Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Dear Diana,

To commemorate the wonderful life Diana Wynne Jones lead and left on the 26th of March 2010, I have decided to write her a letter.

Dear Diana,

You are wonderful, you inspire millions of people worldwide by your imagination and dedication to books.
Without you, would anyone have ever dreamt of someone like Howl, Cal, Sophie and the Castle? Would anyone have thought of anything at all like it?
I don't believe so.
You are one of a kind.
You inspired me.
Thank you Diana.

P.S. I will always be your very faithful reader, because your characters changed me.

Thank you Diana.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott review...

What I thought:
Quite simply it was amazing, inspiring, fun, full of dreams, laughter, saddness and other things that I've mentioned and more besides.
It is truly and simply inspiring and is a book like no other, nothing compares to the style it was written in, the thought of each character, their hopes and little sorrows.
The fact they they hold together and never give up (not for long at any point, anyhow) is simply amazing.
I love the March sisters for evermore.


Saturday, March 26, 2011

Ok, here is my writers retreat! YAY! Meet Hes and Bobby!

This is my most amazing writers retreat, formally my cubby house, it is just lovely!

I made a garden for myself!

My desk of inspiration!

Hessy and Bobby (they don't like pictures being taken)

That's Bob, he's gold and Hessy's multi!

They're the best!

Let know what you think!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

An absolutely fantabulous Q&A with...(Who could it be?)

Anna Cidor, author of the amazing Viking Magic Books, has ever so kindly done a fantastic Q&A with me! And it is just for you to read! I hope you love it!

*What is your all time favourite book?

That is an impossible question to answer. My mum started taking me to the
local library when I was very young and I began working my way through every
shelf DEVOURING books - and I have never stopped. I read very fast and not
very thoroughly, so I can usually read the same book several times and enjoy
different bits of it each time. 

*Why do you write?

It's an obsession. An idea takes hold of me and I have to write till I have
worked it out of my system. That is something that started when I was a
child too. 

*What inspires you daily?

I must think about whatever I am writing even in my sleep, because I keep
waking up during the night with ideas and by the time I get up in the
morning (if I can wait that long) I am bursting with inspiration. 

*In a film version of the Viking Magic books, who would you want to play the
two main characters?

I hope if there is ever a film version of the Viking Magic books that I
could really be involved in casting! Wouldn't that be fun? I think it would
be great to discover fresh new talents who had never been seen before. 

*Are you writing anything at the moment?

I have just finished a book called '1000 great places to travel with kids in
Australia'. It is 660 pages long!! Now I am going through a weird in-between
stage of trying to work out what to write next. It feels very strange
because I am used to having a book to think about day and night.  

*What tips can you give to aspiring writers?

Read your work out loud (even if you are alone) and listen to the rhythm and
flow of the words. Don't be afraid to completely re-write a sentence or even
a whole big chunk if you don't think it is right. Try to accept other
people's criticisms without getting too upset (I know how hard that is) and
then work out how to improve the writing. Good luck!

*What authors do you look up to?

Some of my favourite authors date from my childhood and are not very
fashionable at the moment, like Noel Streatfeild, Paul Gallico and Rumer

*What is your favourite thing about writing?

I love immersing myself in another world and imagining what it is like to
live in another time or place.

*Did you always want to be a writer?

I've always loved writing but I never thought about being a writer
professionally till I was married and stayed at home reading books to my own

*What was your first job?

My first career was as a senior school maths teacher - yes, really - but my
first job was helping in a school holiday program. I've never really stopped
being a kid at heart. Even when I was a teacher I felt as if I was one of
the girls in the class playing at schools.

*What was the first book you wrote? (Not published)

I think the first book I wrote was a gift for one of my sisters. She was
interested in Japan so when I was about ten I researched Japan and wrote and
illustrated a tiny pocket-sized book for her.

*Out of all of your books, who do you think you are most like?

I think all the characters in my books have some aspect of me inside them,
but I don't think any of them is completely like the real me. 

Thank you ever so much for the Q&A Anne, it was a lot of fun!
(Now make sure you go and read the Viking Magic series now, because it is amazing!)

Keep reading,

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Writing Progress and Bob and Hester.

