Wendy Orr




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Wendy Orr

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Edmonton, Canada
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June 2011


About this author

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...
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Average rating: 3.77 · 3,423 ratings · 548 reviews · 45 distinct works · Similar authors
Nim's Island
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3.85 of 5 stars 3.85 avg rating — 2,024 ratings — published 1999 — 35 editions
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Peeling the Onion
3.58 of 5 stars 3.58 avg rating — 645 ratings — published 1997 — 5 editions
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Nim at Sea
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3.77 of 5 stars 3.77 avg rating — 195 ratings — published 2008 — 13 editions
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LOST! A Dog Called Bear
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3.78 of 5 stars 3.78 avg rating — 81 ratings — published 2011 — 6 editions
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The Princess and Her Panther
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3.57 of 5 stars 3.57 avg rating — 70 ratings — published 2010 — 2 editions
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Mokie and Bik
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3.34 of 5 stars 3.34 avg rating — 53 ratings — published 2006 — 3 editions
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MISSING! A Cat Called Buster
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4.05 of 5 stars 4.05 avg rating — 38 ratings — published 2011 — 6 editions
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Ark in the Park
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3.87 of 5 stars 3.87 avg rating — 30 ratings — published 1994 — 3 editions
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Facing the Mountain
3.89 of 5 stars 3.89 avg rating — 27 ratings — published 2012
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WANTED! A Guinea Pig Called...
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3.53 of 5 stars 3.53 avg rating — 32 ratings — published 2012 — 6 editions
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More books by Wendy Orr…
Eleven year old Maddison wants to be a writer and has asked where I get ideas from. That’s a great question because every story has to start with an idea! Ideas come from thoughts, and thoughts come from all our senses, as well as our emotion and everything we remember and imagine. That can add to millions of thoughts a day (I just made that figure up – maybe it’s thousands. A lot, anyway.) How... Read more of this blog post »
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Wendy Orr rated a book 5 of 5 stars
Women In Prehistory by Margaret R. Ehrenberg
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Fascinating, clear and logical; a rational look at the possibilities of women having had more power in the past, but avoiding the hype of the goddess culture theories.
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Picasso & Lump by David Douglas Duncan
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Cats by Lynn Hughes
Cats
by Lynn Hughes
read in April, 2015
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Sweet little book with charming pictures to match a varied, sometimes unusual, selection of cat quotes and verses.
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A Dog's Life by LIFE Magazine
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The title says it all: simply a collection of classic photos of dogs, and dogs with their humans - from before the age of YouTube videos, it can still make you smile. Recommended for leafing through when you need that smile.
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A Dog's Life by Ann M. Martin
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Eyrie by Tim Winton
Eyrie
by Tim Winton
read in April, 2015
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Sheep-Pig, The by Dick King-Smith
Sheep-Pig, The
by Dick King-Smith
read in March, 2015
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Eyrie by Tim Winton
"Apart from Cloudstreet I don't tend to love Winton's work. But I was hooked within the first page. I love the combination of Winton's vocabulary and Aussie slang. It gave such an insight into the character of Keely. It made him more interesting. I..." Read more of this review »
" Thanks; I don't use formal mind maps but I do like that type of thinking, ideas segueing on to the next and the next... Anything that gets the ideas f ...more "
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Whence the Goddesses by Miriam Robbins Dexter
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William Shakespeare
“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

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