It’s now time to start thinking about booking your guest speakers for 2019.
I am available for classroom talks, seminars and workshops.
I can discuss the issues in my novels: cyberbullying, drugs, eating disorders, mental health, teenage issues, as well as the road to publication and the life of an author. I can deliver Professional Development in Creative Writing to English teachers, as well as Creative Writing workshops for students.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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!!)
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!
No it’s not the sequel to Destroying Avalon, it’s what I’ve been up to lately. The musings have been quiet because I have been in Melbourne! Late last year as I innocently googled the title of my book (a past time all authors assure me they engage in- except the likes of JK and Stephen King!) I came across a review, on a WordPress blog. Destroying Avalon had only been released in September and this review was written in about October. Intrigued, I read it and was rewarded with praise and glowing recommendations! I returned fire (friendly of course) thanked the anonymous reviewer and addressed several of the questions that had been raised. Pressed send, end of story.
Not quite. When I came home that day there in my Inbox was a reply to my comment. The reviewer was none other than the Head of Ivanhoe Grammar in Melbourne. What developed then was months of corresponding and co-ordinating my trip as Writer-in-Residence to their school.
What a school! On my last night there I attended a Parent Forum- for the launch of Ivanhoe’s Cyber bullying policy and when I spoke I made the point that if I lived in Melbourne I’d send my kids to Ivanhoe. I sincerely mean it! Firstly, Graeme Harder- the head of Ivanhoe Plenty, is a forward thinking man, he seized on Destroying Avalon at its release and began organising cyber bullying forums and sessions immediately. To my mind this is a man with his finger on the pulse! The school is lovely, and the students brilliant.
I had sessions with each year group- engaging and polite kids. I also had a writer’s workshop with the Talented and Gifted Writers’ Group- wow, impressive people. These students are SO smart, and lovely too. We could have extended the time from two hours to four and probably would have needed more. The head of secondary Renata Rowe was a wonderful host, organising and accommodating us (my sister-agent flew over with me) and Chris Norwood (of the library) was wonderful too. It was a fantastic time.
The trip concluded with the parent forum which was lead by Adolescent Psychologist Michael Carr-Gregg and Victoria’s Cyber Cop Susan MacLean. Talk about authorities on the subject. Together these two make a formidable duo- armed with all the latest imformation on cyber bullying and teenage depression. They are fantastic speakers to have in a school and also have resources to help schools tackle cyber bullying. Michael Carr Gregg’s website is certainly worth checking out.
I hope to stay in touch with the kids from Ivanhoe- via this blog (some have already commented) or through my email at firstname.lastname@example.org. One day I’d love to go back- who knows In Ecstasy is out next year- maybe then!!
WOW! That was exhausting! A lot more exhausting than I ever imagined. For those of you who have never attended this Gala event it is a Children’s Literature Festival run every year on the grounds of All Saints’ College in Bull Creek WA. What an amazing experience! As a presenter, the festival organiser (Kris Williams) ensures your every need is met. The whole operation is seamless and professional, for each session a student is assigned to take you (the presenter) to and from your venue. These venues range from theatres in the school (and there are a few), to gigantic air-conditioned marquees. The student introduces you to your audience and concludes the session for you, along with offering you water and coffee (like I said your every need is met) and food. The school puts on amazing food- including a wonderful coffee shop erected for the occasion- great coffee, thanks guys!
Between sessions we get to kick back and talk to other authors, illustrators and people in the industry. A great sharing experience, I learnt a lot of ways to present a ‘meet the author’ session in the future (courtesy of Julia Lawrinson and JC Burke) and heard some amazing stories of other author’s roads to publication (thanks Barry Heard).
The most rewarding aspect of the whole experience is meeting the readers of your book face-to-face and getting feedback from them. In one of my sessions a group of kids, who had read Destroying Avalon as a class sat in the front rows and bombarded me with questions. Hello students from Tranby (Baldivis WA). You guys were fantastic- I loved the opinions and the ideas that you had. I especially loved the fact that all of the feedback about Marshall was so positive. I love that Marshall is finally being accepted.
Would I do it again?
It’s a long way- I get on the freeway at Joondalup, drive through peak hour traffic to exit at the Leach Highway. It’s mentally draining- standing in front of a crowd of people, who may or may not have read your book, ranging from 80 – 300 and talking constantly for 45 minutes. It requires a lot of organisation (I still have 2 children who attend school and extra-curricular activities and a partner who sometimes would like to spend time with me). But it’s so rewarding.
So YES! I would and I think the school -All Saints and Kris (in particular- along with Adam and there were other key people whose names I’ve forgotten- sorry) deserve a pat on the back for creating such a festival and providing West Australian students with a terrific opportunity to meet with living authors!
And for those of you who attended I hope you found it as rewarding as I did!