Category: Writing ideas

Guest Post From The Wakefield Press Blog. Young Adult Fiction.

 

PUBLISHING IN THE TIME OF CORONAVIRUS: A Wakefield Press diary

Today’s entry comes from Margot Lloyd, our wonderful head of Young Adult publishing. Read on for some very exclusive sneak peeks at some of the great YA books Wakefield Press will be releasing in the coming weeks and months.I’m taking over the Wakefield Press diary today to share some thoughts about publishing young adult books in the time of coronavirus.

The first thing I want to say is: all of this is overwhelming. We’re doing our best at Wakefield to not be swept up in panic, but it’s hard.

It’s also reminded me why I love young adult books so much, because they take us back to those electrifying first feelings of finding ourselves when we’re young.

And that gives YA books – even the brand fresh new ones – a sense of nostalgia, especially for us older readers; a sense of the worth in being good people. A sense of safety, and calm.

So, before I say anything else, I want to strongly recommend you keep your intake of non-bullshit news sources and young adult books high over the coming months.

You’ll need both.

Until a couple of weeks ago, it was – at Wakefield as everywhere – business as normal for us.

Upcoming YA title, Taking Down Evelyn TaitWe were looking forward to the release of Poppy Nwosu’s vivacious and hilarious teen romance, Taking Down Evelyn Tait, on 1 April.

And the first glowing pre-release reviews were flowing in for Gina Inverarity’s cli-fi fairytale retelling, Snow (presciently exploring how a society copes when everything is shut down), scheduled for release in May.

We’d already been blown away by the support for Lisa Walker’s hilarious and lovable girl detective story, The Girl with the Gold Bikini, released in February, and I had just finished the first edit of a fantasy adventure by Mallee Boys author Charlie Archbold, Indigo Owl, due for release in September.

Normally, I could predict the trajectory of these books, to a certain extent. We’d send them out for reviews, get the good word flowing, have an exuberant (always exuberant!) launch, get the author into radio booths and online print, and the books would fly off the shelves and into readers’ arms.

At that point, I’d check in on reviews and get teary-eyed reading about how much people had fallen in love with the characters, or the witty storytelling, or the message behind the action.

But now the launches have been cancelled, and the reviews, interviews and online excitement have been overwhelmed by endless pandemic updates.

It’s hard to know what happens next.YA title, The Girl with the Gold Bikini

What I do know is that these books – these precious, wondrous stories – have already made lives better. They’re funny, they’re riveting, they’re sad, they’re uplifting.

They’re written by the pluckiest bunch of Australian and Kiwi authors you could ever hope to meet.

And they deserve, more than anything, to be read.

So I’ve decided to let slip a little of three of them out into the world for free. A taster, if you will, so you can work out which ones to take into the bunker with you.

For the girl detectives among us (Veronica Mars fans, raise your hands), have a peek at The Girl with the Gold Bikini here, and buy the book here.
YA title, Snow

If quirky and adorable romance is your thing, check out Taking Down Evelyn Tait here and order your copy for a prompt 1 April delivery here.

And finally, for those action adventurers interested in a plucky heroine surviving a post-shutdown world, have a read of Snow here and sign up here to be notified when it’s released.

Here’s to keeping safe, and calm, and finding the worth in being good over the months to come.

 

Support Wakefield Press by buying our beautiful books!  Visit our website or contact us on 08 8352 4455 for more information, or to purchase a book (or three!). We can post your purchase to your doorstep!

Share the Love

Celebrate the people you love because who knows when things might change?

We can’t help pushing forward with our own wants and desires but we have to make time for love. Love for partners, family, and friends. Whoever makes your heart crack when you think about missing them.

Without giving our love we are just bystanders in life, not really committing, and if you’re not present then you miss out. So, if you’ve been forgetting to tell the people you care about how much and why you love them, do it today. Every day is an opportunity to acknowledge and be grateful for all the love in our lives.

