughs of plane trees and the monuments to notable figures from times past that are ripe with anecdotes. There is personality and sound and climate whose moods shift from the early morning as the sun climbs over the Adelaide Hills to the fading light of dusk as twilight falls across the city and the streets are bathed in the aritficial light from so many street lamps. The city is at once cosmopolitan and vibrant even as it remains sometimes stubbornly quaint and painfully conservative.

Adelaide inspires me and my storytelling because it is tactile and immediate. I have embedded myself in this place, observed her moods, her shades, her ebb and flow. The old maxim that says writers should write what they know remains evergreen in my estimation. The internet may have afforded me the ability to travel anywhere in the world without leaving the comfort of my office chair, but nothing can compare to being able to throw on my jacket, step out of my house and be in the place with all its attendant sights and smells and tastes and life.

As I said earlier, I have yet to get the full measure of this city. Perhaps I never will. Perhaps I'm not supposed to. I will continue to discover Adelaide for as long as I live.

And perhaps that's inspiring.


Please visit the next blog in our group's chain "Adelaide - An Inspired Life For Writing" from Ryan Peck. 

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Book Trailer Premiere - The Artisan Heart by Dean Mayes

Australian author Dean Mayes and Central Avenue Publishing are proud to present the official book trailer for Dean's highly anticipated new novel "The Artisan Heart", which will be released world wide on September 1st 2018.

Featuring music from "Swear and Shake" with haunting vocals from Kari Spieler, "The Artisan Heart" trailer showcases the mood and the romance of Dean's long awaited return to his romantic roots in a tender story of damaged hearts and second chances.

Hayden Luschcombe is a brilliant paediatrician living in Adelaide with his wife, Bernadette, an ambitious event planner. His life consists of soul-wrenching days at the hospital and tedious evenings attending the lavish parties organized by Bernadette.

When an act of betrayal coincides with a traumatic confrontation, Hayden flees Adelaide, his life in ruins. His destination is Walhalla, nestled in Australia’s southern mountains, where he finds his childhood home falling apart. With nothing to return to, he stays, and begins to pick up the pieces of his life by fixing up the house his parents left behind.

Isabelle Sampi is a struggling artisan baker raising her hearing-impaired daughter, and has no time for matters of the heart. Yet the presence of the handsome doctor challenges her resolve. Likewise, Hayden, protective of his fractured heart, finds something in Isabelle that awakens dormant feelings of his own.

As their attraction grows, and the past threatens their chance at happiness, both Hayden and Isabelle will have to confront long-buried truths if they are ever to embrace a future.





To celebrate the release of the trailer for "The Artisan Heart" Dean is giving one lucky reader the opportunity to win a fabulous prize pack! In partnership with Janesce Australia and Swear and Shake, Dean is offering;

* A signed paperback copy of "The Artisan Heart".
* A Gift Certificate from Janesce Australia to the value of $50 (valid on-line or in-store).
* A copy of Swear and Shake's 2016 studio album "The Sound Of Letting Go" (which served as the musical inspiration for the novel).


To be in the running to win, entrants can do either of the following;

* Visit Dean Mayes - The Hambledown Dreamer at Facebook. Like the page and share the pinned post featuring the trailer. Tag Dean in your post and include the hash-tag #TheArtisanHeart. 

* Comment on this post below and tell Dean in 25 words or less what intrigues you the most about The Artisan Heart. 


For those of you who are active on Twitter, follow Dean's account @Hambledown_Road, like and quote re-tweet the pinned post at the top of Dean's feed. Tag @Hambledown_Road in your re-tweet and include the hash-tag #TheArtisanHeart.

For those of you who are active on Instagram, follow Dean's account - deanfromaustralia, like the post featuring the trailer for The Artisan Heart and repost it on your own feed, Mention deanfromaustralia in your post and include the hash-tag #TheArtisanHeart.

At this time, The Artisan Heart competition is open to entries world wide and will run from today until midnight on Sunday, July 15th 2018.

Please join Dean and Central Avenue Publishing in celebrating the release of the official trailer for Dean's highly anticipated new novel "The Artisan Heart" - available in-stores and on-line everywhere from September 1st, 2018.


Saturday, June 23, 2018

Home & The Artisans - An Evening With Greta Bradman.

