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It was a great turn out on Tuesday night- despite the wet weather and the Census Epic Fail. About 150 guests turned up to greet Saving Jazz as she enters the world!
My thanks to Catherine Kolomyjec and her team at Sacred Heart for all their work. Peter Bothe ( and Trevor Lynch) for so graciously allowing Sacred Heart to host it. Justin Whitt for an amazing job as the official launcher. Bianca, Zoe, Anthony for their contributions on the night. All of my students who had an input and interest in the development of the novel. Fremantle Press, in particular Cate – for her ongoing support and Naama for her meticulous editing and appreciation of who Jazz is.
And Jasmine Lovely is officially here…
Kris Williams and Norman Jorgensen
It seems appropriate to update this blog with the biggest news of late- my fourth novel Crashing Down was launched last night at Sacred Heart College Sorrento. It was a fantastic night, a turn out of about 140 people ranging from students, teachers, parents through to industry folk- oh, and of course, family and friends. Catherine Kolomyjec did an awesome job organising the event, aided by Emma Killian and supported by some of my Year 10 Lit kids- who were absolute standouts both in front of, and behind, the camera. News from my publisher is that the first print run of Crashing Down is already 3/4 sold! Not bad news to hear on the night of the launch.
Jan Nichols, in top form, dressed as a midwife to “birth” the new baby (the theme of the book being teen pregnancy). The celebrity guest in Norman Jorgensson (Jack’s Island and The Last Viking- to be launched in September at the State Library) was a true crowd pleaser.
The reviews are coming in- the latest can be accessed via this link
And so, a good night was had by all!!
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!
Hi it’s me! So latest updates- as that is all I’m good for! Look, at the risk of sounding like I’m apologising- which as I’ve stated previously I’d never do for fear of insulting your intelligence– thought I’d update the latest news I have. ‘in ecstasy’ has been released in North America- and so far so good- no bad reviews (yet!!) Destroying Avalon shows no sign of that shelf life we worried about- unfortunately (for kids) cyber bullying goes from strength to strength-I just hope that someone, somewhere gets something out of the book that changes the path they’re on. It’ll be released in Hungary this year (I share JK’s publisher!!!) Also still have film option on it– so who knows there?
A few appearances coming up- in mid July I have Kununnarra’s Writer’s Festival- never been to the Kimberley– so that’s exciting. August is book week- and I’m doing a few libraries in Perth (my birthday is also in that week!!!)
New book! Yes, there really is one– two in fact. Let’s talk about one first. ‘Murder Within’ is its working name and is under contract with Fremantle Press for an April 2010 release. It’s done- and ready for edit and production- it’s the third in my YA angsty teeen fiction- though I (and the publisher) both believe it is more psychological and less ‘issues’ based than the other two.
Book Four? I hear you ask– well now for something completely different. I have moved away from teen angst to enter the Contemporary Fantasy realm. For me this is interesting- and as yet I’m unsure as to whether it is successful. It’s at 25000 words and to paraphrase my ex- Masters tutor– it has a heartbeat. But whether others (publishers) will detect that remains to be seen. It is a genre I’m not in love with-as a reader-fantasy. Which poses the question why on Earth would I attempt it? Well, let me set the record straight- I never liked fantasy because it always seemed like too much hard work. Remembering worlds and monarchies- people and types, was always too hard.I hated having to look at the map and glossary to figure out what was going on. Okay- call me lazy, but I guess I am. My fantsy story could be categorised as contemporary fantasy- no ‘other world’ names and types just a parallel world if you like, set in contemporary times. But for me, it gets better. For this story I research Irish mythology- and in case you’ve not made the connection- McCaffrey is an Irish name. So I was able to explore my ‘roots’ mythological and geneological to write this one and its been fun and interesting.
Like I said it doesn’t have a publisher yet- in fact it’s unfinished. But I’m enjoying the change and the different focus. We’ll wait and see.
