My fondness for ducks is no secret. Neither is my tendency to find spurious reasons to write books about them. I’ve talked here before about how Duck the First is out in the world, Duck the Second is on is way, and Duck the Third is pecking at the thin walls of my writerly sanity, begging to be next.
Now I can officially announce that Duck the Second really is on its way. That it has a contract and an illustrator and pencil sketches and a projected publication date and all of the things that mean it is really, truly, going to be a book.
And I’m sneaky, you know, because I didn’t want my publisher to catch on to my nefarious plan of becoming the leading duck-related author in the Southern Hemisphere, so when I pitched the manuscript, I cunningly titled it No Ducks in this Story!
Somehow, though, they saw through my schemes. After much discussion and gnashing of teeth (mine) it was decided that there would be – quite literally – no ducks in this story and with a little rejigging of the text, the manuscript was re-titled No Bears in this Book!
It has since undergone another small title change, for additional teeth-gnashing reasons I won’t go into here, and is now titled, simply No Bears!
It is still, however, the same quirky story I originally pitched and if the speed of the amazing Leila Rudge is any indication, will probably be out some time next week. I have seen early sketches and they are beautiful. I’m not going to give away anything about the story at this point, but what I can say is that it is clearly destined for great things because despite not yet being published it has already won the most prestigious prize of them all – the inaugural Rottnest Retreat Pitch Award, given to the first writer to secure a contract for a manuscript pitched at the annual SCBWI (WA) Rottnest Island Retreat.
I was unable to attend this year’s retreat, due to my inconvenient location in Nagoya, Japan, but Sarah Foster, Walker Books publisher and fellow duck-lover, accepted the award on my behalf.
Meanwhile, the Duck and I continue our travels in Japan, though our time is drawing inexorably to its end.