Wellington author spotlight: Geoff Cochrane

Author image by Grant Maiden

A city’s image is always complex, and Wellington is no exception. For over 150 years it’s had to contend with being a capital city; being in the middle of the country; being on unstable ground. From these complexities an identity has emerged, what Lonely Planet described as “a little city with a big rep”. But beside this identity is another, more marginal Wellington, and one writer has been described as the “keeper of its keys”: Geoff Cochrane.

Public Relations

My barista asks me where he can find my books, and
I’m not exactly thrilled by this development. My barista
thinks I’m a great bloke, currently, and I don’t want him
reading my books and changing his mind.

Cochrane has lived in Wellington for most of his life. While he started writing at an early age, it wasn’t until Victoria University Press released Aztec Noon: Poems 1976-1992 that he first found a home at a mainstream publisher. He has gone on to win numerous awards, including the Janet Frame Prize for Poetry and a 2014 Laureate Award, as well as regular appearances in Best New Zealand Poems.

Despite these accolades, Cochrane’s work continues to evoke Wellington’s physical–and literary–boundaries. His latest poetry collection, RedEdits, takes the reader to the Warehouse in Rongotai, to A&E, to his barista. It reveals the butt of his cigarettes, a drop of his blood, a verandah in Levin.

Points of Interest

Sand and water make up 99% of fracking fluid.
Winston Churchill did without a close male friend.
Nembutal is the trade name of sodium pentobarbital.
Michelangelo completed his Pietà at the age of 25.

(According to Martin Amis, wars get old.
Get grizzled and smelly and rotten and mad,
and the bigger they are the faster they age.)

Cochrane’s writing has been called “one of the great pleasures” of New Zealand literature. Writer Pip Adam has described it as “a joy to me, a solace, a proof that art can be made in New Zealand which shows ourselves in new ways.” To discover this proof for yourself, check out RedEdits at Wellington City Libraries.

 

Exciting new eBook Fiction in September

With everything that’s happened over the last six years, it can be easy to forget that in 2011, Egypt – and much of the world – was in the midst of the Arab Spring. This month, Overdrive takes you back to that year of social and political potential with what has been described as an “astonishing” new novel: The City Always Wins, by Omar Robert Hamilton. Sign up today to check out this, and many other great titles.

Overdrive cover The City Always Wins, by Omar Robert Hamilton
“On the streets of Cairo, a violent uprising is transforming the course of modern history. Mariam and Khalil, two young activists, are swept up in the political fervour. Their lives will never be the same again. Brave, visceral, and electric with tension, Omar Robert Hamilton’s debut novel uniquely captures the feverish intensity of the 2011 Egyptian revolution.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Roots, by Alex Haley
Roots: The Saga of an American Family tells the story of Kunta Kinte, an 18th-century African, captured as an adolescent and sold into slavery in the United States, and later follows his life and the lives of his descendants. The release of the novel led to a cultural sensation in the United States, and it is considered to be one of the most important U.S. works of the 20th century.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Boyracers, by Alan Bissett
“Meet sixteen-year-old Alvin. Poet. Virgin. Confused. Adopted by ‘the Lads’ – three older boys with a car called Belinda and four wheels to anywhere – he begins the crazy road-trip from adolescence to adulthood. Boyracers is adored by a generation of Scottish teenagers for its humour, optimistic spirit and inventive narrative style.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Love at First Flight, by Tess Woods
“Mel is living the dream. She’s a successful GP, married to a charming anaesthetist and raising a beautiful family in their plush home in Perth. But when she boards a flight to Melbourne, her picture-perfect life unravels. Seated on the plane she meets Matt, and for the first time ever she falls in love. What begins as a flirty conversation quickly develops into a hot and obsessive affair with consequences that neither Mel nor Matt seems capable of facing.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Monkey Grip, by Helen Garner
“Inner-suburban Melbourne in the 1970s: a world of communal living, drugs, music and love. In this acclaimed first novel, Helen Garner captures the fluid relationships of a community of friends who are living and loving in new ways.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Goodbye, Vitamin, by Rachel Khong
“Ruth is thirty and her life is falling apart: she and her fiancé are moving house, but he’s moving out to live with another woman; her career is going nowhere; and then she learns that her father has Alzheimer’s. At Christmas, her mother begs her to stay on and help. For a year. Goodbye, Vitamin is the wry, beautifully observed story of a woman at a crossroads.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover The Old Deep and Dark, by Ellen Hart
“Renowned theater director Cordelia Thorn is working to restore a historic theater that she and her actress sister recently bought. Cordelia has a vision for the playhouse’s future, but the more she learns about the building, the more fascinated she becomes by its past. Nicknamed “The Old Deep and Dark”, there are a wealth of secrets hidden inside its walls. And, to her shock, a body…” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover The Bear and the Nightingale, by Katherine Arden
“In a village at the edge of the wilderness of northern Russia, where the winds blow cold and the snow falls many months of the year, an elderly servant tells stories of sorcery, folklore and the Winter King to the children of the family. But for the young, wild Vasya these are far more than just stories. She alone can see the house spirits that guard her home, and sense the growing forces of dark magic in the woods…” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover The Shape of Bones, by Daniel Galera
“A man rises at 5 a.m. and leaves his home. As the dawn comes on, he drives toward the old neighbourhood of his youth. What is pulling him back there? Perhaps the need to make something happen, perhaps just nostalgia. Or perhaps the search for absolution – from a crime he has carried in his heart for fifteen years.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Marlborough Man, by Alan Carter
“Nick Chester is working as a sergeant for the Havelock police, at the top of New Zealand’s South Island. If the river isn’t flooded and the land hasn’t slipped, it’s paradise. Unless you are also hiding from a ruthless man with a grudge, in which case, remote beauty has its own kind of danger. In the last couple of weeks, two locals have vanished. Their bodies are found, but the Pied Piper is still at large…” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

