Peacemaker Tour Banner.

Today I welcome Marianne de Pierres (my bookish-internet mother) to Book Probe (again) as part of the blog tour for PEACEMAKER, her new adult genre-bending urban fantasy, which publishes from Angry Robot Books on April 29 (check out my review here).

For the tour, I asked Marianne to detail the process of transforming PEACEMAKER from a 12-page comic to a full-length novel (and series).

• • •


When I wrote a short story ten years ago about a park ranger in a future outback Australia, I had no thought of it being either a novel or a comic. The short story was a chance to continue exploring a landscape that I loved with some new and quirky characters (I had a ranger’s aide called Beano who farted a lot and was meaner ‘n a cut snake). The ideas didn’t get developed in much depth but it was definitely the beginning of my flirtation with the concept of a greater mythology.

Fast forward ten years and I’m thinking about starting a new novel. Virgin Jackson springs to mind. I re-read the short story and decide that I’d prefer more of an urban location. Then the idea hit – put the park in the city! I wrote the first 60 pages without taking a breath, and felt happy about the way it was taking shape. I discarded Beano to make room for others and delved more deeply into Virgin’s relationship with her deceased father. The character of Nate Sixkiller sprang from the research I did to refresh my memory about all things cowboy (at age nine, I believed I was a cowboy, so it was enormous fun revisiting the history of the West!). I blogged about it at the time, and a relative of the famous native American lawman, Sam Sixkiller, contacted me, which was neat. They were happy to help with any background, but I explained that it was a piece of fiction and unlikely to resemble the real lineage.

While all that was going on, I begin to get visions of an illustrated work. The notion grew and grew until I became truly enamoured with the idea of turning PEACEMAKER into a comic. I began the hunt for an illustrator and got through the process of teaching myself the art of comic writing. I succeeded in the former, but I have a long way to go on the latter! Anyway, I did manage to get issue 1 complete, and issue 2 written, before the illustrator went onto to other things in her life, and I got distracted with the Night Creatures series (I did look around for a replacement artist but money became an issue and I had to let the project drop).

A couple of years zipped by and I was suddenly back with the novel. I’d learned a lot from the comic process because it forced me to think forward to the end of the story in more detail then I normally would. I’d got to meet my antagonist Joachim Spears, the mythology megalomaniac, and acquaint myself with his idiosyncrasies. I realised then, that nothing about this world and world building would ever be wasted. Whether short story, comic or novel, the fictional imaginings of PEACEMAKER were part of a large, organic whole. One medium fed the other, and the writing – and I – was better for it. I’m excited to say another incarnation of the story isn’t far away either, but that’s an announcement for another day!

• • •

Thanks, Marianne!

Keep up-to-date and revisit previous blog tour stops here.

Wait, you don’t know what PEACEMAKER is about? (Other than that it’s AWESOME!, which also tells me you didn’t read my review yet…)


When an imaginary animal from her troubled teenage years reappears, Virgin takes it to mean one of two things: a breakdown (hers!) or a warning. Dead bodies start piling up around her, so she decides on the latter. Something terrible is about to happen in the park and Virgin and her new partner, U.S. Marshall Nate Sixkiller, are standing in its path…

Virgin Jackson is the senior ranger in Birrimun Park – the world’s last natural landscape, overshadowed though it is by a sprawling coastal megacity. She maintains public safety and order in the park, but her bosses have brought out a hotshot cowboy to help her catch some drug runners who are affecting tourism. She senses the company is holding something back from her, and she’s not keen on working with an outsider like Nate Sixkiller.


Title: While We Run, When We Wake #2
Author: Karen Healey
Publication: April, 2014 from Allen & Unwin
Format, pages: Paperback, 338
Source: Publisher
Age Category: Young Adult
Genre: Speculative, Science Fiction, Dystopia, Social Issues
My Rating: ★★★★☆ 

From Goodreads:

Abdi Taalib thought he was moving to Australia for a music scholarship. But after meeting the beautiful and brazen Tegan Oglietti, his world was turned upside down. Tegan’s no ordinary girl – she died in 2027, only to be frozen and brought back to life in Abdi’s time, 100 years later.

Now, all they want is for things to return to normal (or as normal as they can be), but the government has other ideas. Especially since the two just spilled the secrets behind Australia’s cryonics project to the world. On the run, Abdi and Tegan have no idea who they can trust, and when they uncover startling new details about Project Ark, they realise thousands of lives may be in their hands.

A suspenseful, page-turning sequel to When We Wake that will keep readers on the edge of their seats and make them call into question their own ideas about morality – and mortality, too.

Karen Healey’s When We Wake provided quite a different future from today’s world, from today’s Australia, packed with political, global, and humanitarian themes involving activism, social justice, and the distribution of propaganda, while loaded with corruption and deceit. Yet what made When We Wake so frank was the feeling that Australia could get to that point in the future, with Healey speculating on the country’s issues of today (for example, refugees and asylum seekers) and drawing inspiration from them to build this future, dystopian world into believability.

