Posted in Australian fiction, Books, cyber bullying, Destroying Avalon, drugs, In Ecstasy, international rights, peer pressure, writing

It’s Time!

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!

Posted in Books, cyber bullying, Destroying Avalon, drugs, friendship, In Ecstasy, literary appearances, Media Appearances, Michael Carr-Gregg, MS Readathon, Penguin Books, Radion National- Life Matters, teacher librarians, teachers, The Childrens' Bookshop Sydney, The Rosalie Writer's Festival, writing

No Rest For the Wicked

The Melbourne Sydney jaunt was excellent fun! In particular the Penguin teacher evening- where I got to meet a lot of teachers and librarians who use Destroying Avalon in schools and who were interested in the new book in ecstasy; also the Classnet interview and the segment for Channel 31- where I was interviewed by some great kids; the Radio National interview with Richard Aedy was a lot of laughs and then I flew back to Melbourne to speak to Michael Carr-Gregg’s cyber-psychologists- they were a terrific bunch!

The second week (of the school holidays) was spent down south holidaying with friends (read- drinking, eating, water-skiing and singstar!!) We returned back to Perth only to start the new school term the next day!! I feel like a need a holiday!

So what’s coming up then…. This Thursday I’m participating in the launch of the MS Readathon at St Stephen’s School Carramar. Following that I’m back in Sydney on the 19th and 20th of May for a presentation at the Children’s Bookshop in Beecroft and then a few school visits. When I return to Perth on the 21st May, that evening, I have the Rosalie Writer’s Festival where I’m presenting to parents Destroying Avalon.

Did I say I need to get to work on the third book? Oh, that old thing… yeah… right I might be able to write again! Soon- I promise!

Posted in Books, cyber bullying, Cyber Cop, Destroying Avalon, drugs, friendship, In Ecstasy, literary appearances, Media Appearances, Michael Carr-Gregg, Penguin Books, Real Wired Child, teacher librarians, teachers, writing

From the Bad, Bad Blogger

I am so sorry. I am really terrible at this job! Call me commitment-phobic- I knew when I emabarked upon being a blogger I’d never hold a candle to those true devout bloggers- Matilda and Justine Larabalestier come to mind immediately. It’s official! I am crap at this!

So I’ll bring you up to date on the latest in this world- cause if you’re reading this, then you’re prolly interested! Friday night (4th April 2008) saw the launch of my new book ‘in ecstasy’. A grand time was had by all- except me, who basically sat at table and signed over 80 copies of aforementioned book. All my friends had turned up, as well as industry and teaching/librarian type people. But could I enjoy their company? No! I had to sit at the table and relish in my JK Rowlings moment. Ahh- but to have just one in a lifetime is a pleasure indeed!

The launch was a success. With engaging words from Dr Bill Saunders who was a real treat to have on the night! And my deepest gratitude to Joscelyn Leatt-Hyatt and her husband Geoff (or Greg, or Andrew- jokes!!)

Saturday the 12th I fly to Melbourne to promote ‘in ecstasy’ on radio, in print and hopefully on TV, I’m also doing some State library gigs and other PD stuff for teachers. Then I fly to Sydney- for more of the same and back to Melbourne to workshop with the much admired Dr Michael Carr-Gregg- Australia’s Dr Phil!

Then, later in May (19th) I’m back in Sydney workshopping ‘Destroying Avalon’ and ‘in ecstasy’ to a lirariarian workshop!~ It’s mad I tell you!

Someday I’ll get back to writing. Someday- soon- I promise Cate (she’s my publisher!!)

 

Posted in awards, Books, cyber bullying, Destroying Avalon, drugs, In Ecstasy, literary appearances, Penguin Books, teacher librarians, teachers, Uncategorized, writing

(Sketchy)Upcoming Appearances and in ecstasy news

I have an advance copy of in ecstasy and like all proud parents I think it is the most beautiful book in the world! That’s not to say I love it more than Destroying Avalon– just differently!! It has turned out really well- and the cover (thanks Tracey) is receiving lots of compliments. Like I say ‘I always judge a book by its cover!! It’s reminiscent of The Collector (an old favourite), smacks of Silence of the Lambs and has been compared to A Cage of Butterflies and Papillion– all great comparisons to my mind.

