I’ll be in Ayr on the 18th August which I’m looking forward to. It’s my mum’s home town and she’s coming up with me. I’ll be doing school talks on the Friday, but will more than possibly be doing an event on the Friday evening for anyone who would like to turn up. I’d love to see familiar faces there. It’s Katia Alibrandi’s home turf, and it holds a very special place in my heart. Below is a bit of information, but there’s more to come.
The When Rosie Met Jim short story is now available. Here is where you can buy it.
The above is available for pre-order. Here is the link.
Because the short story now officially exists, and I’m about ten thousand words into a novel, I feel as if I can talk about what I’m working on a little more.
It will be a novel primarily about one house, four characters, five lives, and told through three points of view.
Jimmy is 23 years old in When Rosie met Jim. In the novel, he’ll be about 25 because it takes place in Sydney about two years after the events of the short story. It’s not YA, but regardless, I’m predictable. It’s a generational story and it’s character driven, relationship driven and pretty much about community, solace and the ties that bind. (and netball).
The song I’m listening to at the moment is Babylon by Dave Gray and it’s become my lead into the lives of the older characters.
Fingers crossed, I’m hoping to finish the first draft later this year. (I’ll get back to you then).
The Review of Australian Fiction (reviewofaustralianfiction.com) has a great concept where a well-established writer asks a talented writer, who may be lesser known, to also submit a short story.
Last time I wrote a story for the RAF, it was in the same edition as the very talented Kirsty Eagar. This time it’s Kathryn Barker, whose debut novel In the Skin of a Monster won the Aurealis Award for Best Young Adult Novel in 2016 and was shortlisted for Best Fantasy. Her second novel, Waking Romeo will be published by Allen & Unwin in Australia and Flatiron Books in the US in 2019.
Kathryn’s short story for the RAF is called Shoeboxes and it is an amazing psychological thriller. To tell you anything more would ruin the reader’s experience.
My short story is called When Rosie met Jim. It’s about a young woman who finds herself stranded in a Queensland town during a flood, where she meets a guy named Jim. (the title is quite literal, and yes, it’s him for those who know my previous work).
Both stories will be available online on the 20th of June. I will publish the link when it’s available (it costs about $2.99).
Mine will be the first chapter of the novel I’m writing, which unlike the short story, is set in the same part of Sydney I tend to write about in my contemporary novels. Here’s the first line.
It’s rained for forty days and forty nights, so when a guy who looks like Jesus in orange SES overalls comes to stand next to her, Rosie thinks it’s all a bit biblical.
I will be speaking at the Emerging Writers’ Festival (17-18th June) in Melbourne. Very excited about the sessions and the presenters. Especially excited to see Brodie Lancaster on the lineup.
So let me use Brodie to regress and talk about the Sydney Writers’ Festival.
Yesterday, alongside Pia Miranda, Mark Di Stefano(political editor of Buzzfeed) Genevieve Fricker (Triple J presenter and comic and musician) Rajith Savanadasa (Ruins and one of this year’s SMH best Young Australian novelists), Yassmin Abdel-Magied (Jassmin’s Story, founder of Youth Without Borders, plus a thousand others things), Brodie delivered an amazing Have a Say Day speech at the 25th anniversary of Alibrandi at the Sydney Writers Festival. Josie Alibrandi would have known she was outclassed by all of them. I was very teary, to say the least. (Plus if you can get in a conversation about The Real Housewives of Melbourne or Sydney in the green room of a literary festival with Brodie Lancaster and Pia Miranda, you’ve sort of hit gold).
I was also part of the amazingly profound People of Letters with Pia, where we listened to Rajith exchange a letter with Melanie Joosten; Lee Lin Chin with Chris Leben; Anne Buist with Graeme Simsion; Trish Young with Jodi Phillis. A bit teary there as well.
On Saturday morning I was on with Thomas Keneally, Meg Keneally and Candice Fox. I couldn’t help thinking of Melina Marchetta, twenty five years ago, being told that one day she’ll be on a panel with these people speaking about crime.
And finally, Sydney. Home town. Great weather, and as my 5 year old said, “Look mum, the harbour bridge.’
Next, the Emerging Writers’ Festival. Deep down I’ve been dying to get an invite for years. I love the idea of the EWF because I was very fortunate to get good advice in the early days of my publishing career. I wasn’t as much young in years, as in experience so I had people like John Marsden and Isobelle Carmody and many others looking out for me. So being there for the new writers on the block has always been important.
