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 email@example.com. 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!
Yep, it’s not far away! We kick off this Wednesday 21st March at All Saints’ College for three fun filled days of author talks and book signing. Truthfully, like any other engagement I’ve been a part of, I don’t really know what to expect! I’m trying to organise how these “Meet the Author” sessions will go. But if you could see inside my head (quell horreur!!) you would see the disorganised chaos!!
I’m in the process of negotiating an inter-state trip to Melbourne mid-year to discuss Destroying Avalon and cyber bullying. Watch this space for further details!
And just for the record, I love teacher librarians! With the recent furore over Destroying Avalon– its language and sexual connotations- the teacher librarians of WA have proven how open and accepting they are! So to all of you who defend Destroying Avalon and believe it has a position on the shelf of your library I thank you.
Thank you all!
Back to the mentioned literary appearances- they all went well. Particularly the WAYRBA guest speaker spot where I was allowed to bang on, uninterrupted for twenty minutes- or a lot more. The audience was fantastic- politely smiling (or secretly thinking I was demented!!) But upshot- the President of WAYRBA asked if I would be a guest speaker at their Presentation Ceremony in September. Hmmm, I said, let me consult my diary!! Yeah right! Of course, I said, abso- fantastica-lutely!!!!
The CBC Night of Stars was great. Met a lot of other FACP writers- who all are working on some pretty interesting stuff. Upshot of that night- there is a talented bunch of people in the old WA (as evidenced in the Music industry too). I can proudly proclaim to be a West Australian writer- for after all ,aren’t we the Cultural Centre of Australia now?????
Well, the publicity juggernaut has died down for a mo. I can breathe a sigh of reief! Deep sigh! All went well at both the WAYRBA and CBC talks!
Which gives me pause for a momentary digression-
WAYRBA stands for Western Australia’s Young Readers’ Book Awards and when pronounced, people including those on the committee say “way-bra”, now at the risk of nit-picking it should be pronounced “wayer- bah”. But that sounds silly, doesn’t it. Now I got to thinking am I the only one who realises this (and of course I avoid the acronym at all- cause, 1.- it feels silly to say and 2. eveyone may thing I’m getting it wrong). So my suggestion to the folk of WA is why not make it- Western Australia’s Young Book Reader’s Awards (instant solution!) or Western Australian’s Young Reader’s Awards (and forget the B altogether??)
What do any of you guys think?
Just when you thought that was it… there’s more! The annual All Saints’ College Festival of Young Adult and Children’s Literature is on again! And you guessed it, lil ole me is a presenter!
You can see me at various times from Wednesday 21 March through to Friday 23 March. I will be flogging that old chestnut Destroying Avalon again! But I do hope to include things about writing in general- especially writing Young Adult Fiction. (I’ll be dusting off the notes I used at PIAF!!)
It should be fun. I love a good festival, I do.
More on the publicity trail…
For those who can’t make it to Westbooks for the WAYRBA AGM on Wednesday 28th February 2007 I will be appearing at the CBC Night of Stars on Thursday 1st March 2007 (yes- that’s the next night!!) Talk about over-exposure!!
It is also held at Westbooks 396 Mill Point Rd Vic Park (I live North of the city!!!) but by all accounts it’s a great night with authors like Julia Lawrisnson, Katy Watson-Kell, Dianne Wolfer and others talking for a few minutes about their latest publication and then signing books and general mingling. (I did read drinks and nibbles too!)
Destroying Avalon has been shortlisted in the West Australian Young Reader’s Book Awards 2007!
It’s reassuring to know that the target audience (or at least the one kid who nominated it) likes it!
For those of you who missed my stellar (or so my Mum said) performance at the Perth Interntaional Arts Festival I will be appearing for one night only at the West Australian Young Reader’s Book Awards Annual General Meeting (try saying that ten times, really fast!) I am to give a talk on my career to date, the novel Destroying Avalon, the world of writing and publishing and anything else that fills the twenty minute time slot!
This magnificent event is at Westbooks 396 Mill Point Rd Vic Park on Feb 28th 2007 at 4.15pm. There will be nominated books on display and people keen to help with promotional ideas for the Awards in your school (that is dear reader if you belong to a school).