Australian Author of Children’s Books and Teen Books: August 2012

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Tasmania, Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane


I have spent the past few weeks on the road talking books, storytelling and creativity with kids and teens from Tasmania across the Strait and all the way up the east coast to Brisbane. It's a tiring, valuable and rewarding part of being a children's and YA author. A great opportunity to throw around ideas, test-drive new material and connect with humans who are intelligent, creative and still free. 

Above is a rainbow in central Tasmania on the drive from Hobart to Launceston. It captures something of the sense of hope and escape that I feel when talking story and cracking open the creative process.

Brainstorming our fears on the whiteboard.
Extraordinary waterfall at the unforgettable MONA Museum in Hobart.


Discovered on the walls of Cranbrook Junior School in Sydney. Love it.
Logan Libraries in Brisbane did a mad month of sci-fi-related events.



People-watching and writing in a cafe on Brunswick St, Melbourne.

At Essendon and Penleigh Grammar School with students and the lovely and dynamic librarian, Frances Eames
I spent an afternoon signing books in the bowels of Melbourne's State Library of Victoria. Love nothing more than knowing kids will be reading them.

Very cool school pens at Hillcrest Christian College on Melbourne's outskirts. I had a brilliant day at the school.
And they gave me these pens. I promise.
Lots of time in the air. Many notes scrawled in notebook. Altitude seems to inspire.
Students at Brookfield State School in Brisbane.
A note handed to me by a student after a session. It still puts a smile on my face.
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Friday, August 17, 2012

eBooks


Lots of kids, teachers and librarians have been asking whether my books are available as eBooks so I thought I'd share some of the places you can get them.

* Buy from an indie bookseller here on book.ish

* My Kindle Page

* Kobo Page

* Via the Apple Store on iBooks app.


Or you can get paper books here.

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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Cath Crowley, Children's and YA Author in The Writer's Studio



Cath Crowley is a children's and Young Adult author and winner of the most prestigious literary awards in the country. Over at www.cathcrowley.com.au you can learn about her love of coffee, her sleepwalking tendencies and her yearning for a pet fish. Here, you can dive down into her writing process and space...

Where did you write your latest book? How important to you is the space in which you write?
I do most of my writing away from the page. I get out in the world and look at things, travel around and take notes. For Graffiti Moon I sat for hours under the Westgate Bridge, trying to describe the landscape of the west. I love the lights and the industry, the packing crates on the docks.

I think of scenes while I’m walking or swimming, and then come home to write them. Sometimes I just stop at a café or in the park.

I move my desk around the house - sometimes a different view can shift my thinking. I like writing in this corner – where I can see the fire.



Headspace is more important to me than physical space. I need to know that I won’t have any interruptions for a long period of time – no noise for a couple of weeks. A month with no phone calls or emails would be bliss.

If I have headspace, then I can write anywhere.

Do you transform your space in any way for each book? Do you 'get into character' at all?
I don’t transform my place for the book. Sometimes I shift to my lounge room to write. My place is small, so most of the time I’m in my bedroom. (It’s the size of about three rooms though, and it has a lovely window. I quite like writing in there.)

I get into character in the usual ways – I write as them. I go to places I think they would like. I watch and listen and take notes. I watched a lot of glass blowing when I was writing Graffiti Moon. I went to a lot of galleries. I took photos of graffiti. And then I shut the whole world out and wrote the book.

A magical place in Daylesford where Cath escapes to write from time to time.
How has the place that you write evolved or changed since you first began writing novels?
I started writing while living in a share house. I used a communal computer that was in a room off the lounge, near the kitchen. I’d write listening to my housemates talking. I loved it. I’d write all night and people would come home and I’d have a chat with them. They’d go to bed and I’d keep going.

I didn’t seem to need as much headspace then.

Do you keep regular writing hours? If not, when do you write?
I write when I can get the time – around school visits. I would write all day if I could. Ideally, I like to start at about five in the morning, go through till twelve, go for a swim and come back to it.