New eBook Fiction

Each winter, Icelanders brace themselves for the jólabókaflóð, or ‘Christmas Book Flood’. Christmas day is spent not at the bach or beach, but tucked up in bed with a pile of new novels. And while it’s still a few months until Christmas, why not embrace the jólabókaflóð tradition and keep out the darkness with a great new range of ebooks from Overdrive? As they say in Reykjavik, “On with the butter!”

Overdrive cover A Horse Walks into a Bar, by David Grossman
Winner of the Man Book Prize 2017. The setting is a comedy club in a small Israeli town. An audience that has come expecting an evening of amusement instead sees a comedian falling apart on stage. Dovaleh G, a veteran stand-up comic – charming, erratic, repellent – exposes a wound he has been living with for years: a fateful and gruesome choice he had to make between the two people who were dearest to him.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Congo Dawn, by Katherine Scholes
“Melbourne secretary Anna Emerson’s life is turned upside down when a stranger hands her a plane ticket to the Congo. The newly independent country is in turmoil, Simba rebels are on the move – but the invitation holds a precious clue to the whereabouts of her estranged father. Inspired by real events, Congo Dawn combines epic drama with an intimate journey into the heart of a fractured family.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Fletcher of the Bounty, by Graeme Lay
“On 28 April 1789 Fletcher and his followers take control of HMAV Bounty. What follows is a story brimming with conflict as Fletcher, his fellow-mutineers and their Tahitian women attempt to build a new society on remote Pitcairn Island. But their attempts are doomed, as envy, lust and racism destroy the Utopia that Fletcher and Isabella dreamed of. This is historical fiction at its finest.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Solar Bones, by Mike McCormack
“Marcus Conway has come a long way to stand in the kitchen of his home and remember the rhythms and routines of his life. Deconstructing with his engineer’s mind how things are built to consider them better: bridges, banking systems and marriages. In one of the first great Irish novels of the 21st century, Mike McCormack captures a whole life, suspended in a single hour.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Beautiful Messy Love, by Tess Woods
“When football star Nick Harding hobbles into the Black Salt Cafe the morning after the night before, he is served by Anna, a waitress with haunted-looking eyes and no interest in footballers, famous or otherwise. Nick is instantly drawn to this exotic, intelligent girl. But a relationship between them risks shame for her conservative refugee family and backlash for Nick that could ruin his career.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Anna, by Niccolo Ammaniti
“It is some years since a virus killed all the adults. Brave, stubborn thirteen-year-old Anna looks after her brother Astor in the cottage where their mother’s skeleton rests, lovingly decorated, in a locked bedroom. But then Astor starts to question Anna’s version of the world—and suddenly, everything will change.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover A Fire Upon the Deep, by Vernor Vinge
A Hugo award-winning Novel. Fleeing a galactic threat, Ravna crash-lands on a strange world with a ship-hold full of cryogenically frozen children. They are quickly taken captive by the Tines, a dog-like race of aliens with a harsh medieval culture. Will anyone come to save them, or will Ravna be caught in the power struggle to come?” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover If Snow Hadn’t Fallen, by Sharon Bolton
“They say that snow covers everything that is mean and sordid and ugly in the world…but beneath the carpet of white, the ugliness remains. 11 November 2012, London. Long-smouldering feelings come to a head in a burst of shocking violence. A young Muslim man is brutally murdered by a masked gang. There is just one witness to the horrific crime: DC Lacey Flint. Or at least that’s what she thinks…” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Welcome to Lagos, by Chibundu Onuzo
“When army officer Chike Ameobi is ordered to kill innocent civilians, he knows that it is time to leave. As he travels towards Lagos, he becomes the leader of a new platoon, a band of runaways who share his desire for a better life. After an unexpected political encounter, Chike and his companions must make a choice. But perhaps the situation is more complex than it appears.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Madame Zero, by Sarah Hall
“Sarah Hall is an exquisite chronicler of landscapes – rural, industrial, psychological – and these haunting stories reveal a writer at the peak of her powers. This uncannily disturbing collection glitters with poetic and erotic imagery. Marked by a fascination with the intimacy of nature – and the nature of intimacy – Madame Zero is a stunning new collection from an author twice nominated for the Booker Prize.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

New eAudiobook Non-fiction this month

Edmund Hillary once said that the struggle to climb a mountain is the struggle of life itself. While that’s probably true, sometimes it can be nice to avoid the mountains for a while and stay safe and warm inside where you can face those struggles in a book – or better yet, an eAudiobook from Overdrive! From Carrie Fisher’s battle with electro-convulsive shock therapy to Yanis Varoufakis’ conflict with the European Union, there’s enough struggle – and success – here to keep even the hardiest mountaineers happy!

