Talking Shadows and other stuff

Just a quick update on what I’ve been up to – or, more accurately, who I’ve been talking to.

Last Thursday morning, I got to hang out with around 100 year sevens at Redland Bay State School as part of their Book Week celebrations.

The school offered me my first official gig as an author this time last year (as a newly contracted local author), so it was nice to return to the school and chat about writing, how to structure a story, and what it’s like to be a published author. (And yes, just like last year, I shied away from plugging Shadows, given it’s really not appropriate for that age bracket).

The kids – again – were a great audience, asking really good questions and generally seeming interested. So thanks to them and the school for having me (and Mr Weller for setting it up).

Thanks to Jenny Doyle (left) and Wendy Grace for coming along to Victoria Point Library and buying copies of Shadows. (Photo by Melissa Gibson, Bayside Bulletin)

Then on Thursday night, I had my first Author in Action event. It was at my local library (Victoria Point), hosted by Victoria Point Angus & Robertson. I spoke for half an hour about Shadows and my journey to a publishing contract, took some excellent questions from the audience, signed some books (with my nifty new feather stamp from Paper Sushi – see pic below), and met some lovely people. Angus & Robertson sold quite a few copies of Shadows on the night, which was great!

I even did my first public reading from Shadows (Thanks Lee McGowan for convincing me not to wimp out and let someone else do it).

Thanks to everyone who turned up for that one – and of course to Kim English at Victoria Point Library and Stephanie and Kevin Walkem from Victoria Point A&R for making it possible.

On Saturday, I had my first writers’ panel experience at Logan North Library’s Sci Fi and Fantasy month Finale.  I got to chat with Marianne de Pierres,Trent Jamieson, Rowena Corny Danniells and Kev Webb about plot and characterisation. (Unfortunately Anita Webb was unable to join us – I hope you’re on the mend Anita). It was a lot of fun. Definitely my favourite format for public speaking.

Loving my groovy new feather stamp from Paper Sushi. I use it to make my very plain signature look more exotic when signing books.

As well as enjoying hanging out with these writers (and taking interesting questions from the audience), I also got meet and chat with one of my favourite bloggers, Nomes from Inkcrush. Nomes wrote a great post about the Finale and the author panel, so if you want to know more about both, check it out here.

Thanks to Logan North Library for the chance to be involved in this wonderful event, Marianne for very efficiently moderating the panel (and suggesting for me to participate) and the entire panel for  making me feel so welcome.

Confession: I was nervous before all of these events. Yes, I’m an extrovert, but that doesn’t automatically mean I’m a confident public speaker. But in the end, I came away smiling and glad I participated in all of them.

I’ve got some in-store events coming up in October, so I’ll post the details of those when they get closer.

Why bookshops matter

I’ve always loved bookshops – first and foremost as a reader and now, happily, as a published author.

Today, I had the privilege of being one of eight authors invited to work behind the counter at Riverbend Books at Bulimba (and one of numerous authors in bookshops across Australia) as part of National Bookshop Day.

I had a blast. Suzy and the team were so friendly and supportive – and patient, as I navigated through my first retail experience. (Okay, so I worked in a fish and chip shop when I was 14, but tills had buttons back then, not scanners, computer screens and EFTPOs facilities.)

The experience brought home to me yet again just how special bookshops are in a world where you can download an ebook in seconds or buy your hard copy books online and have them shipped to your front door.

Yes, convenience and cost saving is wonderful, but there are still so many experiences you can only have in a bookstore.

Here are my top 5 reasons why bookshops matter:

  1. People work in bookshops. People who remember your face and your name and what sort of books you like.
  2. The people who own and work in bookstores love books. They know stuff about authors and books, and they care about readers connecting with books they will love.
  3. You can meet authors at bookshops; hear them chat about their latest project, get your books signed…see if they really look like their bio photos.
  4. You can meet other book lovers at interesting and fun events; chat about hot topics (like the recent rise in erotica); join a book club.
  5. There are books in bookshops. Books you can pick up and touch (and smell, if that’s your thing), covers you can linger over.

And of course, bookshops sell books. They are still a critical link between author and reader and we appreciate everything they do to get our books out to the world.

So this is a call to all you book lovers to support your local bookstore. Chat with the people behind the counter, build those relationships and you will be rewarded with great service and meaningful book recommendations.

Libraries also offer similar experiences to bookstores. The big difference being libraries don’t need sales to survive (but keep supporting them too!).

A huge thanks to Riverbend Books for the opportunity to see the world from the other side of the counter. I also got to meet fellow Text author Richard Newsome (who took the shift after me), which was terrific. He writes the popular Billionaire series for older children.

(Another added bonus was that, after hearing all about Shadows from Suzy, one kind customer bought a copy and I got to ring up the sale. Thanks Gina. Hope you enjoy the read.)

With Riverbend owner Suzy Wilson using the scanner for the first time!

Hanging out with Suzy and author Richard Newsome

Orion to publish Shadows and Haze in the UK

I’m very excited to be able to announce the Orion Publishing Group will release Shadows and Haze in the UK next year.

Orion – based in London – is home to an extensive list of quality of authors, including Charlaine Harris, Justin Cronin, Carlos Ruiz Zafon and Brandon Sanderson. Highly regarded in its own right, the group is also part of publishing giant Hachette Livre.

It goes without saying I’m excited and honored to be joining the Orion ranks. (And again using every ounce of restraint to resist multiple exclamation points.)

The wait for Shadows in the UK won’t be too long: it’s scheduled for a January release, with Haze due to hit shelves mid year. I’ll keep you posted as dates firm up.

The first two books of the Rephaim series will have their own covers for the UK market. I’ve had a sneak peak at the Shadows cover and I can tell you it is stunning. Hopefully I can share the artwork here on the blog as soon as it’s finalised.

Again, I need to give a huge shout-out to Text Publishing’s Rights Manager Anne Beilby for her tireless work in making this latest milestone a reality. And for the continuing enthusiasm and support of the entire Text Publishing team for the Rephaim series.

Amazing stuff.