No two books can be written the same way

October 3rd, 2021

One of most useful things I’ve learnt over the years is that no two books can be written the same way.

I used to think that I just had to find the right process. I’d start at step 1, then do steps 2, 3 and 4 – and then I’d be finished. And I could use that process every time I wrote a book!

It turns out each book needs to be approached slightly differently. Which is probably just as well – doing it the same way every time would get awfully boring.

But one thing I find all books have in common. I need to wander around the idea for a good long time before I try to pin down. I need to give it enough space; give it daydreaming time.

That place of uncertainty is uncomfortable, because I want to get on with writing the book. But it’s also necessary. My failed books, the ones that never got past the first few chapters, or never got published, are the ones I tried to pin down before the idea was right.

So that’s where I am right now; wandering around an idea and trying not to pin it down too soon.

A new picture book!

I am delighted to be able to tell you that I have another picture book coming, with Allen & Unwin. It’s called When the Lights Went Out, and the illustrator is the amazing Bruce Whatley.

Release date is mid-2023, and yes, that’s an awfully long time to wait. But picture books are slow beasts, and this one is no exception.

And besides, 2022 is already taken by Rita. 🦆🦆🦆

Festival of Lies

I had the nicest message from a family in North America a couple of weeks ago:

‘Dear Lian, my family and I wanted to thank you for your wild, imaginative, funny, beautiful stories. In honor of the Autumnal Equinox last night, we held a Festival of Lies – and it was so much fun! Thank you for the inspiration! Here’s a snapshot of us – my eldest daughter made masks for us, I’m the raven, my daughters – a fox and duck – and my son, a dog.’

Clearly the Festival of Lies needs to be an annual event all over the world!

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