A Ten Plot Point Summary of my life recently (In other words, MUCH NEWS. Plus…apologies for not keeping this blog up to date!)
I know, I know…I should have written in this thing MONTHS ago. But I tell you…I have just been too busy! This year has been so crazy busy, unlike anything I’ve ever experienced…EVER! Imagine a Merry-go-round sped up about one billion times, complete with super sonic flashing lights and cheering faces whizzing past … and that’s how it’s felt. I’ve already been to Germany twice, Australia twice, America once, and round the bend several times …
I think I should give you the ten-plot-point summary of the past few months :
1). In March I launched STOLEN in Germany. I went to the Leipzig book fair (cool manga characters wandering round!), Hamburg (sat in my hotel room and worked on my PhD) and Cologne (met some super nice Lit festival people!). This was all great fun, even though the crowds I seemed to attract to watch me seemed very SERIOUS. I guess that might have something to do with the fact that my German cover is uber scary….it’s black and menacing and with a man’s face lurking behind. The German title is quite scary too. It’s called ‘Ich Wuenschte Ich Koennte Dich Hassen (which in English means ‘I wished I could hate you’). Apparently it’s doing quite well in Germany. I hope so. I learnt German all the way through school and even went on exchange to Germany for two months before my final year of school. I adore this country and I adore its’ language too – I love the way its’ sounds seem to erupt from the back of one’s throat. It feels like such a privilege to have my words translated into it.
2). End March, I did some great school visits in Sydney and Melbourne … including the most amazing school in Sydney called Newington who runs their own Literature Festival over three days. Gorgeous place, very inspiring too. I even went back to my old school in Melbourne to do a visit – get this, some of the pictures on the walls are still the same from when I was there YEARS ago … (some of the teachers are still the same too!)
3). End May – back to Melbourne for the wonderful Reading Matters Conference. Imagine this – a whole conference dedicated to YA fiction. Blissful stuff. I sat next to one of my childhood heroes – Melina Marchetta. I also signed a copy of Stolen for Markus Zusak … yes, you did read that correctly, author of THE BOOK THIEF! I think this might rank as a career highlight. However, I did have to ask him how to spell his name – how EMBARRASSING is that?!
4). I returned to Germany in May once again for the Saarbrueken Book Festival – gorgeous little town, and gorgeous little festival. My delightful German editor joined me for this one – sie ist sehr nett.
5). In June I was on a panel to decide the winner of this year’s Branford Boase Award, and the winner is …. HA! I’m not going to tell you this YET….you need to wait a couple more days at least. But I will tell you that it’s a book that I absolutely think is one of the best books I’ve read for a very long time ….but I would do, wouldn’t I?! It’s the winner after all. But it’s a good winner, a very, very good winner indeed…. It’s so good I wish I’d written it!
6). End June I jetted off to the steamy armpit of New Orleans to pick up my PRINTZ HONOR AWARD for STOLEN (yes, you read that correctly too! Yay!). I spoke in front of 500 librarians (eek!) and then I carried my lovely award home in my hand luggage all the way. I also got to present FLYAWAY to hundreds of librarians too (which is very exciting as FLYAWAY isn’t out in USA until October – they all got advance, uncorrected proof copies to take away…I’d love to know what they thought….hmmm…). New Orleans was one of the most amazing cities also…I rode in a mule-drawn cart as well as on a paddle-steamer. I came over all-Huck-Finn. Plus, I got to spend time with my fantastic American publishing team.
7), Maggie Stiefvater gave me 5 stars on Good Reads for FLYAWAY (I like this fact so much it deserves a point of its own!)
8). I’m just about to set off for a whirlwind tour of Oz….to attend the Prime Minister Awards, for which Flyaway is shortlisted (cross fingers everyone! Cross toes too please!) and to discuss Stolen the FILM (exciting, hey!? Even more exciting is the fact that I may or may not be meeting my ‘Ty’!)
9). I’m a good way into finishing this third book (after several misguided attempts in the wrong direction!). Easy peasy. Ha! Let’s hope so anyway!
10). End of July – I present my Creative Writing PhD to four examiners, including the very brainy Peter Hunt (Lit academic), the very adorable Steve Voake (YA author), the very lyrical Linda Newberry (YA author) and the very important Paul Davies (head of graduate school). Wish me luck for this one too. My PhD is pretty much all about the writing of Stolen, just in case you were interested.
So, that’s it for now chickens. Take care out there. Hopefully it won’t be forever again until I write once more…. I’ll try my best anyway. ;-) In the meantime keep those toes crossed for Flyaway at the PM Awards, and watch out as I hand my baton over to the new Branford Boase champion… it’s a big baton, wouldn’t want to hit you with it!
I’m going to leave you with my favourite quote of the moment – “Be kind. For everyone is fighting a hard battle.” (Plato)
Wishing you sunshine and salutations,