Grimm Pickings

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IB Cover

Infinite Blue — a collaboration between myself and younger brother cum San Francisco Giants tragic, Simon Groth — has now officially hit the shelves. As this little fabulist novella makes its way into readers’ hands, I thought I might provide some insight into the IB inspiration we derived from our brothers-from-another-mother: Jakob and Wilhelm Grimm.

It’s short.
Despite what Disney would have you believe, The Brothers Grimm fairytales were brief affairs. So brief they crammed 86 tales into the first edition collection. We weren’t into that level of abbreviation — IB comes in at just under 180 pages — but we did want to honour the Grimm tradition of concise legend.

It’s archetypal.
Characters in IB, though contemporary in construct, should still call to mind those populating the pages of Grimm lore. The Caregiver, The Hero, The Villain, The Mentor, The Sage, The Jester, The Orphan. Even water — our constant presence and ‘shadow narrator’ — could be tagged as The Ruler, perhaps even The Lover.

It’s oral.
Okay, IB is a book, so strictly speaking it ain’t oral. But it is meant to feel like something shared at bedsides and around campfires. This is very much in the Grimm wheelhouse. The Children’s and Household Tales were passed-down tales gathered from families all over Germany and beyond. In fact, anthropologist Jamie Tehrani has found 35 different versions of Little Red Riding Hood throughout the world.

BG Cover

It’s seamless.
When you read the Grimm Fairytales, can you tell which brother transcribed which story? No? That’s how it should be in a brotherly collaboration. And if the reviews are anything to go by, it appears we achieved that goal. Though I will say this: I haven’t forgotten who wrote what, and my favourite bits are the ones Simon put together.

It’s magical.
What sort of purveyors of Grimm-esque fare would we be if there wasn’t a reasonable dose of the extraordinary in IB? Translucent limbs, freaky drawings, waking nightmares and the mystical, inescapable influence of water are just some of the magical elements present in Infinite Blue. And the biggest fabulist feature of all? You’ll have to read the book to find out. 😉

Infinite Blue can be purchased here in North America and here in Australia.

Teen Fiction Travels: Interview With Amy Mathers

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At the beginning of May, I had the privilege of touring Ottawa, Rideau Lakes and Hamilton as part of the Canadian Children’s Book Centre’s Book Week Tour 2018. Look out for a post or two soon about this mighty adventure.

In the meantime, enjoy this interview I did at the Hamilton Public Library with the incredible Amy Mathers. Amy and I connected up at the end of Book Week and discussed coming to Canada, magic realism, neurodiversity, disability, writing from personal experience, and how I need to stop writing about dodgy mothers.

Enjoy!

LISTEN HERE!

 

Over The Pond

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Over The Pond

On Saturdays, I bring my wonderful teenage son into downtown Vancouver for speech therapy. While he surrounds himself with words – learning new ones, retrieving old ones – I do the same at the bookstore across the road, Chapters on Granville.

A number of things are on my checklist when I’m there. I look at the new releases and the discounted fiction and, if my gorgeous teen daughter has come along, the ‘Daredevil’ titles in the comics/graphic novels section. I browse the ‘Heather’s Picks’ table (I don’t have the foggiest who Heather is, but she’s probably quite nice. She sure reads a lot). I try to telepathically convince random shoppers to buy my books. And always, always, I look for the Oz YA that has made it over the pond.

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Ceaseless Wonder

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Phil Advice

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With the AUS/NZ release of my new novel a mere four weeks away, here’s a little insight into the wondering that produced the tale.

Exchange of Heart / Munro vs. the Coyote grew from two story seeds.

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Six Nods To #NoVoices

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#OwnVoices is an essential movement. If you don’t know about it, you should read this. Incontrovertibly, marginalized groups must be afforded every opportunity to tell/write/publish/sell their own stories. Privileged, able, cishet, white, middle-class, dude scribblers like me do not have to stay out of the imaginative lanes of these groups, but we must drive with extreme care. It bears repeating — #OwnVoices is an essential movement.

No less important are those groups with #NoVoices.

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Words Gone, Words Returned

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Journal

11.00am, July 21st 2001. In the too-familiar confines of Brisbane’s Wesley Hospital, my daughter is born. Three minutes later, my son follows.

How to properly mark the arrival of my children into the world? What can I do to let them know they are loved from the first second forward?

I will write them a journal. One each. Until their fifth birthdays. It makes sense; I have so few skills, but seeing lives, conjuring thoughts, assembling words – these are my staples.

I write. Moments of hilarity, of poignancy. I fill small pages with tiny details and big imagination. Flickers of a technicolour film in its formative months. I write fast for ten months.

Then I am slow.

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No Lie: Perry’s Seven Pearls Of Priceless Wisdom

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AYSM - Cover With Quote 2

Are You Seeing Me? is on the shelves and the initial response has been terrific. Readers have shared their experiences of laughing and crying and wishing earnestly and thinking differently and, when all was said and done, not wanting to let go.

A major reason for this response has been Perry Richter. The young man with the “brain condition” seems to be touching hearts and souls in a big way. I’m delighted by this – in the character’s simple eloquence and careful observance, there are lessons for all of us, his author included.

So, as both an early thank you to AYSM’s readers and a brief foray into the beautiful mind of a special person, here is Perry’s “No Lie” guide to living a good life in an unstable world:

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