Overdrive cover The Polygamist’s Daughter, by Anna LeBaron
My father had more than fifty children. So begins the haunting memoir of Anna LeBaron, daughter of the notorious polygamist and murderer Ervil LeBaron. With her father wanted by the FBI for killing anyone who tried to leave his cult―a radical branch of Mormonism―Anna and her siblings were constantly on the run. Anna escaped when she was thirteen—but the nightmare was far from over.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Shockaholic, by Carrie Fisher
“Bad news for anyone who thought Carrie Fisher had finally stopped talking about herself: sorry, but it appears she has yet another brand-new problem to overshare about. This time, the electro-convulsive shock therapy she’s been regularly undergoing. But before she can truly commit herself to it in the long term, she’d better get some of those more nagging memories of hers on paper.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Adults In the Room, by Yanis Varoufakis
“Economist Yanis Varoufakis blows the lid on Europe’s hidden agenda and exposes what actually goes on in its corridors of power. Varoufakis sparked one of the most spectacular and controversial battles in recent political history when, as finance minister of Greece, he attempted to re-negotiate his country’s relationship with the EU. Despite mass support, he succeeded only in provoking the fury of Europe’s elite. The true story of what happened is almost entirely unknown…” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Settle for More, by Megyn Kelly
“Anchor of the number one news show on cable, The Kelly File, Fox News Channel’s Megyn Kelly writes her much anticipated book, a revealing and surprising memoir detailing her rise as one of the most respected journalists working today. From the values and lessons that have shaped her career, to her time at the centre of the chaotic 2016 Republican presidential primary, this book offers an inside look at an uncompromising woman’s journey to the top of the news business.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Surpassing Certainty, by Janet Mock
“The journey begins a few months before her twentieth birthday. Janet Mock is adjusting to her days as a first-generation college student and her nights as a dancer at a strip club. Fuelled by her dreams and inimitable drive, Janet makes her way through New York City while holding her truth close. She builds a career within the unique context of being trans, a woman and a person of colour.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts, by Gabor Maté
“Starting with a close view of his drug addicted patients, Dr. Maté looks at his own history of compulsive behaviour, weaving a story of real people who struggle with addiction with the latest research on addiction and the brain. A bold synthesis of clinical experience, insight and cutting edge findings, Dr. Maté sheds light on this most puzzling of human frailties.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover When You Find Out the World Is Against You, by Kelly Oxford
“The famed internet personality—named one of Rolling Stone’s Funniest People on Twitter and creator of the viral #notokay for women to share their stories of sexual assault—turns her laser-like wit to anxiety, parenthood (or “the sheer insanity of being in charge of the safety and livelihood of three people besides myself”) and more in this razor sharp essay collection.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Homo Deus, by Yuval Noah Harari
Homo Deus explores the projects, dreams and nightmares that will shape the twenty-first century – from overcoming death to creating artificial life. It asks the fundamental questions: where do we go from here? And how will we protect this fragile world from our own destructive powers? This is the next stage of evolution. This is Homo Deus.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Hitler, by Volker Ullrich
“For all the literature about Adolf Hitler there have been just four seminal biographies; this is the fifth, a landmark work that sheds important new light on Hitler himself. Drawing on previously unseen papers and a wealth of recent scholarly research, Volker Ullrich reveals the man behind the public persona.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover A Rare Recording of Carl Jung, by Carl Jung
“Hear seven minutes of a 1959 interview with Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung on the BBC program, “Face to Face,” hosted by John Freeman. This probing interview with Jung, considered the world’s greatest psychiatrist, provides a rare glimpse into his personal viewpoints and sheds insight into his pioneering work.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Wellington author interview: Mandy Hager

Mandy Hager has influenced a generation of readers with her politically astute, emotionally rich YA novels, including The Crossing and The Nature of Ash. But it’s her recent historical novel, Heloise, that’s been causing a stir this year. Described as “brilliant” by the Listener, Heloise tells the story of 12th century lovers Heloise d’Argenteuil and Peter Abelard, and the politics and attitudes they must negotiate during the Gregorian Reforms.

You’ve mentioned that you spent 18 months researching before starting to write Heloise. Were there any particular discoveries that stood out for you, or altered your approach?

Two things really impacted on how I ultimately told the story. The first was a very good piece of advice from academic Dr Constant Mews, who recommended I read as many of the texts Heloise would have read as possible, as all her writing is steeped in references to them. This really enriched the story, especially when I discovered her love of Ovid’s Heroides and saw how I could use it as a mirror for her own story. It was also a really good reminder that, though the incidentals of the 12th century are different, human emotion is consistent across time.

The second thing was discovering the politics that lay behind the story, which made the actions make sense and put them into context. This proved crucial to cracking open the various character’s motivations.

From early on, Heloise fights against the notion that as a woman, she must “learn in silence with all subjection.” How did this struggle, and its on-going relevance, influence your telling of the story?

