It was a privilege and a pleasure to be interviewed by Writing NSW for Spotlight On, a monthly feature article on a member of the Writing NSW community:
Thank you Writing NSW for the brilliant job you do supporting writers!» Share this post
AUTUMN REVEL is a free festival of the Arts to be held this Saturday 19 May 11am to 4pm at the Gorman Arts Centre in Canberra.
There will be live music, dance, open studios, art exhibitions, book and craft stalls, kids’ activities and workshops, local food, wine and beer.
I'll be one of the authors selling books at the tables in the courtyard closest to the ACT Writers Centre.
Flying through Clouds and Racing the Moon will be available at the discounted price of $10 each.
And free Flying through Clouds bookmarks and Racing the Moon balloons!
Hope to see you there!
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It was another fun Children's Literary Lunch at the Fraternity Club in Wollongong last Wednesday. This annual event is organised by the Children's Book Council of Australia Illawarra-South Coast Sub-branch.
I joined 15 other authors and illustrators, and an audience of nearly 200 students and teacher-librarians for a fantastic day filled with stories, books and drawing. I had the privilege of being the guest author at a table of students and their teacher-librarian from Port Kembla Public School.
The morning program consisted of three minute pitches from the authors and illustrators. I donned a woollen scarf and 1930s flying goggles to deliver my pitch about my new novel, Flying through Clouds. After lunch, we were entertained by Adam Murphy with his sketching techniques and stories from his time working on films such as The Lion King, Aladdin and The Little Mermaid.
Thanks CBCA ISC for a great day!
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I've taken the first steps towards self-publishing my new novel - Flying through Clouds - a follow-on to Racing the Moon. After attending an excellent two-day indie publishing seminar at the NSW Writers' Centre in August, I put together a project plan and launched straight into it. I'll be sharing my experiences on this blog over the next few months.
I've hired a professional editor to copy edit my manuscript - to check for consistency of style, grammar, spelling, sentence structure and punctuation, and make recommendations for appropriate changes. They will also look for consistency of voice, characterisation, narrative and format. When they send the copyedited manuscript back to me, I'll systematically go through the Word Track changes and comments, accepting or rejecting them and making further changes where necessary. Based on my previous experience working with editors at Allen & Unwin on my first book, I'll be accepting almost all of the track changes, and taking on board the advice to make further changes to the manuscript. I estimate this process will take me at least a month. I also had a structural edit done about a year ago with a different editor who advised on structural aspects of the manuscript, and as a result, I made significant changes to the manuscript - deleting some chapters, writing new ones, moving a few chapters around, developing voice, the characters and narrative, and a sense of time and place.
While the copy editor is working on my manuscript, I have been busy buying ISBNs, a barcode and QR code from Thorpe Bowker. As I intend to publish Flying through Clouds in different formats, I need more than one ISBN - one for the paperback book and one for each different eBook format. I bought a set of ten ISBNs, one barcode of the ISBN for the paperback, and a QR code, which links to the Books page of my website:
There is no information about Flying through Clouds on the Books page yet because I need to hire a book designer to do the cover. I recently put together a book design brief and contacted a few book designers whose book covers I liked and obtained quotes. My book designer is working on some concepts at the moment.
In my next blog post, I'll give an update on the copy edit and new book cover. I also have to put together a media list and investigate printing and distributors.
So much to do but one step at a time.» Share this post
So many sessions to choose from with six concurrent sessions from 9am to at least 5pm every day, not to mention two literary dinners.
Annabel Crabb was in fine form in her conversation with Chris Hanley. Her witty insights into political shenanigans brought gales of laughter and tears to the eyes. Annabel was joined by other political journalists, including Kerry O'Brien, Sarah Ferguson, Leigh Sales, Nikki Savva and Paddy Manning, all of whom have written books on political subjects in recent years. Their forensic discussion of recent events and players was fascinating.
Being a YA author, I was keenly interested in what authors such as John Marsden, Anna Feinberg, Nick Earls, Damon Young and Tristan Bancks had to say about their novels and writing process. Other authors that contributed to lively literary discussions, include Thomas Keneally, Debra Adelaide, Charlotte Wood, Anna Funder, Kathryn Heyman, Emily Maguire, Drusilla Modjeska, Kate Forsyth, Louise Doughty and Dominic Smith, all of whom gave thoughtful insights into their books and writing.
