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, 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!

Posted in audio books, Books, cyber bullying, cyber bullying resources, Destroying Avalon, Louis Braille audio books, writing

Destroying Avalon is a Talking Book

Well, here’s more good news! I had a phone call the other day from my publisher to tell me Louis Braille Audio Books wish to turn Destroying Avalon into one!! Isn’t that exciting? It means for those who are vision impaired, or don’t like reading (the whole Year 9 cohort at my school!!!) or who are travelling long distances in the car will be able to hear the audio- unabridged version of Destroying Avalon.

I can’t wait to see what it looks like as a CD! (I’m thinking probably round and shiny- but what would I know!) My publisher said they go into production quite quickly- and they get professional actors to read the part- so don’t fear it isn’t me reading it!!!!

Posted in Books, Destroying Avalon, Getting published, In Ecstasy, Uncategorized, writing

Insecurities of Writing

A couple of weeks ago I handed over my manuscript to my editor– after a big structural reworking. It had required a lot of re-writing, development etc to address the points (and there were at least 6 pages of points) from our editorial meeting.

The problem is once I’m home, letting go of particular phrases I might like the sound of because they don’t fit, or having to change aspects of the plot and therefore lose some element I like can prove quite hard. However, I try very hard to ‘let go’ and use my editor’s criticism to develop the novel.

I recently finished reading a mammoth novel (not about woolly creatures) but around 450 pages in length. It is by a ‘brand name’ author– incredibly successful and prolific. I hated it. There were passages that ‘clunked’ , descriptions that were cringe worthy, character development that was totally ludicrous and I came to the conclusion that good writing is like beautiful light fittings– the lovelier they are the less you notice them– the more ostentatious and elaborate the more intrusive they feel. I wonder if once an author reaches a certain level they just don’t listen to their editor any more– or maybe an editor is too ‘in awe’ to really comment. Then, do very successful writers get worse– the more they write?

I’m probably suffering from second book syndrome– the fear that the second will not live up to the first. And worse that it might not surpass it. I remember listening to Tim Winton on writing and he was asked “have you written your best work yet?” I remember slapping my steering wheel (I was driving at the time!!) and declaring loudly– for him, “Of course not.” To my mind no one has ever produced their best work until they are dead– otherwise what’s the point in trying?? But he was a little more (humble?) reserved in his answer– and said “May be not yet.”

So, my editor rang me today– to ask if she could edit directly onto the computer screen (as opposed to hard copy– which I then accept or reject). Of course I said– go for it. Anything that sounds awkward or laboured cut it– go to work with that editorial pen and carve the sucker up. I want to become a better writer– not a worse one. Besides behind every successful novel there has to be a good writer but an even better editor.

Posted in Books, cyber bullying, cyber bullying resources, Destroying Avalon, teacher librarians, teachers, teaching notes, writing

Teaching Guide for Destroying Avalon

On my website there has always been teaching notes for Destroying Avalon. These were devised when Destroying Avalon was selected by Australian Standing Order, as a book to be sent to public libraries.Today, after mucking around for hours with the upload button I’ve managed to put an entire teaching guide on this blog. It contains some of the original information but I think it has a lot more content. Especially teacher reference notes and activities presented as student briefs.

You’ll find it under Teaching Notes and Guides on the home page. Click on through to the guide. It’s yours to download and reproduce!

As an English teacher I know how much effort you have to put into devising a new package for a new novel. I hope this takes the pain out of it! Any comments or suggestions welcome!

Posted in awards, Books, cyber bullying, Destroying Avalon, Literary Awards, Uncategorized, WA Premier's Book Awards, writing

The Western Australian Premier’s Book Awards Presentation Night

It’s true, I have the inside information, I know who the winners are! They were announced last night at a dinner held amongst ‘the stacks’ in the State Library. And so…

FICTION

The Travel Writer   Simone Lazaroo

POETRY

All the Time in the World  Dennis Haskell

WRITING for YOUNG ADULTS

Destroying Avalon  Kate McCaffrey

CHILDREN’S BOOKS

The Arrival  Shaun Tan

SCRIPT

Sardines  Hellie Turner

NON-FICTION

Rob Riley  Quentin Beresford

Arthur Tang  Peter Edwards

WEST AUSTRALIAN HISTORY

The Workshops   Bobbie Oliver & Patrick Bertola

PREMIER’S PRIZE WINNER

The Arrival  Shaun Tan

I don’t think it came as a great surprise to anyone that Shaun’s book would win the Premier’s Prize- and deservedly so. It is an outstanding success. Shaun was unable to make the presentation but his very proud parents accepted the award- which I imagine must have been a huge thrill!

I honestly had not prepared a speech- as anyone at the presentation will attest to! I hadn’t even mentally prepared one- so I gave a rather perfunctory and generalised thank you. After the shock wore off I realised I’d failed to acknowledge the other short listed authors; Julia Lawrinson, Katy Watson-Kell and Diana Chase- the only remedy was to personally acknowledge them, after the presentation ended! I didn’t really thank the judges at all- and so I’d now like to take this opportunity to send a big thank you to them- Ms Chloe Mauger, Professor Andrew Taylor, Professor Ed Jagger and Ms Lucille Fisher. As Simone Lazaroo said everyone else was mentioned in the book’s acknowledge pages- and in Destroying Avalon there is a page and a half of acknowledgements (you all know who you are)!!

It was a fantastic honour and I am thrilled to have my book acknowledged in such a way! The lesson of the night was, of course,what happens when you spend all your time thinking about clothes and none of it on what you should say if you should win!!!

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

A New Publication Date

I had a quick chat with my publisher about the ‘second manuscript’- at the moment titled ‘In Ecstasy’. Originally its release was scheduled for around about September next year, but I was hoping we might be able to move it up the school calendar to say, I don’t know, about July? Seemed to be a good time to release a book about the dissolution of friendship and drugs.

Before I could make my suggestion she told me they had scheduled ‘In Ecstasy’ for- wait for it- an April release! Woo hoo! Even better, thought I, much earlier in the school year, settled in after the start of Term 1, looking for a new and interesting and dynamic book and then along comes ‘In Ecstasy’. Brilliant, I looked at the pile of teetering manuscript that is the second book. And then I realised I’d need to start WORKING on it!! Ahh yes, that’s how it’s done. It comes home from the editor (covered in both red pen and lead pencil) and then the re-writing occurs!

So that’s where it’s at now. I’ve almost finished the structural edit- almost, and then back to Janet for further tweaking (or replace that word with slashing)!

Yeeah haaaa!