… would be the name of my book launch, if I was having one. Which I’m not, even though Frané Lessac is standing by to dress up as anything I so choose.
Despite the allure of Frané in a duck costume or a penguin outfit, or possibly both in rapid succession like the quick-change artist she definitely is, I won’t be having an actual launch event this time, but two books will nonetheless be launched onto an unsuspecting picture-book-reading public.
One book about a duck. The other about penguins.
I told you a bit about the first one recently. I told you a bit about the second eight years ago, at which time I was also launching-but-not-launching my very first duck book. I guess there really is nothing new under the sun. Continue reading
Hello, it’s me. Yes indeed, I am alive. I just haven’t posted here in a long time because I’ve been writing. Which is a good thing.
The thing that I have been writing is a middle-grade novel, which is also a good thing. And hopefully a good book. It is approximately two years overdue, which is a less good thing, and also why I have not been posting here.
Because when your long-suffering publisher is patiently waiting for you to deliver a long-overdue book, it feels odd to be spending time rambling in a bloggy way. However, I am back to bloggy-rambling because my publisher is no longer suffering, at least not at my hands. This is for two reasons:
i) Long-overdue book is now done!
ii) In the process of working on long-overdue book, I got an idea for another book and that book is about to be published! Continue reading
As 2016 rolls on, I’m getting ready for the UK release of A Single Stone.
One of my favourite parts of this process is seeing the different ways in which the same book is packaged for new markets.
With Surface Tension, I loved my original cover so much I couldn’t imagine an alternative. And then when I was presented with the US version – which ended up having both a new cover and a new title – I surprised myself by loving it equally, and differently.
In this case, we’ve kept the title, but opted for a new cover. And here I am again – loving the Australian cover of A Single Stone, being incredulous at the prospect of a change …
… with a cover: … and a synopsis:
It was the same as every other day – out the door, down the path, into the car, off to school. But when Bella stepped off the veranda, she stopped.
Bella looked back at the house. And as she did, a shiver prickled her skin. Because what she saw made no sense.
What’s a girl to do, when her house can’t find a home?
… [and a 14-year-backstory, in case you missed it earlier]
Bella and the Wandering House, junior fiction for ages 6-10-ish, will be out this September from Fremantle Press, with gorgeous illustrations by Nicholas Schafer. I’m thrilled to have this story finally stepping out into the world …
With A Single Stone making its way out into the world, I’ve been thrilled to hear that the cover is attracting a lot of praise. As someone who isn’t a visual thinker at all, I have very little involvement in the design process. When I’m writing (and reading) I don’t picture the setting or characters; even at the end of my sixty-third draft, I generally have no idea what people look like or where they are. This leads to my editor guiding me into the sixty-fourth draft with questions like, But how could they possibly see him from there? and Just how big is this valley anyway?
For this reason, among others, I’m perfectly happy to let designers and illustrators get on with their work independently. Once there’s a draft on the table, or early sketches, I might start to have some input, but until then, I’m completely content to leave things in the hands of others. As a result, I generally have no insight at all into how the design process works. And for that reason, I was absolutely thrilled when Gayna Murphy did this wonderful blog on how she went about designing the cover for A Single Stone.
As we launch into 2015, I’m delighted to be able to announce that the book formerly known as Set in Stone is done and dusted. After the usual last-minute doubts and shenanigans, I’ve somehow managed to let go and send it out into the world and off to the printer.
Sentences uttered by me during the seemingly endless rounds of last-minute proofreading include, but are not limited to:
I don’t think I’m wedded to this comma
I will fight to the death for this semi-colon
I need a three-beat word that means “tenacious” and has a falling cadence. Oh, wait …
Who cares about widows and orphans anyway?
In the course of said shenanigans, the book has a new title and will shortly be winging its way into catalogues, bookstores and review pages (we can only hope) all over the country, as …
A Single Stone
It’s a perfect fit for the book and I’m quietly thrilled with it.
In case anyone needed more evidence that responses to art are subjective, Below recently featured on two unexpected – and surprisingly juxtaposed – 2013 wrap-up lists.
List the First: “Best Book Covers of 2013”
List the Second: “Best Book Hidden Under the Worst Cover”
While I’m genuinely surprised by the second one, I do sort of love that it fits with the notion of things being hidden below the surface, which is central to the story in Below.
Two years ago, I wrote about how much I loved the cover for my forthcoming novel Surface Tension. In fact, I loved it so much that it helped me re-write the book. I loved the dreamy quality of the image, the muted colours, the hazy lack of clarity, the stylised but somehow childlike way the drowned town was represented.
When I was told that Candlewick wanted to re-jacket the book for its US release, I wondered what they could possibly come up with that could match it. To be honest, I was a little skeptical, a little apprehensive.
I have a new cover.
I’ve liked all my covers well enough – some more, some less, as is the way of things.
But this cover? I love it. And in a curious kind of reversal, in some ways the cover is responsible for the book.
I wrote this book in 2009 and it was a bit of a mess. I would probably have given up on it but for the fact that I had a grant from the kind people at the Department of Culture and the Arts, and felt beholden to actually produce something.
I wrote it and rewrote it and moved scenes around and moved them back again and deleted them altogether and stepped away from the manuscript and started over – again and again. I tore out metaphorical chunks of hair and really thought the whole thing was dead in the water.
I am still in the trenches. Last week, I said I would pop my head up again, “all things being well”.
That may be something of an overstatement. The novel goes slowly, more slowly than it needs must (is that an actual sentence? It sounds like it should be. I guess this sort of digression has something to do with why the novel goes slowly. If I’m having to ask what constitutes a sentence, I am clearly in trouble).
But today was better than yesterday. There is progress. And that is a good thing, on a Thursday, when the book is due on a Monday.