‘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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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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Canada, Thank You For ‘Aide-ing’ Us

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Kids Grad

Back in May of 2007, as Term One of our twins’ first and last year of Australian schooling was drawing to a close, we understood the situation:

On Fridays, there would be no teacher-aide support in mainstream class for our autism-diagnosed son. The other four days were fine, but the ’emergency funding’ for the fifth had run out. If we wanted support, we could pay for it ourselves, or we could come to school with him. Of course, we could always keep him at home if we wanted. This was how it would be for the remainder of the year. This was how it would be for the next twelve years.

You can imagine our emotions – anger, disbelief, disillusionment.

It may surprise you to know there was also relief.

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