Thursday, 17 October 2013

Wild bears ate my list

This week was not mega, awesome, super, massive, amazing or chockablock.  This week was just normal.

Phew.  The busiest time of my life (aside from the times I had newborn babies) has just passed.  I’ve given you some idea how full-on the launch of Every Breath has been over the last few months, but I still don’t think I understood it myself.

The last fortnight kind of elaborated on the theme.  I went to Queensland to visit my family and to drop in at bookstores in Brisbane and Townsville.

If you’re from Avid Reader (Hi, Hannah!),Black Cat Books, Riverbend bookstore and café, Dymocks Brisbane, or Pulp Fiction, in Brisbane – hello again! *waves*.And the folks at Angus and Robertson Townsville (hey Janelle and Nick!) and MaryWho? bookstore made me feel incredibly welcome.  I met Boori Monty Pryor in MaryWho?, which was amazing – we’ve been reading his new children’s book, Shake A Leg, ever since I got home.

I had a fantastic time – and seeing my family was wonderful – but I’m doubly glad to be back.   Launching Every Breath was an incredible thing, like a whirlwind trip to some strange glamorous country, and I was thrilled to see how you all loved the book so much.

I was especially flail-y to see that a great review of Every Breath was published in The Age on October 12 – so cool!  The book seems to be slowing gathering momentum, which is awesome.  People have even started sending me letters – some with lovely pics attached!
(see right-hi Eva!)

But sometime during the last week, the jetlag caught up with me.  My son turned to me the other day and said ‘Will you read with me?’, and I realised I hadn’t really had a chance to do that for ages.  I did gardening yesterday, which made me feel really happy – even though the spring weather in Victoria is so bizarre that my son and I were planting seedlings, then bolting inside when the hail started, then emerging again into the sun.

So I’m having a return to normal life.  I’m entering that nice golden period, when everything starts to slow down and take on a more relaxed pace, and I become exponentially more chilled out as a result.  My heart, which felt like it’d been racing at a million miles an hour, is easing back into its regular rhythm.  My brain, for so long subsisting on a diet of stress and a multitude of organisational lists (‘OMG, MY LIST, WHERE IS MY LIST!?!’) is giving itself a good shake and starting to blink and look around again, even going so far as to occasionally gaze up at the stars or notice some small extraneous detail that it might like to incorporate into a narrative sometime…

Yes, I’ve started writing again.  Thank god, is what my family is probably saying (actually they are saying it, and not behind my back either) right at this moment.  Because living with a writing person when they’re not writing is a bit like living with a wild bear in a cage – only your house is the cage, and wild bears can be significantly less ferocious if you feed them things like raw fish, and I don’t eat a lot of raw fish… Anyway – what it means is that I’ve started work again on the third book in the Every series, Every Move.  Diving back in has been like taking a big deep breath and let it out with a nice whooshing sound…  I remember these characters, these feelings.  I remember what it’s like to absorb myself in another universe for a little while every day.  My body starts to unravel and relax and settle with each new word.  When my alarm goes off at 5am, it’s a good thing – I’m keen to get back into it all over again.

In the meantime, you may want a little update on book 2, Every Word?  Well, I’ve finished the revisions, and sent it off to my editors.  Now we begin the process of picking it apart and putting it back together so it readers tighter, cleaner, prettier.  This is always a bit painful – you feel like your insides are being picked apart in the process – but I know now not to fight it.  I’m genuinely excited to see the copyedit, which will remove about 23,000 words from my manuscript and consign them to the dustbin.  What will emerge will hopefully be a beautiful shivering butterfly of a book, something that glows.  Every Word is due for release in June 2014, and I’m wriggling with the itch to read the finished product (I know, I’ve already re-read the manuscript about a hundred times, but still!)

So I’m writing, and I’ve had a chance to read some books by other people, omg – go check out The LastGirl by Michael Adams, it’s terrific (and scarily prescient – smoke pall over Parramatta?  Michael, you are psychic guy), and then scoot on over and read Dead Jealous by Sharon Jones, for another delicious taste of YA crime.

A few events coming up – I’m going to be on a panel with Jaye Ford (Blood Secret) and Kathryn Ledson (Rough Diamond), talking about female protagonists dealing with danger, and how to make crime writing sparkle.  That’s happening on Friday 25 October at 8pm at the Rising Sun Hotel, South Melbourne – all organised by the awesome Sistersin Crime.

I’ll also be in Ballarat on Thursday 7 November at 7.30pm, at the Reading Room of the Mechanic’s Institute, talking to members of Ballarat Writers Inc (and anybody who wants to come along) about YA, crime writing, and my path to publication.  If you’re in Ballarat, drop by and say hello!

And I’ll be at Dymocks Camberwell in November for a Christmas signing party – I’ll let you know more about that soon.

In the meantime…I guess I just keep writing and chilling out.  Talking to people (y’know, people.  I guess I’ll start with my husband).  Gardening some more.  Working.  Watching tv (wow, what a concept!  Is that Agents of Shield show any good?  No?  Damn.  Guess I’ll stick to Elementary then).  Hanging with my kids.  Maybe even exercising again? (shock, horror)  Anything could happen, now the wild bears have eaten my list…

Next time, please come by and meet my lovely friend Nansi Kunze, whose YA murder mystery, Kill The Music, came out this year – she’s a rockin’ chick, and I’m rapt that she agreed to come on the YA Crime Report.  Until then – have a good week :)

Xx Ellie

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