Archive for January, 2014

Research is such a wonderful thing…and knowing when to stop gathering information and start writing is a skill I mastered early on in my writing career. But marketing, well, that’s a different story. I’ve been working on my marketing plan for our middle grade reader novels for weeks and so far I’ve been happy with the results. Most of what we will be doing is within the realms of possibility, if not probability…

Old Bones Cover1

But then I had to go and blow it all with one tiny google search, http://www.digitalkidsauthor.com, by Sydney writer, Karen Robertson. If you have never thought about turning your story into an app then I suggest you don’t go there…but, alas, I was hooked. I downloaded the Author’s Guide to Book Apps and What is a Book App and Could YOU Create One? The capital letters are Robertson’s, not mine but already I’m screaming YES! YES! YES!


And my co-author and illustrator are groaning into their hands. Looks like fun, sounds like fun, so it’s gunna be fun, right? Better yet, the guys at Demibooks, http://www.demibooks.com, promise it’s easy…stay tuned…

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On finding your voice…

There’s a fair bit of information out there nowadays about collaborative writing…the good, the bad and the downright ugly…and one of the biggies is finding an authentic voice for your story. Not only did we combat that particular problem early on (because we were so naive we didn’t know there was supposed to be a problem in the first place) it has actually turned out to be one of the biggest strengths for our series of middle grade mystery novels.

Our boy/girl approach is quite a hit with kids and ‘boys against girls’ competitiveness is something that happens naturally around the ages of 9-12…luckily for us, it seems, my brother and I never grew out of it. What follows is an excerpt from our upcoming ‘Growing Up Writing’ non-fiction book that’s taking on a life of its own as the focus leans more and more towards collaborative writing and the pure joy of sharing the writing process with another person…and the boost to your creativity this sharing of ideas encourages.

I asked Richard what he felt about co-authoring having written three books together…yeh, it was a brave question and I had a faint worry that what he said would be unprintable and that there may never be a fourth mystery novel to fight over…but being the blogger of our duo, I could always delete the bits I didn’t like…for my part how much more fun can a middle aged woman have than beating up on her brother and making money out of it?

Out of the mouths of boys…

I have written three novels, collaboratively, with my younger sister, Lindy.

These novels started with Lindy sending me the first chapter of the first novel with the instruction, ‘your turn.’ The story commenced on a cliff top with a rather dangerous track running down it that my sister(s) and brother and I raced up and down as children. We knew the place extremely well. Set at Malua Bay, near Batemans Bay, the South Coast of NSW we had grown up there, and this area is the setting for the three novels.

There are a number of positives inherent in writing collaboratively, the first being, in my view, I am at last getting a glimpse of situations from a female perspective. A glimpse that seems, at times, cluttered and meandering and at other times cold and clinical. The female interpretation on a given occurrence or ‘happening’, when written, is surprising and certainly adds a fullness to my own stumbling efforts. Things that seem clear and exciting to me are rushed over while other things are seized upon and embellished.

Sharing with a female, a sister, as strong willed and as intelligent as mine is daunting, demanding and educational. I am sometimes amazed at the clarity and descriptiveness which my sister brings to each task. Secondly, it is good for me to have someone with talent and education who can bring sense to my childish dabbling’s, someone who has the ability to construct sentences correctly and speak in the correct idiom although the novels are set in a ‘years gone by’ era and I am allowed speak in an ‘Australianism’ that perhaps is sadly, fading away to be replaced by Americanisms.

There are of course negatives to collaborative writing. Heated discussions about who is responsible for progressing the story line, what direction the plot should head, down to the paragraph settings on the computers we both use. She in Far North Queensland and me in Southern NSW. Conflicting ideas on who should edit the stories are something I have great difficulty with, when I have written something it’s finished with – maybe that’s a male thing, I just cannot go back and change things. Hats off to Lindy, she is a great editor. Secondly, I think sometimes females fly off on an unimportant tangent that does not follow a logic, not one that I can see. Maybe I’m just dumb (happily so).

The three novels, to me, are gentle tales from not so long ago, when we made our own fun by having adventures. The stories are warm and familiar, are an attempt, at least on my part, to encourage readers, no matter where they live, or what age they are, to look on the bright side, to take what’s at hand and go with it, to never give up and never settle for anything other than giving one hundred present to everything.

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