It's certainly taken a while, but I finished that next round of edits on Web Of Deceit, sent it back, and heard last week that it all works! I'm so pleased :) Authors get so close to their stories, it can be hard to know if it's coming together as it should, so I'm always thrilled to hear from the editors that it is.
Last week I went to Port Macquarie Library for a workshop and talk. I had a marvellous time with Karen, the president of the Friends of the Library group who organised the day, and as we had some time to kill she took me on a quick tour of the town. One stop we made was at the Koala Hospital, the only one of its kind in the world, where injured and sick wild koalas are nursed back to health then released. Some are too badly hurt to survive in the wild so they become permanent additions to the Hospital family. One koala in particular caught my eye and I'm pleased to say I've 'adopted' her :) Readers, meet Oxley Kaylee!
She was a repeat visitor at the Hospital before injuries meant the staff had to amputate one of her hind legs, but now is thriving. You can read more about her and the other koalas on the Hospital's website here.
The workshop and talk went wonderfully - what wonderful groups of aspiring writers, and readers! Thank you to all the library staff, to the Friends of the Library, to Roz and Belinda of the Book Warehouse, and to everyone who came along.
Going back in time now, we had a fantastic time in the States in July. A few highlights were a day trip to the Hamptons, an amazing food and culture tour in Nolita and Noho, and of course Thrillerfest. I attended a number of panels as an audience member, then took part in one with the lovely Meg Gardiner, the charming and funny Catherine Coulter, the very suave Phillip Margolin, the delightful Andrea Kane and the equally delightful Sandra Brannan, and cool ex-Navy dude Grant Blackwood. All these authors are very highly regarded in the US and between them have about a thousand NYT bestsellers, so I felt quite the strangely-accented odd person for a while! but they were all very welcoming. The room was jam-packed for our panel and we talked up a storm about creating and building suspense, and it was lovely that for the rest of the day people came up to tell me how much they'd enjoyed it.
While at Thrillerfest I taped an interview with Claire Lamb, the editor of Books To Die For, the anthology of essays by crime writers about their favourite crime novels. Have a look:
You can tell how much I love the work of James Lee Burke, so it won't be hard to imagine my delight when I received an email from the man himself. He'd read my piece and wrote to tell me how much he appreciated it. It brought tears to my eyes, and I printed the email and stuck it on the wall above my desk.
You can see some of the other authors from the anthology talking about their chosen books here.
All in all, we had a terrific trip, and New York is certainly a place I'd love to visit again.
Back here at home, the start of the Year of the Edit class has been delayed until September, so there's still time to sign up! Click here to find out more.
And the Brisbane Writers Festival is on next week, from 5-9th September. What a feast of a line-up they have this year! I'll be speaking in the free Writer's Lounge on Saturday, 8 September, from 2:30pm - 3:30pm, in the Level 2 Reference Library - come along and have a chat! - and am keenly eyeing the programme to decide what I'll do on the other days. More info is here.
And now that Web of Deceit is almost done, it's time to get going on book 7. I came up with the idea for the story while flying from LA to NY on the night of Saturday 7th July. As it grew dark we could see the lights of the towns and cities down below, and the countless fireworks being set off for Fourth of July celebrations. It has nothing to do with the plot, but it was wonderful to watch those displays from so high up, one after another, right across the country.
Until next time, happy reading!
I have loads to tell you about our fantastic trip to the States, but no time to write a decent post! I'm doing some final rewrites on 'Web Of Deceit' so am all tied up on that for the next few weeks. Meantime here's just one photo of the many we took :)
If you're an aspiring author in Brisbane or nearby, I'm teaching Year of The Edit at the QWC again soon - starting on Sunday August 12th, in fact. It's a great course and I know for sure that if I'd been able to do it when I was working on my early manuscripts I would've progressed much faster than I did. Click through to the QWC page for more info, and you can contact either them or me if you have questions.
