Film vs Novel – The Nine Lives of Chloe King … by Casey Carlisle

Forget vampires and werewolves, cat-people kick butt!

The Nine Lives of Chloe King Review by Casey Carlisle

In response to the emails I’ve been getting for some more reviews since posting a blog on ‘The Host’ comparing the film to the novel; I’ll be writing more in this genre. Adding to the Film vs. Novel, I’ll also review some of the latest YA fiction from my reading list, and hopefully give you some insight into other great YA Authors.

To kick off reviews in 2014 I thought I’d begin with a comparison of The Nine Lives of Chloe King ABC’s television series to the novels by Liz Braswell – only because it was one of my favourite shows, and that in turn prompted me to read the books over the Christmas break.

Overall the television series is a sanitised version of the books – as are many adaptations these days. Keeping the broadcasts within a PG rating to connect with the intended target audience and ABC’s typical treatment of after school specials removed the ‘grit’ and realism from the storyline. But having said that, I found the characters in the television series much more loveable. The protagonist ‘Chloe’ in the books, was much harder to make a personal connection with, whereas, in episode one of the TV version – I was hooked in the first ten minutes.

Both storylines had sensational elements to add the drama and supernatural elements, but the way they were introduced into the story didn’t sell me for the novels. The written version of Chloe, a reluctant and flawed superhero, warrior princess, felt vapid in comparison to her film counterpart. Granted the version of Chloe on screen was a happy-go-lucky, sarcastic, nervous teen as compared to a bitchy, naive, and impulsive version in print, so it’s hard to pitch them up against one another when the main character is wildly different in each representation.

The books held that whole ‘secret society with lots of money operating right under your noses,’ and while that was present in the television version, it wasn’t so extreme. I loved the mythology that formed the drive for the novels and it was the main reason – apart from the love of ABC’s version – that kept me reading. If you are hoping for the same exploration with the televised version, you’ll be disappointed. There were small amounts introduced with each episode, but unfortunately the series got canned before it was able to really sink its teeth into the subject matter.

Both interpretations were a pleasurable experience, and the stand out sensation I got on completion of both consisted of – ‘Why did they cancel that!?’ when viewing the last aired episode of The Nine Lives of Chloe King… I was still totally hooked on the show. Plus it ended on a cliff hanger … argh! Frustrating! Upon reading the last page of the novels, although a satisfying read, I found myself sighing out loud many times at Chloe’s actions, annoyed that the most realistic options were never even considered, like she was being guided by the writer in a certain direction and never allowed to make her own decisions.

Secondary characters in the novels had that same frustrating trait as Chloe, resulting with me grinding my teeth. Actions they took were inconsistent with their age and the situation. Their screen counterparts were age appropriate and even quite comical at times, while not appearing two dimensional thus escaping my furrowed brow.

So in the case of TV series or novels?  – it’s a resounding win for the screen adaptation. It left me much more satisfied and had a plethora of characters to easily identify with.

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© Casey Carlisle 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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Indigenous characters in popular Australian YA Fiction – do we represent? … by Casey Carlisle

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                The silence of our stolen generation echoes in our YA literature…

I’m not trying to be political, or clever, but growing up in Alice Springs, NT, aboriginals were my classmates, my friends, my neighbours… and it was only natural to include our native Australians as characters in my novels. I didn’t think twice about it. So when I did a little research recently on YA novels, particularly the Australian market – not only for interest’s sake, but a little market research – it upset me to find very little representation of not only Indigenous writers, but also Aboriginal characters within popular YA publications.

When tackling the global market and the most recent prolific titles for the YA industry, the only title that stood out depicting indigenous characters, was Twilight’s Jacob Black. Australian Authors didn’t even make the top ten on the list. When actively looking for cross-cultural content, you can find it. But you have to be looking, it’s not on best seller lists, shown in billboards, being made into movies (as is the current craze). Is it that we aren’t tooting our own horn enough? Going that extra mile to market Australian talent overseas? Staying true to the ‘Australian Brand’ in our writing?