That’s me- how are you travelling?
I know I should– but it’s shallow and empty now, isn’t it? I leave this blog for lengths of time and then breeze in when I seem to have nothing better to do. So I will not insult you with another apology. Instead I’ll try and justify my absence by bringing you all up to date with the latest happenings.
I handed over the manuscript ‘Murder Within’ in January- just before school started– then was inundated with the trials and tribulations of teaching! I flew off quickly to Melbourne- for Booktalkers at the State Library of Vic, with none other than the legendery John Marsden– I pulled my 12 year old daughter out of school to attend with me. Unfortunately John’s farm fell within the bush fire zone and he was unable to get a car out to attend the night. Twas still great– with Kirsty Murray, Sue Saliba, Tim Pelger and Don Henderson in fine form commenting on what influences our writing.
A week later I was off to Somerset Writer’s Festival in Queensland. What a fantastic week that was. Andrew Stark– organiser of the library conference performed magical acts to pull the event together and then the Writer’s Festival itself followed. I was in the company of some brilliant people, terrific authors and illustrators– Lee Fox, Tobhy Riddle, Suzanne Gervay, Kate Forsyth, Garth Nix,Debora Abela, Tristan Bancks, Shamini Flint, Rob Newton, and Matt Ottley. Just on Matt, for a second, not only was I impressed with his sandgroper status– yes he also crossed the spinifex curtain to attend Somerset– but the man is an all out genuis. I tell you- how can anyone not read Requium for a Beast and not see genuis at work?? Not only are his illustrations brilliant– but Matt composes his own music! I’m not being parochial when I say that Matt deserves all the credit and kudos he is receiveing (especially with his latest nod from the CBC!!)
Following that– teaching, marking, reporting and a few visits to schools. School holidays- which is a laugh, isn’t it– whose holiday is this??? Not mine!! I’d received word from the publisher that I needed to re-write a part of the latest book– oh, only about 20, 000 words!!! Hello! So first week of my delightful holiday was spent doing such. Second week– marking 4 classes of work– delightful!! And now I’ve just teed up the latest gig guide with my publicist– so I’ll let you have it:
16 May- ETA panel- at Perth College- discussing female vs male protagonists (I think!!)
23-27 July Kununurra Writer’s Festival (I’ve never been to the Kimberley– I’m really looking forward to it)
25 & 27 August- Morley library– for CBC Book Week (PS Aug 25 is my birthday!!!)
2 October– breakfast at Frasers for ASLA Conference. Later that day I’m sure I’m on a panel!!
That’s it so far. Will keep you posted on other happenings.
Oh, by the way– Hungary has bought rights to Destroying Avalon– now I can boast I share JK Rowlings publisher!! (if only it was her bank balance!!!) That’s me– up to date i think. Will try and be a better blogger!!!
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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inecstasy_cover_r4Hi ya- I’d apologise, but why should I really, it’s my blog site and i think I’m allowed to do what I like! Anyways, I have been kinda busy- what with the north American rights to in ecstasy and now confirmation on some interesting news I’ve been keeping secret. So now the contract has been signed I’ll let you know the guff. The option has been bought on Destroying Avalon to turn it into a film. Now, I know, before we crack the Vueve Cliquot, that thousands of novels are optioned and very few made into films. But all I can do is hold my breath for a couple of years and wait and see!!
Back to North American in ecstasy– when the international rights were bought I was asked if I would be happy to ‘Americanise’ the language- and even the setting, as even though the setting on Perth’s west coast was potentially recognisable as California- we needed to tighten it up. So we did. But the edit got even tighter. I had to shorten the ending- not change the plot but make significant changes to the storyline, nothing significant to the story as such- but as a writer I had to let go of a lot of little phrases and things I quite liked. It was tough and a bit of to and fro but eventually we got there. I have their cover to show you, and it’s appearance in their catalogue. Let me know what you think!
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