Last time I posted here it was the end of January. Where did those months go?? Actually, I know where they went -- in a combination of promo for Web Of Deceit and in finishing book 7. And on a trip to WA to write travel articles! The first one was about swimming with whale sharks, and was published a couple of weeks ago - you can read all about my adventure here.
The finishing of book 7 took up most of the time. It still has no title, but when we do work out what it is I'll post it here :) People often ask me if writing gets easier after a number of books - the answer is yes and no. No because each book is a whole new story, with its own challenges, including your desire to make it bigger/better/different to what you've written before (and for me that means trying to go deeper into the characters and their emotions, trying to write stronger and clearer prose, and that unattainable thing I think all writers strive for: to write the perfect book, which none of us will ever do, and so we keep writing). But yes because I feel somehow more settled into it now. I noticed that started happening a little with the fifth book, and then a gradually more since. I think it's a combination of feeling more relaxed about the whole process and slightly more confident about pulling together the story. It still involves a great deal of teeth-gnashing and whining though, and the words 'just keep swimming' are highly applicable: you just have to keep going. I finished it in early April, and my publisher and agent have read it and LOVE it, and so now I'm looking forward to getting the structural edit report and seeing how I can make it better. Meantime I'm leaping into the abyss that is currently book 8, and also teaching a few workshops as well, on the Gold Coast and in Brisbane - please do come along! Details are on the Learn with Katherine page.
Until next time, happy reading!
A highly accurate depiction of me at work.
Hello readers! Apologies for my recent silence. Since I last wrote I had a marvellous time at the Brisbane Writers festival, the Year of The Edit class was sadly cancelled (numbers dropped below the minimum, but things are looking good for next year), and I received the copy-edit of Web Of Deceit. A few more weeks' hard work and then I sent it back, and heard just yesterday that it works! I know I say this every time but it really is always a relief to learn that. And the next book is underway -- no title yet, but that will come. I love the excitement that comes at the start of each new book: so much promise, so much anticipation! It doesn't stay that way, of course, because the perfect book in my head appears on paper as far-from-perfect. But the struggle to make each book as good as it can be never ends. I remembered something that the great Val McDermid once told me about improving: she said she aims in each book to make one thing better than in the previous. Which sounds much more achievable than perfection :)
In two days I'm off to Perth for the first ever crimeScene conference. This is a brilliant mix of sessions on fiction and fact about crime, so there're crime authors like me, forensic experts, prison guides, police and lawyers, just to name a few. It runs over Saturday and Sunday, and all the info is on their website. Hope to see you there!
At the end of October I'll be in Hervey Bay for a talk and free workshop. Check out my events page for details.
Well, that's it from me for now. I've a shiny new book to write!
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'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.
my apologies for not having posted for so long. The closer we come to the end of the year, the faster time flies! But apart from that I've been flat-out writing a journal article for uni, working on book 6, and also reading the final pages of Silent Fear. That's the last step in what can be a six to twelve month-long process of editing - this year it took ten months. It sounds like a long time but it's not when you (a) consider that this book is just one of possibly hundreds that the publisher and editor work on during that time and (b) break the steps of that process down.
First the editor and publisher read the manuscript I send in, talk it over and write their structural edit report. This focuses on (obviously) the structural problems: whether the clues add up, whether there are timing issues in the plotline, whether there are gaping holes in the story, whether the characters and plot are believable - all those big picture-type things. That takes around four to six weeks, and I get about the same to go over the report and digest the ideas and suggestions, then work over the manuscript, fixing the issues one by one. It can be a big and daunting job, so it's very satisfying to be able to cross each point off the report as I go. Then I send it back in again, the publisher and editor read it once more, and assuming those big problems are fixed they begin their line edit. This looks more closely at the actual writing, hunting down clunky phrasing and awkward sentences, and tightening wherever possible. A third person comes in to help here, a freelance copy-editor, and I'm fortunate to have worked with the same one for a number of books (hi Nicola!). Then the marked-up manuscript comes back to me again, maybe a couple of months later. This year we used track changes and emailed the 460 page document back and forth, which was a little different, as with each previous book it's been done on paper. Apart from the obvious benefit of saving trees, and not having to worry about losing the one and only copy with all our comments on it in the post, I don't know that one way is better than the other: I think whichever method you use, you soon get used to it.
