“What’s the worst thing about being a writer?”
“What’s the best thing about being a writer?”
“Are we going to find out what happened to Kancil’s brother in the next book?”
“What’s the deal with Kitchen Boy and the tiger?”
“Have you started writing the next book yet?”
These are just some of the questions I’ve been asked in the past week on visits to Ringwood North Primary School and Serpell Primary School. Both schools have Grade 6 reading groups that have read Tiger Stone so it was great to talk to (and be grilled by!) people who had read my book. At Ringwood North I also got to give a little pep talk to all the Grade 5s an 6s about being a writer. I felt the weight of responsibility looking out at the sea of eager faces in the auditorium but they were still firing questions at me as their teachers ushered them out the door at the end of the session so hopefully I inspired some budding writers.
So a big shout out to Emily Rumble at Ringwood North and Avril Morris at Serpell for organising my visits and a huge thank you to all the students who listened and asked questions and inspired me to keep writing: terima kasih banyak!!!
Yes it has been a long time. Let’s not talk about it.
The news is that Tiger Stone has been long-listed for a Sisters in Crime Davitt award. I found out a couple of weeks ago and at first I thought it was a hoax but once I’d read the whole email it looked legit (no spelling mistakes, no sob story about money tied up in a distant dead relative’s bank account). It was all pretty exciting, especially because the press release mentioned Trixie Belden, one of my all time crime fighting heroes.
But I got the news on the same day I found out that Jane Taylor had been killed in a car accident so it didn’t feel right to be happy. Jane was an Indonesian teaching colleague in Bendigo. She was lots of people’s hero. She had no patience for apathy or anything half-arsed and she defended her students, her colleagues and the study of Indonesian to the hilt. At her funeral the church was so packed that I only just made it inside the door. Her school photo smiled down at us from the screen above the pulpit: strawberry blonde like Trixie Belden without the curls but but just as fierce.
Just in case you were wondering, this blog has not been abandoned. I’ve been busy building a kitchen. I have permission to say that from the person who has really built the kitchen. My role has been to hold pieces of plywood in place and complain about the heat (while the real builder wields a circular saw and makes cheerful noises about how satisfying it’s going to be to have built our own kitchen).
I have also recently learned how to tile a laundry and glue Laminex to a benchtop. These things take a great deal of mental energy that has left no room for posting. Sorry. I will be back.
I’m not sure how I should take this. The typeset manuscript of my first novel arrived in my inbox. It looked like a proper novel and I allowed myself to feel a little bit excited. I printed it out and left it on the kitchen table. When I came back to proofread it I discovered that my novel had received its first bad review.
The ragged corner and puncture marks you see on the front page are from the teeth and claws of a feline critic. Harsh.
Or maybe not. Perhaps he loved it so much he just wanted to eat it.
Or maybe I’m taking myself (and my cat) way too seriously. He likes to sit on paper and tear the edge with his teeth. He mostly attacks utility bills. Besides, he can’t read. He’s not really my target audience.
In 2010 I started writing a novel. It took me a while to realise that I was writing a novel; at first I thought I was doing an assignment for a Professional Writing and Editing subject at TAFE.
Now it is finished – the novel, not TAFE (TAFE is a different story) – and being typeset for publication. Yikes. It feels like emerging from the sea after four years of swimming with my eyes shut and now it’s time to learn to walk on dry land like a grown up writer.
Step 1: start a blog to get used to the idea of writing in public.