This morning I woke up at 5am without an alarm, and when that happens I know it's because my story is calling me. But because it was so hard yesterday, I ignored it and went back to sleep. And now it's punishing me and won't let me in. Honestly! #amwriting #wordbyword #molasses #workinprogress #writinglife
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Look at that – I shouted in the subject line, how rude. But guess what??? The release month for SUMMER SKIN has been confirmed. To celebrate, I’ve put it in my tag cloud. Massive plot hint: it’s incredibly apt that it sits next to ‘sex’ in aforementioned tag cloud.
(Come to think of it, I don’t think I ever formally announced the title anywhere here – I did that over on Steph Bowe’s blog, because I like her place better. So in case you missed it, that’s what the next book is called. The Next Book. I have one. Raise the roof.)
It will be out February 2016. The awesome team at Allen & Unwin will be bringing it.
Of course, by then I won’t be shouting. I’ll be all vulnerable and shit. Kicking the dirt. Actually, probably not. Why? Because I had to write it. It wasn’t really a choice, more a compulsion. I wrote it for the same reason I always write things: to learn something, to make sense of things I’m seeing in the world. Not to moralise – I always think moralising is the refuge of the power monger. It’s the easy answer, rarely the most intelligent one, and my Reader is way too smart for that shit. I expect my Reader will probably want to argue the point with me on this book. My Reader kicks arse.
The other reason I’m not feeling as scared as I should be is because the characters set me free. They helped me, which I know sounds insane because arguably they came from my head. It never feels like that, though. To me, they are peeps in their own right. I just get to hang with them for a while.
The one thing I wanted them to be was HONEST. In a story like this, they have to be. What I didn’t expect was that they would show me a really good time while they were at it. They will show you one too, if you choose to get on the bus and go for a ride with them. (Just to be clear here – that’s a metaphorical bus, okay? There is no bus in the story, so don’t be emailing me afterward asking where the bus was. HOWEVER, no fucks given + freedom does sum up a certain something in the pages.)
But that’s all in February. For now … back to the copy edit.
Okay. I’m posting this remotely (more on that later). Fingers crossed it works. Hope things are humming for you!
That looks very codey and mysterious, doesn’t it? So, I have been tagged to do this by the lovely Sandy Fussell, who will be doing a Where the Magic Happens post later in the year (one that made me teary, no less), but who also does a fantastic wrap up of the weekly web activities of Australian children’s and YA authors at Scoop.it because she is kickarse supportive like that. The idea is to scroll to page seven of your work in progress, and take seven lines. Here are mine, from Summer Skin, and I tag anybody who’d like to play. Add yours to the comments or put it up on your own digs and let me know:
Jess took the rest of the stairs two at a time. She peeked around the bottom doorway and then followed the guy down a path that stretched along the back of the next building, heading towards the river. He had an easy, relaxed gait, and she admired his wide shoulders, the muscular triangle of his back. His nice arse. It was a shame more Unity guys didn’t place the same emphasis on being perfect male specimens. A lot of them had gamer shoulders, and were pale, unfit and grungy.
Of course, my seven lines would have to feature a word like ‘arse’. Could have been a lot worse, trust me:) Happy Monday – if you’re driving, I hope you’re against the flow of the traffic. Apropos nothing, here’s the new City Calm Down song, because they’ve got a new album coming out soon and I feel like I’ve been waiting for it forever. xox
This morning I decided I would become cooler and more restrained, not share so much. I put this into immediate action by announcing it down at the surf, at which point the crows fell off their bench because they were laughing so hard. One of them later commented to me that it was too late to change. He seems to know me well, annoyingly enough, so he’s probably right. I sometimes wonder if that lot are the closest I get to a bunch of fairy godmothers. (If you’re not sure what a crow is, they are cranky surf gods, past and present, who say FAAAARK a lot.)
Anyway, the point is … Well, there is no point really, except that this will not be cool, nor restrained, and I will probably share too much.
But I felt the need to do some kind of progress report, otherwise, if I follow my natural tendencies, I’ll blog about everything and anything except writing, and I’m trying to open up on the writing front.
I am writing in a fever at the moment. Lucky you, you get to enjoy the stage of the process otherwise known as Postcards from Nutsville. I’m editing a book that’s coming out with Allen & Unwin early next year. I have already mentioned it – it’s the one set at the University of Queensland, not the one set in Central Queensland. I’ll firm up the details later, including the title and all of that, but right now all I want to say is that I’m hugely excited, terrified, excited, terrified … so that’s comfortable.