I'm also teaching a short workshop on writing crime at Port Macquarie Library, from 2.30 to 4 pm on August 22nd, and that evening I'll be talking all things booky, from 6.30 to 8.30 pm. Thanks very much to the Friends of Port Macquarie Library for inviting me along! For more info and to book in, please click here.
In September I'll be at the Brisbane Writers Festival, and then at the end of the month in Perth for the first CrimeScene conference. Can't wait!
Until next time, happy reading!
I'm thrilled to be able to tell you that I'm going to be in this anthology alongside some of the biggest names in the business: Lee Child, Michael Robotham, Meg Gardiner, Dennis Lehane, Elmore Leonard, and Karin Slaughter, just to name a few. The book is edited by two other great crime authors, John Connolly and Declan Burke. So what's it about? Here's the blurb from the book's website:
"BOOKS TO DIE FOR is a unique, must-have anthology for any fan of the mystery genre, featuring personal essays from 120 of the world’s most beloved and renowned crime writers on the mysteries and thrillers that they most admire, edited by two of their own—John Connolly and Declan Burke.
Tana French on The Secret History by Donna Tartt; Jo Nesbø on Jim Thompson’s Pop. 1280; Kathy Reichs on The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris; Michael Connelly on Raymond Chandler’s The Little Sister, and Charlaine Harris on Geoffrey Household’s Rogue Male: these are just a few of the 120 internationally bestselling mystery writers showcased in this collection—a book every reader of crime fiction should own.
In the most ambitious anthology of its kind ever compiled, each author pays a deeply personal tribute to one mystery that means the most to them, explaining why that book affects them and how it has influenced their own work. This collection presents a treasure trove of works in the mystery genre by the people who know it best, and is an essential guide for all readers and writers."
I was delighted to be able to write about one of my favourite crime author's books--but I'm not going to tell you yet who or what that is! The anthology will be released worldwide in August, and until then Connolly and Burke will be posting updates on the website so you can find out more about who's involved and what books they've written about.
I'm also working on a piece for an Australian anthology ... but more about that later in the year.
On the novel front, I sent 'Web of Deceit' back to the editor earlier this month and am pleased to say it got big ticks all round. It's now gone to the copy editor, the delightful Nicola O'Shea, with whom I've had the pleasure of working many times before (I think for every one of my books), and I look forward to getting the manuscript back again in August. Meantime I'm head down on my uni work, musing on ideas for book 7, and looking forward LIKE YOU WOULD NOT BELIEVE - actually, you probably would - to going to the USA in two weeks. LA, New York, San Francisco, here we come! And while in New York I'll be speaking at Thrillerfest - the panel I'm on is called 'HOW DO YOU CREATE SUSPENSE ON EVERY PAGE?' and is headed by Meg Gardiner. It's on Saturday July 14 from 10:30-11:20 am with a signing from 11:30-12:00 pm. If you're around, come up and say hi!
This Saturday is the final workshop with the current Year of the Edit group. Just like the group I taught last year, this was a great bunch of people! I've thoroughly enjoyed the time we've spent together and from the sound of things they've found the course inspiring and helpful. I'm pleased to be teaching the course again later this year, so if you are in or around Brisbane and have a manuscript you want to fix but aren't sure how, click on through to the Queensland Writers Centre website and sign yourself up!
There are a couple of other events coming up - I'll be visiting Port Macquarie in August, and at the Brisbane Writers Festival in September, but will post more info on those later. For now, happy reading, and I look forward to reporting back after my encounter with The Big Apple!
Yesterday was the 5th of May, which means it's five years since the launch of my first book. I remember that night so clearly! I booked out a cafe in Tweed Heads, where I lived at the time, and invited everyone I knew (and some I didn't). The place was packed on the night with most of the local paramedic and nurse population, the champagne flowed, and I felt the most tremendous thrill at signing books (with great concentration, as you can see below) and getting up to thank my friends for their support over the years--friends who include (L to R in the photo) fellow authors Kate Morton, Leigh Readhead (who also launched the book for me - thanks Leigh!) and Louise Cusack.
