It takes a village to raise a … book

It’s taken a village of literary folk to keep me on a truly bumpy road towards finishing SWEET ADVERSITY.

I live in my head much of the time – it’s where my stories come from, and my characters as well. Sometimes I can’t keep secret a story that agitates and forces me to write draft after draft, ever onwards towards a polished draft. I’ve also raved on about it to my close, trustworthy, honest writing friends (and family too, poor things!).

Over the years, many true and generous friends have shared that road. I’m thankful for them … not just because they understand rejection lamentations, or can bolster courage when you 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 rejoice when success arises – when I can toss out the doubts and say, YES! I’m not a fraud, I can bloody-well write!

Authors, Dee WhiteAngela SundeKaren BrooksSusanne GervayTania McCartneySamantha WheelerCass Moriarty, my book-mad sister, Robyn O’Neill, and so many more of you. Editors and mentors like Craig MunroPeter Bishop at Varuna Writers’ House, author Sally Rippen, my mentor for an ASA Mentorship in 2009, and publishers and friends, Kristina Schultz and Clare Hallifax. 

Recognition for this manuscript (once known as McAlpine & Macbeth) came from the Australian Society of Authors Mentorship in 2009, 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 and my 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 at HarperCollins Children’s Books. She is supportive, encouraging; and the perfect publisher for this wee tale. In several short months, Sweet Adversity will be on bookshelves across the country and beyond.

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! 


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