Listening to Clive James' moving address recorded from his home in London as he is now too unwell to travel, it struck home how much I should savour every moment and take nothing for granted. Especially when there were times, not that long ago, I came so close to tossing it all in. This has been an incredible year. I have travelled overseas to attend conferences and book festivals and had a residency at the Melbourne Zoo. I have won awards and been shortlisted for others and sat at tables with writers I have admired my whole lifetime. My books have been taken up by publishers in other countries and I have received messages from readers the world over. By Christmas, according to my publishers, I will have sold a million Billie B Brown books. I still can't quite believe it. From where I stand right now, I couldn't imagine a more fortunate life.
I remember hearing on a radio program once, years ago, that the secret to happiness was gratitude. That in everyone's life there will be ups and downs but if you can bring to mind the things you are truly grateful for, this will buoy you through the hardest times. I have so much to be grateful for; my friends and family of course will always be my brightest light, but I am also incredibly grateful that I am able to do something that I love on a daily basis - and make a living from it. For this I have to thank not only my publishers, who have been brilliant, but all those people out there who have supported me in different ways: the booksellers, the teachers, the librarians, the parents and anyone who has put my books into the hands of a child. I also feel so grateful for the incredibly generous and supportive community of Australian children's authors and illustrators that I am so lucky to be a part of.
This has been an amazing year, and I have so many more exciting things to look forward to in 2013, including four books in the Our Australian Girl series for Penguin, a picture book with Windy Hollow, and a brand new Billie series for slightly older readers. I will keep you posted. Until then, I hope that you get a ton of books for Christmas and that you have all the peace you need to read them over the break.