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One Week at Bundanon: My account of a writing residency

I drove out of Sydney on Monday noon. The day overcast, a light drizzle settling in as I passed the airport. Further down the highway, where the speed hits 110km/hr, the drizzle became  heavy fog. I slowed to 40km/hr. Couldn’t see more than 50ft in front of me.  Switched on the hazard lights and willed the mist to lift. Should…

Getting Started on a Manuscript, Again

Five days before Christmas, I closed the manuscript I’d been working on after a furious final day where I cranked out 3,000 words while the kids were at their last day of vacation care for the year. For the next seven weeks, I did no writing. I thought deeply about the manuscript, but I didn’t touch the computer.  I walked…

How I Secured a Two-Book Publishing Deal with Harlequin – Part 1

I’ve written the headline for this post, and I’m shaking my head because I’m still in a bit of shock that I am going to be a published author with Harlequin Australia. To be frank, that post title is also probably a little misleading. Did I actually secure the deal? Or did I just happen to win the lottery? It’s…

The Story Behind the Story: ‘By Proxy’

In March 2016, my husband and I went on a holiday together to Tasmania for five nights. It was the first time we’d left our young children for more than a night. My parents stepped up to mind them. The occasion was my 40th birthday and Tasmania was a ‘bucket-list’ destination. The scenery, the food, MONA – it seemed to…

Who owns the story? Thoughts on ‘Small Great Things’ by Jodi Picoult

If you want to get to the really interesting part of Small Great Things, you need to turn to page 459. That’s not to say the preceding 458 aren’t great. They are. You don’t get to be a globally best selling author without the writing chops and Picoult has them in spades. Small Great Things is a cracking moral dilemma…

How do you decide what book you should write?

It is said that everyone has a book in them, and I tend to agree with that sentiment in the sense that everyone has an interesting life story to tell. Given a quiet room, a laptop and a few thousand hours of solitude, I think pretty much everyone could produce something compelling, or at least interesting. Then, there are other…

Re-visioning Australia: ‘The Dry’ by Jane Harper

Every fortnight, my daughter’s school assembly begins with an acknowledgment of country and ends with the singing of the national anthem. It’s easy to sing Advance Australia Fair and not think about the words. Then you read a book like The Dry, and you start thinking. The first verse of Advance Australia Fair is almost all about agriculture. There’s our ‘golden…

Writing in the First Person: ‘Front Page News’, by Katie Rowney

I have to admit to cringing a little (lot) when I re-read my first (and never to be published) manuscript. What I dislike most about it is that it’s written in the first-person, present tense. Here’s the first paragraph: I watch the stream of water snaking its way down my body. It used to take a more direct route downwards,…