Monday, 23 February 2015


Yes, that time is upon us!  That special time, when I start running around in a frenzy like my dog when she’s caught a rabbit (or spots a kangaroo in the distance, or sees…basically anything with wheels.  She’s really into things with wheels.  We don’t know why.  She’s a dog, we’ve never asked her).

Yes, it’s release time! (duh-duh-DUH!!!)

Every Move IS ABOUT TO ARRIVE AT SHOPS, holy crap.  Soon it will be on shelves - in bookstores, at libraries, in schools – and in peoples’ hot little hands.  People will be reading it, my god (I mean, people are reading it now, for review, which is a-mazing, but by the end of the month other people – anybody, in fact – will be reading it.  Eep!)

And I am right in the middle of it all.  I’m prepping packages of be-ewdiful posters and book cover proofs and media release and stickers and badges and swaggy things, to be sent out to schools and libraries and bookstores (I’m sending them this week, if you’ve been waiting).  I’m doing interviews and guest posts and articles for the upcoming blog tour.  I am spending a lot of time on my phone.  And I’m getting really excited about the release, and the Killer Queens gig I’m doing with three other crime authors at Castlemaine Library on 5 March, and the chance to talk to students at Somerset Literature Festival in mid-March, and the party! Omg, yes, the launch party!  (it’s on 16 March – see my prev post.  My thoughts about it are currently running along the lines of What food will I buy?  How much booze will we need?  And – most importantly - which flannie will I wear??)

So right now, even if you can’t make the launch, and you can’t join in the fun elsewhere, you still get a chance to celebrate with me– cos I’m giving stuff away.


Wanna try your luck on Goodreads?  Click the linky-link (see over on the right)


These are, I have to say, pretty spesh.  Each pack consists of:
*A full set of the Every series: Every Breath, Every Word and Every Move
*A set of three posters (one for each book)
*Three Every Move badges
*Three lovely Every Move postcards
*Six Every Move stickers, for your stickery enjoyment
*All these things come wrapped inside a totally sweet Every Move library bag (or it could be an anything bag.  I say it’s a library bag, cos I use mine at the library, but really – go nuts)

Wanna have a go at winning a giveaway pack?

You can do ONE of these things to enter:

1)    Tweet – gimme a mention on Twitter, using the name of the book, and I will put your name in the hat
2)    Comment – here on the the blog below this post
3)    Facebook – share the link to this post on FB, and let me know in a comment

Remember, you only have to do ONE of these ONCE (but hey, if you wanna tweet/comment /post and generally squee about the launch, please feel free!  I will be doing a lot of squeeing over here, in the corner…)

At the end of March, I will compile all the names from tweets/comments/posts into one big ginormicon-type list, and ask my kids to randomly select a name from the hat (trust me, there will be no cheating.  Those little buggers cheat like crazy at Uno and Scrabble and blackjack, but they take giveaway draws very seriously).

THIS GIVEAWAY IS INTERNATIONAL.  Yes, that’s right.  So you can enter from anywhere in the world.

I am not including Instagram in this giveaway – the main reason for this is cos there will be another giveaway comp via Instagram (I will update you on that very soon), and I don’t want people to get all confused.  But hey, if you’d like to tell people about the giveaway on Instagram, be my guest!

And that’s it!

Oh, before I go, I should say  I had the most incredible time on writing retreat.  Three whole days of just writing – no ‘fitting the writing around other stuff’, just writing.  Pure bloody magic.  When I got home, I discovered that the house had blown up…no, that’s not true.  But my partner got sick, the kids had multitudinous sporting engagements and were all running around like chooks, my parents were visiting, and the dog had (temporarily) gone missing, so I literally hit the ground running.  My partner also helped pull a guy out of a burning car by the side of the road in my absence (!!! And also ??? – yes, really. I’ll tell that story another time).  But hey, we’re all mostly back to normal now!

