Australian Author of Children’s Books and Teen Books: 2016

Friday, December 16, 2016

2016 Adventures in the World of Kids' and Teen Books

It’s so boring when people say, ‘Where did the year go? It’s almost Christmas!' but, seriously, ‘Where did the year go? It’s almost Christmas!’ 

It’s the last day of work for me today for 2016 and I'm trying to remember what, exactly, happened, so I've gathered some of my fave pics from Instagram and from this here blog to tell the story of 2016.

My goal each year is to write the best books I possibly can, to bring them to life in interesting ways – live talks, video, image, sound and interactive – and to try to inspire people to pick up a book or create something. Hopefully I’ve achieved some of this in 2016. In 2017 I'm embarking on a Story Project. More on this mission in the new year.

I hope it's been a good year for you, that you get to spend some time over the next couple of weeks with people you love and that 2017 will be your best year yet.

I started the year by climbing Mt Kosciuszko, Australia's tallest mountain, twice. I vowed that it would be my year of walking and climbing. Instead, it was the year of coffee and doughnuts... and Trump.

But the doughnuts were exquisite in 2016. Trump, not so much.
I may have mentioned before that kids' and teen authors are an amazing bunch of people. This is at Somerset Celebration of Literature in March with Deborah Abela, Tammy Williams and Lian Tanner.

One of my favourite humans, writer and illustrator Gus Gordon, who draws the pictures in the My Life series.

This is a pic from Gus's funny, original and visually stunning new picture book Somewhere Else.
A real treat to meet ABC broadcaster Simon Marnie and to learn from two of my favourite authors John Marsden (Tomorrow When the War Began) and Anna Fienberg (Tashi) at this year's Byron Writers Festival.
Filmmaker Brett Stephens and I pitched my novel Two Wolves as a film to an audience and a panel of top producers at Byron Writers Fest and we won the pitch which was fun. Hopefully some day it'll be a movie!

I loved sharing 'Don't Sit Where You Knit' in school visits. It's a hilarious true story by a twelve-year-old writer that we included in My Life & Other Exploding ChickensThere is another very funny true story by a young writer in next year's book, My Life & Other Weaponised Muffins!
I loved visiting schools all over Australia and trying out my new story ideas, seeing which ones worked and which ones still needed love.

It was fun pranking a bunch of stinky kids in a bookstore with Kids' WB host Shane Crawford.

My Exploding Chicken Video Game battle with kidlit author Oliver Phommavanh and a bunch of bookish gamers, documented live on Instagram, almost shut down the internet. Sort of. If you haven't played the game yet, you probably should. It's here.

My uncle gave me this original Ginger Meggs artwork, done by my great great uncle Jim Bancks, who created the comic strip in 1921. It used to hang on my grandmother's wall and I would look up at it when I was a kid and get inspired to draw my own comics. Meggs and Bancks were a big part of me wanting to create stories for children and teens.

I spent every moment I could this year working on two new books for release in 2017: My Life & Other Weaponised Muffins for March and The Fall for May. I have been working on The Fall since 2012.

I bought a typewriter recently to write a new book and to make the process a bit more physical and interesting. I love working on it. It's so hard to delete or correct anything so it keeps you powering forward. Perfect for a first draft.

I've just finished reading the proof pages of The Fall. ;)

Celebrating Roald Dahl Day in Federation Square, Melbourne, with authors Felice Arena, Jacqueline Harvey and Gus Gordon was memorable. We performed Fantastic Mr Fox live onstage.

Thanks to all the readers for a brilliant year. 
I hope to do a whole bunch of this over the next couple of weeks. 

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Winner of 'My Life & Other Exploding Chickens' Book Video Comp

Big congratulations to the winner of the My Life & Other Exploding Chickens book video competition! We had lots of really strong entries but the one we liked the most for its unique mix of scripting, performance, comedy and filmmaking is the trailer by Oliver Stone. (Not the very famous older American filmmaker, Oliver Stone, but the no-doubt-soon-to-be-very-famous-and-much-funnier younger Australian filmmaker, Oliver Stone.)

Oliver's trailer gives a great sense of the book's tone and irreverent humour and I think it would definitely inspire me to pick up the book (if I hadn't written it).

Oliver wins $500 cash and $500 worth of books. Huge thanks to Dymocks Children's Charities and Penguin Random House Australia for putting up the prizes and running the competition.

I hope you get a chance to watch Oliver's trailer and read the book.


Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Children's Book Week 2016

It's been a fun couple of months of touring around, talking books and creativity, hopefully inspiring people to create their own stories and pick up a book. It finishes up this week with Brisbane Writers Festival's Wordplay program. Here are some pics from the road, starting off with the amazing Byron Bay Writers Festival (BWF pics by Amber Melody.)

Onstage with Tony Flowers and Coralie Tapper, designing the new Byron Writers Festival Storyboard bus. Kids decided it should be triple-decker with a swimming pool and that it should fart fairy floss.
Illustrator Tony Flowers tattooing an innocent child.
I think I might be hearing a wild idea for a My Life story.

I was lucky enough to be on a panel session with the ABC's Simon Marnie and legendary authors
John Marsden and Anna Fienberg.

Two Wolves won the film adaptation pitch contest at Byron Writers Festival. ;))

Have met so many kids who are so fired up about books and writing. 
I had a few lolly teeth removed. (Illustration by Gus Gordon from story 'Dr Bent' in our Exploding Chicken book.)

I asked them to put their hands in the air like this so it would look like they were having the greatest time of their lives. Quite effective, huh?
A storyboard for a student entry into the MY LIFE & OTHER EXPLODING CHICKENS video trailer competition. ;)

So impressed by this guy who printed and published his own book at You should do it, too!

My uncle and aunty gave me this original Ginger Meggs artwork by my great great uncle Jimmy Bancks. It's my favourite thing.

Lots of fun celebrating Roald Dahl Day in Federation Square Melbourne last weekend and performing a live reading of Fantastic Mr Fox with authors Felice Arena, Jacqueline Harvey and Gus Gordon.

And, now, time to finish off my next crime / mystery novel THE FALL for release May 2017 and edit the new MY LIFE book, MY LIFE & OTHER WEAPONISED MUFFINS out in March. ;))) I hope you're creating something, too.


Monday, August 15, 2016

Exploding Chickens Student-Made Book Trailers!

Entries are rolling in for my My Life Video Book Trailer Competition in partnership with Dymocks Children's Charities

I'm particularly enjoying this entry from 'Sir Rex' (who appears to be a cat, but he / she thanks Brianna, Lindsay, Cathy and iMovie in the credits). 

The graphics in this video are super cool! Nice work C Mills :)

And, look at this funny not-yet-exploded chicken in the entry from Elain Whitton! So. Good.

Top prize is $500 cash for the filmmaker plus $500 worth of books for your school. Entries close 31 August 2016 at 11:59pm.

In other words - it's not too late to get involved! >>

Before I go, I have to share some storyboards the awesome students at Mt Waverley Primary School have been working on ahead of their entries. Boom! 


Wednesday, August 10, 2016

National Bookshop Day 2016

Happy National Bookshop Day!

Saturday August 13 is National Bookshop Day 2016. Don't forget to support your local bookshop by buying a book and sharing a photo with the hashtag #nationalbookshopday.

Being in a bookstore is an escape from the world, and one of my favourite places to be.

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