Okay, I know I talk a lot of talk about ducks, about Duck the First and Duck the Second as if they are actual books, rather than just ideas quacking softly in a corner of my brain.
But over the last few months I have been watching quietly while Duck the First came into being. I have seen pencil sketches of a little girl working at her desk, of a slightly grotty boy hanging over her backyard from a branch. I have squeed over colour roughs of Abby and Noah and Mrs Melvino and most of all, Max – the
difficult demanding different duck who takes up residence in Abby’s class.
I have been thrilled and delighted by the work of the wonderful Leila Rudge. It’s not that the characters are as I’d imagined them, that I feel satisfied seeing ‘my’ vision come to life. The truth is that I’m not much of a visual thinker and am not sure I had imagined them in any great detail at all. It’s rather that they are just so absolutely right for the book. Illustrators are wizards, I tell you.
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!
Shhh! I saw a cover. It was a blue cover. It was a grey cover. It had skateboards, several. It had my name on it. It had the title Going for Broke in shiny foiled letters. It was very, very cool. And now I can post it, so here it is:
Going for Broke will be released in May this year as part of Walker Books’ new Lightning Strikes series. The series will kick off with six books and I’ll be in the fine company of authors such as Robyn Opie and James Roy. I have a feeling this is going to be fun!
Sadly, we have had to lose the subtitle “One World Record, Fifty-Two Tiny Bones”, but I suspected that would happen at some point.
Here’s the cover image I’ve chosen for my little book of poetry:
The artist is the marvellous Nevin Hirik. Her work is so richly evocative and I love the figurative interplay between the image and the title, Cleanskin. It was quite challenging coming up with a title, but when I sat down to look at the manuscript as a whole, I realised that many of the poems are about the body, identity, memory, the complex negotiations between the past and present. So when I came across the word ‘cleanskin’ buried in the middle of one of the pieces, it seemed apt.