Feminism, spag bol and spring cleaning with Sasha Wasley
Spring Clean for the Peach Queen is in pole position for my favourite read of 2021. It's warm, funny, uplifting and yet serious, with a huge old serve of country hospitality. The characters feel familiar, from the reclusive bee-keeper Angus and the dear grandmotherly figure Mrs Brooker to the main character Lottie, whose well publicised fall from grace brings her back to the small country town of Bonnievale. Strained family relationships and fishbowl living add an extra level of stress to Lottie's homecoming. With no money, a career she no longer wants and little sympathy from her mother, sister and friends, Lottie moves into a ramshackle caravan and commits to decluttering her life, Marie Kondo style.
Wasley weaves love, humour and fantastic Aussie dialogue throughout the novel, and handles grief, relationships, farming issues and family dynamics with a sensitive touch. The story was just as lovely as the cover suggests. Spring Clean for the Peach Queen is out now with Pantera Press in eBook, audio and paperback.
Keep reading for your chance to win a copy, the interview and details on Sasha's new novel.
Five fast minutes with Sasha Wasley
Do you have a good luck charm or a special token that sits on your desk/in your office?
I do! I have an abalone shell. I found it when I was seventeen and on a school snorkelling camp. It looked about the size of a dinner plate! I had to dive three times to get down to the floor of the ocean, divesting myself of sections of wetsuit each time (damned buoyant neoprene!) but I finally grabbed it, went to swim back up and – dropped it! I gathered every bit of strength in me and ducked back down, seized it again and swam to the top, holding my shining prize aloft. Lo and behold – it could fit in the palm of my hand. It had merely been magnified by the several metres of water above it. I kept it anyway to remind myself that when you think there’s nothing left in the tank, sometimes you find a reserve of determination you didn’t know you had.
Favourite exercise to counteract all the hours sitting at the keyboard?
Yoga class or pottering around the garden with my dog and chickens.
What’s your go-to weekday dinner dish?
Spag Bol, the go-to dinner for generations of Australian mums.
Which career would you choose if money wasn’t a factor and writing wasn’t an option?
I think I’d be a fantastic police searcher. I love looking for little things and I have a good eye for noticing stuff. That or something to do with wildlife.
Favourite book from your childhood?
Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. I can recite whole sections.
Worst writing/book related injury?
Definitely “editor’s wrist” (too much mouse-clicking during editing). Although I did drop my laptop on my foot the other day!
Which jellybean do you eat first, and which do you leave until last?
The white one goes first. I leave the purple until last and I don’t eat the black.
Have you done anything special with any of your advances?
The only thing I really do is buy a bottle of something to celebrate and maybe take the fam for dinner. I try to consider it income, not ‘free money’!
Spot where you seem to get the best bursts of writing inspiration?
Driving in my car. Sometimes I honestly can’t remember the trip I took but I’ve solved a major plot snarl.
Which book and ‘essential’ item would you pack if you won a week in the Whitsunday Islands?
A book I haven’t read yet – probably a psychological suspense. And a notepad because ideas don’t take holidays!
Aussie novel you’re most looking forward to in 2021?
Anything in the psych suspense or mystery genres, and anything by author friends! I’m looking forward to Sara Foster’s new one, which is dystopian and sounds intriguing.
Best one-line sentence from one of your book reviews?
I really loved the one I got recently that said reading Spring Clean for the Peach QUeen “feels like self-care in 2021”.
Share a quirky habit or something readers might be surprised to discover about you.
I’m passionate about feminism and women’s empowerment. I was the Women’s officer at University and did a doctoral degree in ‘everyday feminism’ and I work for the girl empowerment organisation, Girl Guides.
Spring Clean for the Peach Queen
Twelve years had passed since the last Harvest Ball. I was just eighteen when my hometown crowned me their Peach Queen with a blossom coronet. And I was eighteen when I left. One tanked career, one badly timed glamour shoot and one dead boyfriend later, thirty-year-old Lottie Bentz is finally going home. Back in the orchard town of Bonnievale, Lottie embarks on a radical declutter of her life, Marie Kondo-style. She casts out everything that got her into trouble- her phone, socials, make-up and a tendency to tell little white lies - to herself and others. But home has its own issues, not least Lottie's staunchly feminist mother, who is furious with her. When Lottie lands herself a place to stay in exchange for helping kindly Mrs Brooker try out the Kondo method, it seems like the perfect farm escape. That's until Angus, Lottie's former Peach King and heir to the Brooker orchards, makes it clear she's not welcome - especially when Lottie's declutter begins to stir up long buried memories and half-truths. As Lottie finds her way back to herself, can she use her talents to coax Bonnievale and the Brookers out of the past? After all, everyone deserves to feel love, hope and the occasional spark of joy. A deeply moving story about forgiving, finding joy and falling in love with life again.
Find Sasha Online
Sasha Wasley was born and raised in Perth, Western Australia. She writes contemporary novels about life, relationships and community.
Sasha has a degree in communications and literature with a special interest in feminism and social issues. She also writes new adult and young adult fiction in the genres of mystery, young adult and paranormal under the name S.D. Wasley.
Today, she lives in the Perth Hills region with her two daughters, surrounded by dogs, cats and chickens.
For your chance to win a copy of this fabulous book, simply read the interview and answer the questions on the WIN page. Entries open May 1. The winner will be drawn Sunday, May 9 at 5 pm. Newsletter subscribers and Aussie addresses only, please. Thanks to Pantera Press for the review and giveaway copies.