Review copies have been sent out and the feedback has, so far, been encouraging. Which is very reassuring when facing ‘second book syndrome’!!! April is the launch date- and there are plenty of things happening around that time!

I have been invited back to the All Saints’ Literature Festival in Bullcreek WA, where I will discuss Destroying Avalon and in ecstasy, and writing for young adults, yada yada yada…. Those dates are 2nd April- 4th April 2008. I’ve also been invited to be part of a panel on the evening of the 3rd April, organised by the ETA and Kris Williams (co-ordinator of the All Saints Festival) to discuss writing for the classroom and the influences of school etc… its a PD with teachers as the target audience (more on that when details come to hand).

My publisher (with Penguin Books) is hoping to put together an east coast tour, (Melbourne and Sydney) to coincide with the release of in ecstasy– but more about that when details are confirmed!

The MS Readathon is booked in for the 1st May- I’ve agreed to read a passage from my books to a school (not sure which one yet) as part of its launch.

 And later in May there is the Rosalie Writer’s Festival- I’ve agreed to attend a parent workship to discuss both Destroying Avalon and in ecstasty.

This is only the beginning- let’s get the party started!

Posted in Books, drugs, friendship, Getting published, In Ecstasy, Uncategorized, writing

Humble Apologies

xtc-back-cover.jpgxtc-front-cover.jpg

Well here it is! What do you think? If you click on them I think they get bigger!!

And I’m so sorry it’s been two months since my last posting (that reads a lot like a confession doesn’t it?) but in all honesty I’ve been so immersed in writing things I haven’t had a chance to write anything else….

Let me bring you up to date in the World According to Kate….

In Ecstasy is done and dusted. Packaged, sealed and emailed to the printers this week! HOOORRRAAAYYY!!!!!

It’s been quite a long and arduous process and goes to show how different the birthing of each book can be. Of course things were always going to be different- but I guess once you’ve done something once, you have a set of expectations.

With In Ecstasy I had a choice- when it went to first edit- would I allow the editor to edit only the hardcopy or edit directly onto the computer screen? I said it was fine to change the digital copy… that was my first mistake. I had no idea how disconcerting it would be to read my book already edited- with all the changes hidden. When the editor works directly onto hard copy with both red pen and lead pencil the changes (and therefore the reason for change) is apparent. But this way it was like reading someone else’s book.

This process occured again with the copy editor- who also made invisble changes… I have learnt that I do not like the hidden change. That’s not to say I think I’m above editorial change- I’m not, I welcome it, it’s just I like to see where and why the change is being made. Then I can accept, reject or modify the alteration.

I must say there was a point there where I was totally fed up with the work, tired of reading it, or re-writing it… It had lost its shine. But then, it came back to me for final proof– after hours of sitting shoulder to shoulder with the publisher working through the final changes and I liked it! I really did. By the final edit, we’d managed to recapture all the best parts of my work and alter all the worst….

It was a very long process, but it made it there. And another thing I’ve learnt now, is how I like to have my books edited. And thankfully I have a great publisher who is not satisfied unless I’m happy with the words. So the final say always came back to me… which is a huge relief to know. You don’t relinquish control of your book when you sign on the dotted line.

But anyway, what do you think of the new cover and blurb?

Posted in Books, drugs, friendship, In Ecstasy, Uncategorized

In Ecstasy – the second book

It’s getting closer!

In Ecstasy is working it’s way towards the printers! I’m pretty pleased with the way it’s shaped up and I’m looking forward to galley proof stage.

For those of you who don’t know In Ecstasy is about teenage friendship and the destructive power of drug use. The story is told through the voices of Mia and Sophie, two fifteen year olds who, on a whim, take ecstasy at a party. We then follow their separate journeys. It was a tough book to write, for so many different reasons, but I’m feeling pleased with the shape Janet, Cate and I have so far knocked it into!

Watch this space for more updates!