I've been fortunate enough to have four books published since then, while the next - Web Of Deceit - is coming out early next year, and I have two more contracted. I hear regularly from readers who tell me they love the books and can't wait to see what happens next to Ella, and I get to talk at festivals and libraries and to events about two of my favourite things: writing and reading. It hasn't been a fast road-- I wrote seriously for seventeen years before that I reached that launch day - but I feel so thankful that I am where I am. They say that if you choose a job you love, you'll never have to work a day in your life, and that's how it feels, even on days like today, when after I post this I have to go back into some tough scenes in my edit and try to make them better. In fact, I was talking to my partner this morning, and she said, 'If money was no object, and you could do anything you wanted, what would you do?'. It felt great to answer, 'I'd be doing exactly this'.
Until next time!
I've gone from the thrilling busyness of touring to the head-down hard slog of editing the new book. It's always something of a struggle - for one thing, you've been used to the polished state of the newly released work, and now you're facing something that's not quite up to scratch and wondering how to get it there. Ah, the writer's life! But, as good friend and wonderful author Kim Wilkins once told me, 'the only way out is through', and I recite that to myself that each day as I sit down to wrestle this draft into the next and better one.
But we do have a title! It's called WEB OF DECEIT and will probably be out in February next year. As for the story, all I can say is ... poor Ella .....
There are a few more events coming up - a lively discussion on all things crime fiction in Brisbane on May 2nd, a lovely gourmet dinner in Brisbane on May 3rd, and the wonderful Literati dinner and day of author sessions on May 25th and 26th. This event holds a special place in my heart, as it was at the first ever Literati dinner back in 2008 that I met my partner. (She's now the official Literati bookseller, too.) Who knows who you might meet when you come along?? Check out my events page for more details on all of these (and more) and links to buy tickets.
Living with a bookseller means I get to read advanced copies of books that won't be on the shelves for months, and for you Michael Robotham fans I can tell you that his new one is an absolute cracker! I am fortunate to be able to say that Michael's a great friend, but OH BOY his books fill me with writerly envy - the way he builds his characters, tells his stories, and twists his plots turn me spinach green. This one's called 'Say You're Sorry' and will be available in August. Another bestseller for sure.
Okay, time to get back to the edit.
What an incredible month! I spent most of it away from home promoting Silent Fear -- first in Sydney and Melbourne, then in various parts of WA and SA. I was frightened half to death about the TV interview I talked about in my last post, but it went fine! The hosts were lovely and made me feel relaxed and welcome. I had a fantastic time getting about with different publicists (hello Caitlin, Ali, and Bethany!) but best of all I got to meet some amazing people in the audiences who came to hear me talk about the books and my time as a paramedic. Whether they told me about the effect the books had on them ("I read books to go to sleep at night and with your books I haven't been getting much sleep because I can't put them down!" and "I know I'm reading a good book when I miss my bus stop" were just a couple of the comments) or about the books they're writing themselves, or about other authors whose work they love (I'm always looking for recommendations so I can add to my TBR pile) or whether we just said hi and shook hands, I enjoyed every second. My most heartfelt thanks to my publishers Pan Macmillan, to the federal Get Reading! programme, and to all the wonderful booksellers who came along to the events to provide the books.
And now I'm home, with just a couple of events to go. On Wednesday the 7th I'm heading up to the Sunshine Coast to speak at Annie's Books on Peregian and stay with a dear friend from my ambulance days, on Thursday the 8th I'll be at Black Cat Books in Paddington in Brisbane, then on Tuesday the 20th I'll be at Victoria Point Library. Click through to the Events page for details and how to book in.
