As Stars Fall

As Stars Fall

by Christie Nieman
Epub (Kobo), Epub (Adobe)
Publication Date: 24/06/2014

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In north-eastern Victoria, bush-covered hills erupt into flames. A Bush Stone-curlew escapes the fire but a woman studying the endangered bird does not.

When Robin's parents split up after the fire, her mother drags her from the country to a new life in the ugly city. Robin misses her dog, her best-friend, the cows, trees, creek, bushland and, especially, the birds. Robin is a self-confessed, signed-up, card-carrying bird-nerd. Just like her dad.

On the first day at her new school, Robin meets Delia. She's freaky, a bit of a workaholic, and definitely not good for Robin's image.

Delia's older brother Seth has given up school to prowl the city streets. He is angry at everything, but mostly at the fire that killed his mother.

When the Bush Stone-curlew turns up in the city parklands next to Seth and Delia's house the three teenagers become inextricably linked. Soon their lives are circling tighter and tighter around each other, and the curlew.

General fiction (Children's / Teenage)
Epub (Kobo), Epub (Adobe)
Publication Date:
Pan Macmillan Australia
What I’m reading right now... is Golden Boys by Sonya Hartnett. I love the way she can write young characters for all age groups, tapping into the same vein of youthful experience to speak to different generations about different things.

My favourite book growing up was... Susan Cooper’s The Dark is Rising. There’s something so delicious for a young mind in a story that begins in the real world and, through myth and mystery, peels back a layer to something else.

My all time favourite book is... Cat’s Eye by Margaret Atwood. It was the first thing I ever read by her. Since then I’ve read pretty much everything else. Cat’s Eye spoke to me about my own inside life. It made me realise what books can do. It made me want to be a writer.

The book I would recommend everyone to read is... Charles Darwin’s On The Origin Of Species, because it tells us who we are and how we fit. I can get quite annoyingly evangelical about ensuring we really understand the mechanisms of evolution – because once you really get it, it is beautiful and meaningful and important and revelatory.

The book I wish I wrote is... the last one in the Philip Pullman His Dark Materials series, The Amber Spyglass (well, actually, all of them, but if I have to choose one …). His weaving of big ideas from physics, philosophy and theology into a brilliantly compelling fantasy narrative is an incredible achievement. And all the books are so beautifully written.

My guilty reading pleasure is... article after linked article on the internet – once I get started I can spend half a day doing this. Especially if the subject matter concerns cults. I’ll admit, I’m fascinated by trying to understand them. Fortunately, as a writer, I get to call that ‘research’.

The book on my bookshelf that I have never read is... Marcel Proust’s In Search Of Lost Time Part I (still called Remembrance of Things Past Part I on my unread copy, that’s how long it has been sitting there on my shelf). I had a boyfriend in my twenties who only ever read things written before 1930, and he convinced me to buy it. One day … 

The book that should never have been turned into a film is… actually I don’t really have a strong opinion on this one – which is unlike me.

My book is.. Available Now! And I’ve been told it’s a decent read.

I’ll never forget... to lock the driver door of my car with the key – I’ve never locked my keys inside. It’s a nifty trick.

My favourite place is... Osbornes Flat, Victoria.

The most dangerous thing I have ever done is... make a cup of tea without washing out the cup from the last one – real daredevil, me. Oh, and that time I went walking alone along some train tracks through wild forest on the northern island of Japan. No-one knew where I was; I got distracted by some birds and a speeding train came silently and swiftly around a bend behind me. I heard it give a blast and I leapt off the track without time to even look behind me. I was inches away from being killed. My parents don’t know about that one … although, I guess now they do. Hi Mum, hi Dad.

The first time I... flew, I was twenty years old. I absolutely loved it: the take off, the speed, the map spread out far below. Now all those things make me queasy and jittery and there is a lot of arm-rest gripping. Because, I’m sorry, flying is just wrong. What happened to that fearless twenty-year-old? 

I regret... everything I wore in the late eighties and early nineties. Oh, wait, except maybe those elasticised accordian jeans that I loved so much … Hmm, nope, everything.

I remember... names and faces. My husband doesn’t.

The one piece of advice I should have listened to but didn’t… actually, the best thing I did was to stop listening to other people’s advice. That would be my advice.

I love... tea. And birds having a bath. And dogs howling. 

I hate... certain ads. I hate them with a passion far outweighing their importance.

I wish... structuring a balanced life was easier.

I can’t say no to... cheese.

Yesterday, I... lit a really good fire in the fireplace. The little things…
Christie Nieman

Christie Nieman is an author, essayist, editor, parent and librarian. Where We Begin is her second novel. Her first novel As Stars Fall was a CBCA Notable Book.

Her short fiction and essays have been widely published in Australian journals and magazines, including The Big Issue, Meanjin, Overland, and The Sydney Review of Books.

Her work has been described as 'Australian contemporary gothic' and lauded as 'unique' and 'the epitome of quality writing in this country'. She lives and works on Dja Dja Wurrung country.

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