For a start, the whole act of writing her story countered this: giving her back her voice and own personal agency. Thematically, it taps into several strands I wanted to focus on: the systematic silencing of women across the ages; the effects of church and state power and control, especially as it affected women; and on a craft level, the challenge of telling a story that still has pace and action when the central character is cloistered away and mainly interacts through letters and hearsay.

How difficult was it to capture the voice, thoughts and feelings of a character from the 12th century? Especially someone with Heloise’s background?

As I mentioned above, by reading what Heloise read, it helped me find appropriate ways of expressing her feelings through the literature of her day. Plus, I had the advantage of her letters, which gave me an insight into how she put words on a page and thought. I wrote the whole first draft in a kind of heightened 17th century voice to try and get away from modern concepts, metaphors and language. It didn’t work from a readers point of view (too dense and saccharine) but it helped me make the shift in my head and meant that when I rewrote my head was much more seated in the language and thought constructions of the time. That said, it’s amazing how hard it is to pick up all the modern words and ideas – and I’m extremely grateful to the team of editors and readers for digging them out!

In terms of feelings, once the situation is defined by its context, then it’s just a matter of imagining myself into the character’s head and focussing on what would be the most truthful human reaction to each situation. I think we make a mistake thinking people back then thought in a less emotionally sophisticated way. Heloise’s letters make it clear nothing changes in the history of the heart!

How did writing historical fiction compare with writing stories set in the near future, such as The Nature of Ash?

One’s solely based on imagining a future, with the ability to reference current culture as a kind of shorthand for what’s going on. Historical fiction requires a lot more digging around for shorthand references that are pertinent to the day but still resonate with today’s readers. Another less delicate way of putting this is, in books like The Nature of Ash (which I’m currently writing a sequel to) I’m free to make shit up! That’s a whole lot easier!

Does your approach to writing fiction such as Heloise differ to your approach to writing young adult fiction?

I think when writing young adult fiction there’s an overriding need for pace that is more pressing than adult fiction, along with the need for a young adult protagonist, but overall I don’t think there is that much difference. It’s still a matter of digging into character and trying to bring them alive on the page.

Has Heloise had an on-going influence on your own life, writing or politics?

Most undoubtedly all three! It’s by far the hardest book I’ve ever written (in terms of both its scope and the amount of time it took) and I had to dig really deep to keep going and not give up. I think the gift of the residencies I had during the time meant I felt a great deal of personal pressure to perform and come up with the goods, and though that was exhausting and at times overwhelming, I’m proud of myself for persevering! But I think it’s also taught me a lot as a writer, mainly thanks to my amazing editor, Harriet Allan, who really pushed me (in the best possible way) and I’m hoping that the lessons I’ve learned transfer through to all my writing in the future. The politics have had a huge impact. It’s depressing to realise the very same issues Heloise struggled with are still evident today, and we seem no closer to really solving them. We rabbit on a lot about how we should use history to learn how to progress and improve human lives, but the truth is we’ll go on making the same mistakes over and over – and the same people will continue to be oppressed – if we don’t actually heed the lessons and make a concerted effort to implement change. Heloise’s courage in speaking her truths and supporting those around her is one I now try even harder to emulate as a result of this.

New eAudiobook Fiction in June

When it comes to novels, the author traditionally takes pride of place. However with the rise of eAudiobooks, another role is becoming increasingly important: the narrator. An experienced narrator can make a good book great, and a great book unforgettable. This month’s eAudiobooks from Overdrive have just such narrators, including Sissy Spacek reading To Kill a Mockingbird and Benedict Cumberbatch reading Sherlock Holmes’ Rediscovered Railway Mysteries. Sign up here to listen in!