Sage

Okay. This is my first blog in a long time and I’m doing something I don’t usually do and posting without drafting first. This is a bit intense-sort of like public speaking without practicing but if I don’t do it I never will. I probably wouldn’t advise this as a long term public platform strategy because we’ve all witnessed the toe curling awkwardness of an ill planned speech so let’s think of this more like karaoke. After all, we can all forgive a poor but heartfelt rendition of Adele’s, Someone Like You.

I have found it so hard to write. So hard to do something I really enjoy. What’s with that? Am I alone? Are you artists not painting, are you fitness fiends not at the gym, you singers missing choir to watch Netflix, you cooks ordering take away? We are in a funk people. And just for your information funk is being in a bad space, avoiding things out of fear, you get the drift. Funk!

I’ve been avoiding my computer. I’ve been locking it in a cupboard. Not because I’m bonkers but because I’m living overseas and my guest house is not equipped with four star safe security. So I cover it with my undies to keep it and my passport safe. This of course means every day when I go to get fresh pants-and lets be honest sometimes not so fresh-I see it. Staring expectantly up at me, eager for attention like a tiger dog. I ignore it, not because I think it may be rabid but because I don’t know where to start.

But today is the day. Fear, self-doubt, uncertainty, have made me jumpy and the irony is, when I get in such a mindset it is hard to grasp and action the things I know make a difference.

So why post today? Good question. It has to do with another of my great passions-food. There is the most delicious restaurant right down my road. Sage. Fabulous name on so many levels. Gourmet vegan cuisine. And when you order, around a napkin and your utensils is wrapped a little message.

This was mine.

You will get there when you are meant to get there and not one moment sooner. So relax, breathe, and be patient.

It was exactly what I needed. I have been patient and all the time I’ve not been writing I’ve been doing other things. So if you find yourself in the midst of an inner struggle do not underestimate the efforts you make to regroup and the self reliance you gain in the process. When the time is right you will be ready to re-embrace your passions. See I’ve already started a story…

Before you embark on a massive life change you cannot possibly imagine what your life will be like two, three weeks after the event. Where will you be living, how will you get around, what will the weather be like. And this is only the tip of a relocation iceberg. Lurking in the deep blue waters of life change are bigger questions and darker answers. Feelings and emotions, you had absolutely no idea you’d feel. So, as Eliza Stipend sipped her bitter coffee it should come as no surprise she burst into tears. The tears of -what the hell am I doing-gulped out of her. But for Eliza and so many who forge out into the unknown solo there was no one there to give her a hug.

Better post before I edit!

‘The main thing is to be moved, to love, to hope, to tremble, to live.’

Auguste Rodin

This quote is so simple and beautiful I wanted to share it. It is a reminder to be present not bystanders in our lives.

Our lives are always see-sawing, trying to balance, to find equilibrium and sometimes we manage to achieve it. So, if your mind and body are in a good place it is important to make the most of it. There are many people who would like to be living differently but for various reasons are unable to.

If things are going well we have an opportunity to celebrate life and give back to it. These moments are rare. Happiness, joy and simplicity are precious, fleeting gifts which should never be wasted. By embracing love, hope and the moments which move us we are truly living.

 

Find your tail

There is a Pima story from Southern Arizona which has always made me smile. My favourite version is from the book, And It Is Still That Way, which I found when I was living with my grandmother in America.

One night all the dogs gathered for a dance in a field. Dogs came from far and wide. To dance better they took off their tails and hung them on corn plants. But the dogs were startled and in a panic they grabbed any old tail. When they got home they realised they had picked up the wrong one and that is why they sniff each other. They are looking for their own tail.

In a world so full of self pressure we can be like those dogs. Not literally sniffing each others behinds but in a frenzy finding our own identity. Why is this so hard? Are we reared on comparison and the belief we are never enough or even too much? Maybe. Are we so bombarded by the expectations of others we have lost ourselves? Perhaps. Or is it a mixture of all these things which set us adrift and in so doing we lose our authentic selves.

