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]

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The Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon Girl

For the month of June, I will be writer-in-resident at the fab Inside a Dog website at the Centre for Youth Literature. Check it out here. I’ll be blogging about writing,  editing, comic books, Wonder Woman, dog wrangling, chocolate eating – and loads of other stuff.

For the month of June, I, along with my team of super-editors, will also be putting the final touches on my new book. The Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon Girl will be out in September, which I still have trouble believing. It feels like only yesterday that these characters were but a few excited notes on a post-it; a year-and-a-bit later, and they are almost ready to make their way out into the world. And as always, I am TOTALLY freaked by the thought. Freaked, and excited. Stay tuned for more info coming soon…

The Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon Girl

And more award news…

In a week that continues to be unreal, Life in Outer Space has been shortlisted for the Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA) Book of the Year 2014, Older Readers. In the children’s publishing departments where I have worked, there’s a bit of a tradition on shortlist day, of poring over the CBCA website while undertaking multiple refreshes as the announcements roll out. As an editor, it is always exciting to see a book you’ve been involved with being recognized; I can’t describe how cool, and wonderfully overwhelming it is to see my book up there too.

Giant thanks to the CBCA judges, and to my amazing Ampersand publishers at Hardie Grant Egmont. And, a heartfelt congratulations to all the other notable and shortlisted authors! Looking forward to catching up on some reading between now and the August Book Week announcement…

2014 CBCA Older Readers

 

Award news!

LiOS COVEREXCITING ANNOUNCEMENT! Life in Outer Space has been chosen as the winner of the 2014 Ena Noel Award, a biennial IBBY Australia Encouragement Award for Literature for Young People. Past winner include Markus Zusak, Sonya Hartnett, Catherine Jinks, and a host of other wonderful writers who I’m totally honoured to be in the company of.

You can find out more about the award here

The good people at IBBY (International Board on Books for Young People) have this to say:

Melissa Keil’s debut novel arrived on the YA scene with a refreshing, individual style which has impressed not only its target audience but also readers across generations…Keil has a superb knack of capturing the teenage ‘cringe’ factor: the beach picnic episode is a laugh-out-loud account of awkwardness and developing confidence. The ingenuous style of this novel makes it highly readable and amusing.

Colour me chuffed.

 

Happy (almost) bookiversary, Sam and Camilla…

It’s been almost a year since Life in Outer Space became a real thing. I haven’t had much reflection time lately, as I’ve had my head (and other assorted parts) firmly wedged in the editorial world of my new novel**. Suffice to say, it’s been a fun, surreal, humbling, exciting, and very weird year. A year ago, I could never have predicted the wonderful response that the book would receive, or the lovely people who would give it a boost on its journey. So to everyone who has bought it, borrowed it, read it, recommended it or reviewed it – thank you. Virtual hugs are being dispatched to each and every one of you.

In light of the fact that my life recently has consisted of nothing much more than re-writes of my manuscript, watching Parks and Recreation, and trying not to melt in Melbourne’s apocalyptic heat wave, I thought I would spend a few posts looking back at some highlights of the past year. One of my fav bits of the last twelve months has been hearing from people who have connected with the book (see, I just can’t bring myself to say that I have ‘fans’. But you know. You guys).

So here is some awesome Life in Outer Space art, by the extraordinary Angelyn. Her Sam and Camilla made me swoonish when I first saw these, and they are basically exactly what I had in my head. You can find more of her work and other things here.

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** (That new book should have a title, and a cover, soonish. Stay tuned!)

Life in Outer Space – the US blog tour

LiOS US coverLife in Outer Space is on the road! Check out these blogs for reviews and other LiOS hijinks…

Monday

Blue Owl Reviews

Tuesday
Maestra Amanda’s Bookshelf
Boys to Books

Wednesday
Gidget’s Bookworms

Thursday
A Word’s Worth

Friday
Check back right here for a chance to win a copy!

Monday (Oct. 21)
Random Chalk Talk

Tuesday (Oct. 22)
Dear Teen Me

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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