Overdrive cover To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
“Through the young eyes of Scout and Jem Finch, Harper Lee explores with exuberant humour the irrationality of adult attitudes to race and class in the Deep South of the thirties. The conscience of a town steeped in prejudice, violence and hypocrisy is pricked by the stamina of one man’s struggle for justice. But the weight of history will only tolerate so much.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover The Lady in the Van, by Alan Bennett
“An eccentric old lady moves into a quiet street in Camden Town. There she remains, installed in her van in glorious self-sufficiency, until the council instructs her to move on. Then a kind homeowner invites her to move her van into his garden – where she stays for the next fifteen years. This is the fascinating story of the genteel vagrant who found a unique place in Alan Bennett’s life and writing.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover The Afterlife of Stars, by Joseph Kertes
“When Russian tanks roll into the public squares of Budapest to crush the Hungarian Revolution, brothers Robert and Attila Beck flee with their family. As they travel through minefields both real and imagined, Robert and Attila grapple with sibling rivalry, family secrets and incalculable loss. Along the way they encounter mysterious fellow travellers, bewildering sights of a nation in transition and surprising hilarity, all in pursuit of the one place they thought they’d lost forever: home.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover The Curse of Crow Hollow, by Billy Coffey
“Everyone in Crow Hollow knows of Alvaretta Graves. Many call her a witch; others whisper she’s insane. Everyone agrees the vengeance Alvaretta swore at her husband’s death hovers over them all. That vengeance awakens when teenagers stumble upon Alvaretta’s cabin, incurring her curse. Now a sickness moves through the Hollow, and people are left to confront not only the darkness that lives on the mountain, but the darkness that lives within themselves.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover The Coroner’s Lunch, by Colin Cotterill
“Dr Siri Paiboun is a physician trained in Paris. For lack of other candidates, he has been appointed Laos’ state coroner. After months of boredom there is a sudden spate of bodies, one slain more mysteriously than the next. The government wants certain answers, but at his advanced age Dr Siri feels immune from bureaucratic pressure. His bosses aren’t happy with him – nor are the dead who come into his care. Eternity could be a long time to have the spirits mad at you.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Benedict Cumberbatch Reads Sherlock Holmes’ Rediscovered Railway Mysteries, by John Taylor
“Inspired by Arthur Conan Doyle’s original Sherlock Holmes stories, John Taylor has written four more mysteries featuring the world’s greatest detective. Read by acclaimed actor Benedict Cumberbatch, these new adventures share all the suspense of the original tales.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Rich People Problems, by Kevin Kwan
“When Nicholas Young hears that his grandmother, Su Yi, is on her deathbed, he rushes to be by her bedside—but he’s not alone. The entire Shang-Young clan has convened from all corners of the globe to stake claim on their matriarch’s massive fortune. With each family member vying to inherit Tyersall Park—a trophy estate on 64 prime acres in the heart of Singapore—Nicholas’s childhood home turns into a hotbed of speculation and sabotage.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Interesting Times, by Terry Pratchett
“There are many who say that the art of diplomacy is an intricate dance between two informed partners. There are others who maintain that it’s merely a matter of who carries the biggest stick. Like when a large, heavily fortified and armoured empire makes a faintly menacing request of a much smaller, infinitely more cowardly neighbour. It would be churlish, if not extremely dangerous, not to comply – particularly if all they want is a wizard…” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover None But the Dead, by Lin Anderson
“Sanday, one of Britain’s northernmost islands. When human remains are discovered behind an old primary school, forensic expert Dr Rhona MacLeod arrives to excavate the grave. Then a series of unexplained incidents occur, apparently linked to the discovery of thirteen magic flowers representing the souls of dead children who had attended the school. But how did they die? And why are their deaths significant?” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Under Pressure, by Lori Foster
“Leese Phelps’s road hasn’t been an easy one, but it’s brought him to the perfect job—working for the elite Body Armor security agency. And what his newest assignment lacks in size, she makes up for in fire and backbone. But being drawn to Catalina Nicholson is a dangerous complication, especially since it could be the very man who hired Leese who’s threatening her. What Catalina knows could get her killed.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

New eBook Fiction in June

Lakes are meant to be beautiful or romantic, or even a source of national pride, but there’s just something a bit spooky about them. Several authors of our new eBook fiction from Overdrive have been inspired by the creepiness of lakes, from Sarah Bailey’s The Dark Lake to John Farrow’s Perish the Day. There’s even an ominous lake story set right here in New Zealand: See You in September, by Charity Norman. So why not sign up to Overdrive and help us plumb the hidden depths…

