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.

Friday, August 9, 2013

May Gibbs Children's Literature Trust Days 22, 23, 24, 25, 26

Sometimes finishing a story is not quite as straightforward as you hope it will be.  My goal to have the draft completed by Tuesday didn't eventuate.  Not because I wasn't putting in 14 hour writing days but because this story just has a lot more threads that needed pulling together.  So what I thought would be 56,000 words at most has turned into 62,500 - many of which will be trimmed!  I must admit I'm feeling a little exhausted and strangely overwhelmed - perhaps it's just the thought that my month here is almost over.  The draft needs much polishing and re-working to bring it to its best, but that's the process of being a writer.  I enjoy having the opportunity to step back from it - read through from beginning to end (aloud and with all the silly voices) to see what works and what doesn't.  To think about the plot flaws and ask myself - does that make sense?  How can this be better?  Would Alice-Miranda do that?  Is Jacinta being true to herself?  Etc etc...

Of course this means that I haven't started my new Clementine adventure yet and that needs to be underway asap.  It will get done.

This week I worked with the Norwood, Payneham and St Peter's Library visiting East Adelaide Public School.  The children were great fun and I enjoyed meeting them very much.  Sue Nosworthy from the Trust looked after me well.  I can't wait to spend time with her again - she's terrific fun as is her husband Ian.

Mary Wilson had me up to her beautiful home for dinner on Wednesday evening.  We had my favourite; rack of lamb, roast vegetables and cauliflower cheese.  I asked if she'd been reading the 'My Favourites' section on my website!  On the way home Mary took me to the top of Kensington Road where there is a lookout over the city.  It was a blustery evening and a little chilly but well worth the walk.  What a spectacular view.

It feels strange to be getting ready to leave the Burrow.  It's a perfect place to write and has all the creature comforts of home - including a hair dryer!  I know when I was getting ready to come down I wished I had asked some silly questions about whether or not there was an iron and ironing board and hairdryer and of course a printer.  If you are coming soon I can tell you that the printer is a Canon MP250 and the ink cartridges will cost about $75 if you get colour.  There's also an external keyboard that you can hook up to your laptop.  I brought my own from home but it would have been a good thing to know and save on the luggage.

Adelaide is a terrific place and I am looking forward to being back again soon.  I've had the opportunity to meet some teachers from other schools in the area and I'm already plotting a tour next year.  It's a great city and the area where I've been staying in Norwood is absolutely gorgeous.  There is a real vibrancy. 

Last night I had the pleasure of meeting up with fellow Sydney children's author Aleesah Darlison for dinner.  She's been down here working in schools and pre-schools and today she visited the Glenelg Library where I was last Friday.  It was lovely to see her and take a break from what has been a pretty intense week and yesterday an extremely intense day.

So, tomorrow I have my final bookshop event at Mostly Books in Mitcham at 11am - it's National Bookshop Day and I'm excited to be there to take part in the celebrations. 

The photographs I've included here are courtesy of Mary; the top one is Ian, myself and Elizabeth Hutchins; next is Mary Wilson, myself and Elizabeth Hutchens, the third is with teachers from Norwood Public School and last of all is Jacquie Holdich and me outside Dillon's at Norwood.

With a day and a bit to go it's good to reflect on what has been achieved while I've been here.
  • Written 40,000 words and completed the draft of Alice-Miranda In Japan
  • Visited Griffin Press to see how books are made (and saw my own being printed :)
  • Events with Norwood, East Marden and East Adelaide Public Schools on behalf of the Norwood, Payneham, St Peter's Library
  • Event with Glenelg Library
  • 3 bookshop events with another tomorrow
I've also managed to have a few days off to see some of the sights of this wonderful city and surrounds.  So in all, I think it's been a very successful Creative Time Residency.

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