Hi all. It's been an exceptionally busy few months, with some big extra jobs to do. I judged the short fiction awards for the Katharine Susannah Prichard Writers Centre, which involved a lot of reading - 57 entries in the Open category, and more in the Young Writers section. I presented my judge's report and the awards were handed out at Katharines' Birthday celebrations on Dec 4. The Writers Centre is in Katharine's historic house in Greenmount, Western Australia. For those of you from overseas who perhaps don't know who Katharine Susannah Prichard was, you can read more at the KSP Foundation's website: http://kspf.iinet.net.au/ I've been associated with the Writers Centre for about ten years including a stint as established writer in residence and several years' membership of the grandly named Board of Literary Advisers.
In November I presented two workshops on Writing Long Fiction for the City of Rockingham, oranised by the creative Lee Battersby, a fellow writer who works there as the city's cultural officer. These took a lot of preparation but were really well received by the participants - people were asked to submit a synopsis and the first chapter of their work, and everyone who did so got a feedback report from me. We also workshopped some of the pieces during the session. The workshops went well, though as usual as soon as each was over I thought of a hundred more things I should have said. I am hoping the discussion of story arcs and of tight third person point of view, in particular, will help some of these writers to improve their work.
Now to the books. Shadowfell is past the editorial stage now and I've checked the proofs for the Australian edition. I still have to do proof reading for the US edition. But that's pretty much all the work done for me on that book. As mentioned elsewhere, Pan Macmillan's Australian edition comes out in July 2012, and Knopf's US edition a few months later (they've said 'Fall' which I think means some time between September and November.) I'm very pleased with Shadowfell - it was wonderful to tackle a completely new setting and create a brand new cast of characters. Or perhaps not brand new, since readers will see obvious similarities between the Good Folk of Alban (a fictitious version of Scotland) and the Old Ones from the Sevenwaters books. That's OK - they're everywhere. Oh, and Knopf has a talented artist w orking on the US cover as I write. Pan Macmillan has an interesting idea for the Australian cover. The two covers will be very different.
Non-English editions of Shadowfell: thus far the only two countries the series has been sold to outside Australia and the US are The Netherlands and Portugal. Dates for those two editions are obviously dependent on the translation work. But it is possible either or both might be out in very late 2012. Publishers are Luitingh-Sijthoff and Planeta respectively.
Last night I put the finishing touches to my manuscript for Flame of Sevenwaters and felt the sadness that always comes when saying goodbye to a set of beloved characters. A writer lives with those characters for a long time, inhabits their skin, walks in their footsteps and faces their challenges, so it can be quite hard to reach the end. I am pleased with the completed novel, which I think forms a good third part to the sequence Heir, Seer, Flame. I have time for one more complete read-through, then it goes to my editors before Christmas. They will read it in January and I expect to get their combined report back in early February 2012, at which point I will have more revision to do - not too much, I hope! Flame of Sevenwaters is due for publication by Pan Macmillan Australia and Roc US in late 2012 - probably November.
Current project: In November I wrote just over 30,000 words of the second Shadowfell book, as part of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month, a sort of speed-writing challenge.) I'm about to revisit those words, which I suspect are less than my best, since I don't work so well as a speed writer. If I kept them all that would be one third of a young adult novel completed, which would be good! Shadowfell 2 must be completed by the end of April 2012, so I do need to get on with it.
I have contracts for a third Shadowfell book and for a new adult novel, so there's plenty of work on hand and not much time for anything else. The big question as to whether the Sevenwaters series will continue after Flame of Sevenwaters is at this point undecided. I'm not even going to think about it until the Shadowfell series is completed. All I can say is that the next adult novel will be something different.
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