Overdrive cover The Dark Lake, by Sarah Bailey
“A beautiful young teacher has been murdered, her body found in the lake, strewn with red roses. Policewoman Detective Sergeant Gemma Woodstock pushes to be assigned to the case, concealing the fact that she knew the murdered woman in high school. But that’s not all Gemma’s trying to hide. As the investigation digs deeper, other secrets threaten to come to light, secrets that were supposed to remain buried.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Perish the Day, by John Farrow
“A co-ed is found murdered on campus, her body scarcely touched. Coincidentally (or not), a college custodian is also found dead. While an epic rainstorm assails Holyoake, a third crime scene is revealed: a professor, formerly a spy, has been shot dead in his home. Sergeant-Detective Émile Cinq-Mars must uncover the links between the disparate groups before the next victim is selected for an elaborate initiation into murder…” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover The Chocolate Tin, by Fiona McIntosh
“At the end of the war, Captain Harry Blakeney discovers a dead soldier in a trench. In the man’s possession is a love note, tucked inside a tin of chocolates. In pursuit of the note’s author, Harry travels to Rowntree’s chocolate factory, where his life becomes inextricably bound with Alexandra Frobisher – a modern-thinking woman with hopes of a career in the chocolate-making town of York. Only together will they be able to unlock secrets of the past and offer each other the greatest gift for the future.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover The Earth Cries Out, by Bonnie Etherington
“After the accidental death of Ruth’s five-year-old sister, their father decides that atonement and healing are in order, and that taking on aid work in a mountain village in Irian Jaya is the way to find it. While her parents find it a struggle to save themselves, let alone anyone else, Ruth seeks redemption in bearing witness to and passing on the stories of those who have been silenced – even as she is haunted by questions about what it means to witness and who gets to survive.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover See You In September, by Charity Norman
“Having broken up with her boyfriend, Cassy accepts an invitation to stay in an idyllic farming collective in New Zealand. Overcome by the beauty of the valley and swept up in the charisma of Justin, the community’s leader, Cassy becomes convinced that she has to stay. As Cassy becomes more and more entrenched, her frantic parents fight to bring her home—before Justin’s prophesied Last Day can come to pass.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover When Death Draws Near, by Carrie Stuart Parks
“Forensic artist Gwen Marcey is between jobs when she accepts temporary work in Pikeville, Kentucky—a small town facing big-city crime. But before Gwen can finish her first drawing of the serial rapist who is on the loose, the latest witness vanishes. Just like all the others. When her digitally-obsessed teenage daughter joins her there, Gwen turn her attention to a second assignment: going undercover in a serpent-handling church. Can Gwen uncover the truth before she becomes a victim herself?” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Wetlands, by Charlotte Roche
“With her jaunty dissection of the sex life and the grooming habits of the novel’s 18-year-old narrator, Helen Memel, Charlotte Roche has turned the previously unspeakable into a national conversation. Wetlands gives a detailed topography of Helen’s haemorrhoids, continues into the subject of anal intercourse and eventually reaches avocado pits as objects of female sexual satisfaction and – here is where the debate kicks in – just possibly female empowerment.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover The Secret History of Moscow, by Ekaterina Sedia
“Galina is a young woman caught, like her contemporaries, in the seeming lawlessness of the new Russia. In the midst of this chaos, her sister Maria turns into a jackdaw and flies away—prompting Galina to join Yakov, a policeman investigating a rash of recent disappearances. Their search will take them to the underground realm of hidden truths and archetypes, to find themselves caught between reality and myth, past and present, honor and betrayal . . . the secret history of Moscow.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover A Book of American Martyrs, by Joyce Carol Oates
“Gus Voorhees, a pioneer in women’s reproductive rights and controversial abortion provider, is ambushed by hardline Christian Luther Dunphy and shot dead. The killing leaves in its wake two fatherless families: the Voorheeses and the Dunphys. When the daughters of the two families glimpse each other at the trial of Luther Dunphy, their initial response is mutual hatred. But their lives are tangled together, and throughout the events that follow, neither can quite forget the other.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover The Devil’s Bible, by Dana Chamblee Carpenter
“The Devil’s Bible. Once considered an eighth wonder of the world, the ancient book is shrouded in mystery. No one knows who wrote it or where it was written. Even dry-boned scholars whisper about the secrets hidden in the book: how it calls to the power-hungry. How it drives people mad. How it was written in the shadows by the hand of the devil himself. But no one knows the truth—no one except Mouse…” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

New eAudiobook Non-Fiction in May

There’s nothing like a secret to get you reading, and this month’s selection of eAudiobook non-fiction from Overdrive has a heap of them. What goes on in the universe? What goes on in North Korea? What went on in the brain of a deceased American footballer (and the corporation they worked for)? All these mysteries – and more! – will be revealed. Just sign in to Overdrive and prepare to never see the world in the same way again…

Overdrive cover Astrophysics for People in a Hurry, by Neil DeGrasse Tyson
“What is the nature of space and time? How do we fit within the universe? How does the universe fit within us? There’s no better guide through these questions than acclaimed astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson. But today, few of us have time to contemplate the cosmos. So Tyson brings the universe down to Earth succinctly and clearly, with sparkling wit, in digestible chapters consumable anytime in your busy day.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Concussion, by Jeanne Marie Laskas
“Dr Bennet Omalu had no idea that the body of an American footballer would change his life, and ultimately the world. Dr Omalu found that the psychosis suffered by “Iron Mike” Webster was the result of years of blows to the head in games. He knew it would keep killing other sportsmen unless something was done. He believed that the N.F.L., one of the most powerful corporations in America, would welcome the discovery. Instead, Omalu himself became a target.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover The Lost Art of Listening, by Michael P. Nichols
“In this thoughtful and witty book, experienced therapist Michael P. Nichols, PhD, provides vivid examples, easy-to-learn techniques and practical exercises for becoming a better listener and making yourself heard and understood, even in difficult situations.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover The Secrets of My Life, by Caitlyn Jenner
“In her new memoir, Caitlyn Jenner chronicles her life as Bruce and her brave transition into womanhood. The book covers Caitlyn Jenner’s childhood as Bruce Jenner and rise to fame as a gold-medal-winning Olympic decathlete; her marriages and her relationships with her children; her transition; and her experience as the world’s most famous transgender woman.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Dear Leader, by Jang Jin-Sung
“Jang Jin-sung held one of the most senior ranks in North Korea’s propaganda machine. Among his tasks were developing the founding myth of North Korea, posing undercover as a South Korean intellectual and writing epic poems in support of the dictator, Kim Jong-il. Yet he could not ignore his conscience. After breaking security rules, Jang Jin-sung was forced to flee for his life: away from lies and deceit, towards truth and freedom.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover My Adventures with God, by Stephen Tobolowsky
My Adventures with God is a series of short stories exploring the idea that most people’s lives seem to fit into the template of the Old Testament. Tobolowsky’s stories tell of a boy growing up in the wilds of Texas, finding and losing love, losing and finding himself—all told through the prism of the Torah and Talmud, mixed with insights from science, and refined through a child’s sense of wonder.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover The Road to Jonestown, by Jeff Guinn
“Jeff Guinn examines the life of Jim Jones, from his extramarital affairs, drug use and fraudulent faith healing to the fraught decision to move almost a thousand of his followers to the jungles of Guyana. Guinn provides stunning new details of the events leading to the fatal day in November, 1978 when more than nine hundred people died—including almost three hundred infants and children—after being ordered to swallow a cyanide-laced drink.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover How to Be a Bawse, by Lilly Singh
“From actress, comedian and YouTube sensation Lilly Singh (aka Superwoman) comes the definitive guide to being a BAWSE – a person who exudes confidence, reaches goals, gets hurt efficiently and smiles genuinely because they’ve fought through it all and made it out the other side. Told in her hilarious, bold voice that’s inspired over 9 million fans, and using stories from her own life to illustrate her message, Lilly proves that there are no shortcuts to success.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Tranny, by Laura Jane Grace
“A searing account of the search for identity and self, Tranny reveals the struggles and victories that Laura Jane Grace, the lead singer of the cult punk rock band Against Me! experienced in her quest for gender transition. Grappling with sex, drugs, failed marriages, music and soul, this memoir paints a vivid portrait of one of the most revolutionary transgender icons of our time.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Trump Revealed, by Michael Kranish
Trump Revealed offers the most thorough and wide-ranging examination of Donald Trump’s public and private lives to date, from his upbringing in Queens and formative years at the New York Military Academy, to his turbulent careers in real estate and entertainment, to his astonishing rise as the front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

