REASONS TO BE CHEERFUL

moomins dancing

2012 was a huge year for me with the long-awaited release of Thrill Seekers. Finally, after ten years of full-time writing I had a book out in the world to prove I hadn’t just been sitting at home watching Oprah the whole time.

And yet, I still feel only at the very start of my career as a writer, a beginner. When, in 2002 I picked up a pen and wrote my first short story since high school, I’d known what an arduous road lay ahead of me, perhaps I would never have tried. But I’m glad I did, and would do it all again.

Writing is a wonderful profession. Your comrades are sensitive, intelligent,  thoughtful creators and I have been lucky to share my journey with good writing friends who have cheered and supported, and cried and commiserated, with me as together we have made steps towards seeing our dreams of books on shelves become reality. Baby steps and then suddenly this year, some giant leaps.

And the writing itself still never fails to excite me, infuriate, confound, besot and delight me. Each new project is greeted with enthusiasm, each draft a challenge to surmount. I’ve learned to love rewriting, perhaps even more than the initial draft. I’ve lost that true beginners’ enchantment with the first draft, knowing as I write it that most will end up trashed. But still, it is thrilling, the places stories will take you, the characters that take over and demand to be given their say. I love it.

This year too, I’ve learned the business side of writing. Every writer runs their own small business whether they like it or not. Marketing your work is essential, from targeting the right publisher to entering competitions, to applying for grants. These skills too, need to be mastered. Can’t say I love this part of the business quite as much, but I’m getting a little better at it.

My heart is filled with gratitude at the turn of events in 2012, and especially for those who have championed my work, like my dear uncle, Jonathan Shaw, who has just released his own book of poetry, Veny Armanno, Julianne Schultz, Favel Parrett, Helena Pastor, Katherine Howell and Stephen Romei.

Who knows what 2013 will bring. I wish you all much love and luck and good fortune.

Onwards and upwards, dear friends. Onwards and upwards!

moomin_valley_nye

SYDNEY HAPPY SNAPS

Back home from Sydney where the kids and I had a marvelous time. Lots of touristy adventures like Luna Park and the zoo, Bondi Beach in the freezing cold and rain, lots of eating out and best of all reconnecting with some dear friends.

The launch itself  at Better Read than Dead in Newtown was fantastic. Smaller and more relaxed than the Brisbane extravaganza, well all had a ball.

Here are a few highlights.

 Karen Ferris, manager of Better Read Than Dead

Karen Ferris, manager of Better Read Than Dead

Karen Ferris, and all the gang at Better Read, made us feel very welcome and gave us a lovely space and lots of food and drink to celebrate Thrill Seekers.

Karen started the official launch ball rolling .

Patrick Shepherdson - crime prevention researcher

Patrick Shepherdson, crime prevention researcher, expert, and long time friend (inspiration for one of the characters in Thrill Seekers!), spoke next about our shared wild adolescence, mental health, youth and crime and the little things we can do to help those who are falling through the cracks.  He was great!

Julianne Schutlz, editor of Griffith REVIEW

Julianne Schultz spoke next and officially launched the book. Griffith REVIEW has been a wonderful supporter of my work. I won their award for emerging writers back in 2008 and it was an absolute honour to have Julianne with us on the night.

Edwina and Matty at Better Read launch

Then it was my turn.

My children very kindly dragged themselves away from Better Read’s YA section to record my reading. So for those of you who missed it, here’s a wobbly video of me reading an extract from Thrill Seekers, “Mates and Mushrooms”. 

It was a wonderful night. I met lots of new friends and sold books too. For other authors out there, I highly recommend Better Read than Dead for your next launch. It was lots of fun and very easy too. Thanks Karen!

Now I’m back to the real world of school lunches and housework that never seems done and trying to get back into writing the next draft of “Into The Fire”, a domestic drama set among the sugarcane fields of Far North Queensland in the late 1960s. But first I’d better clean my desk.

Ah procrastination!