At least that’s what the shops seem to think. Personally, I wish they would hold off just a little longer, or possibly entirely.
But this year I can hardly complain because I seem to have become part of it in some small sense. Because despite having only just recovered from the launch and associated promotional madness of “matt new book” (aka Ten Tiny Things), I am here to announce the publication of my latest shiny new book, which is decidedly and inescapably Christmassy.
It’s called Wreck the Halls, and it’s my latest contribution to Walker Books’ Lightning Strikes series. It seems I have accidentally written a trilogy of sorts, as this is the third book to feature the adventures of the hapless Nathan, Ronnie, and Weasel, who readers came to know and roll their eyes at in Going for Broke and The Big Dig.
… where I tell you I’ve been busy.
And where I use the cunning technique of splitting the first sentence in order to form a pointlessly catchy title for the post. A title that tells you nothing much at all. A title that if it tells you anything, tells you that this is going to be one of those shapeless, formless catch-up posts that people who are fond of articles with titles like “Ten Top Tips For Terrific Blogging” are so appalled by.
So I’ve been busy – busy being hard on myself for not having finished the novel I began so-called ‘fast-drafting’ at the beginning of the year. Apparently for me, fast drafting means an average of about 12.6 words a day. Which are then thrown out the next day, to be replaced by 12.6 possibly better ones.
But then I’ve been busy remembering that I have three books coming out in the US this year (No Bears, Duck for a Day, and Surface Tension, now known as Below, about which I shall write a vastly more terrific post at a later date), and two in Australia (Ten Tiny Things, Wreck the Halls, about which, terrific-ness, also later). And that I have in fact been occupied rewriting and copy-editing and proofreading and visiting schools and libraries and conferences and answering interview questions and doing promotional stuff here and there and everywhere and the many, many other bits and pieces associated with what it means to have five books coming out in the same year.
In Japanese, that means “It’s been a long time”, and it has. I spent some of the last month travelling in Japan, some of it travelling home, and the rest of it trying to get used to being in Australia again and catching up on the many jobs which seemed to pile upon me the moment I touched down.
I should do a post-Japan wrap-up, but I’m not quite in that space yet. And I have a formal Asialink report to write which needs to take priority.
Remember Pile #4 from my last post? Wherein I vowed to finish my book trailer and upload it somewhere other than my desk?
Well, I’ve done it. It took a very late night and a certain quantity of hair-pulling but it’s done and it’s on YouTube and pretty soon it’ll no doubt be a viral #1 hit all over the world.
Or not, but in any case, it will be done, and off my desk, and that is all to the good.
Book Week is over for another year, which is probably just as well, as I may need the next eleven months to recover! I had another jam-packed week of storytelling, talks and workshops, this year at libraries and schools in the Cities of Stirling, South Perth, Joondalup and Swan. It was fun using this year’s theme of Book Safari to talk about tracking ideas: how do you recognise them as they flash past in the jungle? what do their footprints look like? what happens if you think you’re tracking a deer and when you finally get a good look at it, it turns out to be an elephant? These are the questions that keep me up at night!
Beware of photographers, I tell you. They will say things to you like, “Yes, let’s just take a few over there. Hold the shovel and smile. Excellent! Looks great!” …[click] [click] [click] … “Well, I think that’s all we need, then.” [feigned casualness] “How about one more? Just scream or something, make a crazy face – just for fun?”
So you scream and make a crazy face, just for fun, and then one day you wake up to this, on your doorstep, before you’ve even had your coffee:
And suddenly all your friends start looking at you sideways, as if they’re beginning to see you in a whole new light.
** (Actually very fabulous) photograph by Marcus Whisson, in its original context here.
When I got home from Rottnest, I found this:
It’s The Big Dig – my very first copy and it looks great! And oh yes, I know you’ve seen the cover on here before, but this is the book, the actual book, and there’s nothing like it, nothing like seeing that actual package with the little bear and knowing your book is inside and that it weighs exactly 230g.
Coming to a store near you from July 1st!
While I wasn’t watching, this happened:
Old news, you say? Isn’t Going for Broke just so very last year? Well, yes, I suppose it is, at least in Australia. But look closer, if you can.
Look at this:
Pounds! UK only!
On 4 May, Going for Broke was published in the United Kingdom! Somehow, I seem to have slept through it. But no matter. I am awake now.
More information here. I wonder what they’ll make of my boys?
As you may know, The Big Dig is my next book in the Lightning Strikes series. I’ve been madly going back and forth with my editor trying to finalise the manuscript for the last month or so (it is more important than you can possibly imagine to make sure all the commas are in the right places!) and now it’s finally done. And even better than that, I have a cover, which is fantastic. By which I mean that it is fantastic that I have a cover, because the book would look naked without one, but more importantly that the cover itself is fantastic (see how important those commas are?). The real thing will be even more sparkly and fabulous, but for now, here is a taste:
In other news, I have completed the manuscript of Duck the Second and sent it off to my editor. Cross your webbed digits for me!
Apparently, ‘unco’ is no longer a word. I have had to pull it from The Big Dig at the eleventh hour, having been confronted by a sea of blank faces when I tested it out on some readers.
The closest one of them came was a very tentative, ‘Umm, uncool?’
Come on, people! Save this word! We need unco. How else am I going to describe my dancing?
(also no longer meaningful – ‘tanktop’. Eh, no great loss there).