Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Notable Australian Children's Books 2011

Earlier in the year I was thrilled to learn that Get a Grip, Cooper Jones was named as a CBCA Notable Book in the Younger Readers category. Today, I received in the mail the CBCA publication, Notable Australian Children's Books 2011, One World, Many Stories that comprises of an annotated list of all the notable and short-listed books.

I have to admit to being really chuffed that my little story was included in the notable list and in this publication. Coops is in such esteemed company, among so many wonderful books written by so many talented authors!

Here is Cooper's annotation. (Page 20)

"Laced with wit and humour, with strong descriptive passages, this very Australian beach and bushfire story, told in the authentic voice of early adolescent Cooper, will have appeal for both male and female younger adolescent readers, dealing as it does with themes of trust, identity, increasing self-awareness and growing independence. Coops is a likeable and reliable narrator, allowing the reader to fully appreciate his struggles and conflicts in coming to terms with himself, his parents and the insecurities and responsibilities of approaching independence."

It left me grinning. Widely.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Powerful Words

I was flipping through my current notebook the other day and found a number of quotes from books that I had enjoyed earlier in the year. They included several from A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness. (Brilliant book! Superb writing! A must-read for lovers of story.)

Gorgeous lines such as:
"There are worse things than being invisible," the monster had said, and it was right. Connor was no longer invisible. They all saw him now. But he was further away than ever."

"The monster showed up just after midnight. As they do."

"Connor held tightly into his mother. And by doing so, he could finally let her go."

Under these copied out quotes, I had scrawled the following note to self:

This is what I want to emulate. Not the style or voice or theme - but the intensity of emotions. I want my readers to WEEP, SOB, TO FORGET TO BREATHE. This is what I must do."

Wow - talk about putting pressure on myself! But it's good to be clear about what I am aiming for. It may take me a lifetime, but this is what I hope to achieve in my writing one day.

Wish me luck.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Today's inspiration

These are the words that have inspired me today.

"Because it was such a very small class, they had a very small classroom, which was perched right at the top of the school. Up four flights of stairs, way up in the sky, like a colony of little birds nesting on a cliff, blown about by wind with the high, airy sounds of the city coming up the hill in the ocean breeze."

Page 6, The Golden Day, by Ursula Dubosarsky. (Allen and Unwin.)

Beautiful, eh?

Saturday, June 11, 2011

What inspires you?

Last week I did an author interview for Bug in a Book. You can read it here. One of the questions they asked was whether I had any role models who inspired me during my journey as a writer.

This really got me thinking. It got me reflecting on all the wonderful people who had supported and/or mentored me over the last dozen or so years. The friends, colleagues, relatives, writing buddies, acquaintances who read the many drafts of my early manuscripts, offered advice, gave feedback, shared my passion, listened to me vent my frustration and on occasion provided a shoulder for me to have a cry on. Then there was those whose courses / workshops / events I attended, who inspired me by their passion, enthusiasm, intellect, skill, talent, their willingness to share the lessons they had learnt along the way. Wow. I owe so much to so many. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

But I also came to a bit of a realisation about what inspires me most these days. And that is good writing: carefully crafted words on the page; elegant prose; vivid imagery;  clever storytelling that evokes strong emotions; stories with shape and verve and originality; characters that have blood coursing through their veins, that leap off the page and demand my attention. That's what gets me going, what motivates me to keep writing.

What inspires you?