My first official gig as an author

So, today was my first official appearance as an “author”.

I had the privilege of chatting with 100 Year 7 students at Redland Bay State School about books and writing as part of their Book Week celebrations.

To say I was a nervous going in is an understatement.

I’ve never been overly comfortable about public speaking (and yes, people who know me find that hard to believe, because I’m far from a shy retiring wallflower), so I was definitely out of my comfort zone.

But I really want to be able to do things like this – participate in festivals and visit schools if/when opportunities arise – so I resisted the urge to wimp out.

Thanks to Mr Weller (aka Teale Weller, my good friend, who’s been nagging me to chat to his students for a while now), I was able to settle my nerves after about 10 or so minutes … and ended up having an incredibly rewarding experience.

I talked about why I love reading, my favourite books and authors, and gave some insight into my journey to getting a publishing deal. We also talked about my journalism career. (Q&As are definitely the way to go!)

The kids were great. They asked lots of cool questions and it was obvious there were some avid readers – and budding writers – in the group.

We talked a bit about Shadows, but the session wasn’t really about plugging my book (particularly because it’s not really appropriate for 12-year-olds, although I hope some of them pick it up in a few years); it was just about the importance of books, reading and literacy.

By the end of the 45 minute session, I was actually having fun, because – for the first time – I was talking about the things I’m most passionate about: reading novels and writing stories.

It was a great experience. And now, I’m not quite so freaked out by the idea of standing in front of people with a microphone (provided I don’t have to sing).

So, to the students of Redland Bay State School Year 7 (and their very cool teachers): thank you. 🙂

Big news…

Big news… After many years, and many stories, I have signed a two-book deal with Text Publishing. Huge, HUGE, news for me. 🙂

I’m writing a YA paranormal thriller series with the working title of The Rephaim, and the first book, Shadows, is due out mid 2012.

So, I’m loving Text, I’m loving my agent Lyn Tranter (Australian Literary Management) and I’m trying to get my head around the fact I’m finally going to be a published author.

I’m planning for this site to become my official blog once the first book is out and I’ve got book-related things to write about… But in the meantime, I’m just going to put my thoughts down as they come to me along the way (and probably only tell a few friends about these posts to start with. Let’s face it they’re the only ones who’ll be interested at this point.)

A bit about the journey to date…
I’ve been writing creatively for 16 years. I’ve completed six manuscripts and have a folder full of (increasingly positive) rejections.

In late 2008, I signed with the indomitable Lyn Tranter, who has been incredibly supportive of me. She signed me on the basis of an ‘other world’ fantasy series I was working on at the time (which I’m still very committed to, and hope to finish one day). We came close to a publishing deal about 18 months ago with that work, but it all fell in a heap at the final hurdle.

Like all rejections, I took it well….. NOT! I had a little weep-fest, played yet another round of Am-I-Just-Kidding-Myself on the wheel of torture… swore a bit, drank more red wine than usual … and then remembered I love writing and there was no way I was going to stop, even if I never got that elusive deal.

So… I’d had this idea bouncing around in my head for a while, but I kept shoving it aside because I was working on the other series. Any hoo (as a good friend of mine would say), one weekend I decided to just have a little play with a scene or two.

For the first time I didn’t worry about what people in my life would think if they read it, because I was just writing it for me. And it was fun! There was violence and swearing and smart ass dialogue and a bit of sexiness… And it just flowed.

Long story short, I wrote 50 pages that weekend. When I reached 90 pages, I thought I better tell Lyn what I was up to. She loved it, told me to go for it, and a year later I had a new manuscript that I loved. I shared it with some friends who share my reading tastes and read a lot of paranormal fiction, and got some fantastic feedback (yes, that’s you Place, Michelle, Sarah, Elise and Kate!).

And now it’s going to be published. And I still can’t quite believe it.

Of course, this is just the start of the hard work. There’s editing to be done, and marketing, and all the other interesting stuff that comes with publishing a book these days, but my sleeves are rolled up and I am so ready for it…