It’s the last day of March, and so time for another of my monthly updates.
Lots has happened in my writing life in March, with things moving along on three of my forthcoming books. I feel more and more like a ‘real’ author every day.
At the start of the month I was featured in Susan Stephenson’s column at Muselings, an ezine for writers. Susan is an Australian based reviewer of books and passionate advocate for reading to and with children. I really appreciate her taking the time to interview me.
My picture book with Koala Books, which was previously known as Constantine and Aristotle, has now been retitled The Head Hog, after discussions with the publisher. I am quite delighted by this new title as it was, in fact, the earliest title I gave the manuscript before settling on Constantine and Aristotle. It now seems my earlier instinct was a good one. As well as being retitled, I spent some time this month on the editing. A good tidy up of the manuscript was needed, ready for the final illustrations. It’s amazing how a manuscript which you feel you’ve already got perfect, can be made so much more perfect after an editor or two cast their eyes over it and point things out to you. I’m really happy with the edited text and can’t wait to see the illustrations, which are being produced by Ben Wood.
My other forthcoming picture book, Snowy’s Christmas, is also progressing. This month the illustrator, David Murphy, finished the final colour illustrations, which I have now seen (and love). I also got my first look at the cover which has a nice teally kind of background and, of course, the delightful Snowy. I also worked on, and finalised the blurb for this one,which will be released by Random House in November.
And, of course, Pearl Verses the World. the release date for my verse novel-baby is only a month away and I am getting really excited about this one. The rest of my author copies arrived mid month. Although I’d already had one copy for a while, it felt exciting all over again to open the parcel and see my name on that beautiful cover. Walker Books have truly done an outstanding job of putting it all together.
With the release date getting closer, I have spent a lot of time planning promotional activities. I am planning a blog tour for the first ten days of the book’s life, and will be visiting the blogs of ten fellow Aussie bloggers who have kindly agreed to host me. Although I’ve done a blog tour before, and hosted plenty, I’ve never been on one that lasted ten days, so that’s both exciting and a little daunting. I have also decided to invite other authors and poets to visit this blog during my month long celebration, and share some advice and exercises about writing poetry for children. I have had some great names sign up for this, so am really looking forward to having them here. I’ve also got some interviews lined up, and have contributed to teaching notes for Pearl, so there’s lots happening.
Aside from my three forthcoming books, I have been chipping away at a new project for upper primary aged readers, and also started researching for a nonfiction project for adults. For the latter, I am keen to talk to as many country-dwelling Aussies as possible. So, if you are an Australian living in the country, or who has previously lived int he country, and are willing to talk tome about via email about your experiences, drop me a line at my special email address for this project – ruralaussies AT gmail.com (remove the spaces and use the ‘at’ symbol).
I’ve also been writing and editing children’s poetry. inspired by the poetry workshops I attended at Apropos last month, I have started revisiting some of my older poems and tidying them up, and have also written several new poems. I am trying to shape them into a collection – culling some, fine tuning others and seeing where the gaps are. Very challenging but I’m having lots of fun. I love playing with poetry.
What else? Partly to promote Pearl (but also for the love of it), I started a new blog which focuses just on the verse novel, called Versing. It’s still in its infancy, but I’m hoping to create a useful resource both for lovers of the form, and for those who perhaps don’t know much about verse novels. My most recent posts is a list of verse novels for children and young adults.
I also started blogging on an occasional basis for a website called Ourpatch, discussing living and writing in rural Australia. You can see my blog posts here.
Aussiereviews continues to keep me busy, with sixteen new reviews added in March. As always, there’s a real range,from children’s picture books to adult nonfiction. A favourite this month was A Beginner’s Guide to Living. I was fascinated by how the author managed to make her prose just so poetic – and then discovered, when I read her bio, that she is in fact a poet. The influence of her poetic craft on her prose is really apparent.
So, that was my March. The year is marching on, and for once I’m glad of it – as each day brings the release of Pearl one day closer.
See you next month.