writing

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…)

sloth 2

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

After a brief intermission…

Wonder Woman

I seemed to have blinked and lost a few months of my life. I am not totally sure what happened. I suspect it may have something to do with sending my first novel out into the universe, and then starting my second novel with barely a pause in between. Apart from my poor, neglected blog, it’s actually been a productive few months. Granted, I may have abandoned my family, any hint of a social life, and occasionally, personal hygiene – but book two is taking shape! In that weird, capricious way that first drafts often do. Getting to know a cast of characters is probably my favourite part of the process – reading the books they read and listening to the music they love, and the long hours of browsing the net for the perfect bits of junk that they would have in their bedrooms. Apart from being a more useful procrastination task than checking Buzzfeed, this kind of character mining is sometimes the only thing that can drag me out of a writing funk. Which explains why, after staring at my computer for hours on Saturday night, I was struck with the overwhelming need to rush out at 9.30 p.m. to buy this Wonder Woman bobble head I’d seen in the window of my local video shop. Strangely enough, having her on my desk did help the creative energy, just a little.

Since the launch of Life in Outer Space, a couple of randomly exciting things have happened in my world:

Life in Outer Space is on the Inky Awards longlist! I’m not sure if there are rules about being excited by awards. Maybe authors are supposed to be nonchalant or whatever, but, this is a particularly cool award as it’s judged by young readers themselves. Check out the rest of the awesome list here. I’m so honoured to be in such great company.

And – LiOS, the US edition, is a few days away from hitting the shelves. It’s been a while since I’ve been to the States. For a couple of amazing months when I was younger, I lived in a tiny town in northern Minnesota, on the shore of Lake Superior. This town was basically just a few streets and a handful of stores; but it did have a beautiful old bookstore which was my second home while I was there. I’m not sure if that bookstore still exists. I like to think that – if it hasn’t been turned into a donut shop or something – perhaps a copy or two of my book might make it onto its shelves. 

You can find the gorgeous full dust jacket, plus a sneaky look at the first chapter here.

If you’re in the vicinity of northern Minnesota – or indeed, anywhere else in North America or Canada – hello, and welcome! Feel free to swing past the comment button and say hello…

LiOS US cover

Happy New Year!

My LiOS advances. They may have pride of place on my mantelpiece...

My LiOS advances. They may have pride of place on my mantelpiece…

So it’s been a busy couple of months. I had yet another birthday (which, as is typical, I did my best to ignore). I moved house (always a fun, and not at all stressful thing to do over Christmas). I made New Years resolutions, which I have promptly forgotten about three weeks later. And oh, I finished the final, final, final copy edits and tweaks and last second panics, and I sent my book to press. It’s in stores tomorrow, which is something I haven’t quite managed to get my head around yet. I’ve been chatting with lots of very cool people over the past few weeks, doing interview-type things and answering questions about my book – the sort of questions that are forcing me to think back to when Life in Outer Space was but a couple of random paragraphs on my laptop. Surprisingly, thinking about the book this way – the actual process of writing, of forming and developing a world – is a weirdly difficult thing to do. As I wade through the initial research and drafting stage of my new novel – battling the empty page and the difficult slog of a first draft – I’m finding that I need to constantly remind myself that Life in Outer Space, and these fictional people who I feel like I know so well, weren’t always fully formed. There were many, many moments where the only whiny words that my writing buddy and I could share, were, ‘writing a novel is really hard…’ It may be a naff thing for an author to admit, but two years later, these characters – Sam and Camilla and Mike and Allison and Adrian – feel like old friends to me. I hope you enjoy getting to know them as much as I did.

Now, here are some links to a few of those very cool people I mentioned above:

Book Probe

Where the Writer Comes to Write

Vegan YA Nerds

Final drafts and ‘Star Wars’ fishbowls

It’s done! The final draft of my novel has been dispatched to the expert hands of my editor, and I have succumbed to my standard pattern of a couple of mental high-fives and a brief happy dance, followed by sleepless nights of crushing insecurity. I know that that the manuscript is in the best shape it could possibly be; but at this stage, I am pretty sure I could recite the entire 70-odd thousand words by heart, and it’s a little difficult to see them with anything approaching fresh eyes. But, it is one step closer to becoming a real book, and I will be keeping my fingers and toes and other crossable bits crossed that the thumbs-up from my editor will be forthcoming.

In the meantime, the things I’m most excited about are:

  • Getting designed first pages
  • Being able to officially announce the title
  • Seeing the cover
  • Cleaning my desk

Over the last year my desk has become a bit of a haven for character-related props and other novel-esque ephemera. My protagonist has a Freddy Krueger stuffed doll? I, too, must own a Freddy Krueger stuffed doll! I know that this was partly because a hasty trip to the shops was my way of assuaging writers block – after all, tracking down a DVD of a movie that the character watches or a book that he reads was sort of related to the writing – but suffice to say, my credit card and Minotaur have become good friends over the past year.

Yes, that is a fishbowl of Star Wars plushes. I doubt there was a Woolies in Melbourne left un-plundered in my quest for the complete set. And believe it or not, I wasn’t a horror movie fan before I started writing this book. Except for The Evil Dead. The Evil Dead was always awesome…

Welcome!

So this is, officially, my very first blog post on my very first blog/website/interwebs page thingy. Huzzah! It’s a slightly odd thing to be writing because at this point no one is reading anyway, but nevertheless, I shall shout out into the void – welcome to my little corner of the web. 

Today, I am polishing what is hopefully the final draft of my first young adult novel, an as yet untitled romantic comedy that will be published in March 2013 by the wonderful folks at Hardie Grant Egmont. As a writer and book editor, I should probably be able to produce a searingly brilliant and insightful post about the editorial process; but really, after working on this novel solidly for over a year now, and with my final draft due tomorrow, the ‘process’ has come down to this: drinking copious amounts of coffee, and desperately thumbing through my thesaurus for synonyms for the word ‘scrambled’.

And procrastination. Oh, the procrastination. My word document shall be opened, and stared at, and closed again with nary a comma altered. The font on my blog will be changed, and changed again. Episodes of Game of Thrones will be watched. My house will be the cleanest it has been since the day before my last draft was due. 

Hopefully, searingly brilliant writerly insights might be possible in the future. But for now – I really just need another cup of coffee…