Welcome to my website! You’ve arrived here just in time for a party.
First things first, I always like to welcome my guests with a refreshment. Here’s a nice cold glass of virtual bubbles (alcohol-free of course, if you’re under 18) for you:
Keep an eye out for the wandering waiters who have a wonderful array of virtual nibbles, too. The best thing about virtual food is that it’s calorie free, so you can eat as many as you like and still have room for dinner.
Right, now that we’ve got that sorted, on to the formalities: the launch of my new book, 1915. Let me just mount the stage so you can see me a little better.
(Excuse the happy dance, I find it hard to stand still when I’m excited).
Now, can everyone hear? Good! Let me get started then (clears throat nervously).
Thank you all so much for coming. 1915 isn’t just my newest book – it’s the product of two years of research, writing, crying, rewriting, crying some more, rewriting some more, worrying that I wouldn’t be able to do justice to Stanley’s story, lengthy phone calls with my editor, Claire, writing some more, and finally looking proudly at my author copies and wondering what all the stressing was about.
When I was asked to write this book, I said yes, even though I also knew it would be a big challenge. The story of Gallipoli has been told many times, by writers far more talented than I. How was I going to find a way to tell it that was fresh, that would appeal to young readers, but that also told a story which needs to keep being retold because it is an important part of our history? I had never written a historical novel. I wasn’t even sure why Scholastic had asked me. Amidst all that doubt though, I was determined to have a red hot go. When the character of Stanley came to me as a teacher from Bunbury, where I currently live, he came as a very real young man. I found myself looking at the events of Gallipoli and asking myself, over and over, what would Stanley think? When I realised he had a twin sister, Elizabeth, back in Australia, worrying about her brother even as she carries on teaching his class, I asked the same questions from her perspective. Many times I had to remind msyelf that these two weren’t real – that I’d made them up. And many more times I reminded myself that even though that was the case, people like Stanley and Elizabeth were very very real, and I owed it to them to get the story right.
So, here it is: 1915, a book I’m proud of, and which I hope will play its own small part in sharing the story of Gallipoli.
I’d like to thank Claire Hallifax and Scholastic for believing that I could write this book, and helping to take it from a very raw story to a finished novel. I’d also like to thank Tara, my agent, and my family, who have to put up with a lot of angst when I’m writing any book. I’ve talked a lot about this story with lots of friends and family – so thank you for listening, and for being interested. Thanks to you, too, attendees of this launch, for taking the time out of your busy day to attend my virtual celebration. But mostly, thanks to Stanley and Elizabeth Moore, for letting me tell their story.
Phew. Well, that’s the speech out of the way. Now there’s just the celebrating to do. While you’re munching on those virtual sausage rolls the waiter is passing round, I’d love if you’d leave a comment to let me know you were here. To celebrate the release of 1915, I’m going to give one away a signed copy of the book to one lucky commenter who leaves a comment by the end of Sunday. The winner will be chosen at random from all who leave a comment about the launch or the book.
Again, thank you for coming to my launch!