Being our authentic self is hard and often it doesn’t last forever but when we are being true it’s like wearing our own perfect tail and it sure feels good. The desire to compare yourself to others slips away and instead of finding fault you can find joy in who you are. When we are our true selves we can really appreciate the essence, energies and spirit of others.

Things that stop us finding our tails are feelings of doubt and uncertainty, we are nervous and hesitate to trust our individuality. Instead we can waste time mulling on the idea that other people are doing better but in reality they are probably managing life’s ups and downs as well as we are. So don’t try to wear somebody else’s tail because it just won’t fit and will probably look ridiculous.

In the story the dogs never do find their own tails, they are still looking, but we can. The right tail feels authentic. It adds to you rather than detracts, swooshes with ease and confidence. So believe in yourself because your tail will never look good on someone else and there’s will never be right for you.

Story Acknowledgement. And It Is Still That Way, Byrd Baylor, IBSN 0-939729-06-7

Do You Need Creative Inspiration?

You know sometimes we are so bombarded by where we should be finding inspiration that we can forget to look around us. We become so preoccupied with that greener grass, tempting us from the other side of the fence, that we ignore our own backyard. If you find yourself daydreaming more than doing, wishing more than appreciating, have a look for your inspirations close to home. Be mindful of your current environment, be present, and allow yourself to experience it in as many sensory ways as you can.

  • Your local natural world is a wonder. A garden, a park, a beach, whatever is near you, observe it. Albert Einstein summed this up so beautifully, “Look deep into nature and then you will understand everything better.”
  • Find a possession which you love. A painting, a book, a plant. Something, which every time you see it, you feel lucky to have. Imagine the journey it took to create it, the hours, or the passion which inspired it.
  • Remember feelings of accomplishment and achievement, find the items which remind you of your successes. A photo, a card, a present. They are our symbolic trophies, so stop and reflect on the work it took to receive them. Let them be a source of future inspiration.
  • And listen to your own personal soundtrack. Music takes us to the good times and the bad. It allows the mind to wander which can lead to a new path.

It is often the smallest, most mundane of things, which combined correctly, produce the greatest of things. The details of the world give an authenticity to creative work. And, who knows, your next great inspiration could be a lot closer to you than you think.

Love your thoughts…

Art work by @Dana Kinter- a wonderful artist who inspires me.

Have A Nice Day

When I was little my favourite piece of clothing was a pair of dungarees with a yellow embroidered patch on the bib. Written across it, in bright rainbow letters, were the words, Have A Nice Day. And whenever I wore those dungarees I did. I’d run into the playground, pigtails flying, happy and excited about a new day rich in possibility.

If you have children, work with them, or pass a young child on the street, nothing beats the smile you see when they’ve picked out their own clothes and dressed themselves. They rock stripped tights, superhero costumes and cat’s ears like nobody can. Take a leaf out of that book. You don’t have to wear something crazy but wearing something you like and feel good in can kick start the day.

You don’t get a much more durable clothing item than denim dungarees. And what was the best thing about wearing them? They were perfect for playing outside. It’s hard to have a nice day if you don’t see it. So even if you can’t get outside, by looking at the morning sky, taking a few deep breaths, we can feel rather than think about the opportunities for the day ahead.

One of the best things about those overalls was that other kids said hello because of the patch. I was listening to talk-back radio and a caller from a small town phoned in to say they had begun a wave initiative. The residents wave and smile, or say hello, to people they pass. It was developed as a mental health response to combat isolation and depression in small communities. A smile or wave is an easy way to foster a nice day for yourself and others. It won’t change someone’s world but for a moment there’s a positive human connection.

Now, I don’t have that patch anymore but for all its cheesiness it is a great sentiment to wish to yourself or those around you. So seriously, ‘Have a nice day.’