Something completely different was Archibald Prize Unwrapped, in which Rosemarie Milsom did a great job keeping the loquacious barrister, Charles Waterstreet in check while encouraging her introverted and talented artist brother, Nigel Milsom, who won the Archibald in 2015 with his stunning portrait of Charles Waterstreet.
My favourite sessions were Feminism Now and Indigenous Lives through Women's Eyes. Anne Summers did a brilliant job as chair of Feminism Now, allowing the younger feminist writers, including Yassmin Abdel-Magied, Melanie Joosten and Emily Maguire, to voice their concerns and individual viewpoints. You couldn't help but be impressed by their lively discussions and thought-provoking arguments.
The Indigenous writers were just as impressive, with Melissa Lucashenko chairing and contributing to the discussions with Delta Kay and Tara June Winch. Their love of Aboriginal culture, story and writing was inspiring. After hearing Tara read from her beautifully written novel, Swallow the Air, I went to the bookshop marquee and bought the book.
Mary Ryan's Books did an amazing job selling books at the festival. The bookshop marquee was often busier than the food and coffee stalls.
The sky was blue and the sun was shining when I left Byron Bay, inspired by all the wonderful authors I'd met.
Many thanks to the organisers, sponsors and volunteers who did an amazing job.» Share this post
I'll be one of the many children's / YA authors at this fun event. Bring a picnic, relax in the story tent, enjoy presentations by authors and illustrators or try your hand at one of the many craft activities. There is a book shop where you can purchase books on the day, including my debut novel, Racing the Moon.
See you at the CBCA Illawarra South Coast table between 10am and 12.30pm! Free face painting, craft activities and Racing the Moon balloons.
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It was such fun at Big Book Day Out 2014 at the beautiful NSW Writers' Centre in Rozelle. There was a real fairground atmosphere with so much happening - the variety of activities and talks was truly amazing.
The sun was shining as authors and illustrators entertained children and their families at stalls, under trees, on rugs, anywhere there was room, and the audiences were enthusiastic and appreciative. The event was a kaleidoscope of books, talks, art and craft, readings, stories, signings, jokes, showbags, posters, postcards, bookmarks and balloons.
In my session, "The moon, balloons and books", the corny moon jokes were a big hit, as were the four copies of Racing the Moon that I gave away as prizes to the young people who answered my jokes correctly. Before and after the session, my husband and I couldn't blow up Racing the Moon balloons fast enough.
Who would have thought that a children's literary event like Big Book Day Out could generate such a buzz and excitement? Many thanks to the organisers - the Children's Book Council of Australia (NSW Branch) and Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). Well done!» Share this post
I had such a great time on Wednesday 6 August at the 2014 Literary Lunch of the Illawarra South-Coast Children's Book Council of Australia. With more than 160 guests from schools around the Illawarra and South Coast and fifteen guest authors, the day was all about stories and books - bringing them to life and encouraging a love and enjoyment of reading and stories, whatever the genre.
I had the privilege of sitting with ten students and the Teacher-Librarian (Sharon) from Jamberoo Public School as well as Jean, a CBCA representative. The students had so many questions to ask about my novel, Racing the Moon, and their enthusiasm was infectious. The historical photos that I brought along to give them a feel for what it was like in the early 1930s (the period when my book is set) were a big hit.
The really exciting part of the day was the three-minute pitch sessions by the authors: Di Bates, Toni Brisland, Jill Bruce, Lynda Calder, WeiChim, Bill Condon, Di Ellis, Sandy Fussell, Peter Macinnis, Belinda Murrell, Lillian Rodrigues-Pang, Oliver Pommavanh, Lesley Vamos, Jodie Wells-Slowgrove and myself.
Each of the pitches were so different - some authors talked a bit about themselves and their writing, some concentrated on a particular book, story or character, and some, like Oliver, just went wild. The pitches were all timed and there wasn't a computer or Powerpoint presentation in sight. It was very entertaining and the students loved it. Lillian, a professional oral storyteller, also gave a longer and very energetic performance of one of her stories after lunch, which kept the audience captivated to the very end.
