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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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

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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