I was going to say that once all these things are done I'll be diving back into the books! but I'm actually doing that already. I talked to my publisher while in Sydney and she LOVES the new manuscript I sent in (book 6, as yet untitled) and I'm looking forward to getting the edits back on that, and I've started playing with ideas and notes for book 7. I also have work to do for my PhD, where I'm writing a novel and a thesis (looking at women doctors in crime fiction) and loving every minute of it. Sometimes a break like the tour can refresh and inspire, and talking to people about the wonder of books and reading always makes me feel enthusiastic!
To wrap up with, here are a few links to great articles about writing, whether you're published yet or not, and a beautiful clip that I found on my friend Amber's blog about storytelling. Enjoy!
The Unpublished Writer's Seven Deadly Sins
The Published Writer's Seven Deadly Sins
It's Sunday afternoon and in two days I'm off to Sydney to start the promo tour for Silent Fear. Well, not "start", really - I've been doing radio and print interviews on and off since December, and more so in the last fortnight. But it's from this week that I get to do one of my favourite parts of this job: meet readers! I often say in my talks that as most of my days are spent alone in my home office with only the voices in my head for company, I relish getting out and interacting with real live people :) But also I love to find out what they think of the books, and hear in their voices how they feel about Ella and the paramedic characters and how these imaginary people seem as real to them as they are to me. Reading is such an amazing thing. We sit down and stare at marks on a page and we're suddenly gone from the physical world and in another place entirely, living the story with and through the characters, feeling what they feel, breathless with suspense or fear or love just as they are. Amazing. To me there's nothing like being lost in a book, and I'm so fortunate and so thrilled that readers find they get lost in my work and tell me so.
But back to the tour! The full list of events is here but the very first one is actually on TV - I'll be on Channel Nine's Mornings on Wednesday 15th Feb at 10 am for a live chat with Sonia Kruger and David Campbell. I'm delighted and petrified all at once! Then it's off to Erina for my first library talk. One event I'm particularly looking forward to is at Hornsby Library, as I grew up in Normanhurst and went to Hornsby Girls High School. I believe some of my old school pals are coming along so it will be almost like a reunion!
On the writing front, book 6 is finished and with the publisher so I'm looking forward to hearing her thoughts in the next couple of weeks. After that the edits will begin, as will the draft of book 7. I'm stirring around some interesting plot ideas and wondering what Ella's going to get up to this time!
Okay, that's it from me. Hope to see you at one of the events, make sure you come up and say hi!
It's the 1st of February and that can only mean two things: 1 - the year is flying by already, and 2 - Silent Fear is now officially released! Some readers managed to find it last week and raced through it then wrote to tell me how much they enjoyed it :) thank you so much, you lovely people! It means a lot to hear that.
The promo for the book has begun; this article appeared in various weekend papers around the country, and there's more to come. And new events are being added to the tour every day - check them out here to see if I'm going to be somewhere near you - I'd love to meet you! Latest ones include Hornsby where I grew up, Erina on the NSW Central Coast, QLD's Gold Coast where I now live, and the Sunshine Coast with delightful bookshop Annie's Books on Peregian Beach. Brisbane is still to be confirmed.
As for book 6, I'm thrilled to be able to say it's finished! This week I'm doing some final tweaks then will send it off to my agent and publisher. I can't wait to hear what they think, so I better get back to it!
It's Saturday morning one week into 2012, rain is falling gently outside, and I've just signed up to attend Thrillerfest in New York in July. Woohoo! I've been to Europe a few times before but never to the US, and to be going to New York particularly just thrills me. Thrillerfest is a fabulous annual festival featuring some of the biggest names in crime and thriller writing: stars this year include Karin Slaughter, James Patterson, Mary Higgins Clark and the one and only Lee Child. It's run by the International Thriller Writers, an organisation of which I'm a member, and goes for four days. The first two days are allotted to Craftfest, a series of workshops and talks in which some of the world's bestselling authors share their writing secrets, and Agentfest, a session where aspiring authors pitch their work to agents. I'm going along to Craftfest, because you should always grab the chance to learn from others, and the panel days, and can't wait! I can tell it's going to be a long six months.