Anyway, I hope your week is not quite so eventful, and that you’re keeping well.  North American friends – stay warm!  Australian friends – stay cool! (well, you’re always cool, heh)  And see you next time J

Xx Ellie

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

This is hungry work

That’s a line from a Hozier song (yes, the one everyone has been listening to).  Writing work feeds into itself, to some extent, but the material that nurtures it comes from everywhere.  Writing work is hungry work, always seeking out new morsels.

I’ve started printing out the lyrics to some of my current favourite songs, and tacking them up on the walls of my office (using the term ‘office’ here in its broadest sense), so I can see the way words work in different combinations and contexts.  Poems go up too – although I’ve always thought that lyrics qualify as contemporary poetry – and sentences or phrases from books, photos, scribbled scraps of overheard conversations, pics of artwork, postcards, pamphlets, notes, business cards, newspaper clippings, drawings (usually done by my kids), jokes, Post-its, and other ephemera like feathers, leaves, and on my desk, random stones and mementos, including two conkers from a tree in Hyde Park.

I like the bower bird approach.  I’m not a tidy person by nature – tidiness is something that has instead been drummed into me by over a decade of householding for a large family.  When you have four kids, you maintain organisation or you flounder in a sea of chaos.  So I am tidy, but if you look around my work space, you can see that tidiness is an imposed state of being.

I collect things – knick knacks, oddsy-sodsy things…memories, I guess.  Do they help me work?  I don’t know.  I think so.  They remind me that for all the structured thinking necessary for daily routine - the mental order I apply to keep to diary dates and planned events, the discipline and compartmentalisation required to sort out work and parenting and weekly grocery lists and everything else - the part of me that writes needs randomness, and flow, and a certain looseness.  The mind has to be allowed to roam and wander and free-range if it wants to create.  It’s something I’ve discovered, or rather I’m discovering as I go along, that way of keeping ‘loose’ in my mind during the course of the day.

Lately, amidst all the bustle of book launching, I’ve been feeding myself with music, and with some great books – I just read Station Eleven by Emily St John Mandel, and it was beautiful, full of poignant desperation and starlight.  It reminded me strongly of On the Beach by Nevil Shute, not just for its themes (which are similar to Shute’s, although not as grim) but for its evocation of human fallibility and longing and nostalgia.  I was gifted my copy of Station Eleven by Kirsty Eagar – a gorgeous gift, thank you! – and now I’m thinking deeply about a book I’d like to gift to her (we seem to have started our own little book club).  I’m going to be doing a longer post on workspace and working habits for Kirsty’s blog in a few weeks – when it goes up, I’ll let you all know.

First review: I was given a heads-up (thank you, Sera!) about the first review of Every Move, which I’m thrilled to say was glowingly positive, in Kid’s Book Review.  What a relief it was to find out that people are enjoying the book!  After all my nerves and anxiety, I’m starting to relax a little – it’s a great weight off my shoulders.  Thank you to everyone who has tweeted/texted/pinged me to say that you’re loving Every Move!  There’s nothing more satisfying than finding out that the work you’ve put in has been worth it.

Blog tour details: Ahh, okay, now this is still being finalised, but I can reveal some of the blog tour stops now.  More fine-tuning will be reported on soon, but here’s the schedule so far -

5 March: Genie in a Book

Please do drop in at the tour stops and say hi (or, y’know, read the articles and reviews) – I know most bloggers enjoy it when people leave a comment or two!  Some of the tour stops will involve giveaways as well, so if you’d like a chance to win a copy of the book, keep a lookout.  I’ll be doing a giveaway of the book here, as well, sometime in the next few weeks.

And you’re coming to the Every Move launch party, right?  I hope you are, if you live in Melbourne (or especially if you’re coming from afar), because me and Adele Walsh would love to see you – remember, it’s at Readings Carlton in Lygon St, on Monday 16 March from 6-8pm.  I’m trying to think up some nice food to give people who have gone to the trouble to come, because I don’t reckon corn chips and strawberries will cut it this year…should I go the kabana and cheese platter?  I know some folks who would like cake too (*cough* Allen and Unwin team *cough*), so I’m gonna aim for variety J

Anyway, I hope you’re having a good week, and if you have any catering suggestions, please leave a comment below!  Take care –

Xx Ellie

Monday, 9 February 2015


Hi again!  Okay, are you ready?  Here we go…

Please join me, and special host  Adele Walsh, for the launch of Every Move, the finale in the Every series!  The launch will be at Readings Carlton (Lygon Street, Melbourne – see map) from 6-8pm on Monday 16 March 2015.

