Wendy Orr




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Wendy Orr

Goodreads Author


Born
Edmonton, Canada
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Member Since
June 2011

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I’m an author, but I could never have started writing books if I hadn’t loved reading them first. Reading isn’t just one of my favourite things to do; it’s one of the most important things in my life. I can’t imagine a world in which I couldn’t read, every day. That’s why I always read to my children every day, just as my parents used to read to me. Stories can be exciting, sad, funny, scary or comforting, but the most amazing thing about them is that they take us into new worlds and teach us something more about ourselves, all at the same time.

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Wendy Orr I’ve been getting letters from kids for years asking for a third Nim book, and of course that interest intensified after the release of the film…moreI’ve been getting letters from kids for years asking for a third Nim book, and of course that interest intensified after the release of the film Return to Nim’s Island last year. I’d always known that the third story would involve caves, and so I decided it was time to let that story seed grow. However there were challenges, because the film was dramatically different to the book it was based on, Nim at Sea. To satisfy the readers who’d come to it through the film instead of the book, this sequel would have to tie both of them in.

The writing process was also somewhat different from my usual ‘let’s dream it and write it and see where it ends up,’ as the film producers had already indicated that they hoped to film it, and suggested that we conference the story idea when I was ready to share. I often discuss a story idea with my editor once I’ve got it worked out, but it’s usually rather vague; this time I had to do a thorough plot summary before I started writing. It took a few attempts to work through this process; my initial attempts I think would have foundered during the writing, because of that conscious awareness of being filmic. Luckily for me, my editor and the film producers quickly pointed out, in the nicest way possible, that these plots didn’t sound like me, or like Nim. I had to go back to my usual more organic way of working out my story, playing with the ideas for several months and letting them germinate; finding odd facts – like the 1987 discovery of Eric the Pliosaur, an opalised dinosaur fossil – that lead me where the story wants to go. Once I really knew the story I wanted to tell, the film producers and I had a very lively phone conference, – and then I went off on my own and wrote for the next nine months.

As usual, it was during the writing that Nim really took over. In the previous two books, she’d existed only in my imagination (the writing of Nim at Sea was completed before the film Nim’s Island was cast). I wasn’t sure how I would feel writing about her now I’d seen her personified by two real girls, Abigail Breslin and Bindi Irwin. Would she still belong to me?

Well, what a resounding ‘yes!’ it was. Although I’d tended to picture Nim as Abbie during the years in between, by the time I started writing I’d been on the set of Return to Nim’s Island. Watching Bindi embody Nim in her own, equally convincing, way reminded me that a character belongs to whoever reads and creates it. Abigail Breslin told me recently, ‘There’ll always be a little piece of Nim in my heart,’ and I think that holds true not just for an actor who’s devoted months of her life to a part, but to all readers who become a character while they’re lost in the book.

And for me, watching Nim come to life again was liberating as well as inspiring: my Nim, my lovely, imperfect, hot-headed girl, was just waiting to take me through her adventure. Because even though I know that I did all that planning, once I started writing, it seemed as it always does, that the story was there, and I just needed the right words to find it.

One lovely incident was that a few days after handing in penultimate draft, my family and I went to Malaysia. As we were hiking through a rainforest one evening, the guide warned us to make sure that the vines we were stepping over weren’t snakes. It was nearly exactly what I had just written: Vines dangled down from the trees and across the ground, ghostly and shadowed in the bobbing light of Nim’s headlamp. It was hard to tell if they were vines or snakes.”
And then the next day, we visited a bat cave...
(less)
Wendy Orr Thanks very much; that's very special to hear. It's true that I dipped back into a younger audience after Peeling the Onion, (and also an older one,…moreThanks very much; that's very special to hear. It's true that I dipped back into a younger audience after Peeling the Onion, (and also an older one, with The House at Evelyn's Pond, which is adult). My next one, Dragonfly Song, which will be out in Australia in July, is in some ways a cross between Nim and Onion as far as readers; my publisher is setting the age level at 10-13, but it's longer than Peeling the Onion, and about half is in free verse. It's set in prehistoric Greece, but I feel there's some similarity to Onion because it explores emotions and darkness, albeit in a very different way. (less)
Average rating: 3.81 · 4,346 ratings · 641 reviews · 43 distinct works · Similar authors
Nim's Island

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3.84 avg rating — 2,603 ratings — published 1999 — 38 editions
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Peeling the Onion

3.62 avg rating — 743 ratings18 editions
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Nim at Sea

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3.82 avg rating — 240 ratings15 editions
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LOST! A Dog Called Bear

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3.81 avg rating — 106 ratings6 editions
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The Princess and Her Panther

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3.64 avg rating — 78 ratings2 editions
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Mokie and Bik

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3.41 avg rating — 66 ratings — published 2006 — 3 editions
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MISSING! A Cat Called Buster

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4.09 avg rating — 54 ratings6 editions
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Ark in the Park

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4.07 avg rating — 42 ratings — published 2001 — 5 editions
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Facing the Mountain

3.74 avg rating — 69 ratings — published 2012 — 4 editions
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WANTED! A Guinea Pig Called...