Now  I  should  warn  you,  this  post  will  probably   be  mostly  double  spaced,  see,  I'm  doing  it  now!
I've  been  trans-scribing,  as I  like  to  call  it,  my  novel  for  the Text  publishing  competition  onto  the  computer  for  the  last  hour  and  as  I  have  to  double  space  everything,  I've  gotten into  the  habit  of  it.
It's  going  very  well,  though  it  does  seem  quite  a  slow  progress,  it  takes  me  about  an  hour  just  to  put  a  chapter  on,  probably  because  of  all  the  notes  and  things  I've  added  along  the  side of  my  manuscript  and  because  me  writing on this  one  is  abnormally  smallishly  small.
But  I'm  not  too  sure.
Wait,  I  am  in  my  writers  retreat (in  the  vain  hope  that the internet connection wouldn't work out here and I wouldn't get  distracted) and  the  chickens are  messing  up  my  new  fabbity fabulous garden...oh no, they've gone now.
So yes, it's going marvellously, I've finished revising (going through the manuscript by hand and touching it up here and there) which is fantastic, but only time will tell how many words I'll have to add at the end... I'm slightly  interested and maybe a little, well not concerned but a step below that, about how much I'll have to add to it... I'll keep you posted.
Now, a few days before my birthday I got two Fish, I named them Hester and Bob and they live in my Writers Retreat and are absolutely lovely! (They're goldfish)
They are the sweetest things and seem to understand me perfectly, I love watching them!
Now I just need a Hedgehog/porkipine/echidna as everyone persists in telling me they're called. They're actually hedgehogs, really.
Oh, and my booklist for 2011's going smashingly well, for a moment I was slightly worried about getting through it all, even though it's only March, but now I'm happy with it again! (I finished Narnia today, such a lovely book!
Well, I best be off!
Tra-la! (not T rah but tarla)

Friday, March 11, 2011

Moving books....

I read a book last year called The Worst thing she ever did by Alice Kuipers; it's about a girl who had been involved in a big accident and doesn't know what to do.
She insists on being alright, she pushes herself and doesn't know what's going wrong with her.
Everyone seems to have changed, her best friend is ruining her own life and no one seems to care about the girl; the one who went through everything, everyone seems to be too worried about themselves.
It's a wonderful book and though some of the themes (alcohol and anirexia) are hard to read through, the style of writing and the way it is told through a teenage girl's eyes makes it a lot easier.
It's full of emotion and is a must read.

I have a book out from the library, 13 Reasons Why and it's about a girl who comitted suicide herself because of all the pain and loss that she had suffered and the fact that everytime she tried to make a new friend, put hope onto someone, they let her down.
All this girl wanted was to be able to fit in and have someone she could rely on, but everyone let her down.
In the end, when she had a chance, she couldn't bare the thought of being let down again and so let it slip by.
She died.
I admit that I don't like all the themes in this book, I won't read it all because of parts of the story; but how can someone like a story in which someone has killed herself to get away from everything awful and hurtful, how can anyone like a story in which a girl who killed herself left a set of tapes to be passed onto everyone who hurt her, caused her pain-even her counseler who didn't care enough to stop her.
I don't like it, it is moving and heartwrenching.
It is killing.
It is death.
It is full of pain.
And saddness.
It is moving.
It is a book that I hope changes things.


Thursday, March 10, 2011

So Sorry...

I'm awfully sorry for the huge LACK of posting recently from moi, but I can assure you it was not due to my lack of interest.
I've been super dooper busy recently and have had a probable minor case of bloggers block, but I'll be back in action soon- ok?
And it's quite possible that something super exciting will come with my being back online and writing again; who likes compo's?? (Being competitions with books)?? ME! And seeing as it's my birthday on Sunday-yes, this sunday, the 13th of this week!!! I'll be fifteen (15!!!!) YAY! I'm so excited!!!! I'll do a post showing me as the 15 year old; but for now, I have to settle with going to the orthodontist, yay (see my utter excitement, with capitals and !!!marks? yay

Lovingly your buddy for books,

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Dear Bloggity Oggity people, for your eyes only here is a Q&A with...

The lovely Sarah Littman! Author of books such as upcoming "Want to go Private", "Life, After" , "Confessions of a closet catholic" and "Purge"! Thank you soooooo much for the Q&A Sarah, it was a lot of fun!
Here it is!

