'It takes a village to raise' a book

June 20, 2017

If you're like me, you live in your head much of the time. You can't help it ... it's where your stories first came from, and your characters as well.


But I haven't met an author yet who can keep secret a story that agitates and forces you to write draft after draft, and ever onwards towards a polished draft. Even if you don't share it publicly, you will tell your close, trustworthy, honest writing friends.

Over 15 years of writing, I have made many true and generous friends who've shared the journey. 


I'm thankful for them ... not just as ears to fill with my rejection lamentations, or to bolster courage when I feel like a fraud in this KidLit publishing game; or understand my excitement about a fiesty character who explodes from my head demanding attention; and rejoices when success arises, and I toss out the doubts, recognising that yes, I'm not a fraud, I can bloody-well write


It's taken a village of literary folk to keep me on a truly bumpy road towards finishing SWEET ADVERSITY. Authors, Dee White, Angela Sunde, Karen Brooks, Susanne Gervay, Tania McCartneySamantha Wheeler, Cass Moriarty, my book-mad sister, Robyn O'Neill, and so many more of you.


Editors and mentors like Craig Munro, Peter Bishop at Varuna Writers' House, author Sally Rippin, my mentor for an ASA Mentorship in 2009, and publishers and friends, Kristina Schultz and Clare Hallifax. 


Recognition for this manuscript (aka McAlpine & Macbeth) came from the Australian Society of Authors Mentorship, and the SCBWI International Work-of-Outstanding-Progress grant I was awarded in 2013. They all helped to make sure I never gave up on this historical adventure.


Then came the fateful 2014 SCBWI Australia/NZ Conference in Sydney, an a manuscript appraisal with Lisa Berryman, children's publisher at HarperCollins. She loved my protagonist, Addie; she loved the story, and best of all, Lisa loved my style of writing.


Now, two years on, I'm working with Lisa and her brilliant team of editors. She is supportive, encouraging; the perfect publisher for this wee tale. 


So, yes, it's been far from a lone wolf journey for me, and for my Addie and Macbeth. I am forever grateful for the feedback, the support, the friendship of all of the above.


Shakespeare features heavily in my story ... his way with words and drama, his exquisite understanding of the human condition inspire my life's journey of writing. And so it goes on...


Nobody says it better than William Shakespeare. And Benedict Cumberbatch in this powerful BBC video. Enjoy! 


From Shakespeare's play, As You Like It ... 

All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players...



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