After the presentations, I was so busy chatting to students, signing their program booklets and generally having a lot of fun, that I forgot to take any photos!
A big thank you to the CBCA ISC organisers and to the enthusiastic students and teacher-librarians who made the literary lunch such a special event.
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I've been busy preparing talks for the following events:
Wednesday 6 August - one of the guest authors at the Children's Book Council of Australia Illawarra South Coast Literary Lunch in Wollongong - I'll be giving a short talk to the 160 teachers, librarians, students and other authors attending.
Sunday 31 August - Big Book Day Out, presented by the Children's Book Council of Australia NSW Branch, at the NSW Writers' Centre at Rozelle - I'll be one of the many children's / YA authors chatting to people at this fun event. Bring a picnic, relax in the story tent, witness children's illustrators in action, participate in the Costume Parade, try your hand at craft and enjoy the sunshine. See you at the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators stand!
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I’ve been tagged by Sandy Fussell to answer 4 questions about my writing in the Writing Process Blog Hop.
Sandy Fussell is a children’s author who studied mathematics at university, works as a computer programmer and is keenly interested in history. Her books include “Polar boy”, “Jaguar warrior” as well as the hugely popular "Samurai kids" series.
Thanks for tagging me Sandy!
My Writing Process Bog Hop Q & A:
1. What am I working on?
I’ve just finished writing the sequel to “Racing the Moon” – it’s called “Flying through Clouds” and continues Joe Riley’s adventures and journey through adolescence in Sydney in the 1930s. I’m also working on a full-length play, which is very challenging because up to now I’ve only written short plays.
2. How does my work differ from others in my genre?
“Racing the Moon”and the sequel are fast-past historical novels written for young adults. It took me a while to develop Joe’s distinctive voice which I think young people will relate to. Joe is an optimist who always sees light at the end of the tunnel and races headlong towards it. By having Joe tell the story, I hope readers will be able to experience Joe’s world from a young person’s perspective.
3. Why do I write what I write?
The inspiration for writing “Racing the Moon” came from stories my uncle told me about growing up in the Depression. I’m fascinated by the period between the wars in Australia as it was such a significant period in our history. I enjoy writing for young adults – it gives me the chance to be playful and experimental, looking at life through the eyes of an adolescent.
I write plays because I love drama and theatre, and the opportunity to collaborate with directors and actors and see my plays come to life.
4. How does my writing process work?
I develop my ideas by reading and doing a lot of research. I visit museums, libraries and art galleries, looking for artefacts and photographs to inspire me to bring the period that I’m writing about to life. I also like to visit the places I’m writing about, even though they may have changed over the years.
I think about and develop my main characters even before I start writing. I also think about potential conflicts and dramatic incidents that will develop the characters and the story, and help build tension and suspense.
When I start writing, I use a writing pad and pen, getting into a state of ‘flow’, writing quickly and not agonising over anything. I try and build character and story, weaving in more historical details with each edit. I tend to write a few chapters at a time then type them up on the computer before printing them out. I’ll edit chapters many times until I’m happy with them. If I feel that the story isn’t developing enough, I’ll plot the next few chapters, but generally I let the characters tell their story.
Time to tag some more writers … here are some of my favourite children’s / YA writers. Keep an eye on their blogs where they’ll be answering the 4 Writing Process questions sometime soon.
Kate Gordon lives in Launceston, Tasmania, and has written four novels for young adults. Her latest novel, “Writing Clementine” has just been published by Allen & Unwin. Prior to becoming an author, Kate worked as a Librarian (as both Sharon and I did!)
Sophie Masson was educated in both Australia and France, and has had more than 50 novels published in Australia and internationally, mostly for young adults and children. Her books have been shortlisted for many awards, with “The Hunt for Ned Kelly” winning the Patricia Wrightson Prize for children's fiction in the NSW Premier's Literary Awards (2011). Her latest YA novel, “The Crystal Heart”, has just been published.
Sharon McGuinness has worked as a Librarian and Teacher Librarian. I met Sharon many years ago when we both worked at Parramatta City Library. Her first picture book, “Coming home”, was published by Wombat Books in 2012, and she has also self-published an eBook called “Try!”.
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