Five Years On, Still Seen

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AYSM - Cover With Quote 2

It doesn’t seem right, but it’s the fifth anniversary of Are You Seeing Me? coming into the world.

The little novel about Justine and Perry’s last glorious vacation together was released August 2014 and things would never quite be the same for its grateful author.

It managed to do amazing things, including this.

And this.

And even this.

Perhaps most impressively, it has managed to stick around, still getting read here, still being discussed there.

To celebrate AYSM’s continuing journey, I thought I’d share a little bit of the behind-the-scenes that shaped the novel we know today. Here are five things you probably didn’t know about AYSM.

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Teen Fiction Travels: Interview With Amy Mathers

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CCBC-logo

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!

 

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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‘Exchange of Heart’ – The Stuck-in-an-Elevator Pitch

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Sometimes, Life takes on a life of its own…

Since the sudden death of his younger sister, Munro Maddux has been stuck. Flashbacks. Anger. Chest pains. And a voice – taunting, barking, biting – that his counsellor calls ‘the Coyote’. Munro knows a student exchange will not be the stuff of Disney movies. But in Australia he intends to move beyond his troubled past.

Forced by his new school to join a volunteer program, Munro discovers the Coyote is silenced in one place: Fair Go, an assisted living residence in Brisbane’s west, where Munro gets to know his team of residents: dogged designer Bernie; sleeping refugee Shah; would-be wedded couple Blake and Dale; comic creator Iggy; and self-defence tutor Florence. As this unlikely group shows Munro the sights, Munro’s notion of what it means to be a big brother begins to change.

But the burden Munro carries is not so easily cast aside, and unexpected developments at Fair Go prompt a devastating flashback that threatens to end the student exchange. Will the Coyote ultimately triumph? Or can Munro find the fortitude necessary to mend his heart?

‘Funny-sad, authentic and uplifting – Groth is a writer who can pivot from heartbreak to humour without missing a beat.’ Vikki Wakefield, author of All I Ever Wanted

Exchange of Heart will be published in AUS/NZ July 31, 2017. In CAN/US, the book will be released October 17, 2017 under the title Munro vs. the Coyote.
You can mark it as ‘to-read’ on Goodreads here and here.

Fireproof Garage #6 – Fuelled By Alcohol And Caffeine

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Fireproof Garage

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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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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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