*What is your favourite thing about being a writer?

There are so many things I love about being a writer it's hard to choose. I would say the top two are: 1) that with each book I get to explore a whole new world, and it means that I'm constantly learning and growing, which is very important to me and 2)when I get a letter or email from someone who has read my work and says that it has resonated with them. 

*Did you always want to write as a profession?

From high school onwards I wanted to write. When I was really little, I wanted to be an airline stewardess, which I find hilarious now, because I hate being in an airplane!

*How many books have you written?

I've written and completed 5 books. One will never, ever see the light of day. I also have several half or quarter written books lying around. 

*What are your favourite books?

This is always the hardest question for me to answer, because I've read so many books and I've had so many favorite books at different times of my life. 

Growing up, I loved the Secret Garden and A Little Princess, but Frances Hodgson Burnett, and I also devoured the historical novels of Jean Plaidy. One of my recent favorites is The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. I'm so excited because the town I live in chose it as a town-wide read, and on March 28th Markus Zusak is going to be speaking at our local library! *jumps up and down with excitement!!!!*

*What was your first job?

My first ever job was babysitting my next door neighbors. 

My first job in high school was working at Friendly's, the ice cream store chain. We had to wear these hideous polyester uniforms that contained not a single natural fiber and made you sweat like crazy, and because I'm, er, height-disadvantaged, I'd come home up to my neck in ice cream practically. 

*Did you use an agent?

I received my first book offer before I had an agent, but as soon as I called author Paula Danziger, in whose workshop I'd come up with the idea for the book, to tell her I'd sold it, she said, "You need an agent!" She performed matchmaking services between my agent, Jodi Reamer and me. 

*How long did it take you to write your first book?  

It took me about eleven months to write and revise my first book, CONFESSIONS OF A CLOSET CATHOLIC. 

*What inspires you?

Life. Seriously, I know it sounds cliche, but I never know what is going to inspire me, and I think as an author it's so important to be open, attentive and present to what is going on around you, because you never know who or what will trigger that next idea.

*What tips can you give to aspiring writers?

Read a lot and then write, write, and write some more. Revise. Learn to love revision. Revision is your friend. And learn from rejection, even though it's depressing and makes you want to curl up in a ball and cry and eat chocolate*. *You are allowed to do these things - just make sure you only do it for a short period (set a timer) and then pick yourself up, learn from it, and get back to writing. 

*What are your favourite pastimes?

I love reading, cooking, listening to live music, dancing (although not around my teenage kids, who think I'm mortifying) playing tennis, kickboxing, walking my dogs, and slobbing on the sofa in my PJ's watching movies.

*How many more books do you plan to write?  

As many as I possibly can. It's extremely frightening for me right now, because my beloved father is suffering from Alzheimer's Disease, which hit him in his 70's and his mother in her 70's, and I think...if that happens to me, I've only got about 22 more years left to write, so I'd better write REALLY fast because I got a late start and I have SO many more books in me.

*Who is your all time favourite book character?

Oh, that's another hard one!  Maybe Dobby, from Harry Potter?  I <3 Dobby!!

Thank you again Sarah! I can't wait to read Want to go Private when it comes out (August this year!)

Happy reading,

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Here and now I have another Q&A for you! (aren't you just the luckiest things?) And who has done this Q&A I wonder...?

Here and now I have an absolutely marvy Q&A with the lovely Kirsty Murray, author of the fantastic India Dark and more books! I hope you love this Q&A!

*What is your favourite thing about writing?

I love making up new characters and sending them off on adventures. Writing, like reading, allows you to live more than one life. I love seeing the world through someone else’s eyes. Getting inside my characters skins means I can deeply experience all sorts of things without having to time-travel, suffer incredible physical pain or spend a lot of money.

*What was your first job?

My first job, other than doing a paper round, was working in a bookshop in Toronto, Canada when I was still in secondary college. Every writer should try at least one stint of working in a bookshop. If nothing else, it’s a great way to start building your own library of books. I loved working at The Book Barrel. I had a great boss and I took half my wages in books.

*Did you always want to be a writer as your profession?

