Friday, May 29, 2009

A Sticky Book Celebration

Illustrator, Sarah Davis and I would like to invite all Sydneysiders to a STICKY celebration for the release of our new book: Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy.

Where: Sticky – CANDYMAKERS
10 The Rocks Centre, Kendall Lane, The Rocks NSW 2000
When: Saturday 6th June at 2.30pm

This book is packed full of magic, music, candymakers, greedy kings, wicked guards, and sugary sweets galore! It is the second book in New Frontier's Music Box series, which aims to introduce children to famous pieces of classical music. It comes with a bonus CD with the story read by Antonia Kidman!

Watch real candy being made!
Taste some of Sticky’s delicious sweets!
Hear Sarah and I read the story and watch Sarah draw!
Come dressed as a fairy, a greedy king, or a yummy sweet! (optional)

No need to RSVP -
just come and join the fun!
Proudly brought to you by:

Sunday, May 10, 2009

WIP - celebration

Have just passed the 25 000 word mark in my WIP and am feeling decidedly pleased with myself - especially as I am working full time at the moment.

Just needed to share.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Have a STICKY at this!

In my new picture book Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy, Marcus and Mary are the finest candymakers in all the land. To help make this part of the story authentic, I spent a number of sugary, calorie-rich hours at STICKY ( ) in The Rocks. All in the name of research, of course!

If you haven't ever seen rock candy being made, it's certainly worth a visit. If you can't make it in person, catch a glimpse of the action in this YouTube clip. These guys are awesome!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Writing Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy

For me, picture books are one of the most difficult genres to write in. It looks dead easy - heck, how hard can 600 words for 4 and 5 year olds be? In my opinion: very.

One of the things I discovered after a number of years of bashing my head against the proverbial brick wall, writing dozens of flat, uninspiring picture books texts, is that I can't write picture books on demand. My picture book texts generally come to me unbidden and usually in response to something I have witnessed or experienced that has stirred me emotionally. I've also discovered that I need to leave that initial flash of inspiration to simmer in my brain for quite sometime: until the rhythms of the language and the voice of the piece, toll bell-like in my mind; until, in fact, the text is almost fully formed and begging to be written. Then, only then, can I can risk putting words down on paper.

So when the publisher at New Frontier rang and asked me if I'd like to write a picture book text for their new Music Box series, I felt very uneasy - so much so, that I nearly refused. You can't write picture books on demand, I told myself. Don't try. You'll regret it, you fool.

But the concept behind the series was intriguing: writing picture book stories inspired by great pieces of classical music and I was sorely tempted. Then when I was given The Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy from the Nutcracker Ballet as my inspiration piece - a piece of music I swirled to in my ballet slippers in front of my wardrobe mirror for most of my childhood - I was more or less hooked.

So I agreed to have a think about it and at least to have a try. But heck - was I nervous, definitely out of my comfort zone!

Then thanks to cyberspace, with a couple of mouse clicks, I was able to find U-tube clips of the ballet and within minutes I was six again, spinning (recklessly) in twirling pirouettes around the lounge room and bending into deep (and clumsy/painful) pliƩs, and gradually an idea started to form. Ah - here's to the magic of music and the power of our childhood memories! Several brisk walks around the neighbourhood, a bit of research into the story of the ballet, a visit to Sticky (candymakers in The Rocks, Sydney) and I was ready. Ready to start, anyway, and happy that I had a story to tell ...

Here is a link to one of the many Sugar Plum Fairy U-tube clips. Enjoy.