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'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!
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.
The latest in Katherine's news, plus what she's been reading.