Then I thought about my favourite movies and television shows produced in Australia and struggled to find any which had an Aboriginal character as a part of the main cast. Suddenly I felt very disappointed in our Entertainment Industry.

With a secondary character in the ongoing series ‘Smoulder’ and a half-cast protagonist for ‘The Understudy,’ Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders are in the forefront of my cast it was never my aim to be culturally diverse. And it was a surprise in recent feedback on drafts, with beta readers praising the inclusion of characters of colour, which had me responding, “It really shouldn’t warrant comment. These types of characters should be mainstream in Australian content. Their representation wasn’t on purpose, I write drawing from my experiences.”

So I guess this is my social commentary on the sad fact that the only exposure overseas readers get of Australians and our indigenous brothers and sisters is of stereotyped characters like Paul Hogan, Steve Irwin and the nameless shadows clad in a loin cloth, propped on one leg with a spear. I really hope that more modern, Australian content starts to appear. Characters artfully written in YA novels with intricate and intelligent storylines to challenge preconceived ideas of the developmental rift between our two cultures. This topic leaves me itchy and uncomfortable because there is so much more that could be said, and so much more light needs to be spread over this topic. But I want to refrain from getting on my soapbox and concentrate on staying true to my voice. I guess I have to be one of those instruments of change – keep writing, continue to include Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander characters in my novels. And hope that others will start to do the same and show Australia for the truly unique country it is.

 

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© Casey Carlisle 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Tips for being a stand out Job Applicant… by Casey Carlisle

Don’t follow the crowd – success in job applications relies on much more than sending in a Resume.

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I was having an informal chat yesterday with some friends, and we got on to the topic of finding work, as all of us had started a new job in the past 12 months. Comparing our experiences and admitting on how much harder it was to gain employment than it was a number of years ago and the added pressure of the inflated cost of living highlight what a different climate we live in.

I have to concur, I count my pennies a lot closer today than I used to. There isn’t that much disposable income in my household any more.

But while looking for work, it’s no longer enough just to troll the job boards and send in your resume. Employers are getting 350 to 500 applicants for vacancies today*. So you need to do a lot in order to stand out. Unfortunately it may not have a lot to do with your experience. It comes to using concise language, bullet points, and easy to read layout for your CV – and a killer Cover Letter!

Then, once you have their attention, they’ll look at your skills and experience.

It’s similar to Ballroom dancing competitions; you do all this training to perfect your routine… but that means little if the judges don’t see you. So dressing it up in a sparkly, sexy outfit; stunning hair and make-up to mesmerise the adjudicators is a must. Then while you are busting out the moves on the dance floor, you’re competing with many other couples. The dance track will go, on average for 1-3 minutes; and in that time a judge will watch you for maybe 5 seconds. So you need to make those five seconds count!

So, like a dancing competition, don’t dismiss the window dressing. It’s survival. Do what you can to make your application stand out and present your best qualities clearly. Employers and Recruiting Agencies have a limited amount of time to fill vacancies, and most will only glance at your resume before binning it.

On your job search don’t be afraid to use contacts, show your Cover Letter and Resume to friends, or better still, pop into a Recruiting Agency and ask a Consultant for their opinion. It’s free and they could shed some light on valuable tips to have you stepping into your dream job sooner rather than later.

Many job boards will integrate with Social Networking sites, so use people you know to help you find work. Set up an online profile for employers to check out. Make it impressive – add pictures, media clips, copies of certificates. In today’s age of connectivity, use what’s at your disposal. You can even network with professionals online to boost your reach and credibility.

Remember to put all your skills in your CV or profile. You’re more than your qualifications. What life experiences do you have? What are your dreams & hobbies? Employees want people with passion to join their team. Ask friends to help build your lists, they can be much more objective and identify aspects you overlook.

