Thursday, July 26, 2012

Exciting news

I just received the exciting news that Billie B Brown The Big Sister has won The Australian Family Therapist's Award for children's literature. I guess it goes without saying that I am truly thrilled. It's been a big year for Billie!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Billie B Brown drawing competition

For any Billie fans out there who'd like to get their hands on the whole collection!
All details at:
Good luck!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Cal-i-for-nia here I come!

In just under two weeks, my beloved and I, along with our youngest, will be heading west to the sunny shores and bright lights of Los Angeles. I am an incredibly grateful recipient of a CAL Cultural Fund grant, which I received in order to attend the 2012 SCBWI Summer Conference in Los Angeles over the first weekend in August. I have been to one of these conferences before, in 1999, in Paris, when I was living in France, and it was an unforgettable experience. As a brand new author, I learnt so much and made some great friends, some of whom I am still in touch with today. (See below!)
Then, if that's not exciting enough, the three of us will be staying on to do a spot of travelling. After all, it's an awful long way to fly for a three day conference! While in Los Angeles we will take a day trip to San Diego to visit  Kane Miller the US publishers of the Billie and Jack series, to be released there in August. I do hope that American children will love Billie and Jack!
After the conference, we will visit my dear friend Whitney Stewart in New Orleans. I met Whitney at the conference in Paris and a few years down the track, we worked on a book together called Becoming Buddha, which was published both in Australia and the US. As we have another book in the pipeline I thought we absolutely HAD to get together to chat about it about over tea and biscuits. Or, would that be mint julep and crawfish? Email and Facebook are only so effective...
Lastly, we are spending a few days in New York. After all, you can't go to the US and NOT go to New York, can you? We are staying at the quaintly eccentric-sounding Library Hotel. ("Each of the 10 guestroom floors honor one of the 10 categories of the Dewey Decimal System and each of the 60 rooms explore a distinctive topic within the category it belongs to." Book-nerdy enough for you?) While in New York we have booked to see The Lion King on Broadway for my youngest, mainly because I am always SO shocked at the prices of musicals in Melbourne I figured if he was only ever going to see one it better be a big one!
So, there's a brief itinerary for you. I guess it goes without saying that we are beside ourselves with excitement. I will try my best to post some touristy/funny/interesting things for your reading pleasure while we are away.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

A Taste of Things To Come

Over the last few months I have been busy working on a new series of books for Penguin as a part of their Our Australian Girl series. I'm really excited to be involved in this series written by some great Australian authors and full of such wonderful characters and stories.
I was lucky enough to be given the choice of era so have chosen to write about 1956 Carlton, Melbourne, and my character is from an Italian migrant family. This was an easy choice for me. My partner's family came to Australia from Italy in the 50s, and since I have known him I have loved listening to stories of their first years in Melbourne. There were some really tough times, but some beautiful moments, too, and I am always moved by his family's fierce loyalty created through having been through so much together. As far as they are concerned, even if you came from the same village you are family. Sadly, in the twelve years since I have known my partner, many of the older generation are no longer here and these stories shared over the table have become fewer and far between. I hope by writing this series I can preserve some of these stories and hand them down to the next generation who may find it hard to imagine their grandmothers/nonnas/yayas/nai-nais as young girls in skirts with hearts full of hopes and heads full of dreams.
I will be posting much more on this over the next few months so stay tuned.