Book 1: Oleanders are Poisonous
In a town where gossip spreads like dust blowing in from the Mallee’s canola fields, something unspeakable is about to happen to sixteen-year-old Lauren. It’s bad enough she’s losing her mum to a horrible disease and that her best friend is leaving town, but now the only person she thought she could trust, is about to betray her. She can’t stay here. No one is going to believe the town cop could do such a horrific thing to his own daughter. There’s nothing left to do but run. Especially after the fire.
This mature YA coming-of-age story is filled with heartbreak, laughter and poignancy, unafraid to address the sometimes gut-wrenching complexities of growing up.
“From the first pages, Collins breathes life into her characters, fuels your need to know more. With empathy and insight, she sheds light on the dark experiences of life, shows the power of connection and the courage it takes to move on. A big-hearted coming of age novel about love and trust and everything that comes between.” Melissa Manning, author of Smokehouse Collection
Book 2: Magnolias don’t Die
It’s been eighteen months since Lauren left her horrific memories in the dust of Wineera. But now, in this grungy Fitzroy pub, in walks Harry, the young musician from back home who won her teenage heart. Then smashed it. Harry’s offering her a brighter life. He says he believes in her. Says she has a gift: a unique voice. Lauren wants to trust him. She wants to be like those other girls – confident, carefree, not giving a fork what anyone thinks. Can getting lost in the spotlight, in the music, in Harry’s arms, help Lauren forget that awful night back home? Or will it bring her dark secret into bright focus? Maybe it’s already happening …
This devastatingly honest YA+ novel explores the casual sexism and harassment young women face every day and how essential it is to speak up and find support when dealing with teen trauma.
“AJ Collins expertly guides us through Lauren’s brutal, complicated coming of age in a poignant tale about growing up too fast, forgiving too slowly, and the healing power of love, friendship, and family – however it comes.” Nicole Hayes, author of The Whole of My Word, One True Thing, A Shadow’s Breath
Articles & Short Stories
(Click titles to access articles)
Interview Article published in Go Festival Magazine Jan 2016
“It’s every new mother’s worst nightmare: finding out your newborn child might die before she reaches her first birthday.”
Profile Article published in Go Festival Magazine ( page 23)
“A Sex Psychologist reveals the murky world of Internet pornography addicts.”
The Joy of Disruption: A yearning for a quiet place to write leads to an attitude adjustment.
(Click titles to access stories)
Excerpt from one of my novels, awarded a High Commendation in the 2015 Monash Short Story Writing Competition.
A Lost Father
Short story recorded by Kim Dodsworth for radio Queensland on Youtube.
ANTHOLOGIES FOR PURCHASE
Burning Love and Bleeding Hearts Short Story Anthology – Things In The Well Publications, Feb 2020
This anthology includes my short story “Valentine’s Volunteer”, about a not-so-innocent bloodbank collection’s worker, and features 60 short fiction pieces from international authors.
The Indian Giver Short Story Anthology – Lizard Skin Press, Issue 1, 2012
This anthology includes my short story “The Indian Giver” which was awarded First Prize in the 2010 Monash Short Story Writing Competition. It features six-year-old Katie who is questioning the authenticity of religious dogma, and the harshness of adults who qualify the importance of kindness to suit their own needs.
A Lost Father Short Story Anthology – On The Ledge of the World – Visible Ink, Issue 25, 2013.
This anthology includes my short story “A Lost Father”. Bill, a homeless man living on the streets of St.Kilda, spends his days scavenging so he can save every skerrick of his pension for a very special purpose.