I always loved to write and fantasised about being able to make a living out of it one day. It took me a long time and several false starts to finally get established. I raised my kids and worked in other industries before I got the hang of full-time writing.

*When is your next book coming out?

I’m working on several things at the moment but I think the next book to be released will be a non-fiction book called Topsy Turvy World. The children’s publisher at the National Library of Australia approached me last year and asked if I’d write a book, based on a similar book that they’d published for adults, about early European impressions of Australian wildlife. It should be out later this year or early next year.

*Did you use an agent to get your first book published?

No, I was lucky. I started out writing non-fiction for children, which is treated differently to fiction. First you submit a proposal outlining an idea for a book along with a sample chapter and then you sign a contract based on the strength of the writing and the idea. I wrote three books of non-fiction before my publisher at Allen & Unwin suggested I should try turning one of my non fiction ideas – a book about Australian circus – into a novel. It became my first work of published fiction - ‘Zarconi’s Magic Flying Fish’ - and it won the WA Premier’s Literary Award for children in 2000. It’s still in print. Like I said, lucky.

*What most recently inspired you?

I’m never short on inspiration. I find the hardest thing about writing is focussing on a single thing, a single source of inspiration, and following it through until you have a finished work.

*Can you give any pointers to aspiring writers?  
Read every day. Read widely and develop an appetite for poetry. Next, write every day. Even if it’s just a journal entry or a postcard, the written word works differently to the spoken word so you have to keep crafting the way words work on paper. Somewhere inside our brains there is a writing muscle and if we don’t use it, it never grows strong.

*Why did you start writing? 
Because I loved books and wanted to be part of the tradition of making books for other people to enjoy.

*In a film version of India Dark, who would you have play Poesy and Tilly? 
India Dark has been optioned for a film already but I have no idea who the producer is thinking of casting in the lead roles. It may not every make it to the screen because it’s the sort of film that will require a huge amount of funding to get it off the ground. Keep your fingers crossed. As to who I would choose? I have no idea. I can see both Poesy and Tilly so clearly in my head but I don’t actually know anyone who looks exactly like either one of them

*What are your favourite books? 
I have way too many favourite books to list them and a couple of hundred favourite authors. This week’s favourite author is the English novelist Jane Gardam, as I’ve read two of her novels in the past three days - “Crusoe’s Daughter” and “Queen of the Tambourine”. I’ve read about seven of her other books as well but I think probably “Bilgewater” and “Old Filth” are my favourite Jane Gardam novels. Then again – I loved “Crusoe’s Daughter” too. I can neve answer the favourite books question. It’s just too hard and really depends on my mood! 
*Did becoming a published author open up a whole new world to you?  
These questions are getting harder, Romi. A whole new world? It has certainly given me a lot of opportunities to travel, meet new people and read more books. I’ve always been a big fan of being in the world and making the most of every moment but writing requires a lot of discipline and authors need to spend a lot of time sitting at their desks, inside their own heads and then actually getting the words down on paper. It probably sounds corny but I guess the biggest thing becoming a published author did for me was to make me take my writing seriously, to consider it both a profession and a vocation and knuckle down to make sure I would continue to have more work published. 

Thank you thank you thank you Kirsty for doing this Q&A for me, it was a lot of fun and your answers are all fantabulous!


Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Hello Ello!

Hello-oo! I haven't posted as a written thing about me for an age, so I thought I would write a little bit! YAY! (I do enjoy saying yay! YAY)

Well I haven't been writing all that much lately, which is just awful, but I have officially finished my GR article and so it is now ready to be sent to the editor, and I've started transcribing my novel about the spy girl (not Prunella mind you) onto the computer for the Text Publishing competition! and I am very excited about that! Though I'll prolly have to add about 12,000 words to it, which may be hard, but I'm sure I'll be fine!
So I'm adding that onto the computer and revising it when I'm not doing other stuff-revising by hand of course- and I've been reading a tonne! I'm currently reading The Swiss Family Robinson, which is rather good!

Beware, I have a lot of Q&A's coming up for you! Make sure you let me know what you think about them! I love hearing what you all think!
And woo-hoo! It's my 15th birthday in 13 days! (I.E.the 13th) I'm so super excited! I'll be 15!

Well Toodles,