New eBook Fiction in May

There’s a distinctly piratical theme to this month’s new eBook fiction from Overdrive. And while the temptation to write the rest of this blog in a piratical accent is strong, I’ll refrain from any “Arrrghs” or “Shiver Me Timbers”. Did you know the pirate accent is actually based on that of the West Country in England (specifically the Dorset accent of actor Robert Newton)? The West Country has also been home to a great range of authors, from Agatha Christie to Jacqueline Wilson. Whatever your tastes, sign up to Overdrive to share in the literary plunder!

Overdrive cover Pirate Latitudes, by Michael Crichton
“Jamaica 1665. A lone British outpost in Spanish-controlled Caribbean waters. Its capital, Port Royal, is a cutthroat town of taverns and bawdy houses – and the last place anyone would expect an attack to be launched on a Spanish stronghold. Yet that is the plan of renowned privateer Captain Charles Hunter and Charles II’s ruling governor, Sir James Almont. If they succeed they will make history … and a fortune in gold.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Romance Reader’s Guide to Life, by Sharon Pywell
“Growing up in the shadow of the Second World War, the lives of sisters Lilly and Neave could not be more different. While Lilly is breaking hearts, Neave escapes reality in an illicit copy of The Pirate Lover. When the men return from war, the sisters are expected to settle down; instead they set out to create a makeup empire. But just as business is taking off, Lilly disappears. Desperate to find her, Neave discovers a whole new meaning to the truth being stranger than fiction.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Pigs in Heaven, by Barbara Kingsolver
“Six-year-old Turtle Greer witnesses a freak accident at the Hoover Dam during a tour of the Grand Canyon. Her insistence on what she has seen, and her mother’s belief in her, lead to a man’s dramatic rescue. The mother and adopted daughter duo soon become nationwide heroes – even landing themselves a guest appearance on the Oprah Winfrey show. But Turtle’s moment of celebrity draws her into a conflict of historic proportions…” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover The Golden Legend, by Nadeem Aslam
“When shots ring out on the Grand Trunk Road, Nargis’s husband dies before she can confess to him her greatest secret. Under threat from a military intelligence officer, who demands that she pardon her husband’s American killer, Nargis fears that the truth about her past will be exposed. Against this background of violence, two outsiders – the Christian, Helen and the mysterious Imran – try to find an island of calm in which their love can grow.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Carnival Sky, by Owen Marshall
“Sheff is disillusioned with journalism and, with plans to travel overseas, chucks in his job. But first he goes south to Alexandra, where his father is dying. He becomes caught up with his family in the agonising inertia of waiting for approaching death. Slowly he comes to terms with suppressed issues of loss, love, resentment and commitment, and acknowledges he must reach out for new relationships.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Corrag, by Susan Fletcher
“The Massacre of Glencoe happened in February 1692 when thirty-eight members of the Macdonald clan were killed by soldiers. Fifty miles to the south Corrag is condemned for her involvement, accused of witchcraft and awaits death. Charles Leslie, an Irish propagandist, hears of the massacre and comes to question her. As Corrag tells her story, a friendship develops between them that alters both their lives.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Into the Darkest Corner, by Elizabeth Haynes
“Catherine has been enjoying the single life for long enough to know a good catch when she sees one. Lee is gorgeous, charismatic and spontaneous – almost too perfect to be true. But there’s a darker side to Lee. As his behaviour becomes increasingly controlling, Catherine is more and more isolated. Driven into the darkest corner of her world, she plans her escape. And she succeeds. Four years later, Catherine dares to believe she might be safe. But is she?” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Not So Much, Said the Cat, by Michael Swanwick
“The master of literary science fiction returns with this dazzling new collection. Michael Swanwick takes us on a whirlwind journey across the globe and across time and space, where magic and science exist in possibilities that are not of this world. These tales are intimate in their telling, galactic in their scope, and delightfully sesquipedalian in their verbiage. Join the caravan through Swanwick’s worlds and into the playground of his mind.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Last Night at the Lobster, by Stewart O’Nan
“The Red Lobster chain restaurant perched in a run-down American mall hasn’t been making its numbers and headquarters has pulled the plug. But manager Manny DeLeon still needs to navigate a tricky last shift and a final onslaught of hungry lunatics. All the while, he’s wondering how to handle the waitress he’s still in love with, his pregnant girlfriend and the location of the Christmas present that will make it all better.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover The Great and Secret Show, by Clive Barker
“In the little town of Palomo Grove, two armies are amassing; forces shaped from the hearts and souls of America. In this New York Times bestseller, Barker unveils one of the most ambitious imaginative landscapes in modern fiction, creating a new vocabulary for the battle between good and evil. From the first stirring of consciousness to a vision of the end of the world, The Great and Secret Show is a breath-taking journey.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