There will be feasting, speechifying, book signing, general silliness, and probably my kids running around like dervishes.  All ages gig, nibbles (nicer than last year! I promise!), drinks on the house, a door prize giveaway, and Adele and me have sworn a sacred oath not to make speeches that are too long or boring.  Maybe if I can get just a bit more organised, I will make a cake.  If you’re round and about in Melbourne, please feel welcome to come along.  We’d love to see you!

If you’re on Facebook, you can join up here; otherwise, please RSVP to Readings Carlton on:  (03) 9347 6633  so we how know much booze food and stuff to buy.  I hope you can make it!

There is no other news that is more exciting.  I mean, I got a new phone tree for my son’s class, and my parents are coming to visit, but the part-ay is the big news, baby.

But I should mention that I received my author copies of Every Move – new books always smell so nice! – and copies have gone out to bloggers and reviewers for the upcoming blog tour. Which means that right now, people are reading the book.  So I am remaining calm, yes, very calm *hyperventilates*

Anyway, I’m supposed to be writing this very second!  So please remember to come along to the launch, if you’re able, and have a most excellent week.  I will tell you about the blog tour as soon as I have more info.

Xx Ellie

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Every Move, PTSD, and the deep breath in

First, I have to say I’m excited.  Like, hugely.  Every Move is about to be released into the wild – uh, I mean, the world – and it’s thrilling to know that in a few short weeks, people will be reading it.

It’s also NERVE-WRACKING, like whoah.  I don’t think I’ve been this nervous for a book release before – I don’t think I was even this nervous with Every Breath.  I’m worried that readers won’t like it, or won’t find it a satisfying conclusion to a series in which they’ve invested time and love.  I’m worried about typos (every book has ‘em.  Me and Sophie tried our utmost, but like head lice, they’re really really hard to thoroughly eradicate.).   I’m worried about the spicy bits – I’ve tried to judge it right, but I can’t cover all folks’ comfort levels.  I’m worried about what reviewers will say (I know! I shouldn’t read them!  But I can’t help it).

So, yeah – stress.  Nerves.  But exciting ones.

Speaking of stress, there was one thing I wanted to talk about before the book came out: it’s the subject of Rachel’s PTSD.  I think it’s pretty clear, from the blurb on the back of the book, that Rachel has had a reaction to all the trauma she went through in Every Word.  Which stands to reason, yeah?  She and Mycroft had a pretty horrifying time in London. 

I’ve always tried to be true to the characters in the series: that’s been really important to me, that it’s obvious to the reader that chasing after murderers and hunting down clues isn’t totally risk-free.  It’s a fictional world, but I’ve tried to keep it real.  I haven’t glossed over the danger, or the injuries that both Rachel and Mycroft have copped in the series.

They both carry some physical scars.  But in Every Move, Rachel is suffering some of the psychological effects of those experiences.  Safe to say – without spoilers – that she is still having a rough time many weeks after England, and is exhibiting a lot of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder symptoms.  Mycroft too, although he is coping with it in a demonstrably different way.  I wanted it to be clear that Rachel and Mycroft are just ordinary kids, who’ve experienced something terrible and have a reaction to that.  There’s no way I was going to just write it like ‘ok, we solved that one, la-li-la, now everything’s fine!’  In real life, it wouldn’t be fine.  In Every Move, it’s definitely not fine.

At this point, I need to credit someone here for some help, someone who (unfortunately, and my deep apologies) didn’t get a credit in the Acknowledgements.  Braiden Asciak – who is, I have to say, a superstar - provided me with some fantastically useful info on PTSD and how it’s diagnosed and treated.

