Welcome to The Book Ninjas! by Ali and Michelle
We’re Ali and Michelle. Best friends, Book Ninjas, founders of Australia’s Books on the Rail, and co-authors of the romantic comedy novel, The Book Ninja. We’re so excited to share our book with everyone in the UK – especially because our story started there too. Back in 2014, Ali was living in London and met the wonderful Hollie Fraser, founder of Books on the Underground. She joined the movement, and, together with Michelle, brought the idea to life in Australia in 2016. With the help and incredible generosity of our team of over 1000 Book Ninjas, we plant books all over Australian public transport for people to find, read and then return. At the end of 2016, we turned the idea of Books on the Rail into a romantic comedy – the rest was history.
We hope you enjoy our special book. We love hearing from you, so please feel free to email, Facebook, Instagram, Tweet or even snail mail us your thoughts, ideas and questions! In fact, we love answering (and asking) questions so much, we even had a few for each other.
A 5 minute interview with Ali & Michelle, by Ali & Michelle
Michelle asks Ali:
Michelle: Ali, which character did you most love writing?
Ali: Hey Mich! Fancy seeing you here. The character I most loved writing was probably Cat. She’s Frankie’s fitness-class, book-obsessed, feisty, incredibly impulsive best friend and carries knitted balaclavas in her handbag for all occasions. I found myself laughing hysterically while writing her – which is always fun!
Michelle: Tell us your favourite book included in The Book Ninja?
Ali: Oh that’s such a hard one. Probably, The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons (which Frankie drops on the train early on in her book experiment) it is one of my all-time favourites. It’s one of the first books that Michelle and I spent hours and hours analysing and gushing over and the first book we dropped on the train as part of our Books on the Rail movement in Australia. It’s a very special book to us.
Michelle: Sum up the book in three words.
Ali: Funny, wacky, literary.
Michelle: If Claud could knit you something, what would you want it to be?
Ali: Definitely one of his famous knitted rose bouquets. So romantic!
Ali asks Michelle:
Ali: What was it like to write with me?
Michelle: A dream! We quite literally, finish each other’s…
Michelle: Bouncing off ideas, creating this world together, laughing over plot twists and character idiosyncrasies, we just gel. And not to mention, being able to write and read The Book Ninja together and experiencing the story for the first time through your chapters was always so exciting. You’re full of inspiration and surprises!
Ali: Does The Book Ninja reflect any real life experiences?
Michelle: Didn’t you know this is my memoir? Frankie’s colour coded bookshelf, her fear of feet and perhaps even some tidbits from my past dating life. And, of course, little quirks from people I know and love (except for when it comes to Putu, Frankie’s eccentric, overbearing, hippie mother, with whom she has a somewhat tumultuous relationship. It’s important that my Mum should know, that she is not the inspiration there!).
Ali: What’s something we don’t know about one of the character’s back stories?
Michelle: Claud’s character went through a big transformation during the writing process! At first, he was anything but lovable – he was curt, confrontational, humourless. We struggled to make him more three-dimensional, more believable as Cat’s husband. I think it was only a couple of days before we had to submit the first big draft that, in a stroke of genius, we came up with his knitting obsession! We laced this through the book at the eleventh hour.
Ali: If you could eat one thing from the book right now, what would it be?
Michelle: A cruffin! Obviously. #salivating