I’ve had such a fun month in my writing world that it prompted me to start a new blog series. Welcome to the first edition of ‘This Writing Life’ – please tell me what you think!
Books in Homes
I recently had the pleasure of visiting St Gerard’s Primary School as ambassador for the Books In Homes program, a fantastic initiative which pairs sponsors with schools in underprivileged areas with an aim of getting books into the homes of children who might not otherwise have access to them. I talked to a lively group of year 5 and 6 kids about reading, and handed out 4 books to each student, which they had chosen from a catalogue. Many of the children were from new migrant families, and despite English being their second language, they were super-enthused about reading and delighted to receive their books. They also made me POSTERS! It brought a little glow to my heart!
On the subject of kids, during the school holidays I delivered my first writing workshop for children, at Katherine Susannah Prichard Writers Centre. The workshop was called ‘Welcome to the Future’ and was based on scenarios from my novel The Ark. The participants were a fantastically creative and confident group, aged 9 to 16 and it was very exciting to see the imaginative leaps they made when interacting with a world I had created. I am hoping to do more work with children in the future.
In the last fortnight the Perth Writers Festival Twitter Novella took to the regions. In Toodyay and Geraldton, actors Vivienne Glance and Peter Clarke brought the story (which comprises 100 tweets written by 50 authors) to life, using humour, body language and some amazing singing to actually bring meaning to something which initially seemed nonsensical. Myself, author Deb Fitzpatrick and the novella’s coordinator Maria Alessandrino, spoke with audiences about the process of contributing to the novella, including the challenges of responding to the crazy tweets that had gone before, and the desire to maim those who had written them! As a bonus, the Toodyay event took place in their local council chambers, so I had the excitement of testing out how it would feel to be in possession of a gavel.
Australian Writers Centre Podcast
From real life to online, this month I did my first ever podcast interview for The Australian Writers Centre So You Want to Be a Writer Podcast. I chatted with the very lovely Allison Tait about how I started writing, the gifts of studying writing, why I moved from pantsing to plotting, my experience of self-publishing The Ark, and adapting Whiskey and Charlie for a US audience, as well as grant applications and my writing routine. Have a listen!
Whiskey and Charlie
Whiskey & Charlie has been out in the US for 2 weeks. People have been sending me photos of it in the wild which has been very exciting. And I’ve been reading reviews. This phrase, from ‘BadAss Book Reviews’ is definitely my favourite so far: ‘She lets them be douchebags to each other the way siblings can sometimes be douchebags to each other.’ And, in case you missed it, Whisky Charlie Foxtrot is going into reprint in Australia. Yippee!
I’ve made virtually no progress on my work-in-progress, partly due to all the exciting things I’ve been doing, as detailed above, but also because I’ve recently gone back to working, teaching English as a Second Language three days a week, which hasn’t left me much time for writing. But I’m mere inches away from finishing a first draft so I must press on!