So quite an honour to be one of the ambassadors alongside the following.
Michelle Law (Sh*t Asian Mothers Say, Single Asian Female); Anna Krien (Night Games: Sex, Power and Sport, Into the Woods: The Battle for Tasmania’s Forests); Inga Simpson (Where The Trees Were, forthcoming Understory); and Dr. Rebecca-Anne Do Rozario (Monash University professor of fantasy literature).
17th – 18th of June, 9.30am-5pm.
State Library of Victoria, Conference Centre.
Full weekend, day passes and single event tickets are available now.
I have three great sessions this year at the SWF on Saturday the 27th May and Sunday the 28th May. They are all ticketed events so I’ve included the links if you’d like to book.
Saturday the 27th May 10.00: Smoking Gun: Crime Fiction
Some of Australia’s finest crime writers discuss the art of suspense. Tom Keneally and Meg Keneally are behind the Monsarrat series, where historical fiction meets crime. Bestselling writer Candice Fox has delivered again with her latest, Crimson Lake. Melina Marchetta turned her hand to crime fiction after building a career as one of Australia’s best-loved Young Adult authors. With Giulia De Biase, these acclaimed crime writers will shed light on writing about the shadowy world of crime.
Saturday, 27th May at 7.30pm: People of Letters
In this rare People of Letters show, writers, performers and well-known Australians are paired off and invited to write ‘a letter to my other half’. The stage will be awash with warmth and curious tales of affection, bringing together the heady combination of sentiment and sauvignon blanc that audiences have grown to know and love. Featuring Lee Lin Chin and Chris Leben, Graeme Simsion and Anne Buist, Jodi Phillis and Trish Young, Melanie Joosten and Rajith Savanadasa, and Melina Marchetta and Pia Miranda. With Angie Hart.
Sunday 28th May at 1130: 25 Years of Alibrandi – Have a Say Day (I think this will be my favourite)
To mark 25 years of the classic Australian ‘coming of age’ novel, Looking for Alibrandi, our all-star panel lovingly recreates the central plot point when Josie Alibrandi makes a speech at Have a Say Day in Martin Place and meets Jacob Coote for the first time. Host Pia Miranda joins Looking for Alibrandi author Melina Marchetta, Yassmin Abdel-Magied, Mark Di Stefano, Gen Fricker, Brodie Lancaster and Rajith Savanadasa as they unleash their inner Josies and have their say.
It’s been a while, so here’s a bit of everything in a nutshell.
What I’m working on
A short story for the Review of Australian Fiction (RAF), coming out later in the year. It’s called When Rosie meets Jim. I’m going to say “no comment” to any questions about who Jim is until I finish it, but Jim is now twenty-five years old, and if all goes to plan, this short story will be chapter one of the next novel I’m writing.
What’s excited me
I’ve never known how to answer the question regarding who I would invite to the perfect dinner party, but it occurred to me last night at The Dixie Chicks Sydney Concert that it would be those amazing talented women. I’ve got a crush on them all. They had an honourable mention in The Piper’s Son, and listening to their music last night reminded me that I played them to death when I was writing TPS.
What I’ve been reading
I’ve rediscovered the joy of going to libraries, and walking out with ten books.
Last two films I watched at the cinema.
No foreigner has pulled off an Australian accent like Dev Patel. Bawled my eyes out. Extraordinary story.
Dance Academy , the film.
This won’t be released until Easter, but I went to a special advance showing last week. Loved it. Loved it. If you are a fan of the TV series it will exceed your expectations. If you are a fan of YA you’ll enjoy it so much. The characters are out in the big world and it’s such a wonderfully emotional journey.
Where I’ll be this Year
A few literary festivals, which I’ll mentioned in length once the programs have been announced.
It’s Looking For Alibrandi’s 25th year anniversary, so there are some little special events taking place this year.
Writing workshops and events in Bathurst, Ayr North Queensland, St Albans, Melbourne, Brisbane. I will keep you posted when more details are released.
Career hopes for 2017
What else? That the Jellicoe film happens. Fingers crossed that it does. And the chance to work on second draft of Saving Francesca. Getting a film off the ground in this country is heart breaking but I have to believe there is a place for these stories.