writers festivals

Somerset

Yes, okay, it’s been a while. The Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon Girl was published late last year, at which time I descended into that peculiar writer’s black hole known as OMG I MADE A BOOK BUT WHAT ON GOD’S GREEN EARTH AM I GOING TO DO NOW??? As with many writers, the answer was:

Eat chips.
Binge watch Netflix. All of it.
Call friends. Receive surprise that one is not dead, nor relocated to Alaska.
Clean everything, twice.
Open a blank page. Cry.
Eat chips.
Start writing.

After a short break over Christmas (where, sadly, no fully-formed manuscript was found beneath my tree), book three is finally starting to take shape. I like my new characters. I’m immersed in research. And I’m enjoying revisiting some old, much-loved friends. It’s probably going to take a while. It’s a slippery, indeterminate thing, this writing business.

Mr Darcy

In the meantime, I’ve been out and about – most recently in the sunny Gold Coast for the Somerset Celebration of Literature. Did I say sunny? I meant HOTTER THAN THE FIRES OF MORDOR. Yeah, it was really, really hot – and also one of the funnest, most awesome literary festivals I’ve been lucky enough to be part of. For three days, a contingent of writers descended on Somerset College for talks, workshops, panel discussions, book signings, dinners, fireworks, ice-cream, and general bookish shenanigans with fifteen thousand young people who passed through the gates.

I hung out with some old writerly friends and made some brand new ones, and met some truly exceptional, interesting students. Big shout out to everyone who came along, everyone who took the time to come visit my signing table for a chat, and the Somerset Festival Committee for organising such a fantabulous event.

And, in the midst of all the festival fun, this happened too:

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THAT’S RIGHT! The Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon Girl is long-listed for the 2015 Gold Inky Award! Here’s me, and Inky, and the very lovely Clare Atkins, author of Nona and Me, and all round wonderful writer person. Check out the rest of the Inky list here.

Writerly gatherings

I feel like I’ve spent the last couple of weeks talking incessantly – I did my first ever radio interview, and then chatted to high school students for Book Week. I buzzed around at Melbourne Writers Festival, and shot up to Queensland for a whirlwind two days at Brisbane Writers Festival.

I’ve been meaning to write a wrap-up of the festivals ­– some words on the awesome writers I met, and the great panel discussions of all things YA, and on signing books for some fabulous young fans, and the giant crushes I’ve developed on, like, half a dozen brilliant authors who I shared the stage with (Randa Abdel-Fattah, I’m looking at you), and the weirdness of sitting in the hotel restaurant while reading a copy of Avengers Assemble, before realizing that its author, Marvel writer Kelly Sue DeConnick, was sitting at the table next to me. I don’t know what the etiquette is for fangirling while someone is trying to eat their breakfast. Potentially not awkwardly shoving their book into your bag and hurrying away before they catch sight of you reading it.

But truth be told, I’m sort of tired of talking about myself. I’ve had a blast over the past few weeks, but I am also really looking forward to curling up in my jammies with my manuscript. I’ve missed my characters. I can’t wait to be in their world again.

Oh, and also, during MWF week, this happened:

 LIFE IN OUTER SPACE IS ON THE INKY AWARDS SHORTLIST!

Needless to say, I was gobsmacked. And speechless. And so completely chuffed to be part of a list selected by young readers themselves. If you’re aged between 12 and 20, you can cast your vote here. Make sure to check out the rest of the shortlist as well. I’m honoured to be among such wonderful writers.

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