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.
Here it is, my latest novel, and to date, my favourite yet. The novel is written as a blog, from the point of view of Jasmine…
Post 1: In the beginning
My name is Jasmine Lovely, Jazz usually (unlessI’m in trouble), and I’m a rapist. In fact, I’m guilty of more than just rape but, as my lawyer says, in the interests of judicial fairness, we can’t be prejudicial. It’s hard enough to admit to rape. As a girl, it’s exceptionally hard. People look at you blankly. Not that it’s something I admit to in company, like I just did to you. I don’t normally preface my introductions with that abrupt statement, and I’m not part of a self-help group, where you hold your hand up, state your name, then your addiction, affliction, crime. But this is the truth. I’m sixteen now, but twelve months ago that is what I did, I raped a girl. Her name was Annie Townshend. I could sound all David Copperfield and say, ‘To begin my life with the beginning of my life, I record that I was born (as I have been informed and believe) on a Friday,’ but I’m not recording this as an act of prosperity. In fact, I’m really just creating this blog to address everything. This platform is where things began, so I guess this is where I set the record straight.
The novel is Jazz looking back on an event that went viral, one that shaped her existence…
This is what Fragments of Life had to say about it…
Upon cracking open Saving Jazz, I did not know, exactly, what to expect. After the first chapter, Saving Jazz instantly cemented its spot on my list of favorite YA contemporary novels. The writing itself was beautiful and fluid. The storytelling was on point, spiraling in and out of the dramatics, the scandals and the tragedies of the lives of the characters. McCaffrey laid out an entertaining cast; each one of the characters was perfectly realistic, a blend of the good and the bad, a study of gray areas. I won’t dig too deep into their characters in this review, so as not to spoil you, my dear readers.
Jazzmine was a flawed and lovable character. At the beginning of her blog posts, I was able to see a Jazzmine who was determined to fit in well with her peers, at her school and in her community. She tried to be as pleasing as she could be, with her pretty face, her pleasing personality and her high grades. She ran with the popular crowd. She partied hard like the rest of the Greenheads. However, unlike her meaner friends, Jazz actually had a heart. She was really bothered by the way boys viewed girls, like they were objects. She was also bothered by the slut-shaming going on in her school, as manifested in social media platforms Facebook and Snapchat.
Jazzmine’s involvement in the Greenhead party, the night that changed everything, would be an integral albeit painful part of her life. I liked her growth and transformation throughout the book. After the whole thing blew up, Jazzmine’s parents kept her isolated in their home. Jazz felt the distance between her and her parents, as if they couldn’t quite look at her. She also lost her two closest friends, Annie, the victim, and Jack, her longtime best friend. She felt alone in all of the chaos and the roller coaster of emotions. I liked how Jazz took the long but difficult road after the incident. She tried to fix her life and get back on track, even if the road itself was already crumbling to dust. Through it all, she has matured and could then look at the world from a different perspective.
I liked how friendship was discussed and dissected in Saving Jazz, especially between Jazz and Jack and between Jazz and Annie. Jazz and Jack have been friends for years, since the first day of Jazzmine at her new school. Jack has been with her through the good times and the bad times. He held her hand during her first period. He defended her when someone picked on her. Jack was a constant in her life, always there by her side. As Jack and Jazz grew up, things started to change. I really loved how the author dissected Jazz and Jack’s friendship through all the things they have been through.
Frank was one of the reasons why I liked this book so much. He was a cheerful, charming and handsome barista. He was the love interest. Although he was just found in small scenes, I found his presence in the book to be overwhelmingly inspiring. He worked at Chicco, the best coffee shop in the area. As a coffee lover myself, who has spent hours and hours in cafes, I enjoyed the sections with Frank and Jazz in the coffee shop. It was a breather from all the heavy emotional, guilt-stricken plot. The author balanced out the good and the bad with enough charm and humor.
In the end, I gave Saving Jazz 4.5 cupids because I was beginning to forget some of the small details of the book a few days after reading the novel. Saving Jazz is a gritty, suspenseful contemporary that delves into the side of humanity that is linked and almost always submerged in the waters of social media. Although I knew what was supposed to happen, as Jazzmine took us back to the past with her blog posts, the author managed to keep me sitting at the edge of my seat, with goosebumps on my arms and my heart accelerating. It was a quick read that had me immersed and lost into Jazzmine’s world. The writing was hypnotic and the plot was fluid. There was never a dull moment. I felt like I was riding an almost never ending roller coaster of emotions, zooming through the feeling of being betrayed, guilt, love, loss and the sense of being broken. I highly recommend it to readers of contemporary (particularly Australian contemporary), readers who are looking for pop culture references and a more modern take on realistic stories, and readers who are looking for books that tackle relationships.
Many thanks to Precious for this wonderful review.
But wait, there’s more… Saving Jazz is being launched in August… and then there is another baby out there in the world… Go gurl…
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.
Well, here is more exciting news! A few weeks ago the winner of the Australian Therapists’ Award for Children’s Literature (try saying that ten times really fast) was announced. My publisher contacted me to tell me that Destroying Avalon was highly commended in this award. It’s a terrific honour!
So I googled the Australian Therapists’ Award for Children’s Literature to see who the winner was and found nothing. The website hasn’t been updated (last year it was won by JC Burke for The Story of Tom Brennan)- couldn’t find any information- anywhere.
So then I stumbled across Delwyne Stephens blog (she is an Australian author of YA fiction) and I found this: (I quote)
“WHEELS was listed as a recommended read in the Australian Family Therapists’ Award for Children’s Literature. I was thrilled because WHEELS was one of ten ‘recommended reads’ from a strong field.
The winners in the older readers catergory were Sue Lawson for “Allie McGregor’s True Colours” (Black Dog Books) with highly commended going to “Destroying Avalon” (Kate McCaffrey, Fremantle Arts Centre Press) and “Ten Things I Hate About Me” by Randa Adel-Fattah published by Pan Macmillan.”
Wheels is Delwyne’s book and so I’d like to take the opportunity to say congratulations Delwyne for getting the listing as a “recommended read” and thanks for the information about the award! Also congrats to both Sue Lawson and Randa Adel-Fattah- (all books on my reading list)!!