A Bookish Adventure

I started this blog to document an extended trip to the US and UK in 2012, introducing children to my Alice-Miranda series. It's hard to believe that it's just on four years since we launched the first Alice-Miranda title - and now there are nine books out in Australia with another five still to come. When I first came up with the idea of this precocious seven and a quarter year old, I had no clue that she would take me on such an amazing journey, not only in Australia but also across the world. I visited 37 schools while we were away in 2012 and gave over 80 talks - it was fantastic. In 2013 I've been on lots of new adventures in the UK - visiting schools from London to Southampton, Lancashire, Scotland, Newcastle and back to London again. After that I headed off to meet readers in Singapore. In Australia I've been to Melbourne, Perth, Albany, Alice Springs and Brisbane. There's a new series too - about a gorgeous little girl called Clementine Rose. She and Alice-Miranda don't know each other yet, but they will soon.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

The Next Big Thing...

The Next Big Thing is a tag team of blog posts from authors all over the place.  I have been tagged by the lovely Wendy Blaxland whose post you can read here:


I've asked some writer friends to play and so far the lovely Joy Hopwood, Michelle Hamer and Alyssa Brugman have agreed.  Watch out for their blogposts Wednesday 8 January.

What is the working title of your next book? 
This blog came about at a great time as I my new book, Clementine Rose and the Pet Day Disaster launched 1 January 2013.

Where did the idea come from for the book?
This is the second book in the series about Clementine Rose who is five years old.  Clementine Rose began as an idea for a prequel to my Alice-Miranda series but then ended up being her own character and now her own series.  There is intertextuality between the two series as the girls come from the same part of the world and share some friends and experiences (Alice-Miranda went to Clemmie’s school, Ellery Prep before she headed off to boarding school).  They haven’t met yet but I think they will soon. 

What genre does your book fall under? 
Junior fiction.  I see Clementine Rose being read by 5-9 year olds.

What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
Clementine Rose would have to be played by my niece Eden but she needs to get a little older.  The illustrations of Clemmie are based on photographs of her.  Clemmie’s mother, Lady Clarissa Appleby could be Kate Winslet, Uncle Digby Pertwhistle, the butler should be Jim Carter who plays Mr Carson in Downton Abbey (yes I know typecasting there) and Aunt Violet Appleby simply has to be Anna Wintour (I know she’s not an actress but she’s Aunt V to a t!).

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Clementine Rose is starting school, with high expectations, all of which are dashed by the end of the day; the only thing that might bring her back to school is the announcement of a pet day where she can take her beloved tea cup pig, Lavender.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
Clementine Rose and the Pet Day Disaster will be published by Random House Australia and later in the year the series will start to be published by Random House Children’s Books in the UK.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
About 10 days to actually write the 20,000 words, but many more days thinking, rewriting and editing. 

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Maybe Judy Moody or Clarice Bean.  And of course Clementine Rose and the Surprise Visitor which is the first book in the series.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

Writing Alice-Miranda and wanting to engage younger readers gave me the idea to develop another character.  I sat down with my former publisher, Linsay Knight and RHA Director of Children’s Books, Julie Burland and we talked about lots of ideas and concepts initially.  Linsay suggested Clemmie should have a cute pet and it was her idea to have a tea cup pig, which I loved from the outset.

What else about the book might pique the reader's interest?
Clementine Rose starts school in this book and has very high expectations (as many children do) of all the things she’s going to learn on the first day.  Clementine thinks she’s going to learn to read, do number and tell the time.  She can’t wait – and is expecting the beautiful Miss Arabella Critchley to be her teacher.  However, that doesn’t turn out to be the case and she winds up with the very sartorially brown Mrs Ethel Bottomley.  To top it all off, she ends up sitting next to the meanest boy she’s ever met, Angus Archibald.  After the first day she’s had enough and decides that a visit to Dr Everingham from whom she hopes to elicit a note that she never has to go back, will mean the end of school forever.  He has other ideas though and lets slip that there’s a big announcement about a pet day - and of course when you own the cutest pet in the world, a tea cup pig called Lavender, Clementine could hardly resist going back.  That’s not to say it’s all smooth sailing from there – the title is Clementine Rose and the Pet Day Disaster after all.