The other great US news is that all my work will soon be available there as ebooks! They'll be up on Amazon first, and should be there any day now. I'll post again when I hear for sure, or if you are in the US and download one, I'd be grateful if you could let me know please :)
My author copies of Silent Fear arrived the other day. What a moment that is, opening a box of your new books for the first time! That was the fifth such time for me but it never gets old and I don't mind admitting that I cried. It's such a thrill to hold it at last, and think of all the work that went into it, not only by me but by my wonderful editor Bri and publisher Cate, cover designer Deborah Parry who always does an incredible job, and everyone in Pan Macmillan who helps along the way. I can't wait to see it on the shelves on Feb 1st, and am delighted that Bolinda Audio are releasing it as an audiobook the same day. I have a few tour dates posted now, but there are more to come, including all the events in WA and SA. I'll put them up as soon as I get them. I also post on Facebook, so if you 'like' my page you can find out there if you prefer.
I'm looking forward to the start of my next Year Of The Edit class on January 21st. The previous class concluded mid-December and one student said to me, 'forget about a learning curve, this was a straight line upwards!' If you live in or around Brisbane and have a manuscript you'd like some help with editing, I really recommend this class; it teaches skills that help you handle what is often a big unwieldy mass of story and understand what works and what doesn't and why. I certainly wish it had been available back when I was struggling with editing my early novels. More info is here.
And now it's back to work for me. I'm charging towards the end of book 6 andhave left our Ella at a particularly precarious moment ... ah the joy of writing fiction!
Well, here we are, a week and a half out from Christmas, two weeks off the end of the year, and six from the release of my new book Silent Fear. Exciting times! I've already done a couple of interviews, and Pan Macmillan publicist Caitlin is madly organising speaking events. Once I get the list I'll post it on the Events page so you can see where I'm going. And I have great news -- Get Reading! has selected it as one of their Guaranteed Good Reads which means the cover will have the gorgeous silver sticker telling you that and our tour which was originally covering only the east coast is now extended to WA and SA as well, so it's even more likely that I might turn up somewhere near you!
In other news, I recently had a post appear on fellow author and friend Ian Irvine's blog. Ian blogs regularly on writing and is a hugely prolific fantasy author too. If you're an aspiring author I highly recommend his 'One-Page Guide to Storytelling' and his series of posts on the 'Truth about Publishing'.
Did you know that 2012 is the National Year of Reading? I'm joining the Australian Women Writers Reading Challenge to celebrate it. This is a brilliant idea by Elizabeth Lhuede who is challenging people to sign up and not only read more but write reviews. I'm signing up as a 'dabbler' (reading and reviewing more than one genre) and aiming for Stella level (reading at least three and reviewing at least two books). I'd like to aim higher and with any luck over the course of the year I'll make it, but with books to edit and write myself it's best not to get too excited! As I said I think this is a brilliant idea and I invite you all to have a look at the site and think about taking part. The reviews don't have to be long and it's fine if you didn't like the book as well. As Elizabeth says, this is about having fun!
Are you on Goodreads? Today I got myself organised and finished setting up my author page there. There are a number of reviews of my books, and as I get into writing my own reviews they'll be posted as well.
This weekend sees the last workshop of my 2011 Year of the Edit class. It's been a fantastic five months for me - I hope the group feels the same way! Funny how teaching always gives you insight into your own work too. It starts all over again in January with a brand-new group, and if you live in or near Brisbane and have a novel manuscript you're not sure how to edit, why don't you come and join us? Check out the Learn with Katherine page for more info.
Time to wrap all this up. This is probably my final post for 2011, so I want to wish you all a very happy Christmas, a fun-filled new year's, and a wonderful 2012.
The latest in Katherine's news, plus what she's been reading.