SO here they are, my little international babies- a Hungarian, a Korean and a North American- watch out Angelina Jolie I can have a rainbow family too!
Pics : Kate Mac, Jane Mac & Jon Doust Kate Mac, Liz Byrski & Jon Doust
Returned from Kununurra this week. I was flown up there to be a guest of the Kimberley Writer’s Festival. First impressions of Kununurra- man it’s hot! It might seem like stating the bleeding obvious- but for a city girl (whose furthest trip north was Monkey Mia, back in the 80s) I left hail storms in Perth to 37 degrees on my arrival!!! The other thing I noticed quickly- was unlike Monkey Mia, where they have dolphins, Kununurra has crocodiles!!! Several crazy authors dived from the boat and swam in the Ord- I wanted to scream, “People there are crocs in there!” But apparently the ‘freshies’ only take a small bite- unlike the “salties” who have a palate for humans. Either way I wasn’t taking any chances!!!
Writer’s Festivals are great in so many ways. Firstly you travel to exotic and remote locations (meet the locals and get eaten by them), you have an opportunity to discuss literature (and often yourself) to communities that often miss out and you get to meet other writers and illustrators. It’s like professional development for the Arts World. This trip was brilliant- I met some fantastic people. Here, let me list them:
Jon Doust- my favourite Perth author. Jon is the greatest ‘people person’ I have ever met. He was like the Pied Piper of Hamelin- with his trail of school kids who followed him everywhere.
Liz Byrski- my other favourite Perth author. Jane and I shared a place with Liz and it was wonderful- a girls’ weekend away, much laughter and merriment. Liz is a highly successful writer and shared a lot of advice.
Jeff Raglus and Vicki Phillip- musos and performers- what a fantastic team. Crazy cats!
Bruce Whatley and Rosie- they are lovely people and we shared some lovely moments.
Phil Kettle a most prolific writer of children’s books- somewhere in the vicinity of 5 million copies sold. I know, hold onto your hat!!!
Neil Murray- songwriter and poet (a lovely poem about step daughters), Anna Jarrett (story teller), Ambrose Chalarimeri (autobiographical writer).
We worked hard! Lots of functions, school sessions and public workshops, big thanks to Emma, Marie and Jo- for shuttling us around and catering to our strict dietry requirements (Jon and I are both vegetarians and gluten intolerant! Yes, we are those people! The caterer’s nightmare. But in my own defence at least I’m not lactose intolerant too!! Jon!!)
Then back to the real world- teaching, editing (my latest work) and spending time with my children! That’s the hardest thing about tours and festivals- leaving the kids. But they were pleased with the mosiac geckos and crocodiles in eggs I brought back!
What now? Book Week is coming up, I have a couple of visits to the Morley library. In October I have the Singapore Writer’s Festival and maybe a trip to Sydney. Did I mention that ‘in ecstasy’ won the Australian Family Therapists’ Book Award? I was so pleased- finally a gold sticker- it lives in Destroying Avalon’s shadow!!
I was on ‘the couch’- a Perth TV show aired on Aurora channel.
It’s actually quite horrible to watch yourself talk!
It’s time for me to tend to this rather neglected blogsite and dust away the cobwebs and up date the latest happenings. Where to begin?
Saw out the end of ’08 down south in the most magnificient part of WA the Margaret River Region. It is a debauched writer’s heaven what with winery after winery! And also one of the longest water ski areas in the West too. I did plenty of skiing and also tried to master the wakeboard too! But though the holiday home I have presents as a writer’s haven up until the 11th of January no writing was done!
Panicking– I promised my publisher the latest book in January, I had no choice but to push through the writer’s block and turn those 28 000 words into a 56 000 word manuscript! Is it good? Time will tell- but for now it’s a draft- albeit a rather rough one. Which is good because on the 27th I returned to teaching– taking on a much bigger load than ever before!
So– I’m hoping that ’09 will see me juggling all those balls very nicely! Teaching, writing/editing and being a contributing member of society– did I forget family? My eldest daughter has sailed into Year 8 and my youngest into Year 3– so there’s another ball to throw up into the mix!
