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.

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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‘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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Seeing Is Believing

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AYSM - Cover With Quote 2

Behold the cover for Are You Seeing Me?, formerly Master Disaster, formerly Finding Fault, formerly The Mantle. How did a novel with this much schizophrenia finally make it across the line? I’ll let you know in a little while…

In the meantime, dream of earthquakes, sea monsters and Jackie Chan.

Are You Seeing Me? will be published by Random House Australia in August 2014.

 

Fertile Imagination

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AC

With our twins now on the cusp of becoming teenagers, it seems a lifetime gone since their very existence was in question.

It wasn’t that long ago, though. Latter part of the nineties, turn of the millennium, to be precise. While couples worldwide were daily adding millions to Generation Next, we were trying – and failing – to supply just one.

Difficulty having a child was not something I’d ever imagined. Not in high school (all too easy to get a girl knocked up); not in university (I’m never having kids anyway); not when my beautiful wife and I married (let’s have some fun first), not as a school teacher (I’m not ready to have one of these jokers). Not even when we decided to give it a go, see what happened.

Nothing happened.

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How To Explain A Book Deal

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Watchu Talkin Bout

I recently signed a paperback deal with Random House Australia for my novel, Are You Seeing Me?. It was exciting, especially after waiting for it longer than I cared to. Of course, I wanted to share the great news with friends and loved ones asap. But with the delivery of said news comes a challenge in helping people understand exactly what it is. Folks who don’t write novels and don’t receive publishing contracts and don’t read novels that have received publishing contracts generally have no real clue as to the true and appropriate level of significance to your achievement.

If you have good friends and you get on with your family, they’re instinctively happy for you. Oftentimes, they assume the deal is the ultimate life-changer; you’re quitting your job, moving to New York, buying a small island in the Pacific, rubbing elbows with Stephen King and JK Rowling and that raunchy bloke who wrote 50 Shades of Grey. Others have congratulations, but figure it can’t be too hard – look at how many books there are in the store we walk past at the mall! A few just smile and nod politely, wondering what the hell would possess anyone to want to write anything after the mandatory creative writing torture in Year 8. All need a little guidance in getting a proper handle on your modest ‘T’ triumph.

So, for authors perched on a similar rung of the publishing ladder as I, here’s three solid  pointers to explaining your new book deal:

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