Ghost Bird & Interview With Lisa Fuller

Ghost Bird
Written by Lisa Fuller
Indigenous, Suspense, #loveozya
280 Pages
Published October 1st 2019
Thank you to UPQ
Add to Goodreads
Remember daughter, the world is a lot bigger than anyone knows. There are things that science may never explain. Maybe some things that shouldn’t be explained.

Stacey and Laney are twins, mirror images of each other and yet they’re as different as the sun and the moon. Stacey works hard at school, determined to get out of their small town. Laney skips school and sneaks out of the house to meet her boyfriend. But when Laney disappears one night, Stacey can’t believe she’s just run off without telling her.

As the days pass and Laney doesn’t return, Stacey starts dreaming of her twin. The dreams are dark and terrifying, difficult to understand and hard to shake, but at least they tell Stacey one key thing, Laney is alive. It’s hard for Stacey to know what’s real and what’s imagined and even harder to know who to trust. All she knows for sure is that Laney needs her help.

Stacey is the only one who can find her sister. Will she find her in time?
Stacey and Laney Thompson are reflections of one another, identical sisters, companions and everlasting friends. In their small rural town of Eidsvold in Queenland, the Indigenous and white communities are segregated, white farmers claiming stolen land as their own and ravishing the natural resources. Since her grandmother passed away and her mother working long hours as an assistant nurse, Stacey and Laney would care for one another, until Laney begins her nightly rendezvous with Troy, a local boy who Stacey resents for monopolising Laney's time.

Stacey remembers her grandmother and her campfire stories, stories that will be passed through generations of the Thompson family, of monsters who lurk in the shadows. Stacey begins dreaming of a young woman captured, isolated and terrified and although frightened by the vivid dreaming, Stacey ignores her instincts. Until Laney goes missing.

Stacey is an intelligent and considerate young lady, she has the utmost respect for her elders, her mother and her large, fiercely protective family. Laney pushed boundaries, defying their mother and the educational system that favours white students, Indigenous students ignored and their education seen as secondary and an indication of how the white Eidsvold community thrive on racism and ignorance.

The Thompson and Miller families are adversaries, a continuing hostility which neither family is willing to concede. Stacey defies her family and enlists the assistance of Sam Miller in the search for her sister Laney, despite her better judgement. The rumour around town is that Laney, Troy and a group of local boys trespassed onto the property of local family the Potters. The Potter name is synonymous with violence against Indigenous youth, their claim as one of the founding families of the small town, cattle farmers and white supremacists not above using violence against the black members of the community. While Troy escaped, his are friends incarcerated and Laney is still missing. Still, no one is talking.

Ghost Bird also explores themes of racism and abuse towards Indigenous communities. Laney's disappearance is reported to the local police who are disinterested and apathetic, the disappearance of a young black woman being no cause for concern. The local historical society share the history of white settlement, neglecting the brutal colonisation of Indigenous land and communities. The inequality and blatant racism of small town Australia is confronting and indicative of the experience of many Indigenous Australians.

Ghost Bird is an exceptional read. A spiritual and remarkable journey of family, culture, identity and small town prejudices through the narrative of sixteen year old Stacey Thompson, a young Indigenous woman. Beautiful and breathtaking.

Today on the blog, I'm chatting with Lisa Fuller about Ghost Bird, representation and growing up in small town Australia. Please welcome wonderful debut author Lisa Fuller.

One of the loveliest aspects of Ghost Bird is the infusion of your culture with a strong emphasis on family. How important is it for young Aboriginal readers to see themselves and their cultures between the pages?
Growing up I was constantly looking for people in books that looked like me and were dealing with the same things. It’s why I ended up such a huge fan of speculative fiction because they deal with othering, racial issues, all the things I was going through. I think it’s so important to be able to see yourself represented in any media, especially when you’re younger. When I was writing Ghost Bird, I was wanting to give that representation to my nieces, nephews and cousins. And I hope they can see themselves in it.

Ghost Bird takes place in Eidsvold in South East Queensland. Growing up in a small country town, did you use your own experiences inspire the creation the small town narrative?
I cherry-picked a lot of elements, absolutely. It’s partly why it’s set in the 90s, because things like mobile phone coverage happened after I left for uni in 2002. I thought I was being unique with the characters, but my family tell me that I’ve written myself, my big sister and mother into the story… I can’t really argue with them about that lol. Luckily, they both think it’s hilarious.

