Saturday, June 15, 2013

Paperchain Bookstore Event

If you live in Canberra and are free next Thursday night why don't you come along to Paperchain Bookstore? I'll be there talking to the lovely Tania McCartney about all things writing. (Well, maybe not all things, but certainly many things.) You can have a glass of wine and a piece of cheese* and sit and listen to us natter. We'll be talking about my latest book, Sweet Damage, and the pressures of writing a second book. We'll be talking about Beautiful Malice a bit too and pondering the pros and cons of getting a big advance for your first book, and what it's really like to be compared to JK Rowling!

If you want to come, (and I hope you do), you need to RSVP for catering purposes. You can find all the details here on the Paperchain website.

*I'm assuming there will be cheese, but I could be wrong, there may not be any cheese at all. You will have to come along to find out.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Any questions?

The problem with blogging, for me, is that I can never think of anything to say. Before I sold Beautiful Malice I used to blog quite frequently about whatever took my fancy, and I enjoyed it, and had a bit of a readership. But since being published I've become all self-conscous and I feel like I should have a theme and a structure to my blog, that it should be specifically 'about writing', or 'about my books', or even 'about motherhood' and somehow this inhibits me from actually writing anything. It's all a bit silly really,  since the blogs I enjoy reading most are a bit messy and unstructured, random musings, little snippets of other people's lives. Sometimes just reading what another family eats for breakfast can be fascinating...

Anyway, in an attempt to get my blogging wheels rolling again, I thought that it might be a good idea to offer to answer your questions here. (If you have any questions, that is.) Feel free to ask me anything. About my books, about writing, about being mother to four boys, about living in Canberra. Anything you may be curious about, or not really curious about. Even if you just make up a question to be polite. That would be fine. Better than fine, really. It would be fantastically helpful.

No question is too silly or offensive or boring  - in fact you're doing me a favour and I'll only be grateful.

So, go ahead, ask me a question.


Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Sweet Damage

So, apparently Sweet Damage is out and about, making its way in the big wide world without me.

It's a weird and wonderful time when your book is first published. I feel slightly hysterical and on edge and am not sure where to direct all this nervous energy.  I went to the shop and saw Sweet Damage stacked on the shelves and felt strangely anxious. I was glad to see it on the shelf, but felt sad when I saw someone pick it up and then put it down again. I had this insane urge to go and buy all the copies myself, as if I could protect it from feeling lonely or rejected. Luckily I realised I was acting like a lunatic, the worst kind of overprotective, grasping parent, and hurried away to buy food for dinner instead. 

My sister told me I should always have another book to get on with, to avoid obsessiveness, and self-googling... and I think she might be right. So while I'm going to do my best to promote Sweet Damage (in a non-annoying way, I hope!) I'm also going to start some new writing, or at least do some serious thinking about new plots and characters, and give Tim and Anna (and Lilla and Fiona and Marcus) some space to make their own way in the world. 

But in the meantime, here's the final back-cover blurb, and, below that, a short extract:

(P.S. Sweet Damage is available as a Kindle ebook for only $9.99)

'I still dream about Anna London's house. In my dreams it's as if the house itself has sinister intentions. But in real life it wasn't the house that was responsible for what happened. It was the people who did the damage ...'

When Tim Ellison finds a cheap room to rent in the perfect location in Sydney it looks like a huge stroke of luck. In fact the room comes with a condition, and the owner of the house, the mysterious Anna London, is unfriendly and withdrawn. When strange and terrifying things start happening in the house at night, Tim wonders if taking the room is a mistake. But then his feelings for Anna start to change, and when her past comes back with a vengeance, Tim is caught right in the middle of it.

A thrilling, rollercoaster of a story - read it with the lights on!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The Next Big Thing

My sister, Wendy James, tagged me on her blog, Literary Gnat, to do this meme.

1) What is the working title of your current/next book?

Sweet Damage. It was originally Little Deaths.

2) Where did the idea come from?

I originally had this picture in my head of an unhappy, agoraphobic girl stuck in a big and rambling house. It seemed a good premise for a potentially spooky mystery. I had a boy rent one of her rooms...and took it from there...

3) What genre does your book fall under?

It's another psychological thriller just like Beautiful Malice. (I think it is anyway. It's hard to categorise your own work.) 

4) What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
Hmm. This is tricky because most of the actors I can think of are far too old to play any of the characters in Sweet Damage. Most of the actors on my radar are my age or older. Why is that? I mustn't watch enough movies with younger actors. Yikes. I should try and remedy that!

5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

(How long can this sentence be...and how many conjunctions can I get away with?)

Tim Ellison can't believe his luck when he finds a dirt cheap room to rent in a Sydney mansion but the room comes with a condition and his new housemate is troubled and withdrawn, and when her past catches up with a vengeance Tim is caught right in the middle of it. 

(I don't know that I got away with it - that's a pretty horrible sentence  - but it should give you some idea of the plot!)

6) Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

My work is represented by Jo Unwin from Conville and Walsh in the UK. Sweet Damage will be published by Allen and Unwin in Australia in April this year. I'll let you know of any foreign publishing dates as soon as I know them.

7) How long did it take you to write the first draft?

Oh ho ho. This is a long and unhappy story. Well, actually, it's not really unhappy, at least not now that the book is mostly done. The first draft took roughly 2 months to write. But then I had lots of fixing to do. And when I say lots I mean LOTS. I've now written about eight drafts and roughly 500,000 words for what will be an 80,000 word novel. Which means 420000 sad little words that won't make it to print and will reside forever in the dark spaces of various never-to-be-opened-again documents on my laptop. Alas. The poor things. (If only they would get together and rearrange themselves magically and brilliantly into another novel. Wouldn't that be grand?)

8) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

There is nothing else like it out there! It is original. Unique. Incomparable!

Oh, okay, I'm only joking. The truth is I'm not sure. I'll leave the comparisons (good and bad) to others.

9) Who or what inspired you to write this book?

This question has two possible interpretations: what inspired you to write this particular book -- which I've more or less answered in question 2 - and what inspired you to write a book at all - to which my answer is...oh, there are lots of reasons. Without being too pretentious, I do have some kind of compulsion to write, even though I sometimes find it a bit lonely and very difficult. (In a very first-world, oh-my-poor-creative-soul, I am a failure,  version of difficult).  Having a contract was also quite inspiring. And my partner has expectations - he won't let me sit around all day and play on twitter unless I at least pretend to be accomplishing something. My kids also want to eat. A lot. Which means I have to try and make an income. 

10) What else about the book might pique the reader's interest?

It will make you gasp, and shudder, and maybe it will even make you cry! (At least it did all those things to me on a frequent basis -- particularly the crying bit.) 
Seriously, though, it's set in Fairlight in Sydney and there's a big, mysterious house and lots of stuff happens both scary and sad. It also has a few surprising twists. I do believe it's a gripping read and I hope it's not too conceited to say that I'm proud of it and can't wait for people to start reading it.  

I won't tag anyone because I think most people have already done this one, but if you haven't done it yet and you want to, then go for it. (And let me know so I can come and check out your answers).