This week has been inundated with radio interviews on ‘sexting’– most ABC stations have asked me to talk about this phenomenon as well as the cyber bullying one too!
On March 3rd I appear at the Centre for Youth Literature in Melbourne with the likes of John Marsden– my 12 year old daughter is coming to, excited to meet a ‘real’ Australian writer!
On March 5th I’ll be at WA’s Night of Stars– with my great friends at Westbooks!
From March14th – 21st I will be soaking up the sunny rays of Queensland at the Somerset Festival for Literature– attending both the Librarian and Writer’s components of their festival. And then after that there are more appearances on the cards.
Oh– and here is the ‘book trailer’ for the American release of in ecstasy— I thought it was pretty cool. Tell me what you think. Now if only the North Americans like it– there could be an overseas tour in the pipeline!
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When I first received the audio version of Destroying Avalon I had mixed feelings. I think mostly because I’d only ever heard myself read the text- so it was a complete jolt to hear someone els’s voice. The other thing was I’d never listened to a talking book before- so that, in itself, was a new experience for me. Having said that once I continued to listen I found myself drawn into the story (which was surprising as I knew how it went!!) and found myself becoming involved on a different level. I guess at that point I realised that though this was still my story it was now a completely different form of work. I could see the value of the different voices the reader (Kellie Jones) used and the way she drove the narrative along. Having spoken to people with vision problems, they’ve told me how much they value the reader changing the voices, it makes it so much more interesting for them listening.
I found this review of the Audio version- on the Read Plus website. Check it out. ReadPlus
It’s that time of year when I feel I must attend to this poor neglected blog. I’m terrible at updating- I know that, but at the risk of whingeing (though this is my blog and I do believe the perfect forum for it) I have been so damn busy! I’m not only a writer, but also a teacher and a mother- so when that time is divided up there leaves very little for self promotion. I know- I really should sit down and get my priorities in order!
Anyway, where to begin? in ecstasy has been doing the rounds and so far has been met with mostly favourable reviews. Phew! The anxiety associated with having a new book out there is almost indescrible- you await the reaction (and having had previous experience you know ‘you can’t please all the people all the time’!!) But here is the most exciting news of all. in ecstasy was bought by a Canadian publisher (yep- that means North American rights!!) and is now in the process of being edited for the North American market. What does that mean? Don’t they speak English too? Of course they do, but the publisher wants to make changes to suit the target audience over there.
What that means is this… when I write my books they are distinctly Australian- nay, West Australian. Why? Because I love WA. I think it is a great place to live. I love writing about its beaches and lifestyle. I remember as a teenager reading Tim Winton’s Cloudstreet and revelling in the recognition of places like Subiaco- landscapes I knew and could readily identify. Given that so much of the work I read as a kid was American, or British it was liberating to see home in the pages of a beautiful book. (NOTE: to date Cloudstreet still remains in my Top Ten). So I wanted to pay it forward. Give new teenagers a chance to connect with their own environment. After all Young Adult fiction often serves to provide a mirror for these kids- with regards to issues they face, and choices they make and an identifiable environment often makes that even more accessible.
So, both Destroying Avalon and in ecstasy are set in Western Australia, but for both of them the environment doesn’t contribute to the challenges these kids face, as much as provide a backdrop against which this plays out. The themes in both books I believe are universal- cyber bullying is a world wide phenomenon- and alarmingly, still on the rise. Experimentation with drugs, peer pressure and social acceptance has been around since, well, since forever, and will continue as young adults seek to find their place in the world.
What’s this got to do with North American publishing rights? Glad you asked. What it means is the Canadian publisher wishes to locate the action somewhere in North America- so their audience will readily identify with it. I guess I was lucky, I didn’t have to even think about it because of my own thoughts on the subject (see paragraph 3). So now I will be working with my Canadian editor to make the changes for this. I don’t know what else will be adapted or changed- we will see as it goes along. But it’s an exciting time for in ecstasy– a reinvention of self, already!
There has been work afoot to take Destroying Avalon into another market- with an offer being made to publish it in another country. But as I don’t have official confirmation (and this one involves a translation!) I’ll update when the contract arrives.
The babies are entering the big wide world. All I can do is kiss them and wish them luck with their new audiences!