Get out of that comfort zone.

www.jasonhash.comDaughter 

She’s running on the beach, ahead of me, free.

I can’t run, I’m too old.

I can’t run, I’m too old.

The tide tumbles in, less dry sand paths between the trails of seeping sea.

Less places for lazy, sensible feet to land.

Water leaks into my shoes, cold, unwanted, wet.

I trot faster, tiptoeing, to find a way through.

Ahead of me she waves, beckoning.

A surge of eager water swamps my stubborn stride.

I can’t bear it.

The damp toes, tentative, weak little steps.

This isn’t me.

I start to run. And the sea urges me on with childish splashes of spray.

Feet are no longer quick sanded and weighted down, they’re light.

I run. I’m not too old.

I run. I’m not too old.

She waits for me, and we charge on, together.

©Charlie Archbold

Beetroots

 

There’s no denying I’m often sucked into the latest health crazes and judging by the size of the industry I’m not alone. So what is it with the health world which lures us to rush head long into a mambo class, when you’ve got as much dance experience as a corn cob, or buy a juicer which you can never clean? Anything branded to get me blooming and in better shape has me chomping at the bit.

It was my recent encounter with beetroots that got me thinking I need to be a bit more discerning in my health choices. There’s no deny beetroots are a wonder veg, packed with nutrients and all the healing powers of a mighty root vegetable. But they are tough things to master.

To being with my bunch sat in the fridge for weeks and while my carrots went limp around them they remained fat and firm, no wonder they sustained the peoples of the Russian tundra for centuries. Eventually I had to deal with them. But cutting and peeling a raw beetroot is like penetrating a rock. And once you get at the flesh, bright red, inky juice, pours out of them. By the time I’d got them in the pan to boil my hands were stained like a butcher’s.

Unfortunately, after all the effort they didn’t taste too good, sort of like pink, vinegary mashed potatoes. Now while it was my cooking, and serious lack of seasoning, which rendered them mushy and tasteless I also realised I can get all the nutrients they provide from other foods I like far more.

I’ve done this before. I’ve got jars of superfood gazing out at me from the pantry in glorious shades of beige and all tasting a little like cardboard. Following what’s in health fashion for the sake of it is not always the best idea. What’s better is too think about what you want to achieve rather than the next quick fix. Health change, like all change, is about sticking with the goal and not changing it because of fashion. There are no short cuts.

The beetroot was a metaphor. We have so much choice in health and diet but don’t need it all to be healthy. Just because something is, good for you, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s, good for you. Many people love beetroots but personally I’m sticking with carrots and parsnips… but have you seen the purple ones…

Time to get spontaneous

 

Okay, so recently I’ve been erring on the conservative side. I actually think it’s time for me to shake things up a bit and put some energy back into my life. Change it up and bring back the spontaneity. Why? Because I quite like my impulsive free self and I’ve lost her recently.

So where to start?

I definitely need to be a bit braver. Not too crazy, I’m not ready for bungy jumping yet but I am ready to go out to a party on a whim or order food I’ve never tried before. And next time somebody asks me to do something outside my comfort zone I’m going to.

Sometimes though nobody asks you to do things which means driving it yourself. There can be no question we all have tendency to over think too many areas of our lives which leads to inaction. But a common criticism levied against young people is that they’re too impulsive and don’t think things through. So to create a change I’m going to have to find a balance. Do less of the thinking and more of the action.

And it’s not just in actions where I need to foster more spontaneity, my relationships could do with it too. Instead of being passive and expecting I need to initiate more. Suggest and plan things to do with the people I love. The obligations of our relationships can confine us but we can challenge them, make new memories and certainly make them more fun.

By being more spontaneous I plan to re-energize. Of course there are no guarantees, I may be allergic to spiky puff fish, or fall off a table dancing, but hopefully not. And as Henry Miller said, “All growth is a leap in the dark, a spontaneous unpremeditated act without benefit of experience.”

Image by D Sharon Pruitt.