Mainly, though, I’m obsessed. Because this book is so close to being done, so close to the shape it’s meant to be. (We can say the release date is ages away, but it’s not really – ARCs will probably be out in September.) I don’t eat, I can’t sleep, I don’t want to talk to people, namely the ones in my house, which for some strange reason is a flag to them to start talking. And all that chit-chat rubs on my nerves like a grater, but makes no impression at all:
Them: … steep driveway … no helmet … kerosene … lighter … various other things ….
Me: Okay, great. Wait. What?
All I want to do is write. I’ve learned that now – writing is the only thing that makes the writing thing work for me. (Surfing does, too, but I’d surf anyway.) I don’t give a fuck about the industry, I don’t even know what “the industry” is. I do give MANY fucks about fellow writers, and by that I don’t just mean the published ones. But above all else, I care DEEPLY about the reader. I don’t have a clue who my readership is, I’m not even sure if I’ve got one, but when I get an email from a person who’s taken the time to read something I’ve written … it’s like a solving. They bring something to the work. And for me, personally, it’s the other part of the puzzle as to why there’s a compulsion to even do the writing thing in the first place. When I write, I’m thinking about the reader. I want to make it work for the reader. They are not a specific person, definitely not a genre, or a target market, they are a vaguely holy entity, and that’s about as specific as it gets.
I think I’ve spent years grieving for Raw Blue, the fact that it didn’t really get a chance to connect as widely as I would have liked. But this book, the one I’m working on, has been the one that made me feel better. And, let’s face it, that’s probably a whole lot healthier – looking forward, not back.
I am trying very hard not to think about the fact that at some stage I’ll have to let go of it as well, but in a way it doesn’t even matter, because I’ve worked on it for so long, and loved it so hard, that it’s almost like the end has to come if I want to survive. You can’t stop halfway through a birth, so to speak. There’s a point where you just want to BEAR DOWN and get the damn thing out.
That’s where I’m at right now.
Thus endeth the postcard :) I hope you feel cool in comparison (and spare a thought for my husband, mum, best friend and the crows, who have to put up with me face to face at the moment).
Tomorrow, I will be cooler, more restrained … But in the meantime, this is one of the songs I’m listening to a lot as I finish this edit. Play it and tell me that Elliot Moss doesn’t wrap an ache around your heart … xo
That’s how it felt for me, anyway. 2014 twas a year for tending crops. And, not withstanding the tragic events in Australia over the last few weeks, most people I know seem to feel the same way about it. It was one of those years where you’re not really treading water, but you’re not riding a speed boat either. How about for you? Spectacular? Meh?
I wrote my butt off this year, although you’ll have to wait to see evidence of it, dear Reader. The good news is that there were a lot of words. The bad news is that some of them were wrong.
I’ve got two things on the boil at the moment. The first is a young adult story set smack bang on the Tropic of Capricorn in central Queensland, Australia. The setting for this story really excites me. It’s where I grew up (the photo above was taken at my mum’s). It’s a place that I’ll forever associate with a wild kind of freedom. It’s not small town, and it’s not city; it’s rural. A hot and dry and dusty rural. More
Night Beach has gone to the printers. Now, I feel like I’m just kicking around. Listless, a bit cranky. There’s heaps of things I should be doing. I even have deadlines. Instead …
I’ve found new ways to waste time. For instance, I’ve designed a stamp to use for book signings. I’ve been needing a bit more theatre in that department. Other authors have bookmarks, ribbons, feathers, glitter, dirt – all sorts of stuff. But the only time I’ve ever cut loose was at my first book signing. I had to borrow a pen, and I wrote something so stupid I’m not even going to say what it was. It was like a car crash between a motivational speaker and a desk calendar. Awful. Truly awful.
Anyway, the stamp. I started with this (which of course means nothing to you now, but if you read Night Beach all will become clear):
And I changed it to this, with help from Emerson (“Live in the sunshine, Swim the sea, Drink the wild air”) – who is also referenced in the story:
So there you go.
What’s that? You think I should stop wasting everybody’s time and get back to work? You’re probably right.
Someone emailed me to let me know they had ‘approval from netgalley’. Me, being me – vague at the best of times – didn’t know what that meant. So I checked it out. It means they can read Night Beach. The current version. Now. Before it’s polished to within an inch of its life. While there still might be MISATKES.
How long has netgalley been around? To think that yesterday I was just blithely listening to The Clash, happy because I didn’t have to face the real music yet …