I’ve posted before about how ducks seem to show up in my life at odd moments. When I finished the revisions for Duck for a Day, I woke up to discover a duck on my doorstep. And when I sent the manuscript of a follow-up to my editor, I had a visit from a mother and ducklings.
More recently, I’ve had a bevy of ducks arriving on my doorstep. Ducks of different kinds, but very welcome all the same.
I am delighted now to present to you Duck the First, being the Candlewick version of Duck for a Day, which has just been published in the US, and which kicked off its life over there by somehow managing to get itself reviewed in The Wall Street Journal. The jacket is slightly different to the Australian release but apart from that there are only minor changes to the text, something which might perhaps be the topic of a future post.
The main thing is that it’s out, and people seem to be liking it, and that happily QUACK! appears to be an exclamation that knows no borders.
My copies of these arrived in an enormous box which had been opened and re-sealed by Customs (perhaps ‘essence of duck’ set their sniffer beagles on high alert). I didn’t know they were coming, and it is always such a lovely surprise to find books in the mail. And even lovelier, somehow, to find them in hardback. This is something I hadn’t really thought about. My picture books have been published in hardback, but all my novels have only been paperback, as is standard here, and there is something about the solidity of a little hardback Duck I found very satisfying indeed.
This first duck delivery was followed closely by another. First an email saying Yes, please. And then another, with an attachment, saying Sign here! And so I present to you Duck the Second, which is literally Duck the Second, being a publishing contract for the sequel to Duck for a Day, provisionally entitled Definitely No Ducks! (though it’s been pointed out to me that this bears perhaps too much resemblance to another book I may have published rather recently…).
At this stage, we are aiming for a January 2013 publication, and the illustrator will of course be the marvellous Leila Rudge. I have some work to do on the manuscript between now and then, but don’t yet know the size or shape of the job yet, so for now remain blissful and optimistic.
Which brings me, finally, to Duck the Third, this winsome fellow who has taken up permanent residence on what I call the Bookshelf of Narcissism. It’s a shelf near my desk which houses mostly copies of my own books, though if you look closely you may recognise a couple of ring-ins.
Duck the Third came to me at the Perth Writers’ Festival, where the lovely Karen Blair launched her debut book, Baby Animal Farm, to much fanfare and many barnyard noises. When I bought a copy at the bookstore, I was presented with this fluffy fellow. Buy a book, receive a duck. Now there’s an idea I can get behind!
I am thinking of naming him Winsome Howell III, though I am not sure why. In any case, he will remain perched above and behind me, thereby bringing to life one of my favourite notions, that of anatidaephobia, the fear that somewhere, somehow, a duck is watching you.*