Thursday, 15 February 2018

Member Interview - Hazel Barker

Each Thursday in 2018 we will be interviewing one of the members of Christian Writers Downunder – to find out a little bit more about our members and their writing/editing goals.

Today’s interview is with Hazel Barker

Question 1: Tells us three things about who you are and where you come from.

1. I was born in Burma of an Iranian Muslim father and an English Catholic mother, and have
lived in Australia for 50 years.
2. I’ve always loved reading – especially the classics.
3. As a teenager, I dreamed of freedom, travel and love.

Question 2: Tell us about your writing (or editing/illustrating etc). What do you write and why?

I write memoirs and historical novels, and wanted to be a writer from an early age, after reading Little Women. But my writing journey only commenced in 2013, when my short story, ‘Hunger’ was
selected for publication in the Redlitzer Anthology.

2016 saw the publication of my memoir, Heaven Tempers the Wind: Story of a War Child, Armour
Books, and my debut novel, Chocolate Soldier. The Story of a Conchie, Rhiza Books.
Part 2 of my memoirs, The Sides of Heaven, Armour Books, was released in February this year. I’m
now working on Part 3, Count Your Blessings.

My historical novel, The Soprano is in the pipeline.

Question 3: Who has read your work? Who would you like to read it?

My memoirs have mainly attracted female readers, but my novel, Chocolate Soldier: The Story of a
Conchie is popular with both sexes. This is probably because of the war theme and romantic scenes,
but particularly due to the message of PEACE.

I’d love all those who wish to give glory to the Lord by witnessing his message and forgiveness, to
read my books.

Question 4: Tell us something about your process. What challenges do you face? What helps you the

My greatest challenge is the lack of time. I usually spend my mornings writing, but I can’t hold back
the clock, and my age is against me. I ask myself, ‘Will I be able to complete Part 3 of my memoirs
and finish my novel? How long will the Lord give me the health and strength to continue writing?

My husband Colin helps me the most. He encourages me and takes me to writers meetings,
conferences and workshops. He’s most understanding and considerate. God Bless him!

Question 5: What is your favourite Writing Craft Book and why?

My favourite writing craft book is K.M. Weiland’s, Structuring Your Novel. It was recommended to me by Iola Goulton when she did a sample edit of my work. It helps keep my writing on track. Thanks Iola.

Question 6: If you were to give a shout-out to a CWD author, writer, editor or illustrator – who
would they be?

If I were to give a shout for a CWD writer, it would be Paula Vince. I met Paula when I first joined
Omega Writers at an Omega Conference in Brisbane, and was struck by her kind and gentle ways. I
enjoyed the fellowship, the encouragement and the workshops. I love her books on Divine Healing.
Her romantic suspense novels. I enjoyed reading her books, particularly Picking up the Pieces and
The Risky Way Home.

Question 7: What are your writing goals for 2018? How will you achieve them?

My writing goals for this year are:
. to polish Count Your Blessings and to revise my historical novel, The Soprano.

Question 8: How does your faith impact and shape your writing?

My faith and my writing go hand-in- hand.
My faith is like a candle that lights up my work.
My faith rules my life, and hopefully, my writing will strengthen my readers’ faith, hope and trust in the Lord.
My faith and prayers too, may lead the despairing to hope, the sinner not to despair of the Lord’s
mercy and the prodigal to return to the Fold.

Hazel Barker lives in Brisbane with her husband Colin. She taught in Perth, Canberra and Brisbane for over a quarter of a century and now devotes her time to reading, writing and bushwalking.

From her early years, her passion for books drew her to authors like Walter Scott and Charles Dickens. Her love for historical novels sprang from Scott, and the love of literary novels, from Dickens. Many of her short stories and book reviews have been published in magazines and anthologies.

Hazel’s debut novel Chocolate Soldier, was released by Rhizza Press in September 2016. Book One of her memoirs Heaven Tempers the Wind, was released by Armour Books in August 2017. Both books are set during World War Two – the former in England and the Far East; the latter in Burma.

Her latest book, The Sides of Heaven, is the sequel to Heaven Tempers the Wind: Story of a War Child, which was shortlisted in the Australia and New Zealand-wide CALEB Competition of 2017.


  1. Enjoyed your interview Hazel and Jenny. Well done on all your writing and publishing Hazel. You are on a roll! :) Lovely to hear how your husband encourages you in your writing and how you are able to devote your mornings to what you love to do. Your books do sound very interesting. Congratulations and may God give you time and energy and good health to keep writing for a long time yet! :)

  2. Great interview, Hazel. I enjoyed reading Heaven Tempers the Wind and look forward to reading your other books. Love your shout-out for Paula Vince and agree whole-heartedly. Among my memories of my first conference was the welcome from Paula (who invited me to join CWD), Anusha (my bunk-mate) and Nola Passmore. Still appreciate these wonderful ladies encouragement and inspiration. All the best in completing your current writing projects.

    1. Thank you for your lovely words, Jeanette. Although I didn't get the opportunity to meet you or Anusha or Nola, I met the wonderful Jo-Anne Berthelsen and Mary Hawkins at that memorable conference.