Posted in Books, cyber bullying, cyber bullying resources, Destroying Avalon, Michael Carr-Gregg, New Idea, Real Wired Child

Destroying Avalon and New Idea

Wow- you know you’ve made it when you appear in the New Idea!

Well, not me personally but Destroying Avalon. In this week’s New Idea Rachel Friend has written an article on Cyber Kids – outlining the dangers, to parents, of unmonitored internet use. My friend Michael Carr-Gregg is the source interviewed.

He says, “If you had a seven year year old would you dump him or her in Amsterdam in the red light district?” It’s an article for parents who are unaware of what exactly goes on when their child is “studiously working for 5 hours in their bedroom”.

Michael’s book Real Wired Child and Destroying Avalon are both listed as recommended reading. Michael’s book gives parents tips on how to manage their child’s internet use and explains blogs, sms, chat rooms etc. Destroying Avalon “explores the problem of cyber bullying…written for teenagers… with strong messages for parents too.”

This week in New Idea – New Idea

Posted in Books, cyber bullying, cyber bullying resources, Destroying Avalon, Penguin Books, Puffin Teaching Notes, teacher librarians, teachers, teaching notes, writing

Penguin- Puffin Teaching Package Destroying Avalon as a Cyber bullying Resource

For those of you interested in teaching Destroying Avalon and have not found anything useful in  my teaching package I’d like to direct you to Penguin’s Puffin Website:

http://www.penguin.com.au/puffin

Click on Teachers- then go to Teachers’ Notes

http://www.penguin.com.au/puffin/NOTES/f_notes.cfm

Then go to Units for the Secondary Classroom, pull down the menu and click on Destroying Avalon.

http://www.penguin.com.au/puffin/NOTES/secondary-pdf/Destroying%20Avalon%20by%20Kate%20McCaffrey.pdf

That’s the link (kinda long and scary looking isn’t it!!) But what you will end up with is a different angle for teaching Destroying Avalon. This focuses more on the text as a tool for combating bullying than as a ‘literary analysis’ of text- so I guess it depends on your aim.

But there you go two to choose from!

Teaching packages galore!

What could be better????

Posted in Books, CBC, cyber bullying, Destroying Avalon, Literary Awards, reviews, Uncategorized, writing

Children’s Book Council Celebrity Brunch

Last Sunday it was a privilege to attend the CBC’s Celebrity Brunch where the short listed books were reviewed. This year three wonderful students from St Stephen’s School Carramar were invited to review the Older Reader’s Section. After they came to terms with the fact their all time favourite English teacher’s book wasn’t on the list (though we all were delighted it made Notables!!) they set about reviewing.

Well, wasn’t I the proud teacher! My students (who I share with the Head of Department- actually they’re really hers, but I like to claim them) were  well spoken, intelligent and engaging, the three of them were wonderful ambassadors for the school. They opened the proceedings and then each celebrity reviewer stood up to make their contribution.

I had a light bulb moment. Now, this is going to seem patently obvious to most people- and it something I’ve paid lip service to myself (without really understanding) a review is just one opinion. I know- there is no great revelation here. But when you watch people stand up and deliver their review it puts into context the faceless reviewer. Reviewers are just people with their own likes and dislikes, their bad days, fights with their partners, annoying or delinquent children, they are normal, everyday people who have an opinion to express.

I guess I realised the scathing reviews (not that there’s been that many) but the ones I remember- before any of the praiseworthy -are just the opinion of someone who didn’t like something I wrote. Perhaps they’d been a victim of bullying as a child and thought I trivialised it, perhaps they expected something more of the book that I didn’t deliver, perhaps they just didn’t like the way I wrote. What I learnt was it didn’t really matter. I need to take on more of the praiseworthy reviews- because after all, these people obviously have more in common with me. Why should I disregard those reviews that praise my work in favour of the ones that diss it?

So, I have a new mind set with regard to reviews- one that I really hope I can embrace. From now on I will look at all reviews (good and bad- you never know there might be something to learn from the bad ones!!)and try my hardest to remember what the good ones say!