November and December were busy months for me, both personally and writing-wise, which is why there was no news posted in November. The biggest event in this time was my big road trip. With by beloved and the five younger Murphlets, a car and caravan, I crossed Australia’s famous Nullarbor Plain, travelling from our home in country Western Australia through South Australia, Victoria and into New South Wales. It was an awesome experience, seeing some of Australia’s most beautiful and diverse places, from the big city of Sydney, to the amazing natural wonder of the Great Australian Bight. We faced the challenges of some of the wettest weather of the year – it rained nearly every day, in places which were drought-ridden, and badly needed the rain, too. We considered applying for work as drought-breakers, given our record in taking the weather wherever we went. But, in spite of the rain, we had a wonderful time and arrived home still all speaking to each other – no mean feat after five weeks living seven of us in a space no bigger than my bedroom at home.
So, with the trip, my writing time was altered. I won’t say curtailed, as I actually did find time to write on most days – in the form of a diary. I wrote an average of a thousand words per day, which I was pleased with, though it fell down a little bit in the last week when I was getting pretty tired. I also drafted a new picture book, and jotted down ideas for several other stories which came to me inspired by what I saw or did.
Before I left, I worked on edits for Snowy, my new picture book with Random House (due out in November, 2009). ’m really pleased with how the text is shaping up and was lucky enough to see some of the roughs when I visited the illustrator in Canberra. David happens to also be my brother in law, so we stayed with him and his beautiful family, and they also came with us to the Snowy Mountains for a few nights.
I also made the final tweaks on my verse novel, Pearl Verses the World, due out from Walker Books in May. This has gone off to the printers now, so my part in the creative process is done, and I am really happy with the finished text, as well as with the beautiful illustrative work of Heather Potter, who has captured Pearl and her family so well.
I was also delighted before I left to receive my author copies of The Big Blowie (Aussie Schoolbooks), a new chapter book about a drought, blowflies and a big thing. The finished product is great, and available now from Blake Education. While we travelled, we saw lost of big things – including the Big Orange, Big Galah, Big Ned Kelly and the Big Lobster. I had to stop and get photos of them all, of course.
Travelling did limit my reviewing activities a little, but before I left I added 25 new reviews to Aussiereviews in November and since my return added 8 in December. There’ll be loads more reviews in 2009, with the pile seemingly never ending.
I’ve spent time the past few days thinking about my aims for 2009. Number one priority is to enjoy the release of my new titles. I’m really proud of the books I have coming out this year, and plan to enjoy seeing them in print. My next aim is to get a couple of projects I’ve started moving again now that I’m home, and get some manuscripts back out there finding homes for themselves. I’ve written myself a list of aims which I’ve shared with my online friends, and will check it regularly to see how I do. Mostly, though, I think the key thing I want to do writing-wise in 2009 is to keep writing – and to keep enjoying it as much as I did in 2008. If you’re a writer, I wish the same for you – a fun-filled year of writing!