Interview with Carol Thomas

What's the story behind your latest book?
In 1994 a National Parks worker abseiled into an unexplored canyon about 150km out of Sydney, Australia. He saw trees he hadn't seen before and took a sample back to his boss. He'd found a tree that was later described as the botanical equivalent of finding a live dinosaur on Earth. Several years later I heard a radio announcer mention the lady bushranger, who had apparently killed her husband with a chair in the 1920s and escaped to rustle cattle and live in a cave in wild Wollemi.
This sounds like a double survival story I thought, and I was off.
How do you approach cover design?
I start by taking or looking for a photo that reflects an aspect of the story. I write YA books so it has to be interesting for that audience. For Operation Red I wanted a technology image. I had a broken mobile phone so I took a macro shot of its electronics to be the faded base image of the cover. Over that I laid a photo of a sunflower, Photoshopped red (like it is in the narrative). I knew what I wanted the cover to look like, but because I wanted it done well I gave it to two designers to finish it off.
For Wollemi, I wanted a location shot that suggested wilderness and risk. I didn't have one of those that was good enough so I went looking online and found just the right image and a guy who was nice enough to let me use it. This time I thought I'd like some extra words, a selling point, on the cover, and the right words took AGES. Again, my designer manipulated image and words in ways I can't. That took a while too, but you need to spend creative time and money to get a pro cover.
Do you have a recommendation for a book about writing?
Stephen King's book On Writing. It's a cracker; that man talks sense and he's a straight talker. He mixes techniques and advice with a little autobiography and the story of how he wrote Misery.
Do you have a writing space?
It's informal - the kitchen table and my LazyBoy in the living room (laptop on lap). I have an office in the house but don't usually write in there. What I'd really like is a space I saw in Hue, Vietnam. Tu Duc's poetry pavilion, a gorgeous open sided building on a lake, where the Emperor could be alone and quiet and write poetry. Wow.
Published 2015-12-02.
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Books by This Author

Wollemi
Price: Free! Words: 65,170. Language: English. Published: November 28, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Family, Fiction » Young adult or teen » Historical
Wollemi: where Jessie rode and Andy thieved, where Bruce sketched and his son found a map, where Jamie swam and Bron searched, where Tim climbed and Judy fell, and Sally came home. This wild landscape has hidden the Wollemi pine, the lady bushranger, runaways, and galleries of Aboriginal art very well. In the early 21st century, the bioprospector goes looking: what else is hiding in there?
Operation Red: study guide
Price: Free! Words: 5,350. Language: English. Published: November 25, 2012. Categories: Nonfiction » Education & Study Guides » Study guides - English (insert language book was written in)
This study guide supports the comic science fiction novel Operation Red. Written by an experienced English teacher, it is a cheerful resource that will help teachers creatively use the ebook in high school English classrooms.
Operation Red
Price: Free! Words: 20,270. Language: English. Published: October 7, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Sci-Fi & fantasy
Bananas, Coca Cola, and Microsoft have disappeared. CyberCity has recovered pretty well from the Great Crash of 2023, and the departments of TechYES and Terrific Technology have everything under control—or do they? Cyberians are techno dependent and losing the ability to think. Ariel, son of Ms President, is determined to fix that. Comic sci-fi, this YA novella is set in 2029.