When We Wake followed Tegan Oglietti, someone who had woken up 100 years in the future after having been cryogenically frozen due to an incident when rallying on the steps of Melbourn’s Parliament House about climate change. Tegan woke to a much different world than the one she had left, becoming the newest celebrity and bringing fame, while also experiencing hate from religious and extremist groups who wanted to see her dead. Additionally, in the process she uncovered a great governmental conspiracy, a cryogenic project that could threaten the lives of everyone in this future she had woken up to and must do anything and everything to end.

While We Run, the sequel, is told by and follows Abdi Taalib, a refugee from Africa that had earned himself a music scholarship in a land so many of his people dream about. Then he meets Tegan Oglietti and his entire view of this country tips onto its head, and even more so when they discover what the government had planned to do (see When We Wake). Abdi joins Tegan in her quest for freedom and truth in this changed world, but first they must continue to be pawns in order to keep safe.

What was great about While We Run – what made it intriguing, different, and original — was that this installment switches to Abdi’s point of view, which (because of where he came from, who he is, what he does, and how he has been taught) spins a completely new perspective on this future and the many issues that present themselves. He sees things differently around him, a complete opposite to how Tegan does. She’s confident and out-there, always acting before she thinks; he’s quiet and held-back, preferring to talk things out than committing the act.

Stylistically While We Run is written differently to When We Wake, the prior more of a diary to the public and the latter depicting a recording where it is slightly more informal with references here and there about the Beatles and so on. It truly is fantastic, and I commend Karen Healey on how she can capture the characters’ voices — and them being realistically different — with ease. Because of this, it is not necessary to have read When We Wake before reading While We Run – the story continues but the change in narration (with Abdi as the voice) and style, with a new perspective, makes it easy for anyone to journey into this future.

As far as dystopian futures go that are set in Australia, Karen Healey’s is at the forefront because of its uniqueness in storytelling and uniqueness in its speculation of the issues of today, which are relevant to the current Australian landscape. There are other dystopias set in Australia that are almost too generic and could be set anywhere in the world. When We Wake and While We Run are unique in that. If you’re looking for a future to make you think about today, look no further.


Lara from Allen & Unwin has kindly offered to give away one copy of While We Run. So in the comments just answer the following:

With the books being titled ‘When We Wake’ and ‘While We Run’, what do you think the title for book three may be (keeping in line with theme)? (My example is: WHERE WE END.)


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[A letter to my readers]

Dear readers, fellow bookies, nerds, and bloggers,

I write this letter to explain my absence. And about what’s happening.

I’ve been reading. I have. I just haven’t felt like writing about anything unless I loved what I read (for example, Peacemaker by Marianne de Pierres and soon Unwrapped Sky by Rjurik Davidson). Maybe I just lack the motivation at the moment because of many other things that are currently occupying my mind and spare time.

On May 7 some of you may know that I am travelling to the USA. I’ll be there for 100 days – that’s 3 months and a week. I have been obsessively organising and planning, and all my free time that is not taken up by reading or watching the number of television shows that I watch is taken up by researching and planning for my trip.

Also I work 4-5 days a week – all day. I know that sounds like complaining but it’s sincerely not. I love working so much, especially since I work at a bookstore. I also am building up the $ I have for the US.

I’ve also been writing. Yes. Writing. Hmmph.

So where am I getting at?

I’ve come to the decision that I’ll put off blogging until after I return from the US in August. I was planning to have posts prepared before I leave so I need not worry that anything would be posted. But since the last month or so has been pretty dead itself on the blog I thought there was no point. So holding off blogging until August when I return home would be the best decision. I also will be spending what little time I have when travelling editing videos and producing videos of my travelling on youtube – the only things I would probably only post about on the blog would be a recap of my time at Book Expo America and of any book signings or book-related stuff that I experience in the US.

However, I will still be participating in blog tours (for example, I have a review and giveaway for Karen Healey’s When We Wake sequel While We Run posting on Friday). Also, if there’s a book that I really truly loved I will post a review.

What’s great though is that while I’m travelling I would have a significant backlog of books to post reviews of when I get back, as I have quite a few galleys to still read of books publishing from June onwards. Plus I’ll gain a number of ARCs at BEA. So upon my return I believe I’ll be sorted and ready to BE A BLOGGER, A REVIEWER, A READER THAT SHARES. There’s also a couple of books I’ve been sent from Bloomsbury and Allen & Unwin that I want to post reviews for so there’s that.

I’ve lost count of what number of ‘sorrys’ this sorry comes to.

But, yeah… Sorry!

To be completely honest, I feel like my blogging can’t compete with the blogging of others, and also that blogging can’t compete with what else is going on in my life.

*signs off*

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During the latest episode of TEEN WOLF on MTV the first official trailer for THE MAZE RUNNER, based on the young adult novel by James Dashner, had aired. Unfortunately, I was at my desk-job so I couldn’t watch it immediately, but that worked out fine as I could get home and film a trailer reaction – my first ever trailer reaction video – on the trailer of a film of a book that I have been waiting for for a while.