PTSD sufferers display some classic symptoms, and I’m gonna detail them right here: recurrent distressing memories, recurrent distressing dreams, disassociative reactions (flashbacks), intense psychological distress in response to cues, marked physiological reactions to cues, persistent negative emotional state and exaggerated negative beliefs about oneself/others, diminished interest in significant activities, irritable/reckless/self-destructive behaviour and emotional outbursts, and hypervigilance.

These are only a few of the issues around the disorder.  It was my job in Every Move to write Rachel as coping with the problem, and hopefully finding her way out of it. 

There are readers out there who will find Rachel’s struggle difficult to read.  I wanted to say that I didn’t include ‘trigger warnings’ with this book, for a couple of reasons.  One is that they’re not in common use in print publishing – in Australia, or anywhere else that I know of.  Two is that I’m with Roxane Gay on this issue: I don’t think that trigger warnings are useful.  They provide the illusion of safety.  Just about anything is a trigger for somebody.  It’s clear from the Every Move blurb that the issue comes up.  I will trust the reader to make the decision about what they’re okay to read.  In the end, no one can make that assessment and decision except the reader themselves.

I also wanted to point out that there are no links at the end of the book to PTSD support organisations.  I did suggest it, but again, it’s something not frequently done in Australian fiction.  But I’m getting in touch with organisations like Beyond Blue, SANE Australia, ReachOut (for teenagers and children), and headspace (the National Youth Mental Health Foundation) to let them know the book is coming out, and that it deals with the issue.

Something else I wanted to say is that I’ve experienced PTSD myself.  My partner and I lived in Indonesia for a long time, and we lived and worked in Jakarta during the fall of President Soeharto in 1998-99.  It was a period of dreadful political and social upheaval.  We didn’t live in a gated expat enclave, but in an apartment building right in the middle of the one of the most riot-prone areas of the city.

I was working at an international school at the time: all my students and I had overnight bags in a locker in case we couldn’t leave, after a nearby school’s bus was overturned and set on fire one afternoon – all the kids made it out, thank god.  I rang my partner every day to find out if the roads were clear of riots, so I could make it home.  I rode a motorbike, and needed to know if I would have to dodge rocks, Molotov cocktails, military forces or angry crowds.  My partner and I were at home on the day a large contingent of tertiary students staged a protest march along our main road.  Military forces fired on that rally, and many students were killed – and we watched it all happen, hiding behind the concrete balcony of our apartment.

It was not a good time.  It was a horrible time, and when we finally left the country, we were heartsore and traumatised.  The country we loved to be in was tearing itself to pieces.

We left Indonesia and went to India, for a six-month hiatus.  Unfortunately we arrived in the middle of Diwali.  The constant explosion of firecrackers made both us edgy.  We jumped at loud noises, and had bad dreams.  We recovered to a large extent, but it’s still a time of my life I remember with a great deal of anxiety.  Typing this out now, my hands are shaking.  When I try to explain it to people, they look at me like I’m joking, like it’s exaggerated recall, or something I saw once in a movie.  But it was real, and I still get a reaction to the memory.

These experiences made me try really hard to do justice to Rachel’s story in Every Move.  I hope I’ve gotten it right.  How does Rachel find her way through?  Well, I guess you’ll have to read the book to find out :)  But I do hope that it strikes a chord with some readers who need to know that it’s possible to recover.

Phew!  Okay, it was great to have a chance to talk about things before the book comes out.  I hope you like the book, and I’d like to say again a huge thank you to all of you, especially all the readers out there who’ve come this far on the journey with me and Rachel and Mycroft.  I’m feeling the love!  Now I better get back to writing (I’m getting there on the new MS), and I’ll be in touch again very soon to let you know about the Every Move launch party (probably March 16 – that’s gonna be the next post) and the upcoming blog tour.

Have a good week, good luck to everyone who’s back at school, and hooray for March!

Xx Ellie