Posted in cyber bullying, Fragments of Life, Fremantle Press, Getting published, Kate McCaffrey, Saving Jazz, teacher librarians, teachers, The Australian Therapists' Award, Uncategorized

Saving Jazz

Saving Jazz coverHere 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…
Posted in Australian fiction, Buzz Words, Crashing Down, Fremantle Press, Getting published, Kate McCaffrey, Neridah McMullin, Uncategorized, writing

Another Review- thank you Neridah McMullin

Crashing Down

Crashing Down by Kate McCaffrey (Fremantle Press)
PB RRP $19.99
ISBN 9-781-922-089-854
Reviewed by Neridah McMullin

Crashing Down is an engaging, insightful and realistic read for teenagers and adults alike.

This story is fast paced and fun and McCaffrey uses common turns of phrase that are engaging and accessible to today’s teenagers. Her writing voice and narrative is strong and genuine and written in an Australian cultural context that we would all understand.

Lucy is in Year 12 and under pressure to succeed. The last thing she needs is an intense boyfriend. So Lucy innocently breaks up with Carl at the school dance. She admits it wasn’t great timing with exams coming up, but it felt like the only way to keep her dreams on track.

Things haven’t been great with her and Carl for a while now and she knows this is the right thing to do. She feels completely smothered by him and his expectations of the future are so very different to her own. All he can talk about is living locally, with no plans of university, settling down and having kids.

Unfortunately some good decisions can have bad consequences.

Carl leaves the dance angry and hurt and stoned. Driving recklessly, he crashes his car, badly smashing up not only himself but also his best mate JD.

After coming out of his coma, Carl is a changed man. As a result of his brain injury, he’s angry and paranoid and acting completely irrationally. And he can’t remember breaking up with Lucy. She doesn’t want to hurt him so she keeps up the pretense.

Everyone is extremely upset and then McCaffrey throws in a curve ball that will send you into a spin: Lucy is pregnant. She tells Carl she doesn’t want to keep it and he has a brain aneurism! His parents then slap an ‘injunction order’ on Lucy to stop her from having the baby aborted.

Wow, this story has got it all. It’s fast past with a winding plot and complex characters. Even so it raises some valid questions about how these situations could be handled.

Crashing Down is written in a distinctive and engaging style and is thoroughly recommended to Young Adult readers.

This is Kate McCaffrey’s second novel and now I’m going to track down her first book to read!

Neridah McMullin is the author of five books for children. Her next book is an Indigenous folklore story called ‘Kick it to Me’. It’s an ‘aussie rules’ story that’s being endorsed by the Australian Football League. Neridah loves family, footy and doing yoga with her cat Carlos (who also happens to love footy!).

Posted in Australian fiction, beautiful monster, Crashing Down, Destroying Avalon, In Ecstasy, Kate McCaffrey, Uncategorized, writing

Crashing Down

 

My apologies for the wait between publications, but since Beautiful Monster was released in 2010, a lot of things got in the way- namely life! My dad died and that changed all the dynamics! Since then my family has made huge adjustments- moving houses, changing jobs, and all that fun stuff- but even though I wasn’t publishing- I was still writing. Now, the final proofs are in, the novel is at the printers- review copies are out. And so I’d like to announce to the world the birth of my fourth paperback baby… Crashing Down!

CRASHING DOWN

Lucy is in Year 12 and under pressure to succeed. The last thing she needs now is an intense boyfriend. Breaking up with Carl feels like the only way to keep her dreams on track.

 But good decisions can have bad consequences. 

 And leaving Carl is going to be a whole lot harder than Lucy could ever have imagined.

 

Posted in Australian fiction, awards, beautiful monster, cyber bullying, Destroying Avalon, eating disorders, The White Ravens, Uncategorized

A Rather Long Hiatus

I’ve been relatively quiet of late, so many things have been going on that attending to my blog has been pushed to the back of my To Do list. So here I am to make amends.

What’s been happening?

Firstly, my lovely father Michael McCaffrey died in November and it threw life as we knew it well and truly off the rails. In that head space writing , living and just existing becomes challenging. Six months on and things have straightened out somewhat- big adjustments on a daily basis still being made.

In this time I have managed to write a novel– but it has undergone two major transformations and is now heading for a third! I have been having a problem deciding on the target audience, as it’s quite different from anything I’ve previously had published. But now, after meeting with my publisher, I have a relatively clear idea of where it’s meant to go and who it is for. Stay tuned!

In other news: beautiful monster was acknowledged as a White Raven 2011. This is taken from their website and explains what the acknowledgement means:

Throughout each year, the language specialists (Lektoren) at the Internationale Jugendbibliothek (International Youth Library / IYL) select recently published books that they consider especially noteworthy. This »premium label« is given to books of international interest that deserve a wider reception on account of their universal theme and/or their exceptional and often innovative artistic and literary style and design.

That’s pretty cool huh?

And then there’s more- this amazing kid has created a book trailer for Destroying Avalon and posted it on You Tube. I think she deserves an

http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DTrCGwTEbCus%26feature%3Dshare&h=b67a5

Check it out

 

Posted in Australian fiction, awards, Books, Bruce Whatley, Destroying Avalon, In Ecstasy, Jeff Raglus, Jon Doust, Kimberley Writer's Festival, Kununurra's Wrtiter's Festival, literary appearances, Liz Byrski, Media Appearances, Neil Murray, Phil Kettle, The Australian Therapists' Award, The Couch, Uncategorized

Whassup?

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.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dV5Zy8UlrBw

It’s actually quite horrible to watch yourself talk!

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!