Australian Author of Children’s Books and Teen Books


Monday, October 9, 2017

2017 Book Tour Highlights

Children's Book Week, Writers Fests, school visits. 2017 has been a big year of touring with two new books out, My Life and The Fall. Here are the best pics from my Instagram over the past few months,  giving you a wrap on the adventures and a glimpse into the more interesting parts of life on the road. 

Seeing kids excited about reading and creating their own stories is one of the biggest rewards of visiting schools.

An assembly to acknowledge the work of young writers after a writer-in-residence stint at Brisbane's 'Churchie'.

Late night Book Week dinner with authors James Phelan (The Last Thirteen) and Gus Gordon (My Life series, Somewhere Else) at an amazing hidden-away Thai place in Melbourne.

Recording the Two Wolves audiobook has been one of the highlights of my travels. It'll be out through Penguin Random House in coming months.

Kids' WB

And spending some quality time on an inflatable swan with Kids' WB host Shane Crawford. (You can see the segment we shot here.)

Launching The Fall. (Only just made it out alive.)

Better Reading Kids Facebook Live

A quick behind-the-scenes chat about The Fall and our 2017 Room to Read World Change Challenge with Better Reading Kids, who are such great advocates for children's literacy in Australia.

Filming Juiced TV at Brisbane's Lady Cilento Children's Hospital. It's a show hosted by kids for kids.

Nice having a new book to talk about and trying to bring it to life in interesting ways. I'm working on turning my talk into more of a 'show' next year and beyond. Ideas swirling. Stay tuned.

My mum gave me a lovely present - the six metal staples I had inserted into my right knee from age 13-16 to slow down the growth of my leg. It's the same operation that I gave to Sam in The Fall.

Hanging With... Disney Channel

Fun hanging with Ash and Adam on Disney Channel's Hanging With. This was just prior to a disgusting egg challenge.
A box of old ideas found in the shed! And, yes, that is cockroach poo.


Playing statues with Pip on ABC Me.

Byron StoryBoard Bus

Visiting lots of small schools on Byron Writers Festival's amazing StoryBoard Bus.

Children's Book Week

And dinner with a pretty extraordinary bunch of creative humans. Author Morris Gleitzman, Penguin Random House editor Katrina Lehman and publicity maestros Kate Sheahan and Tina Gumnior, author / illustrator Gus Gordon, author Oliver Phommavanh and the lovely Isobelle Carmody


Thursday, September 21, 2017

THE FALL Student-Made Book Trailer

I'm so impressed by this book trailer for my new novel The Fall made by year 7/8 students at Xavier College in Queensland's Wide Bay area. It won the Reader's Cup State Final book trailer comp against some tough competitors.

It captures the tone of the book and the production values are high. It hints at the story without needing to relay the entire plot. It makes me want to read the book. ;)

I hope you enjoy it, too. Let me know what you think and give them a thumbs-up on YouTube if you like it.



Monday, September 11, 2017

The Making of an International Bestseller Event

I'm looking forward to this! For writers, readers and Jack Reacher fans. Hope you can make it along if you happen to be in Northern NSW / SE QLD.

Cambridge lecturer Dr Andy Martin spent a year with multi-million-selling crime / thriller author Lee Child as he wrote his Jack Reacher novel, Make Me. The result is Reacher Said Nothing, a unique and intimate account of the creative process in which Lee Child shares the inner workings of the author and the making of a bestselling novel.

Join Andy Martin and author Tristan Bancks, as they discuss the genius of Lee Child, the enduring appeal of Jack Reacher, and give a glimpse into the thriller-writing process. The free session is suitable for writers, those fascinated by creativity and Jack Reacher fans. The session will see the screening of exclusive documentary footage of Lee Child at work in New York, giving insight into the life of one of the world’s most successful authors.

5:45pm-7pm Tues 12 September, FREE, Mary Ryan’s Bookshop, 27-31 Fletcher St, Byron Bay.


Sunday, August 13, 2017

5 Books That Influenced the Writing of THE FALL

All stories are influenced by other stories. 

Many writers say they don't read fiction while they are writing a book because they don't want another book to impact the story they're working on. But I'm always writing, which would mean I could never read, and that would be very sad.

Here are five books that had a clear impact on the writing of my new crime-mystery novel for ages 10+, The Fall.

1. The Body by Stephen King.

The book was turned into the movie Stand By Me. Possibly my favourite book and my favourite movie of all time. I read this in high school. It's for an older reader than The Fall. It's a powerful story, well told. On the opening page is the line 'I was twelve going on thirteen when I first saw a dead human being'. I was reflecting on this line, one of my favourites from any book, wondering if I had ever seen a dead human being, when I remembered a crime scene I had visited on work experience with a news crew in high school. This was the beginning of my journey on The Fall.

2. The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick. 

One of my favourite books. I love the cinematic references, the illustrations, the Paris location, the characters, the unusual format and I love Martin Scorsese's film adaptation Hugo. Like Hugo, Sam in The Fall is reaching out to his father, yearning for connection, trying to understand him. (Hugo's dad has passed away.) Hugo Cabret is set mostly in one location, the train station, just as The Fall is set mostly in one apartment building. And while The Fall is not illustrated and there are no explicit cinematic references, the unfolding of the story feels very visual to me.

3. Danny the Champion of the World by Roald Dahl. 

One of my favourite Roald Dahl books. I love the father-son relationship. I love that there is mystery and darkness. Danny idolises his dad, but his father makes some questionable choices. The Fall is a very different book but I can see all of these threads in my story.

4. Alfred Hitchcock's Movie-Making Masterclass by Tony Lee Moral

I picked this up a couple of years ago. Hitchcock's thriller Rear Window was an early influence and I had decided to set The Fall mostly in one location over twenty-four hours. I did this partly as a writing challenge to see if I could use the contained location and time to ramp up the suspense in the story while never letting the audience become bored with the setting. This book became my masterclass with the greatest suspense / thriller storyteller of all-time.

5. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon

I think this is the best realistic fictional 'detective' story around. It has narrative drive and the hallmarks of a good mystery and the central character, Christopher, is human, authentic and intriguing. He has issues with his parents who have made some poor choices. He suspects his father of grave wrongdoing and he is trying to navigate the complexities of the adult world but is  determined to find his own solutions. Re-reading 'Curious Incident' while writing my book showed me that kid mysteries can be realistic, somewhat dark and feature characters with true human foibles.

You might also be interested in:




The Fall Vision Board

Two-Minute Video Introduction to The Fall


Monday, August 7, 2017

Byron Bay Writers Festival Kids Big Day Out

Byron Writers Festival's Kids' Big Day Out was held on the weekend. Hundreds of kids and parents in a big, white marquee next to the beach in Byron Bay, listening to authors Lucas Proudfoot, Isobelle Carmody, Hilary Badger, Peter Helliar, myself, Sally Rippin and Richard Roxburgh.

The audience wants you to do well, they're excited about interacting, brainstorming stories, sharing their own jokes and ideas. It's one of the most enjoyable things you can do as a storyteller, a reward for the thousands of hours spent alone, inside your own mind, writing the books!

If you ever have the chance to make it along, you should.

Thanks Byron Writers Festival for an amazing week, topped off by the Kids' Day Out.

One of the treats for the kids (and adults) was having comedian Peter Helliar along for the ride.

Photography by Amber Melody.

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