When you’ve done as much as you can, applied for the jobs you want – be prepared. If they call, many will be conducting a telephone interview as soon as you say ‘Hello?’ So keep notes on the job you applied for handy. Print out a copy of your Resume and Cover Letter so you can refer to it in a glance. The last thing you want to do is stammer through a phone conversation when being put on the spot.

I hope these points will help you – they definitely made the process much easier for me. And don’t forget…

You are outstanding! Be bold and ask for what you want.

*actual figure from feedback of 50+ employers and recruiting agencies in Victoria for the month of February 2014.

© Casey Carlisle 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Excerpt from ‘Smoulder’ by Casey Carlisle

Image            When we entered the Lab, Matthew wiggled his fingers at me in a goodbye gesture and took his seat in the front row.

“Miss Taylor!” Mrs Noble exclaimed happily. “I have the last spot just for you.”

She pointed across the room to the second-last bench towards the back, where an empty stool waited for me.

I recognised Theodore immediately. Raven black hair falling in strands across one eye. He hadn’t noticed me yet, busily flipping through a text book.

As I walked down the aisle to the empty seat a tingling sensation filled my head. I reached the desk and started to pull out the stool when he looked up. Expecting another dazzling smile I inhaled deeply to calm myself. Instead, his eyes widened in recognition and his forehead crinkled, an expression more worried than pleased to see me. I tried to hide the confusion from showing on my face – hadn’t he just smiled at me during lunch? It was understandable that he would change his mind now he could see me up close.

“Hi.” I quietly chirped, moving to sit down.

My face felt hot again, no doubt tinged with red. Not hitting the seat squarely, glancing painfully off the side, I stumbled and caught my head on the edge of the bench, tripping into the aisle. Great first impression.

“Are you alright?” Theodore bent down steadying me with his hands, both of us squatting between the rows of benches.

I was thankful that he had been the solitary witness to my ungracefulness.

“I’m sure I’ll live.” I pushed back my hair and met his eyes.

They were even more stunning up close, the lightest pale blue around the black centre, to a deep violet rimming the circumference. His irises did that reflective thing you see in photographs for a second. A little twinkle. I was suddenly aware of his hands on my shoulders and my breathing accelerated. Theodore’s hands were hot, maybe I made him nervous too?

“Here let me help you.” He stood, steadying me by grabbing an elbow.

“Is she okay?” I heard Mrs Noble ask over my shoulder.

My head momentarily dipped and I clumsily stepped into Theodore’s chest. Wow – he was more muscly than I had thought. His arms shot around me before I fell again. Boy he smelled good! I attempted to shake off the dizziness and felt Theodore stiffen. Was he preparing for me to topple again?

The sound of breaking glass exploded through the room followed by alarmed screams. I felt sharp pain on my left forearm. Looking up, I discovered that the beakers on the shelves above our bench had exploded, shards of glass littering the floor and the bench. My eyes shifted to focus on a glittering at Theodore’s shoulder, and the thick pointed wedges embedded there.

“Oh my goodness!” Mrs Noble fussed, signalling for the class to settle. “How did that happen?”

“You’re hurt.” Theodore’s husky voice breathed in my ear.

I knew it was my arm without looking, it stung and a warm stickiness dribbled towards my elbow.

“Mrs Noble, she’s bleeding.” Everyone wide eyed and excited, but Theodore’s voice was calm, as if unaffected by the event.

“Dear girl.” She stepped over splintered glass and inspected my arm.

Theodore’s hands left my skin, followed by the distinct tinkle of a few pieces of falling glass.

“Should I take her to the nurse?” Matthew suddenly appeared at the teachers side.

“Yes, that would be a great help.” Matthew wrapped an unnecessary arm around my waist and walked me up the aisle towards the door.

I turned to look at Theodore, knowing he’d been cut too, but something about the look on his face made me stop. Matthew tugged on me harder and got me out of the door.

© Casey Carlisle 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.