Do you have a morning ritual? Roald Dahl was said to sharpen pencils. What settles your mind for writing?
If I have one, it’s making a good coffee.

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Sunday, August 5, 2012

Aaron Blabey, Children's Author, in The Writer's Studio


Aaron Blabey is the 2012 National Literacy Abassador. He is also an artist, illustrator and author with a background in acting. (His brand new website says that he has been a grape picker and video store dude, too). Here you can peek inside his process and workspace and gain an insight into how Wu Tang Clan, dry textas, napkins and chaos collide to create Aaron's much-loved picture books.

Where did you write your latest book? How important to you is the space in which you write?
I used to have a truly magical writing space on an isolated property – incense, haunting view, utter silence.

And then I had kids.

KA-BLAAAAM - tranquility GONE.

I’ve had a busy year – four new books. (That said, I write picture books so that’s not as outrageous as it sounds but the process of finding the idea is still quite an art.) The first of these new stories was conceived in a café in a spiral-bound notebook intended for another purpose entirely, the next was written on my phone on the train over several bleary mornings and embellished in a cave by the sea over the Christmas break, the third appeared spontaneously in a grim franchise café in about 3 seconds after a fruitless four-day session of grinding away at another story.

In a nutshell, post-kids I write where I can.

However…

I always PAINT in my studio but that’s because I can wear massive headphones and wipe out the world around me with a vast sonic explosion and I can do that because when I paint the LAST thing I’m thinking about is painting.

Writing doesn’t work that way.

At least, it doesn’t work like that for me.

Aaron Blabey's Creative Studio
Do you transform your space in any way for each book? Do you 'get into character' at all?
At this point in my life, the space stays the same but my soundtrack is a constantly evolving and wildly eclectic creative influence that I cannot function without. J.S.Bach, The White Stripes, Dolly Parton, The Beastie Boys, Miles Davis, Wu Tang Clan, Bob Dylan, Ryan Adams, The Stooges, Emmy Lou Harris, Tom Waits, Public Enemy, Arvo Part, Lou Reed and on and on and on. My next book – The Dreadful Fluff – initiated a change of rhythm and energy because it’s entirely different from its predecessors. Accordingly, I switched from country and heavy rock to a steady diet of 80s & 90s Hip Hop and it worked a treat. Different sonic aesthetic, different book. It’s ALL about music for me. 

How has the place that you write evolved or changed since you first began writing and illustrating?
I never had a consistent home as a kid. I suspect that’s informed my transient work patterns. But my current studio does make me happy. I’m interested in being irreverent towards the process at the moment so I’m currently working on mediums of impermanence – an iPhone notes app, a set of ugly white boards, napkins and scrap paper. I worked for years with gorgeous, Moleskine notebooks that demand reverence but I’ve found that generally my best ideas have tended to pop up when I don’t have a pen and have to scrawl a thought on my arm with a dry texta.

I’ve come to believe in chaos.

I blame my kids.

Do you have a morning ritual? Roald Dahl was said to sharpen pencils. What settles your mind for writing?
No. I write in the most random and scattered fashion that you can imagine. And I won’t hear a word against it. 


Do you keep regular writing hours? If not, when do you write?
I read music magazines, have seventeen shots of coffee, scrape paint palettes clean, do my tax, think of people who I absolutely have to email right this instant, go and buy more music magazines, skim them with an eighteenth coffee and then decide that I feel like there’s some good writing to be done somewhere else and I climb in my car, turn up the Beastie Boys and completely forget about writing for about an hour until I find myself sitting guiltily in a park somewhere with a notebook and a genuine chance of being the world’s leading procrastinator.

And then I scribble stuff.

Sometimes I find a book. Sometimes I don’t.

I’ve made peace with this.

In fact, I’m being glib – I’m proud of it. Surrendering control has been hugely beneficial to me as a writer. It’s become a question of faith – I completely trust that if I remain open, something wonderful might just fall from the sky. 


You have to believe. Like a child.

And I do.

Most days, anyway.

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