Donald Finnaeus Mayo about women’s fiction, spycops and divided societies (Interview, Part II)

KOB: Both of your novels are driven by strong female characters. Would you consider your work to be “Women’s Fiction” and if so, how do you feel your position as a male novelist impacts your female-centric writing? DFM: I have noticed that women seem to respond well to my work, which I'm happy about because … Continue reading Donald Finnaeus Mayo about women’s fiction, spycops and divided societies (Interview, Part II)

Donald Finnaeus Mayo about journalism, modern history and inspiration (Interview, Part I)

Kelly O’Brien: Both of your novels, Francesca and The Insider’s Guide to Betrayal are set in the 1970s and 1980s, is this period of time significant to you? What interests you in the writing of historical fiction? Donald Finnaeus Mayo: Most decades have something interesting to offer, and if you have lived through them your … Continue reading Donald Finnaeus Mayo about journalism, modern history and inspiration (Interview, Part I)

Christmas nostalgia : Our authors about the best book gift they have ever received (Part 1)

Jackie Mallon, author of Silk for the Feed Dogs It was a copy of The Dud Avocado by Elaine Dundy. A certain someone knew I'd appreciate the paperback's many idiosyncrasies: the title, so goofy and slapstick-sounding, in direct contrast to the elegant Hitchcockian blond stretched out nude on the cover in an image by Erwin Blumenfeld, a fashion photographer … Continue reading Christmas nostalgia : Our authors about the best book gift they have ever received (Part 1)

Donald Finnaeus Mayo about writing FRANCESCA

FRANCESCA: Genesis of an idea It's easy to forget just how different the world was back in the mid-1970s. No mobile phones, no internet, no Starbucks on every street corner. Easier, too, for dictators to keep a lid on their shenanigans. You could take out a town, empty a region of its population without any … Continue reading Donald Finnaeus Mayo about writing FRANCESCA

Donald F. Mayo about Indonesian executions

"No one familiar with Indonesia’s history should be in the least surprised at the indifference its government displayed to world leaders and human rights activists pleading for the lives of the eight drug traffickers executed by firing squad earlier this week. For all its exotic charm and hospitable people, there is a ruthless, vicious disregard … Continue reading Donald F. Mayo about Indonesian executions

Excerpt from Gifts: Bittersweet Christmas Stories by Donald Finnaeus Mayo

From “No Truce for Christmas” by Donald Finnaeus Mayo: “She thought about how much easier it was to learn English if you’d grasped Portuguese first, about the badminton tournament in which she was currently a promising quarter finalist with a very good chance of going all the way, and, of course, about rehearsals for the … Continue reading Excerpt from Gifts: Bittersweet Christmas Stories by Donald Finnaeus Mayo

Donald Finnaeus Mayo on our Christmas Collection: “The perfect Gift for anyone who loves writing!”

Donald Finnaeus Mayo

GIFTSx2700 Take the pain out of giving this Christmas – look no further than Betimes Books’ Gifts

In many ways, it was born out of frustration. Frustration with editors who want the same formulaic junk that sold by the bucketload last year, frustration with editorial decisions being made by accountants, frustration with marketing departments who reserve their entire budget for the same half dozen or so big names, frustration with being constantly depressed by the gloomy state of the publishing industry.

People still like to read good books, don’t they? I know I do. They can’t all want the latest ghosted biography from some C-list celebrity or yet another Andy McNab knock-off.

So I was delighted to join the list of Betimes Books, a new imprint designed to retain the best elements of publishing (good taste, rigorous editing, high production values) whilst taking advantage of the digital revolution that, frankly, caught…

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Flanagan’s Booker win a breath of fresh air

About the Booker winner Richard Flanagan who highlighted the struggle writers face to make a living from their craft

Donald Finnaeus Mayo

images-3 Man Booker Prize Winner Richard Flanagan

There was something particularly heartening about Richard Flanagan’s Booker Prize win for his novel “The Narrow Road to the Deep North”. Here is a writer at the top of his game, receiving one of the most coveted literary awards in the English speaking language, admitting that on completing the book he almost gave up writing to work in the mines of northern Australia so he could support his family.

Although I’ve never met Richard Flanagan, I’ve followed his career, not without a touch of envy, for a number of years. I first came across his work when I was in Tasmania back in the 1990s working on an early draft of a novel I was writing. I was out on some wilderness tracks in the far western part of the state bushwalking with my cousin and some friends, some of whom knew Flanagan from…

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War is over… not quite yet

“You don’t write about the horrors of war. No. You write about a kid’s burnt socks lying in the road.” ―Richard Price
Read here an excerpt from FRANCESCA, when the heroine’s home town of Dili, capital of East Timor, was invaded by the Indonesian army:

Donald Finnaeus Mayo

You hear it everywhere as we approach this time of year – in the shopping malls, on the radio, the optimistic crooning from John and Yoko’s classic: “War is over, if you want it”. Seems like we don’t want it, or not enough anyway.

I don’t think there’s been a time in recorded history when someone, somewhere hasn’t been fighting, killing someone else. Some months ago the British Army thought 2015 might be the first year in a century when it wouldn’t be involved in a conflict somewhere. With events in Syria, Iraq and Iran unfolding as they are, that hope looks less likely by the day.

Iraqi Freedom Image courtesy of soldiersmediac

It’s easy to get war fatigue, to throw up one’s hands in despair and tune out of it all. For me, it’s the civilians caught up in war, especially the children, who haunt me most. Here’s an extract from…

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Indonesia remains true to form over French journalists in West Papua

Why Mayo’s novel FRANCESCA is still relevant despite being set in 1970s

Donald Finnaeus Mayo

Unknown-4 West Papua, part of Indonesia, and the neighbouring independent Papua New Guinea

News that two French journalists have been arrested in West Papua should come as no surprise to anyone familiar with the way the Indonesian government traditionally deals with threats to its authority.

Thomas Dandois and Valentine Bourrat were arrested on August 6th, allegedly for working in the province without a proper journalist visa. The pair were shooting a documentary for the Franco-German TV channel Arte on the separatist Free Papua Movement (OPM), which has for years waged a low level insurgency campaign against the Indonesian government.

Since it gained its independence from the Dutch after World War II, and certainly since the Suharto regime came to power in the 1960s, Indonesia has traditionally taken a firm stance against any internal dissent. The most well known example occurred in East Timor in the 1970s; only it wasn’t so well…

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