Today I welcome Joanne Macgregor to the blog.
When not writing books, Joanne Macgregor is a Counselling Psychologist in private practice and deals mainly with victims of crime and trauma. It's tough work and to combat creeping burnout, she started writing fiction several years ago. Now she consults and writes on alternate days, and in completely different head-spaces and physical environments.
Although she lives in the frenetic adrenaline-rush of the big city, Joanne has always been in love with nature, and escapes into the wilds whenever she can. She's a Harry Potter fanatic, bakes the best choc-chip cookies on the planet, and is addicted to chilies and bulletproof coffee.
She loves writing about, and for, teens and is the author of several books for Young Adults, including Turtle Walk, Rock Steady, Fault Lines, Scarred, Hushed, Recoil, Refuse, Rebel and the award-winning The Law of Tall Girls.
Author website: http://www.joannemacgregor.com
Link to book: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/063981090X
Blurb for Turtle Walk (book 1 in the eco-warriors series):
Changing the world isn’t easy, but that won’t stop these teens from trying!
When thirteen year-old Samantha Steadman starts high school at an elite boarding school, little does she know that she will soon be engaged in an ecological war for the survival of the endangered leatherback turtle.
Samantha and her friends — rich and sassy Jessie Delaney, and politician’s daughter Nomusa Gule — take the fight from the classroom to the open seas. Their adventures range from dangerous night-time skirmishes with illegal fishermen, to crazy antics for television cameras.
Back at school, they have to deal with romances and heartbreaks, a joint musical production with the neighbouring boys’ school, encounters with an eccentric bunch of teachers, conflicts with parents, and skirmishes with bitter rivals.
The trio will need to work together to face their fears, and to hold on to the hope that individuals can make a difference.
The girls were allowed to go home for the weekends, provided they had permission and were returned to the school by six o’clock on Sunday evenings, but most chose to stay at school, because the weekends there were wonderful. They could play tennis on the courts, or swim and laze by the pool, or take hikes along one of the many trails that led into the mountains. Nearby stables offered horse-riding lessons and outrides. And, once in high school, the girls were allowed to catch a ride on the school bus on Saturday mornings into town — a privilege also allowed to the boys from Clifford Heights.
Izintaba was a small town with little to offer the teenagers from the boarding schools who flocked into it on the weekends. There were no clubs or cinemas, but Samantha was happy to discover that it did have a bookshop and a coffee shop which Jessie pronounced to be “not half bad. Especially,” she added, “as they sell health food.”
“Health food?” Samantha said sceptically, eyeing the large chocolate muffin which Jessie was eating with evident relish.
“Health food,” Jessie said firmly. “All brown food is by definition healthy. Just think about it — brown rice, whole-wheat bread, bran fibre. See? Definitely healthy!”
“In that case, let me be sure and drink my greens,” Nomusa said, and proceeded to slurp her lime milkshake.
The bell on the coffee-shop door rang as another few students came inside.
Jessie immediately sat up straight and coloured slightly, saying, “Look who’s here, Sam!”
Glancing over her shoulder, Samantha saw that it was her brothers, James and Dan, who had entered. She called out a “Hi,” and they waved back. To Jessie’s chagrin, James went over to a table in the far corner where a couple of grade eleven girls were sitting, but Dan sauntered up to their own table.
“Howzit,” he said to them all, and then asked Samantha, “Have you heard from Dad about next weekend?”
“No, what’s up?”
“He’s going down to the bungalow at iSimangaliso.”
“Isi-where?” Jessie said.
“iSimangaliso — it’s on the north coast, between St Lucia and Kosi Bay.”
“If you say so,” Jessie said.
“We have an old bungalow there on the beach,” Samantha explained.
“Dad wants to know if you want to come along for the weekend. Says there’s still a chance of seeing the turtles.” Dan drew up a chair and broke off a piece of Jessie’s muffin to pop into his mouth.
“Hey!” she protested.
“You’re welcome to join us, Nomusa,” Dan said. And then, almost as an afterthought, he told Jessie, “You can come, too, if you like.”
Jessie, her gaze flicking between her rapidly disappearing muffin and James — who was still chatting to the group of now-giggling girls in the corner — said with a bright smile, “I’d love to join you guys! It’ll be great to meet … the whole family.”
A slow grin broke out on Dan’s face as he watched her watching James. “Excellent.”
Looking disappointed, Nomusa said, “I don’t think I can come. We’ve got a family wedding that Saturday.”
Sam groaned in disappointment.
“Why don’t you bring your sister along, too, Jessie?” Dan said to Jessie.
“Uh, no, it’s fine really. I get to see more than enough of her at school.”
“Oh, c’mon, bring Cassie along. Give her a break from this place,” Samantha urged.
“No, really, it’s not necessary. We won’t want her tagging along all the time, she’d only” — here Jessie glanced again at James — “get in the way.”
“Nah, she won’t get in anyone’s way. I’ll tell Dad he can collect you straight after school on Friday. Don’t be late and don’t,” Dan said, giving Jessie a pointed look, “pack too much.”
Helping himself to the last morsel of Jessie’s muffin, he pushed back his chair and stood up. “The chocolate muffins here are really good, Jessie, you ought to buy yourself one,” he said, then walked off to join James.
“That brother of yours!” Jessie said irritably. Then her eyes locked onto James as he turned to give Samantha a goodbye wave and a smile, and she sighed dreamily. “And that brother of yours!”
Author of funny, charming, and irresistible dramas.