So I go over this next lot of comments and agree or disagree and make my own changes too. By this point the manuscript is so familiar to me I'm sure it's deadly dull and boring, but I know I go through that stage with every book and I just have to keep working. Then back it goes to the publisher again, the changes are made to the text, then it's typeset onto A4 pages. Now we can see what the pages will look like in the book! These are called final pages, and we all read them again, looking now for things that slipped past everyone's eyes: typos, lay-out issues, and so on. From this point it starts to get expensive to change too much, so unless there are major issues (which there shouldn't be, considering all the work everyone's put in) the changes are limited to tweaks and fixing mistakes. Once these little things are done, the manuscript goes to the printer, and that's where Silent Fear went yesterday.
You can see where that time goes - a couple of months here, a couple of months there. But now it's just over two months until the book is on the shelves, and I can tell you that's always a highly anticipated moment for any author! There are plans for a bit of a tour along the East Coast, and when I have details of events I'll be sure to post them here.
But of course between then and now stands book 6! It's coming along really well, and I'm looking forward to the day when I sent it in to my publisher, and the whole process begins once more.
ps - Speaking of editing, I'm teaching Year of the Edit again next year at the QLD Writers Centre. If you're interested, hop on over to my 'Learn with Katherine' page and find out more.
Fancy an early peek at the first chapter of my new book? Zip on over to the Varuna website and you can hear me read it to you! This is part of Varuna's brilliant 'Writer-a-day' programme which will be launched as an iTunes app early next year. Sign up and you'll receive a message from a writer each day on your iPhone/iPad/Android phone/computer. What a way to start your morning, listening to a writer read to you from their work!
Speaking of Silent Fear, I finished the copy-edit last week and my editor, the lovely Bri at Pan Macmillan, is winding up her final checks now. It's off to the typesetters next, then will come back here, properly set out, at the end of the month. Then we read through it again, checking for any final small tweaks that need to be done, although hopefully the problems are by now limited to typos. Then back it goes again, and next time I see it it will be bound in a black and white cover as a proof. This is what goes out to bookshops and media so booksellers and reviewers can read it before it's actually released in February. Meantime here I'm hard at work on book 6, and keen to find out what's going to happen to Ella this time around!
I spent last weekend at the Brisbane Writers Festival and had enormous fun. Meeting fellow crime writers Neil Cross, Nicole Watson and Jennifer Rowe was wonderful - I don't think I've ever met a crime author I didn't like. The panels went really well, too. I got to sit in on a couple of others - one was a conversation with my friend Kate Morton, the other with the brilliant Kate Grenville. I was fortunate enough to meet Kate Grenville beforehand in the writers' green room, and we spoke for a couple of minutes and she signed my much-loved copy of Dark Places and a copy of her new book Sarah Thornhill. I've been a fan of her work for years now and never met her (though I have sent her fan letters), so to finally get to say hello in person was something special.
Holidays next week! We're off to Tasmania for a much-anticipated break. Cross your fingers we get good weather!
Welcome to my first blog post! Well, technically the long post below this is first, but that's nothing but the collected news from my old website copied and pasted to here for anyone who has time to kill and a (strange) desire to read my periodic ramblings from the past four years, so it doesn't really count.
This is my revamped site. Nice, huh? :) Instead of a news page and a messageboard I now have this, so I can post more ramblings and you can add your thoughts, questions, whatever, in the comments. That means it's, like, a conversation!
So, news. I'm working on the structural edit of Silent Fear and oohh it's exciting to see it all come together! And I have some great events coming up. Check out the Events page for the details but know this: on August 27th I'm going to be interviewing the one and only Tess Gerritsen! I truly cannot wait.
Also, I'm teaching a series of workshops in editing, starting August 13 in Brisbane. The class is filling up so have a look at the Learn with Katherine page today if you think you might be interested.
What I'm reading: The Silent Girl, Tess's new book :)
What I'm listening to: 80s hits. West End Girls by the Pet Shop Boys. Yay!
What I'm watching: nothing - too busy!
Till next time!
The latest in Katherine's news, plus what she's been reading.