New eAudiobook Fiction in April

If you’re anything like me, you’d happily give up all your worldly possessions for a chance to study at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Well, now you don’t have to! As part of this month’s Overdrive eAudiobooks, we have a certified textbook from the Hogwarts Library: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. And if you’d like to browse a few Muggle books as well, never fear – Overdrive has you covered. So wands at the ready, and sign up here!

Overdrive cover Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, by J. K. Rowling
“A set textbook at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry since publication, Newt Scamander’s masterpiece has entertained wizarding families through the generations. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is an indispensable introduction to the magical beasts of the wizarding world. Narrated by Eddie Redmayne, this is the first audio book edition of Scamander’s textbook ever to be released.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover How to Build a Girl, by Caitlin Moran
“What do you do when you realise what your parents taught you wasn’t enough? You must go out and build yourself. Johanna Morrigan, 14, has shamed herself so badly that she decides there’s no point in being Johanna anymore and reinvents herself as Dolly Wilde – fast-talking, hard-drinking Gothic hero and full-time Lady Sex Adventurer! But is a box full of records and a head full of paperbacks enough to build a girl after all?” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover The Same Sea, by Amos Oz
The Same Sea is Amos Oz’s most inventive book, the book by which he would like to be remembered. We meet the middle-aged Albert; his wife, whom he has lost to cancer; his son, who wanders the mountains of Tibet; and his son’s enticing young girlfriend, with whom Albert becomes infatuated. In this human profusion is a fever dream of chaos and order, love and eroticism, and ultimately an extraordinary energy.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover The Sherlockian, by Graham Moore
“When literary researcher Harold White is inducted into the preeminent Sherlock Holmes enthusiast society, The Baker Street Irregulars, he never imagines he’s about to be thrust onto the hunt for the holy grail of Holmes-ophiles: one of Holmes’ missing diaries. But when the world’s leading Doylean scholar is found murdered in his hotel room, it is Harold – using wisdom and methods gleaned from countless detective stories – who takes up the search, both for the diary and the killer.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Stolen Beauty, by Laurie Lico Albanese
“In the dazzling glitter of 1900 Vienna, Adele Bloch-Bauer—young, beautiful, brilliant and Jewish—meets painter Gustav Klimt. Adele embraces Klimt’s renegade genius as the two awaken to the erotic possibilities on the canvas and beyond. Nearly forty years later, Adele’s niece Maria Altmann is a newlywed when the Nazis invade Austria. When her husband is arrested, Maria must summon the courage that is her aunt’s legacy if she is to keep her family—and their history—alive.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover The Trouble with Goats and Sheep, by Joanna Cannon
“England, 1976. Mrs Creasy is missing and The Avenue is alive with whispers. As the summer shimmers endlessly on, ten-year-olds Grace and Tilly decide to take matters into their own hands. And as the cul-de-sac starts giving up its secrets, the amateur detectives will find much more than they imagined…” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Good Omens, by Neil Gaiman
“According to the Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch, the world will end on a Saturday. Next Saturday in fact. Everything seems to be going to the Divine Plan, but for an unlikely angel and demon duo, who have been living on Earth for several millennia and have become rather fond of the place. If they are to prevent Armageddon they’ve got to find and kill the Antichrist himself. There’s just one small problem: someone seems to have mislaid him…” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Lucidity, by David Carnoy
“Twenty years after the unsolved case of Stacey Walker’s disappearance went cold, a Silicon Valley executive hires retired detective Hank Madden to find her body. Four months later, author Candace Epstein is pushed in front of a car, and her editor, Max Fremmer, becomes involved. As Fremmer investigates, an unexpected link to Madden’s search in California emerges. But can they unravel the secret that links their investigations in time?” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Unleashed, by David Rosenfelt
“Sam Willis is stunned to receive a phone call from high school friend Barry Price, pleading for help. But when Sam almost runs over an injured dog on the way to the airport to meet Barry, he can’t drive off without waiting for help. Then Sam learns that Barry’s plane has crashed, and he comes to the terrifying realization that he was also supposed to have been killed on that flight. The trouble is only just beginning.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

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