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 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.
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!
I've always felt extremely fortunate to not only to see my novels in print but also write fulltime. And still sometimes little things happen that make this life even better - like this weekend, when I'm flying to Melbourne to interview, before a live audience of wonderful Sisters in Crime members, the one and only Tess Gerritsen.
I have long been a huge fan of Tess's work. We've emailed a few times, she gave me an awesome blurb for Cold Justice, and we've met once, at the famous Harrogate Crime Festival in the UK in 2008, but getting this opportunity to sit down and talk with her at length is really something special. If you live in Melbourne please come along - it's on Saturday 27th August, starting at 6 pm if you want to join us for dinner, 8 pm for the interview, at The Rising Sun Hotel, corner Raglan Street & Eastern Road, South Melbourne. $10 to get in, no bookings required. For more info click here. Thanks Tess and thanks Sisters In Crime!
Another marvellous thing I get to do is attend and speak at writers' festivals. Recently I went to the Byron Bay Festival, always a ripper, not least of all because the gorgeous settings of the North Beach site, where you can sit on the grass and listen to the talk in the marquees while soaking up the sun. I thoroughly enjoyed being on a panel here with friends and fellow crime authors Michael Robotham, LA Larkin, and Liz Porter, and there were lots of laughs as you can tell from this pic:
I'm also taking part in the Brisbane Writers Festival in September, and one of my co-panellists is UK author Neil Cross. I'd heard of his TV show Luther but never seen it, and I'd heard of his books Captured and Burial but never read them. Festivals send authors copies of each others' books, so he gets mine, I get his etc. His latest is The Calling and I started reading idly as soon as I opened the parcel, then couldn't stop! I cannot recommend this book more highly. It's chilling, thrilling, and graphic at times, but I promise you will not be able to put it down.
Our other panellist is Nicole Watson, author of The Boundary, and my second session is with Jennifer Rowe, whose latest is Love, Honour and O'Brien, and I can't wait to get stuck into both these books.
Meanwhile, back here in the office, all is going well. The structural edit of Silent Fear got the big tick of approval and the manuscript is now with the copy editor, and book 6 is gathering momentum, characters are coming to life, the story is taking off in unexpected ways ... I do so love my job!
The latest in Katherine's news, plus what she's been reading.