Guest Blogger Jennifer Hansen, Author of Making Headlines (Book Giveaway)
Working as a TV reporter has its challenges, but when Rachael Bentley decides to aim high and become a newsreader, she faces a whole new minefield of explosive scenarios.
Rachel's path sees her pitched against egos in the newsroom, office politics and corrupt politicians, not to mention rampant sexism, and a mystery stalker. Juggling a messy personal life doesn't help, nor does the emotional impact of reporting on life's tragedies and when it all takes a toll and Rachel starts partying too hard, she finds herself making the headlines instead of reading them.
Will she survive a world where dreams are shattered daily and will she find the man who can help her keep her soul?
Blogger's note: Social issues in fiction has long been a fascination of mine. When I decided to take part in this book tour, I wanted to know how the author kept the social issues in Making Headlines from running away with the story and how she was keeping it fresh when many novels these days address social issues. Here's what she had to say:
There are a plethora of academic studies into the unfair treatment dished out to women in the workplace, from all over the world. There are also thousands of books on feminism and conspiracy theories about the patriarchal society behind the injustices. From my perspective, the only people who’ll really pay attention to those are the already converted. Far better to tell an entertaining story that will have a broad reach across the masses with a subtle message than trying to hit people over the head with a moralistic hammer.
I have always wanted to be a writer. Before focusing on creative writing, I worked as a journalist for many years, starting in newspapers. I then worked in the television news industry for more than twenty years. After I left, I took up the RMIT Professional Writing and Editing course in Melbourne – completing the Diploma – and focused on the subject of Creative Writing. As a new novelist, we were always encouraged to write about a world we knew well, for our first book. So I thought it would be interesting to examine what many believe to be an aspirational career – that of a female TV newsreader – but to also look at the challenges women face in this often male-dominated world.
I have had to be careful to make sure all my characters are completely fictional, so as not to upset any one that I may have worked with in the TV industry. At the same time, I didn’t want to compromise my desire to tell a story that also examines the way bosses can abuse their power in any work situation to make life difficult for those working under them. I wanted to show people – women in particular – that no matter who you are and what position you hold – your satisfaction in your job and your self-esteem can be greatly diminished if someone treats you badly or bullies you.
I had many wonderful bosses in the TV industry (male and female) so this is not a message directed at anyone in real life – rather an exploration of a theme. I have witnessed though, other people being treated badly and have had to deal with a couple of tricky situations myself – and not just in television.
What I am hoping I have achieved with MAKING HEADLINES, is to have created an engaging story that also carries a message about how people should treat each other in the work place. I think the best way to illustrate that, is to write about the worst kind of behaviour, in the hope that people will read that and think, ‘God, I’d never do that!’ It’s not specifically a message to men, but to both sexes - ‘Don’t bully people and don’t abuse your power.’
I think this message definitely comes through, but in a fresh way because it’s subtly disguised in what’s often referred to as a ‘Chick Lit’ book.
That means it’s a fast-moving and easily readable story, but also throws a punch towards the end. It’s also different because it’s about the TV industry and because the author (me) has worked in that business for so long, the reader can be confident they’re hearing about the industry from someone who really knows how it works.
Even though people outside the industry might see the television world as something exciting and aspirational, the reader will also be reassured – or horrified – to know that it’s not much different – or even worse – when it comes to how people are treated in the workplace.
JENNIFER HANSEN is best known to TV audiences as the former co-host of Channel Ten’s 5pm news. These days Jennifer works in radio as part of Smooth FM’s breakfast show where she reads the news and chats with Mike Perso about all things Melbourne. In between media gigs, Jennifer went back to ‘school’ - taking up the ‘Professional Writing and Editing’ course at RMIT. That has helped her complete her first novel and two screenplays. Occasionally she remembers to look after her family - including husband Neighbours actor Alan Fletcher (aka Dr Karl Kennedy) and their two children, Veronica and Tom. http://jenniferhansen.com.au/ https://twitter.com/jenahansen
Jennifer will be awarding an eCopy of Making Headlines to 3 randomly drawn winners via rafflecopter during the tour, and choice of 5 digital books from the Impulse line to a randomly drawn host.