If you haven’t watched the trailer yet, click here.

For the trailer with written commentary by James Dashner, click here.

And commence my excitement:


After successfully being published in the UK and Australia, Peter Liney’s The Detainee is finally available in the US, publishing on March 12.

Dystopian has been all the craze within the last couple of years, but with books publishing like The Detainee the genre will continue to excel on its own to the highest heights, original and complex with memorable characters and worlds.

Today I welcome Peter Liney to the blog to answer questions about The Detainee, the comparisons of his imagined world to the current world, as well as differences between television writing and novel writing.

• • •


Q: First up: How would you best describe what The Detainee is about? How different is today’s world from your imagined – futuristic – world in The Detainee?

Peter: Primarily, The Detainee is about hope – that no matter how grim, stressful or threatening a situation, give us a drop of hope and we’ll find a way to prevail. Actually, I think it’s a very uplifting book, though you have to go through some formidable challenges before you reach that point.

As for how different today’s world is, I think one of the strengths of The Detainee is that it’s all too believable.  There’s a disturbing feeling that it would take only one wrong turning and that’s where we might end up.  How difficult would it be for the State itself to go broke?  For all the benefits of a civillised society to be withdrawn? No more sick care, old age pensions, education for all, state provided incarceration.  No matter the tinkering of present day governments, how are those in work going to support a rapidly growing aging population?  And with a resulting breakdown of society, how far would the government be prepared to go in maintaining a semblance of the status quo?

Q: Where did the inspiration for your debut trilogy come from? Was it a scene, a thought, or a character?

Peter: Well, if I can get away with saying this, it came from visiting New York Library and seeing an exhibition about garbage and landfill on Staten Island.  What if society expelled all of its ‘rubbish’ to an island?  Everything it considered of no value?  It was one of those ‘Ping!’ moments, when a lot of thoughts that had been going through my head suddenly lined up to enlist in this story.

Q: What draws you to speculative fiction, in particular science fiction?

Peter: I don’t only write science fiction (I have an almost Gallic love of stories about out-of-control relationships) but most writers want to ask that question ‘What if…’, and SF maybe lends itself best to that question.

Q: You’ve had an extensive history writing sitcoms for television across many continents. How have your experiences writing for television helped you to write a work of fiction such as The Detainee? In what ways do you believe your writing has changed?

Peter: Television teaches you to ‘kill your babies’.  You don’t have the luxury of being 287 or 415 or whatever pages.  It’s got to be 30 minutes (or 26) … ‘That’s got to go! Get over it.’

I think the more you write, the more your craft improves – though, aIas, not your imagination.  Perhaps inevitably, I also think that as I get older, I get less self-indulgent … which has got to help with the editing.

Q: What goes through your head when you have reviews for The Detainee stating, “George Orwell would approve”? Leading on, did you always want to write a dystopia? What are your favourite dystopias in fiction past and present?

Peter: Well, I hope he would approve, but, of course, it’s very rewarding to find yourself mentioned in such illustrious company.  Writing is such a solitary activity, the occasional positive feedback, a pat on the back, makes you go quite giddy.

As I said, my writing has always been very diverse.  I’ve written everything from poetry to sit-com and I hope to continue to do so. Almost everyone who reads The Detainee says it would make a great movie – I’d love to be involved in bringing it to the screen. And that goes for Books 2 (Into the Fire) and 3 of the trilogy as well.

My favourite dystopian book, or certainly the one I enjoyed the most (though, admittedly, it was as a teenager) is probably I Am Legend by Richard Matheson, who sadly died last year.  The idea of the hero trying to kill all those who he sees as freaks, only to come to the eventual realisation that he is the freak, was a master-stoke.

Q: For readers that have already read The Detainee, what can they expect from the subsequent novels in the trilogy without spoiling for readers that have yet to read The Detainee?<>/p>

Peter: Well, I guess it wouldn’t be too much of a spoiler to say that what Clancy finally holds in his hands at the end of Book 1 is immediately snatched away from him in Into The Fire, that the world becomes even more hostile, and he meets a villain the likes of which he never could’ve even imagined.  Book 3 (untitled) – oh yes, Book 3 – I’m working on at the moment and all I’m prepared to say is that I’m very happy with it.

Thanks, Peter!

• • •



I’ve been writing for a long time – twenty-thirty years. From poetry, through sit-coms, to novels. I’ve had work produced on German, Australian and Brit TV, and on Brit and South African radio. What you might call, the long scenic route to where I am today. And I have to confess that there were many times when I thought I just wasn’t going to make it. In fact, I think I’d kind of come to that conclusion. But something has taken a firm grip, is dragging me along, and though it might be bumpy at times, though I might sustain the odd bruise, I think I’ve paid my dues enough to take this ride.

Contact and follow Peter at the following:
Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

The Detainee is out now in bookstores and online from Jo Fletcher Books. Add it to Goodreads here.