2015 in review: YA squad, The Things I Didn’t Say and more…

December 31, 2015

Sorry I’ve been a bit slack keeping my news page updated, okay, a lot slack. Okay, ridiculously slack. Things got a bit out of hand this year. My new year’s resolution is to be super organised and keep my news page updated. That’s got to be easier than cutting back on chocolate, right?

If you follow me on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook you might know of some of the exciting things that have happened for me this year.

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A LOT has happened. So much in fact that I thought it would be easier to go through it month by month, all the ups and downs. Here we go…

January: I can’t believe it was almost 12 months ago that I was working on the first draft of The Things I Didn’t Say. My goal for the January school holidays was to reach the 30,000 word mark. I that kind of didn’t happen because a) I got easily distracted by Pretty Little Liars and going to the beach, and b) because I got engaged, and then distracted by wedding dresses, of course! In other news, I got asked to do a February residency at Inside a Dog, which I was super excited about.

February: My Inside a Dog residency was some of the funnest, maddest writing that I’ve done. You can still view my posts here, even if it’s only to view the awesome gifs I used.

March: My picture book, The Prince who Shrank was released. And it was far more awesome than I ever imagined it would be thanks to the illustrations by Annie White.

Prince who shrank cover

Meanwhile, I was working away on The Things I Didn’t Say. I desperately wanted to get the first draft complete so I could get it to my editor and publisher at Penguin Random House and — hopefully — get on the 2016 publishing schedule. For that to happen, I had to accept that the first draft was going to be terrible.

April: And it was SO terrible! But I got it complete and off to my editor and publisher. Five minutes later, I started the second draft. Some writers over-write their first draft and then have to cut it down in the second draft. I under-write the first draft. This one was only around 50,000 words, so there was a fair bit that needed to be added.

Oh, and that other book I wrote, Masquerade, got long-listed in the CBCA ‘Book of the Year’ Older Readers Category. I found out the news while trying on clothes in Just Jeans when my phone started going nuts with Twitter notifications. I was crazy happy to be long-listed.

May: Still working on the second draft and waiting to hear from my editor.

June: I received an offer for The Things I Didn’t Say! And the news kept getting better – I was going to be part of the 2016 YA Squad, a multi-city tour with Will Kostakis, Shivaun Plozza and Megan Jacobson. The scary news – even though The Things I Didn’t Say wouldn’t be published until May 2016, we needed copies for the March YA Squad tour, which meant it needed to be typeset (laid out for printing) by Christmas so it could be proofread in January and go to print by February. That meant a crazy editing schedule for the next six months.

Sadly, I also received news that Masquerade will not be available in print anymore, only as an e-book. If you’re still interested in reading Masquerade, you can buy the e-book from iTunes, Amazon and Booktopia.

July: Feeling a little bit important, I was flown to Melbourne to meet some of the wonderful team at Penguin Random House and the rest of the YA squad. We did things like this:

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It was the best day. These guys are the best. Bring on the YA Squad tour in March 2016.

August: Structural edit meeting with my editor and publisher. Let’s just say, they had a lot to say! And they were absolutely right about everything but it all the feedback was overwhelming. On the upside, I got to see the possible covers for The Things I Didn’t Say during the meeting.

September: Structural editing cycle: Eat — sleep — work — write —  self-doubt — cry — write — repeat. Oh, there were so many writer meltdowns.

October: The cover of The Things I Didn’t Say went to vote on social media.

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The response was overwhelming. I appreciate every single person who voted. Cover A was the clear winner. I’m very happy with that outcome.

In other news, I got married. It was like everyone said it would be: the happiest and fastest day of my life! And the structural edit for The Things I Didn’t Say was due two days after the wedding before I headed off to the south Island of New Zealand for my honeymoon. There I got to meet the amazing Rachael Craw. Lucky, the coffee shop was mostly empty because we were LOUD.

November: Copy edit due. This was an intense two and a bit weeks. I spent 20 hours straight at my computer the day before the deadline. It didn’t feel like that long, though. Every time I looked at the time, a whole hour had passed but it only felt like five minutes. A crazy thing time is.

December: Final copy edit due, text typeset and finally, proof reading pages received. To be honest, I didn’t think I would make the Christmas deadline. So the relief when I received the proof reading pages was incredible.

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And then Renee (Twitter: @Rbookboyfriends) made this kick-ass trailer for Masquerade:

Right now, the lovely Breanne (Twitter: @tributewolves) is reading Masquerade on her Kindle!

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Meanwhile, I had my website design tweaked and upgraded to WordPress, thanks to Jin & Co. And I finally got Netflix – goodbye world!

I think that’s it! As exciting as 2015 was for my writing, 2016 is going to be so much more EPIC with the YA Squad tour in March and The Things I Didn’t Say released in May. More on that in my next news post.

Thanks to everyone for your support and excitement this year, and for sticking around to the end of this post. Please leave me a comment, if you feel like it. Happy New Year! May it be filled with lots of good books!

photo Kisses