I was intrigued by Stacey and Laney being identical reflections of one another who shared a sixth sense. Can you tell us about what inspired you to create their characters?
Twins randomly pop up in my family, and when I was younger I always wished for a twin. I also used to read ‘freaky but true’ books a lot (I still own some), and almost all of them had a section on twin connections. I think it also gave me that opportunity to explore two very different personalities, their own perspectives and ways of dealing with the same things.

Ghost Bird also gently explores themes of colonisation, racism and the erasure of Indigenous history. Are those issues you were conscious of including and how important are they to acknowledge especially for Indigenous youth?
Including these elements wasn’t a choice so much as it was about being true to life, then and now. My community already know these things, but having it acknowledged in such a way is really important, particular for our younger people, so know they aren’t alone. But it’s only part of the story. Yes, bad things have and are happening, but we always have each other and lots of laughter. We’re strong, and we’re still here.

Ghost Bird is your debut novel. Can you tell us about what attracted you to writing and writing for teens in particular?
Honestly, I thought it wouldn’t fly as YA, given the swearing and mature content. My publisher talked to me about it and gave me the choice. I chose YA because I realised I was writing this for that lonely kid back in high school who could never see herself in popular culture. I love the idea of being able to ensure my younger family and community can find themselves out there in the world. Watching all the amazing First Nations writers coming up now is just so exciting!

And lastly, can you share with us what's next for Lisa Fuller?
I just finished editing my middle grade fantasy, Washpool, with the amazing ladies at black&write. I’m so sad it’s over, but it goes off to Hachette soon, so fingers crossed! I’m writing a novel for my PhD that’s shaping up to be YA at this point. And I’ve got a picture book contracted with Magabala. I’ve also started toying with ideas for a sequel to Ghost Bird, because I’m missing the characters… is that nuts?

About Lisa Fuller
Lisa Fuller is a Wuilli Wuilli woman from Eidsvold, Queensland, and is also descended from Gooreng Gooreng and Wakka Wakka peoples. She won a 2019 black&write! Writing Fellowship, the 2017 David Unaipon Award for an Unpublished Indigenous Writer, the 2018 Varuna Eleanor Dark Flagship Fellowship, and was a joint winner of the 2018 Copyright Agency Fellowships for First Nations Writers. She has previously published poetry, blogs and short fiction. Lisa is an editor and publishing consultant, and is passionate about culturally appropriate writing and publishing.

You can find Lisa via her Blog  Twitter  Facebook and Goodreads.


  1. Wow, this sounds amazing. This is the first I'm hearing about it but I may have to pick it up!
    Krystianna @ Volumes and Voyages

    1. It's such an amazing read Krystianna, I hope you can pick up a copy soon. I would love to see what you think of it!

  2. This book sounds amazing.
    I haven't heard of it before, but I'm definitely going to have to look into picking it up!
    Lovely interview, too, Kelly!

    1. It's absolutely wonderful! I loved the infusion of Aboriginal culture throughout the novel and the sense of family. It was one of my favourite aspects.

  3. What an amazing book this is Kelly -- and I would totally have missed it if not for your review! And I agree with Lisa -- speculative fiction opens books and worlds so much for everyone.

    1. It truly does. It was an absolute pleasure to connect with her and for the opportunity to ask about Ghost Bird. It's a book that will stay with me for a long time to come.

  4. Sounds like Fuller does a fantastic job incorporating many real issues with the family drama. She said something in the interview, that is so hopeful, about there is good and bad, but we have other. So important to remember.

    1. It was wonderful, especially the sense of family and belonging to your people. It's a message that shines right throughout the narrative and it added such a lovely gentleness to the storyline.

  5. Sounds like a really good and timely read. Thanks for sharing this!

    1. Absolutely welcome! I hope you can pick up a copy soon, I'd love to see what you think of it!

  6. Wonderful interview and the book sounds amazing too. I love her reasons for choosing to write it as YA.

    1. Unfortunately there aren't many traditionally published books by Indigenous authors in Australia with Indigenous characters so these stories are so incredibly important. It's an amazing read Suzanne, this is one I think you'll really enjoy!

  7. You deserve an award for bringing all the incredible books to our attention Kelly. Every time I visit you'r blog I learn about a new book that I know I wouldn't have known about if not for you.

    Karen @ For What It's worth

    1. I always tend to navigate towards Australian reads and it's great now that international readers don't need to wait to see if these books are picked up by international publishers because most are available on The Book Depository now. This is a book that I encourage all readers to pick up, it's so wonderfully written and absolutely captivating.


© Diva Booknerd. Design by Fearne.