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I’m back … with an Aurealis shortlisting

March 7th, 2015

About a week ago, one of my readers gently reminded me that I hadn’t posted on my blog for a couple of months. I was just about to head off to the west coast (of Tasmania) to talk to kids in various schools, so I promised I’d take up my blog again as soon as I returned.

Driving towards Queenstown on a wet, rainforesty day.

Driving towards Queenstown on a wet, rainforesty day.

It wasn’t just laziness that stopped me blogging. (Well, a bit.) I’ve been on holiday, and it felt as if the only thing I had to say was: Still on holiday. Yep, still on holiday. STILL on holiday.

But now the year seems to have clicked into gear and I am busy busy busy, even though I’m not starting a new book until July 1st. I’ve got the notes on Fetcher’s Song (#3 in The Hidden series) back from my editor at last, so I’m working away on the next draft, trying to cut huge chunks so that the action moves along a little more quickly, and at the same time make the main character a little more sympathetic.

I’m also helping Harry with his blog, of course. He SAYS he doesn’t need any help, but the next moment he looks up from the keyboard (he’s getting quite nifty with his toes) and asks me how to spell words like ‘slaughter’ and ‘brimstone’ and ‘incredibly handsome’. So I do my best to humour him.

Now, some news about Sunker’s Deep. I may have mentioned that Ice Breaker is coming out in the US and Canada this August, with an amazingly cool cover. Which means that Sunker will be out a year later. Over summer my agent sent the manuscript to Liz Szabla, who is my American editor at Feiwel & Friends (MacMillan). And I had an extremely nice email from her where she said:

Oh. My. Goodness.

As you know, I started reading Sunker’s Deep while I was on vacation, and could not put it down – even on vacation!! I am in awe of Sharkey and his crew, of how you’ve woven Petrel and Fin and the rats back into the story, and of the intense yet subtle ways this world mirrors our own, for better or for worse. And the action is phenomenal.

What’s more, two days later I heard that Sunker has been shortlisted for the 2014 Aurealis Award for Children’s Fiction. This is Australia’s top fantasy award, and I’ve won it twice before, for Museum of Thieves and City of Lies. Ice Breaker was shortlisted in its turn, but didn’t win, and now Sunker is shortlisted. So I’m currently feeling very pleased with Sharkey and his friends. 😀

As I said, I’ve been on the west coast for the last week, and visited schools in Queenstown, Strahan, Zeehan and Rosebery. The schools are small – in both Strahan and Zeehan I spoke to about 18 kids, and that was the WHOLE of Grades 4, 5 and 6. And in Rosebery, at St Joseph’s Primary School, they gave me chocolates and asked if they could come and visit me for morning tea when they are in Hobart later this year. (They promised to bring cake.)

The mountains around Queenstown are utterly beautiful. I took LOTS of mountain photos. :)

The mountains on the west coast are utterly beautiful. I took LOTS of mountain photos. 🙂

The whole trip was hugely interesting – the west coast of Tassie is VERY different from the rest of the state, very dramatic and wild and beautiful. I went on a boat out to Hell’s Gates (which is the horribly narrow entrance to Macquarie Harbour) and was amazed that sailing ships used to get through safely. (Though when the Roaring Forties were blowing hard, and the waves were 60 feet high, they didn’t bother trying.) I went on a tour of Sarah Island, which was once one of the most brutal prisons in the world. I went up the Gordon River, and also up the abt railway to a little mining town called Dubbil Barril.

And now of course I’m home, and Harry hasn’t stopped purring since I got here and neither have I. 🙂 And now that I’m back at work, I’ll do my best to update my blog every week. After all, if Harry can do it, so can I!

If possible, one should always finish with a goat.Luckily I found this one in Queenstown, when I was walking one day.

If possible, one should always finish with a goat. Luckily I found this one in Queenstown, when I was out walking.

0 thoughts on “I’m back … with an Aurealis shortlisting

  1. Io says:

    Adventures and travelling? You are really lucky to be having fun and still on holidays. Right now, I need a holiday…

    Happy Sleeping, Harry, Lian and everyone else!

    Io 🙂

    1. Lian says:

      Sounds as if high school is hard work, Io. Happy sleeping to you, too, whenever you can get it. 🙂

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