The Google Map Of The AYSM Road Trip

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Are You Seeing Me? has conquered Australia and will soon be starting its journey to find readers in Canada and the US of A. Prior to the August 18 release with Orca Book Publishers, it’s worth noting that the stars of AYSM – Justine and Perry – had to travel a few hard yards of their own.

Want proof?

Below is the Google map of the twins’ two week road trip in the story (click to enlarge), taking in a good chunk of the mighty Pacific Northwest including Vancouver, Seattle, Whistler and Ogopogo’s home, Okanagan Lake.

In all, Justine and Perry covered almost 1,500 kilometres and occupied their rented Chevy Cobalt for just over seventeen hours!

And for those wondering about their Aussie driving tendencies, they did so entirely on the right (and right) side of the road.

AYSM - Trip Google Map 4

Participation Ribbons

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Good Job

2015 is the Aussie awards season for Are You Seeing Me? and, if the first four months is any guide, it’s a year that’s going straight to the pool room.

It started off with a delightful nod from those very fine fans at Booktopia. As an added bonus, they included a faker with the movers and shakers on their annual ‘Australia’s Favourite Novelist‘ poll. Like a qualifier facing Roger Federer at Wimbledon, I was disposed of quickly and efficiently in the first round…But, man, was it good to play Centre Court.

In March came a recognition that is a source of particular pride. The International Board on Books for Young Adults (IBBY) compiled their 2015 list of Outstanding Books for Young People with Disabilities and Are You Seeing Me? was among the 50 chosen. AYSM was one of two successful Australian entries in a worldwide submission involving 159 books and 27 countries and was a part of IBBY’s catalogue that did the rounds at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair.

Those successes were humbling.

Then came April.

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The ‘Are You Seeing Me?’ Chapter No One Is Seeing

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Mind Blown

Mind Blown

Australian literary legend (and good friend), Nick Earls, recently blogged a section of his marvellous 2014 novel, Analogue Men, that was binned during editing. Whilst enjoying this tasty morsel trimmed from the published main meal, I thought: “Let’s cook up some leftovers, too!” In Are You Seeing Me?, I had one I’d prepared earlier.

Much earlier.

Pasted below is a long-removed, never-read, never-seen-apart-from-a-select-few section of AYSM. It wasn’t surrendered during the publisher’s edit or the final draft. It wasn’t canned as a condition of the book’s contract.

It was cut from the ORIGINAL MANUSCRIPT!

And, although I liked the original very much, the cut wasn’t unkind. Quite the opposite.

It helped turn a homeless tale into a Random House resident and, ultimately, a Booktopia 2014 Book of the Year.

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Kind Of A Big Deal

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Orca
Since the release of Are You Seeing Me? on August 1, readers outside of Australia and New Zealand have been lamenting their inability to get a hold of it.

Lament no more: just like Just Jeans and Pez in the novel, AYSM is coming to Canada and the US of A!

Renowned West Coast publisher, Orca, has acquired AYSM’s North American rights. The book is targeted for release in Fall 2015 and will hit the shelves in hardback.

Excited? I bloody am!

Time for a celebratory drink…

Scotch

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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You See What I Did There?

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AYSM - Cover With Quote 2

With Are You Seeing Me? having just hit the shelves in Australia, I’d like to share with you some insight into what inspired me to write the novel.

Anyone who’s spent any time with me knows I am Dad to a set of twins: one girl, one boy. My daughter is ‘neurotypical’, which is how people in the Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) community sometimes refer to regular, everyday kids who do not have autism. She is amazing. She plays trumpet, creates short animated films and adores The Hunger Games. My son, who is three minutes younger than my daughter, is diagnosed with autism. He is amazing, too. He is awesome at Minecraft, swims like a champ and enjoys Pixar films. They will officially be teenagers in 2014.

Are You Seeing Me? is a gift to my daughter. She was due a book – my previous novel, Kindling, was a gift to my son. (By the way, all of my books are gifts for my beautiful
wife). When I first started considering what to write, I kept coming back to a message I held dear for my daughter: ‘You should never feel like you must be your brother’s keeper. Love him, as he loves you, but live your own life to the full.’

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‘Another’ Post About Book Diversity

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Diverse Books

First, the good news:

The recent #WeNeedDiverseBooks Twitter coup was an admirable rebuff of the longstanding hegemonies in children’s and young adult fiction. It doesn’t look like a flash in the pan either, so that’s good too.

Now, the bad news:

The whole exercise has further illustrated – dare I say, reinforced – the pecking order of minorities in both the book debate and the wider society looking on.

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