Saturday, September 29, 2007

The Call Story

There have been requests for my Call Story. On one of my email lists, Anna Campbell said I had to make sure to include every squeal. Does that mean I have to include every cough, sneeze and wheeze, too?

Yes, I was sick, suffering from a really bad cold or flu. On Thursday a week ago, agent Clare Forster from Curtis Brown Australia, who'd been considering the manuscript, offered representation, and we had a good phone discussion (interspersed with coughs and yes, a squeal or two), the result of which was that she'd email the agency agreement the following day for me to consider.

Thursday night I had to sleep in the recliner chair, rather than bed, so that I could breathe AND sleep. The manuscript was with a publisher, and we knew it would be discussed at a meeting on Friday, but didn't expect any decisions from them for a while. So, I was off work again on Friday, and when the phone rang mid-morning I muttered a mild swear word as I trudged from the study through to the living room thinking it might be a tele-marketer.

It was Bernadette Foley from Hachette, very excited, offering to buy my books. And there was me, trying to be professional and coherent while coughing and squeaking. It's one thing to imagine seeing your book on the shelves - I'm sure every aspiring writer has done that almost daily! - but quite another to have a publisher enthusiastically discussing books and plans and careers, and making it real :-) When she emailed through the offer letter on Friday afternoon I confess I did check who it was addressed to, because I did think 'Wow. Are they really talking about me and my books??'

Clare has been fantastic, discussing options with me, explaining things, and discussing details with Hachette during the past week. The manuscript was also out a couple of places elsewhere, so we needed to decide what we wanted to do. For two days of this, I didn't have a voice, which quietened down my squealing a bit. Yesterday, we decided that yes, we did want to accept the offer. Clare phoned Bernadette, I phoned my DH, and then Bernadette phoned me. Yes, there was excitement. And some squealing. Constrained, professional squealing of course :-) And a lot of grinning.

I'm still a little shell-shocked, and trying to get my head around the shift from 'aspiring writer' to 'author', but I do feel incredibly privileged and thrilled that I'll be working with such wonderful and experienced people.

The DH brought home champagne and Chinese food for dinner for a small celebration, and it was nice to just enjoy the moment with him. We'll probably go out for dinner next week with some friends.

Thanks to everyone who has encouraged, cheered, supported, and been with me along the way. I suppose it's possible that I might have been able to do it alone, but it would have been a long hard struggle, and not the rich and heart-warming journey that I've experienced.

Friday, September 28, 2007

It's official - I've sold!

It's been an amazing week or so for me. Last Thursday, I had an offer of representation from a agent with a great depth of industry experience, Clare Forster from Curtis Brown Australia. The following day, I received an offer for my books.

Now that all the discussions are finalised, I'm thrilled and over the moon to be able to say that I've today accepted the offer from Hachette Livre Australia (one of Australia's major publishers) for two books :-)

This is for my GH winning book, and the next one. The titles will change, and I'm not quite sure yet which name I'll be writing under, but I'll sort that out in the next few days.

They will be published in Australia as a trade paperback under the Hachette Australia imprint, with the first book probably out next September. Bernadette Foley and her colleagues at Hachette have been wonderful and enthusiastic, and I'm really looking forward to working with them.

The DH is bringing home a celebratory pizza, and I'm hoping some champagne, too! We'll go out for a proper dinner celebration some time over the weekend or next week, but town's a bit far away to go back in there tonight.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Media article

There's a short article in The Australian today about my research and my writing. It wasn't the best interview I've ever given, but it's come out okay. The journalist interviewed me on a busy day a few weeks ago, not long after I'd done a radio interview, and it didn't really click in my head while we were talking that he was doing the article for the Higher Education section, so I didn't gear my answers properly for that readership, or give him a great angle for the story. Oh, well - I'm learning! Next time, I'll do better :-)

Friday, September 21, 2007


I've been juggling too many things lately; although my job went back to part-time, I've added some casual work and some consultancy work this month, plus I had almost a week in Canberra a week or two back, visiting my folks. It was great to have some time with them; I saw my sister and mother in August in Sydney, but I hadn't seen my Dad, or my sister's family, for months.

My niece and nephew are growing up rapidly - and wonderfully! At 16 and 13, they're young adults I'm delighted to know and spend time with. We celebrated my mother's 75th birthday while I was there, which was a heap of fun, and special to have that time with her and the family.

Then it was back home again, and back to working on all the various tasks on my To Do list. Things will quieten down after the next week or so, though, and I'll be able to have some more concentrated writing time, which I'm looking forward to. I could have done without the bad cold, and throat and sinus infection, but that's going to be better any day now, right?

And speaking of juggling - this morning I didn't do it so well. While washing up my favourite mug after breakfast, I dropped it and broke it :-( I bought a gorgeous pair of pottery mugs with matching sugar bowl and milk jug in New Zealand, back in 1980, and I've used them almost every day since. One was broken a while ago, but I glued it back together and still use it with care. However, this one now has its handle in multiple pieces, and while I can probably glue it together, I don't think I'd trust having hot tea in a mug with a dodgy handle. Here's a photo I took ages ago, before the crash:

I'm going to miss that mug - 27 years is a long relationship!