the incredible adventures of cinnamon girl

Happy UK book birthday, The Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon Girl!

Cinnamon Girl

Today is the official UK release day of The Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon Girl, and I could not be more excited! I love the yellow cover! I love the cape! And I especially love the amazingly warm reception Alba and her friends have already received from some fabulous UK readers and reviewers.

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For the next week, Cinnamon Girl will be on tour – check out these stops for interviews, articles and more:

Cinnamon Girl

If you’re in the UK and would like to talk books, publishing, writing or comics, Maximum Pop are running a competition to win a Skype date with me – I’ll be available for a half an hour writing masterclass, or a Q&A, or for a general natter about life, the universe and everything. Check out the competition here

 

 

Cinnamon Girl in the awards world…

Champaign was popped, happy dancing was jigged, and random friends and 2012-04-05aworkmates hugged to the point where uncomfortable side-eyes were given. It’s that week in Oz children’s publishing, and The Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon Girl has made the shortlist for the Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA) Book of the Year 2015, Older Readers! In a year of so many extraordinary, diverse and wickedly good books, I’m thrilled and humbled that Cinnamon Girl was selected for the shortlist. Now to run to the bookstore for yet more fab books to add to my must-read pile (the one that’s about to topple off my side table and crush me in my sleep. Can’t think of a better way to go, really).

A giant thank you again to the wonderful CBCA judges, and huge congratulations to all the notable and shortlisted authors in all categories. Australian children’s publishing is such an amazingly warm and inspiring community of folks, and I’m so incredibly lucky to be part of it.

*throws celebratory confetti at everyone*

CBCA 2015 covers

Welcome to the World, The Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon Girl

Happy first of September, and happy springtime to fellow southern-hemisphere dwellers! Today the skies over Melbourne may be gloomy and grey, but the mood in the Park Street household is totes buzzed** – because today, The Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon Girl is OFFICIALLY out in stores! I’ll be schlepping around Melbourne signing books at various stores – or click here to win one of five hot-off-the-press autographed copies.

Last weekend, friends, family and publishing folk gathered at The Sun Bookshop on a stunning blue-sky Melbourne afternoon to celebrate the launch of Cinnamon Girl. Champaign was drunk, vegan brownies were consumed, and Wonder Woman badges were pinned in various places. The always fabulous Ellie Marney stepped in to make the introductions (seriously, read her books!), and Tina from IBBY presented the Ena Noel award, and honour that I’m still pretty stunned to have won.

A giant thank you to everyone who attended; as always, I’m eternally grateful for your hugs, well-wishes, enthusiasm and support.

(**The Park Street household accepts that no-one here can pull off using the word ‘totes’)

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Cinnamon Girl in the real world

So this happened. New books! Real books! Soon to be found in a real bookstore! And yeah, I may have spent a good few days simply staring at them on my shelf; flipping vaguely through crisp pages, feeling both excited and a little melancholic that my time inside Alba’s head is all but over. Can’t wait to send her out into the world come September…

Cinnamon Girl advance 1

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Pretty shiny things: creating a book cover

Like all proper book nerds, I have a stash of books on my shelf that I’ve bought but haven’t got around to reading. No matter how many times I’ve told myself that there will be no new additions until the spine on ever last unread book has been cracked, the lure of shiny new books, with beautiful covers, is just too tempting. Who hasn’t picked a book up in a bookstore or library just because it has a stand-out cover? Something that catches your eye amid a sea of other rectangular paper objects, that you must have in your hand right now because OMG – THE COVER!

Ever wondered how a book cover comes into being? Who decides what a book will look like? This might surprise you, but usually, it’s not the author. Publishing houses have teams of very clever people who’s job it is to give your naked book the perfect outfit; to take all your words and package them in something that’s going to make it jump off the shelf screaming YOU MUST PICK ME UP AND READ ME!

Generally, this is what happens:

At some stage during the editing process – sometimes very early on – the very clever publishing team will have a chat about the direction that they think the cover should go. They’ll look at other books on the market in similar genres, and will brainstorm ideas, looking at the ‘mood’ that they want the cover to invoke. They’ll research type treatments and images that they think say something about the story. They’ll put all these ideas together into something called a cover brief, and will send this off to a designer or illustrator, along with either the text of the book, or a synopsis of the story. The designer has the very fun job of taking all those ideas and thoughts and instructions in the cover brief, and, using their own expertise, sending back some rough ideas with their own creative spin.

Cover roughs might look something like this:

Cinnamon Girl CVR directions 1

[For the month of June, I will be writer-in-resident at the fab Inside a Dog – you can read the rest of this post here]

The one where I get to talk about comic books…

tumblr_mzam93QGoB1smcbm7o1_250So you have an idea. A persistent something that has gnawed at your brain doggedly enough for you to start jotting it down. You’re getting to know your characters, and laying down the brickwork on the bumpy path that will become your plot. What next? Well – unless you’re writing a real-time testimonial of your own life (mine might be called Girl Who Stares at Computer and Drinks Many Teas) – you’ll probably need to do some research.

Astonishingly, most fiction authors are not in fact experts in every worldly field. Whether your book is set in a suburb that isn’t your own, or on a space station orbiting Pluto – whether your character is a forensic genius or plays the flute or is champion chess boxer (yes that is a thing) – chances are, your story will demand knowledge of some things that are unfamiliar to you. Writers always walk a line between creating their own worlds, which they set the rules for, and ensuring those rules make at least some real-world sense. Bringing into existence another person who has skills that are not yours can be pretty daunting. There’s always the fear of getting something wrong, or simply of being ill-equipped to execute the story you want to tell…

[For the month of June, I will be writer-in-resident at the fab Inside a Dog – you can read the rest of this post here]

One percent inspiration…

I couldn’t be more pleased to be blogging at Inside a Dog. I’m putting the finishing touches on The Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon Girl, and my brain is already shifting gears to what comes next. And so, for the next whole month, I have a delightfully diverting excuse to not think about writing my next book. Writing is hard, and devising handy excuses not to do it can take up an awful lot of a writer’s day. There’s only so much time that can be frittered away on Twitter, or looking at pictures of cute sloths on the net.

(twenty minutes later…)

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Writing a novel takes a really long time – months, sometimes years. And some of that time can even be productive. There are hours of fevered, excited typing, amazing light-bulb moments where chunks of plot appear out of nowhere, and fleeting moments of smugness at a particularly cool line that seems to come from the ether. There are days when writing goals are reached before lunchtime, and afternoons are frittered away on BuzzFeed and watching old episodes of Buffy.

And then…

[For the month of June, I will be writer-in-resident at the fab Inside a Dog – you can read the rest of this post here]