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3.59 avg rating — 37 ratings6 editions
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More books by Wendy Orr…
It's finally here - Dragonfly Song will be in stores across Australia next Monday. (The wait might not have seemed as long to you, but it's been on my computer for a long time, and in my heart for longer, and I'm actually having trouble believing that it's really going out into the world now.)

So if you're in Melbourne, I'd love you to come and celebrate its launch at Readings in Hawthorn, at 4... Read more of this blog post »
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Published on June 22, 2016 03:15 • 1 view
Nim's Island Nim at Sea Rescue on Nim's Island
Nim (3 books)
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3.84 avg rating — 2,863 ratings

LOST! A Dog Called Bear MISSING! A Cat Called Buster WANTED! A Guinea Pig Called... ABANDONED! A Lion Called Kiki STOLEN! A Pony Called Pebbles DISCOVERED! A Beagle Called...
Rainbow Street Shelter (6 books)
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3.92 avg rating — 269 ratings

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It's finally here - Dragonfly Song will be in stores across Australia next Monday. (The wait might not have seemed as long to you, but it's been on... Read more of this blog post »
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Cat's Eye by Margaret Atwood
Cat's Eye
by Margaret Atwood (Goodreads Author)
read in June, 2016
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This is my favourite Margaret Atwood; I've read it at least twice and have now just listened on audio, and it becomes more powerful every time. Atwood's evocation of small details – the girl in the back seat of the car looking at her family's ears, o ...more
" Thank you, Dimity! And for the comment on Dragonfly Song - so nice to hear in this nail biting prerelease week! "
Wendy Orr voted on a poll
Goodreads YA Cover Contest - June 2016. Vote for your favorite!

She voted for:
" Dimity wrote: "Keeping eyes peeled, then!"
Thanks for keeping me on track!
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Fairytales for Wilde Girls by Allyse Near
Fairytales for Wilde Girls
by Allyse Near (Goodreads Author)
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" Cassandra wrote: "Allyse wrote: "Hello!
I'm Allyse, and I'm a 23-year-old university student. My first book is being released on the first of June by R
...more "
The Princess and Her Panther by Wendy Orr
"A cute story with beautiful illustrations!"
The Princess and Her Panther by Wendy Orr
"Cute story and think the illustrations are well done."
The Princess and Her Panther by Wendy Orr
"This is a fun book about the power of imagination and the bonds of sisters."
More of Wendy's books…
“She felt like a tiger in a cage, trying to burst free.”
Wendy Orr, Nim's Island

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“The breaking of so great a thing should make
A greater crack: the round world
Should have shook lions into civil streets,
And citizens to their dens.”
William Shakespeare, Antony and Cleopatra

“The poetry of history lies in the quasi-miraculous fact that once, on this earth, once, on this familiar spot of ground, walked other men and women, as actual as we are today, thinking their own thoughts, swayed by their own passions, but now all gone, one generation vanishing into another, gone as utterly as we ourselves shall shortly be gone, like ghosts at cockcrow.”
G. M. Trevelyan

“When the Dark comes rising six shall turn it back;
Three from the circle, three from the track;
Wood, bronze, iron; Water, fire, stone;
Five will return and one go alone.

Iron for the birthday; bronze carried long;
Wood from the burning; stone out of song;
Fire in the candle ring; water from the thaw;
Six signs the circle and the grail gone before.

Fire on the mountain shall find the harp of gold
Played to wake the sleepers, oldest of old.
Power from the Green Witch, lost beneath the sea.
All shall find the Light at last, silver on the tree.”
Susan Cooper, The Dark Is Rising Sequence

“On the day of the dead, when the year too dies,
Must the youngest open the oldest hills
Through the door of the birds, where the breeze breaks.
There fire shall fly from the raven boy,
And the silver eyes that see the wind,
And the light shall have the harp of gold.

By the pleasant lake the Sleepers lie,
On Cadfan’s Way where the kestrels call;
Though grim from the Grey King shadows fall,
Yet singing the golden harp shall guide
To break their sleep and bid them ride.

When light from the lost land shall return,
Six Sleepers shall ride, six Signs shall burn,
And where the midsummer tree grows tall
By Pendragon’s sword the Dark shall fall.

Y maent yr mynyddoedd yn canu,
ac y mae’r arglwyddes yn dod.”
Susan Cooper, The Dark Is Rising Sequence

“Never trust anyone who has not brought a book with them.”
Lemony Snicket, Horseradish

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