What to write next?

October 25th, 2020

Signing off on a book you have been working on for twelve months or so is both exciting and worrying. Exciting because it has all come together at last. Worrying because it raises that very difficult question, ‘What to write next?’

This year, the question was even harder than usual. Tasmania has been spared the worst of covid (so far at least), for which I am deeply grateful. And my problem was such a tiny one, in comparison with what so many other people are going through. But I spent the first six months of the year trying to work out what to write after A Clue for Clara.

I started three different books and gave up on them, either because they weren’t the right book, or because I couldn’t settle to anything. I think many writers and artists were finding the same thing. There was too much going on in the world, and no space in our heads for creating.

But about halfway through the year I realised that I really wanted to write a follow-up to Clara. Only this time, it would be narrated by a duck.

And so I started work on Rita’s Revenge.

One of my favourite things to do when I start writing a new book is find pictures that stand in for the characters. I build a collage, and refer back to it again and again, until the characters take on a life of their own.

Here’s my collage for Rita:


Like Clara, this is a book that makes me laugh. And the power of laughter feels like a good thing right now.

I hope you are all well and safe.

6 thoughts on “What to write next?

  1. Jacqueline says:

    My son and I have been reading Clara every night. We adore Clara so much! And Olive and Constable Dad too. My son declared it his favourite book yesterday and he re-reads sections to his little sister. We’re so excited there’s going to be a sequel!!!

    1. Lian Tanner says:

      Oh Jacqueline, your comment is just what I needed! I’ve been struggling a bit with the Rita book, so it is absolutely lovely to hear that you and your son love Clara so much. Thank you for letting me know. I shall return to Rita with renewed enthusiasm!

  2. Julie says:

    A Clue for Clara is such a great book! My 12 year old kept reading bits of it out to me (always a sign that he is loving a book!). Now I am reading it to my 9 and 5 year olds – both of whom are thoroughly enjoying it. Even my husband listens to it! The humour and literal meaning that Clara takes from everything is hilarious. You obviously have a fabulous sense of humour! We will all look forward to the duck (hopefully it’s not mad!!)

    1. Lian Tanner says:

      Thank you so much, Julie – this was such a nice message to get! I’m glad your family is enjoying Clara – I take absolutely no responsibility for the humour, though. Some characters just speak for themselves, and Clara was one of them.

      I don’t yet have a contract for Rita, so fingers crossed that the publishers like it.

  3. Maureen Hunt says:

    Clara was supposed to be a gift for my nephew’s children. Being extremely bad mannered, I read it before handing it over. It is such a happy book it’s going to stay on my own bookshelves. Anyway if it’s suitable for a 74 year old it may be too old for 4 year olds. Yes. Perfect excuse. It’s much too old for them. 😉

    1. Lian Tanner says:

      😂😂😂 Your logic is impeccable, Kat.

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