This month I've have a blogging residency at the State Library of Victoria's YA site, Inside a Dog. You can find the blog here: http://insideadog.com.au/residence.
It is actually quite challenging to blog twice a week, different from keeping a private diary where you can be as insular as you like. But it has been a lot of fun - I wrote about how I write,
why I write, why I love John Marsden, the sort of YA books I love, my first career aspiration and my publishing failure (complete with embarrassing illustrations!).
I'm so excited that my new book Laurinda has come out this month, and grateful for the wonderful feedback from my YA readers! THANKS A MILLION!
ON Wednesday 22nd October the great John Marsden came to Janet Clarke Hall, the university residential college where I've taught, currently work as Artist in Residence and live with my husband
Nick. I walked around in a happy daze for days. To have one of your literary and educational heroes (John's also the principal of Candlebark) launch your book and then to find out that he is
funnier, kinder and more wonderful than you imagined is pretty awesome. Many people came to talk to John afterwards, he made time for them all and even signed their well-worn, well-loved copies
of his books.
You can't see it in this picture, but John was wearing an impressive pair of tracksuit pants with double white stripes down the side. Not only does the man have wisdom, talent and the love of
five million young adult (and adult) readers, but he also has gangsta flair. It was the perfect outfit as Laurinda is set simultaneously in a private all girls' school as well as the
rough Western suburbs of Melbourne.
As an author you spend a lot of time - years - with a book, furiously plugging away at it, getting to know your characters and letting them take you where they want to go, doing edit after edit,
that when it finally is here - you feel like you have to adjust to being out of hibernation. What a great way to come out of hibernation. Thank you, John Marsden.
For those interested, the public events for Laurinda are here, I'd especially love to see teenagers,
teachers and YA lovers there!
The title of this post sounds like a hyperbole but books actually do change lives in a literal way in the suburbs where I grew up. This is a picture of my friend Richard Tregear, Australia's
longest serving youth worker, and one of the kids he looks after, Tahlia, who are both featured here:
Sometimes, you have to labour to write the perfect conclusion to your article. But when I interviewed 16 year old Tahlia, she gave it to me. She said, "I write quotes down in my diary. Do you
want to hear the latest one? Okay, here it is: 'It's okay to be a glow stick. Sometimes you've got to break to shine."
This is from a longer article found here.