Saturday, August 24, 2013

This one's for you....

Sorry I have been a bit slack folks. No excuses either.

First things first - for any UK followers my book A Winter's Day in 1939 is now available as an e-book on Amazon UK. Yay!!!

Second - the clock is ticking down to the release of my next picture book 'While You Are Sleeping' illustrated by the very talented Greg Straight and published by Duck Creek Press. The book is released on October 1st and I will post details for the launch soon. This is a bedtime book to share with young children, with fun illustrations full of gorgeous details complimented by spare poetic text. I am really looking forward to holding this in my hands and being able to share it.

And third - I want to do a big shout out to the very cool crowd of children from Viscount School in South Auckland who performed my story The House That Went to Sea (Duck Creek Press, 2011) at the Auckland Storylines Family Day last Sunday. What a talented bunch of kids. I was completely blown away by the cleverness of the production, the cool special effects, the mermaid song (this mermaids on water, to the tune of 'This girl is on fire'), the pirate battle, the costumes, the sound effects (big ups to the violinist shark!) and of course the acting - I was dead impressed. If I can wrangle a recording of the show I will try loading it up here.

And the family day was terrific. I love being a part of this celebration of children's books. And it's great to have the opportunity to connect with young readers and their very cool and supportive parents. Thank you too to my most marvelous minder, and fellow writer, Katie Furze who was excellent company for the day and a terrific minder.

 But the family day has also always been an opportunity to catch up with old writer and illustrator friends and make new ones. This year I met Rachel Spratt, creator of the Nanny Piggins books, Stacy Gregg, author of numerous Pony Club books, Greet Pauwelijn, publisher (Book Island) and Isaac Drought, winner of last year's Joy Cowley Award who was launching his winning picture book Alphabet Squabble. Every author and illustrator I meet makes me feel even more convinced that (despite the crazy and difficult elements ) I was picked by the right career. Every author and illustrator I meet helps me paint a more comprehensive picture of the book world. I would not be where I am now without the advice, the information and the support and encouragement I have received over the years from this fantastic community. Even yesterday after lamenting my writerly laziness to a writer friend, she said just the right thing and helped me put my situation in perspective. If I was allowed to only ever give one piece of advice to help another writer reach for their dreams I would tell them to become a part of the writers community.  It is the best way to learn what you need to know. It is the best way to hear about new opportunities when new opportunities seem thin on the ground. It is the best way to keep your head above water when drowning seems like a real possibility. And I'm not talking about just a critique group here (although joining one of these can be enormously helpful too) - you need to be talking to authors and illustrators at all stages of their careers; people much published, gaining momentum, starting out, and unpublished. You only get the full picture if you see it from all angles. If you only hang out with other folk at the same stage as you are, you may remain unaware of the dangers and the pitfalls, and be ignorant of the possibilities and proactive things you can be doing to propel yourself forward. I love having peers who understand where I'm at, icons to look up to and learn from and new folk who I can share information with. We are a very nice bunch.

And last but not least today I want to say a heartfelt thank you to the people who support us. Being an author and/or illustrator has always been a tricky profession. We are at the mercy of our rejections and acceptances, over our success and failures and the complex machinations that drive our careers. Most of us don't earn a living wage and our contribution to the family coffers is often token at best. So to all the husbands, wives, partners, girlfriends, boyfriends, parents and families...for the financial and emotional support; your continued belief in us and your encouragement THANK YOU - we couldn't do it without you.

1 comment:

Talia Hunter said...

Wow Melinda, that's so awesome that A Winter's Day is being sold through Amazon UK! Go you! So pleased it's starting to get the readership it so richly deserves. :)