Category Archives: The Big Dig

The Trailer is Parked!

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.

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Dig This!

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.

Welcome Home!

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!

The Big Dig Is Dug!

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).

The Big Dig Is Not About …

* filling in a backyard pool with cement so you can have a bigger yard to play in.

* a boy who wins a backyard pool in the Westpac Maths Competition but has to pay for his own fence so he sells the cement his father has left in the shed which was supposed to be used for the driveway.

* a boy whose fence is too small for his pool so he has to put it down the middle but it all works out well because it means he has half the pool and his annoying sister has the other half.

* a boy who builds a solid cement wall around his pool, like a castle, with turrets.

* a boy who tries to dig his own pool but it’s too expensive and there are too many stupid rules so instead he decides to focus on studying maths.

Though I have to say, I like your style, all of you!

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The Price of Cement, Swimming Pool Fencing Laws, and Year 6 Mathematics

These are some of the things I’ve had to research while finishing up my latest novel The Big Dig, forthcoming in July this year (if I can get it done in time!). Anyone like to guess what it’s about?

Email me with your ideas and I’ll post them here when I have a few. If anyone gets close, there might even be a prize!

Hint: if you live in the City of Melville, you may have something of a head start. In a curious alignment of planets, I am writing this from Civic Library in that very city. More on that another time.

The Big News

It’s official. I’ve just signed the contract for a second novel in Walker Books’ fun Lightning Strikes series. This one is called The Big Dig and again features Nathan, Weasel and Ronnie, the three hapless characters who barely survived Going for Broke.

The Big Dig will be out in July. Which is a little alarming, because I haven’t finished writing it yet.

Must get onto that.

Writing these books is quite a change of pace for me. Somehow, I never saw myself as the sort of writer who would ever annotate a manuscript draft with the note:


It’s a lot of fun.

There Is Only So Much …

… I can do for you, oh seekers of websites. I thought ahead. I know how difficult it is to spell “McKinlay”. I added variations thereof into my secret, hidden keyword thingies, thereby enabling Google to lead you here even if you search for “McKinley”, “MacKinley”, or “MacKinlay”. When Annabel, Again came out, I showed similar foresight. You will find this site if you search for Annabelle, Anabel or even Anabelle.

But there are limits. I’m sorry, seekers of websites. I’m glad you’re looking for my site, but I have to draw a line. If you search for Annibell, Annuhbel or Anabull, then I’m afraid you are on your own. Take heart, though – I have learned my lesson. This is why I have thoughtfully entitled my next novel The Big Dig. Enjoy!