On Friday evening, I fulfilled something of a promise to myself that had been delayed for a couple of years, owing to the recent challenges I've had health wise - of which regular readers of my blog will no doubt be aware. 

Having parted company with my wife and son, who were off to a thrilling AFL match between Port Adelaide and Melbourne at the Adelaide Oval, my daughter Lucy and I went to see our first performance by Australian soprano Greta Bradman at St. Peter's Cathedral. 

Greta is touring around Australia presently, in support of her new album release 'Home' - a lovingly curated selection of music inspired by her love of home, family and love itself.

(image credit: Decca/Universal.) 

Already the album has proven a hit with fans around the world, continuing an upward trajectory for Greta, which has just been so wonderful to observe since she began performing back in 2010.

Accompanied by acclaimed classical pianist Kate Johnson, the capacity audience were taken on a lovely ride through the very essence of Home, which was presented musically as a concept as much as it was a place.

(Acclaimed pianist, Kate Johnson and Lucy.)

The performance itself, in the hallowed environs of Adelaide's glorious Cathedral was at once intimate, soulful, uplifting, and utterly romantic. We we're treated to a repertoire that included movements from Dvořák, Rimksy-Korsakov, Schubert, Chopin, Handel and composers with a much more personal connection to Greta herself. I couldn't go without mentioning one special tune, composed by Greta's grandfather, titled "Everyday Is A Rainbow For Me." Written as a loving tribute to the girl who became his wife, Greta reached across time to pluck this beautiful flower from her grandfather's far away garden and share it with us here in the present. It was an exquisite and personal moment.

(image credit Albert Comper/Lynn Elzinga-Henry.)

What struck me the most about Greta's performance was her relationship with the Cathedral itself. She was cognizant of every nook and cranny of the building, its illustrious curves, its rafters, the volume of the space. How Greta adapted her vocal technique to accommodate her surrounds was fascinating to behold and she projected her voice effortlessly up into the lofty heights above us, delivering through out the building. In chatting with other audience members after the performance, it was clear that no matter where you were in the building, the aural experience was equal. Greta and the Cathedral had a mutual understanding, and were as much a partnership with one another as Greta and her pianist Kate. 
Everyone was drawn into her sphere by the end of the first half. 

And then, a moment happened, that will stay with me and Lucy for the rest of our lives. 

During an interval between songs, Greta related a story about her experience of having had throat surgery a couple of years ago, which would have been quite a risk to her career. 

During that time, she received correspondence from a "bloke" (that made me smile) who was undergoing similar surgery - the first having occurred on the exact same day as hers. 

That correspondence turned into a lovely back and forth over the past couple of years in which Greta and this man encouraged each other and checked in on each others progress. 

She then looked straight at me and said, "That bloke is in the audience tonight. His name is Dean and I'm so thrilled I will finally get to meet him after all this time. I want dedicate this next song - Bach's "Ave Maria" to Dean - to us both - who'd lost our voices and found them again."

To say that I was floored would be an understatement. To say that I was emotional would be accurate. 

Greta fulfilled her promise and we had a lovely moment after her performance, embracing as though we were old friends. We chatted about the performance, with Greta relating her impressions of that special relationship with the Cathedral I mentioned earlier. Greta remarked about how it had evolved from the first time she'd performed there to now and how she understood the building and its eccentricities. I appreciated the meaning of that. Greta engaged in a wonderful chat with Lucy about her dance classes and the upcoming school holidays.

During our chat, I was able to gift her an advance copy of The Artisan Heart. Before I left home, I'd stowed it in my shoulder bag, in the vague hope to leave the copy of the novel with Greta's tour staff.

As a tribute to the connection we'd made, Greta appears in a brief passage in the novel. It was my way of saying thank you to her. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever believe I would have the opportunity to present it to her herself.

(Artisans together - The Soprano, The Writer and Lucy.)

After a photo together, we parted and Lucy and I braved the chilly Adelaide evening to make our way to the Pancake Kitchen for a post performance dessert treat. We were both buzzing over the evening we'd had and the special moments we shared together.

Greta and Kate will go on to tour her album until mid July here in Australia. I'm so thrilled that so many more music lovers will have the opportunity to experience her magic.

'Home' the new album from Greta Bradman is out now

For tour dates, visit Greta Bradman here.