Feb Feast

At the beginning of the year I made a commitment to take a break from the routine as much as possible, and do more. I know it’s only February, and it may be too early to be crowing about my success on the resolutions front, but so far, so good. 

No Feb Fast for me, it’s been a feast for the mind, body and senses – in Thailand and in my own beautiful state of Queensland. (If you haven’t discovered Girraween National Park – you need to. But maybe not on the hottest weekend of the year!)

I have to admit my word count is looking a little sad, but I’m back at my desk now and busily working on two projects for young adults.

Maybe next year my resolution will have to be do more work!

 

 

In other February news, The Call of the Wild (part of the Choose Your Own Ever After series) has been shortlisted for the West Australian Young Readers’ Book Award. I’m very excited to be among some brilliant writers. Congrats to everyone on the list!

2017-older-readers-shortlist

Hope your projects are all on track, too.

Julie xx

 

 

Old haunts

Happy New Year!

Sorry I’m a bit slow off the mark. I’ve been travelling on the cold side of the world – reconnecting with friends, catching up with family, revisiting some familiar places and gathering ideas for my next project. I lived in England for 11 years, but there’s something very special about returning after a long break and visiting the old haunts with fresh eyes.

Nostalgia has a way of colouring the past, but luckily all of my favourite places were even more impressive than I remembered (although the traffic is much worse and air travel is a complete nightmare). And my friends – they haven’t changed a bit!

 

Travel is so rewarding, but it also has a way of altering time. My month away felt more like a year. Cramming every day with   haunted hotels,  crazy drivers, snow-capped peaks, grand architecture, wonder and laughter sure makes life feel fuller and longer.

So, it’s out with the routine and in with life for 2017. There’s just one item on my New Year’s resolutions list:

  1. DO MORE

I hope 2017 brings you everything you’re aiming for. Have a good one.

Julie xx

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cape to Cape

There’s a lot to love about the South West corner of Australia – a rugged coastline, spectacular caves,  beautiful wineries, some great places to eat, and, in Spring, the wildflowers are out too. It’s no wonder this part of the country has inspired so many brilliant stories. You can’t visit Cape Leeuwin lighthouse without feeling the isolation that is so hauntingly evoked in M.L Stedman’s The Light Between Oceans. And it’s hard not to watch a surfer without thinking of Tim Winton’s gritty Breath.

Just hoping some of the WA magic rubs off on my writing!

Great walks: The Coast to Coast track from Cape Naturaliste to Cape Leeuwin is 135 Km of stunning natural beauty. We did short sections rather than the whole lot. The Canal Rocks area was a highlight.

Great eating: The Leeuwin Estate restaurant is amazing and for deliciously casual fare try the Margaret River Bakery.

Great accomodation: I loved the Injidup Spa Retreat for its beautiful hill-top setting and for the delicious supplies packed into the fridge every morning.

 

Julie.

Archibald stories

It takes me thousands and thousands of words to flesh out a character, but how clever are the artists who can capture someone without needing to use any words at all. I was blown away (again) by the finalists in the Archibald Prize for portrait painting at the Art Gallery of NSW.

So many great stories here, but here are a few of my favourites.

And Sydney makes a spectacular setting for any story.

 

Hope you get the chance to enjoy it, too.

Julie.

Librarians Rock Book Week

A great big round of applause for all of the school librarians who made Book Week special. Love your work. It is such a pleasure to visit a school and see kids so excited about reading!

Here are a few highlights from my school visits. Thank you to the librarians, staff and students who made me feel so welcome!

 

Hope to see you all again soon!

 

Online Literature Festival

I’m excited to be part of this year’s Queensland Online Literature Festival (22 Aug-9 Sep).  The festival is an amazing opportunity for school kids from all over Queensland to hear from some of Australia’s best authors. Thirty writers are involved this year and you can connect with them whether you’re in Boulia, Biloela or Brisbane (or anywhere in between).

My slot is 10.30am on Tuesday August 30. It’s a very special day because it’s also my son’s 18th birthday!

I’ll be talking about where I got the ideas for my Hazard River adventure series for young readers and the inspiration for my Choose Your Own Ever After stories. I’ll also share how you can get ideas for your stories.

 

Dymocks Brisbane is offering FREE SHIPPING on book orders as part of the Online Literature Festival. Contact them on 07 3007 2800 or briscorp@dymocks.com.au to place your order.

If your school would like to be involved you can register on the Queensland Government site here.  (Only Queensland schools can register).

Other great writers and illustrators on the program include Pamela Rushby (pictured above), Michael Gerard Bauer (pictured at top of page), Samantha Wheeler (pictured at top), Andy Griffiths, Terry Denton,  Tristan Bancks, Jack Heath and Dave Hackett.

Hope to see you on the 30th!

 

Central Queensland Literary Festival

I’m all talked out after a week with a brilliant bunch writers and illustrators at the Central Queensland Literary Festival – sharing stories with clever students and aspiring novelists by day, by night debating lofty ideas like: Can the Broncos beat the Eels? (It turns out they certainly can!)

Rockhampton put on perfect winter weather for the creative invasion, which meant that in between workshops, we absolutely had to visit Great Keppel Island. The trip turned into more of an adventure than an outing when we missed our ferry and had to hail a speed boat, but who’s complaining when the sun is out and there’s a stunning beach at the end of the journey.

The week also included a visit to the beautiful Botanic Gardens, a fantastic steak at the Criterion Hotel and a self-guided tour of Rockhampton’s bull statues.

Love you Rocky!

 

P1120088

Ready for anything (even high-school students): Justin D’Ath, Meredith Costain, Robert Favretto, Julie Fison, Pamela Rushby, Michael Gerard Bauer, Royce Bond.

Photo credit: Marjory Gardner

MIA: Paul Collins and Elaine Ouston

Very much missed: Kevin Burgemeestre

A great big thanks to Elaine Ouston of Morris Publishing and Ford Street Publishing’s Paul Collins for inviting me to be part of this year’s festival and to the staff and students of St Peter’s Catholic Primary, St Paul’s Catholic Primary and Emmaus College for making us welcome. Loved sharing stories with you!

Thanks also to the supremely helpful staff at Freedom Fast Cats and the amazing managers of Apartments on Palmer.

Hope to see you soon!

 

Author of children's and YA fiction