Although I’d understand if you lost interest in this blog long ago.
It’s been five years since my last post. I’m keen to get blogging again on a semi-regular basis, and thought I’d start with an update on where I’m at in life and writing.
My last post was in 2017, when The Undercurrent launched. At that point, I’d lost my brother Steve a few days before the launch, barely two years after losing my dad, and my mum had been diagnosed with dementia.
The years that followed were full of ups and downs. I spent a lot of time with my mum, grateful for every day she remembered me. When my dad passed, it was quick and sudden. The last weeks of my mum’s life were the opposite. Both experiences were terrible, and each changed me in profound ways I’m still grappling with.
In happier news, a year later, my husband and I bought a 160-year-old cottage on a couple of acres in the Scenic Rim, an hour south-west of Brisbane. It’s been life-changing in all the right ways. Beautiful scenery, welcoming people, a sense of community, and a re-connection with life away from a digital screen. Our cottage is small, but my life is bigger in ways I’d forgotten I needed.
If you follow my author account on Facebook, you possibly saw I’ve had two pieces of news about The Rephaim series this year.
In March, Sarah Kelley – a lovely and talented Canadian actress and screenwriter – bought the rights to adapt Shadows into a film (update August 2023: Sarah is now well advanced in adapting Shadows into a TV pilot). Sarah is from Algonquins of Pikwakanagan in Golden Lake, Ontario.
It’s an exciting opportunity for Gaby, Rafa and company. It’s a long road from print to screen, and this is an important first step. The process from here is for Sarah to adapt the book into a screenplay and then find a production company to bring it to the screen.
I’m so grateful to Sarah for loving The Rephaim characters enough to want to adapt the first novel in the series, knowing how many of her own projects she has going on. (This year alone, her short film Good Grief has won a stack of Canadian and international awards (she wrote, directed and starred in it), and she’s also been busy acting, and had another of her screenplays optioned.)
The Rephaim are in Poland!
In September, a Polish language edition of Shadows was released in Poland (print, e-book and audio). Interestingly, it’s been released as an adult book (rather than YA), and has so far been well received by Polish book bloggers.
The Instagram posts have been stunning.
After The Undercurrent came out in 2017, I spent a couple of years working on a stand-alone contemporary adult thriller, for a change of pace. I wrote it during an intense time in my life, so maybe it’s no surprise it didn’t find a publishing home.
And then I did something I should have done a while ago: returned to the fantasy series I’d been working on before The Rephaim. I had the first book drafted, as well as a few chapters of the second book, so I figured it would simply be a case of tightening up the line, giving it a polish, and writing the rest.
After working with editors on five published books, I’m not only a better writer, I’m also a better storyteller and have a stronger sense of the type of story I want to tell with this group of characters and the world I’ve created for them.
So, I’ve spent the last two years completely re-working the first book (the story is essentially the same but the characters are more nuanced and the world-building much richer) and am about a third of the way into the second book. I also have a completely new direction for the third than what I’d originally planned.
For the first time in a long while, I’m excited about writing. I’ve been doing a lot of fun research, in particular learning more about the middle ages, sword play and Greek myths.
The story will take three books to tell. Fingers crossed the trilogy finds a home.
I know…it’s been a long time between posts.
My life has been its usual craziness between my day job and working on the new book, but I thought I’d give a quick update on a couple of things.
Firstly, the new book…
My publisher, Michael Heyward at Text Publishing, gave it a lovely mention in a recent edition of Bookseller & Publisher, so I can now tell you it’s called The Undercurrent and it will be release in August 2017. As I’ve said before, it’s a totally new story set in a near-future Australia and is a stand-alone novel.
My favourite reads this year include (click on each for my thoughts on Goodreads):
I’ve also been lucky enough to read a draft of Vikki Wakefield’s new suspense novel Ballad for a Mad Girl (due out in March 2017) and can tell you that it’s spine-chillingly awesome.
I’ve also been watching:
(Jury is still out on whether I’m going to see out this season of Walking Dead after that first episode. I may not forgive the writers for that one.)
Okay, that’s it for me for now.
As you’ll see from the photos below, I had an awesome night when Marianne de Pierres and I launched Burn at Riverbend Books in Bulimba with another of our annual chats.
We had a great crowd and the buzz was fantastic. Thank you again to Marianne, the team at Riverbend Books (especially Vicky, Pauline and Lachlan), Text Publishing (especially Steph Speight), and everyone who came along and made it such a great night.
Finishing The Rephaim series has left me feeling a little reflective and contemplative, so please indulge me for this post. There are a lot of people I want to thank for being with me on The Rephaim journey. I think I did a reasonable job in my acknowledgements at the end of Burn, so I thought I would re-post it here.
Five years ago, I was frustrated and disappointed over yet another writing rejection – the latest addition to a fat folder. To cheer myself up I started working on something for fun. That scene turned into the beginnings of Shadows and an outline for the four-book Rephaim series. Less than a year later, my agent Lyn Tranter pitched the series to Mandy Brett and Alison Arnold at Text Publishing. They liked it and I was offered a contract. After all those years of writing and rejection, the thing I had wanted for so long happened ‘just like that’.
Since then, the series has been published in the United Kingdom, North America and Turkey. I’ve been a guest at writers’ festivals, a writer-in-residence at high schools, participated in blog tours, met lots of wonderful readers online and at events, and read countless reviews of my work (good, bad and otherwise).
I’ve rubbed shoulders with many of my favourite writers and met others who have since joined that list. I’ve chatted and shared book recommendations with a great bunch of dedicated bloggers and reviewers who do what they do purely because they love to read. The young adult writing community in Australia is quite possibly the most welcoming, supportive and friendly writing sector in the world today, and that’s been one of the greatest discoveries of all.
I still have a day job. Few people tell you how tough it is to earn a living as a writer. I’m just grateful to be in print, and especially grateful for publishers like Text Publishing who are still willing to take risks. There are plenty of writers out there who are where I was five years ago, so I take nothing for granted.
This is the fourth and last book in the Rephaim series, and there are plenty of people I need to thank.
Text Publishing: my editor Mandy Brett, for caring about a story filled with angels and demons. I’m well aware of how lucky I am to be able to work with you. And the entire team at Text, especially those I’ve worked with the closest: Anne Beilby, Alice Cottrell, Steph Speight, Alaina Gougoulis and Shalini Kunahlan.
Orion/Indigo Books: my editor Jenny Glencross and senior publicity manager Nina Douglas.
Tundra Books/Random House Canada: Publisher Alison Morgan, Editorial Director Tara Walker and Publicity Manager Pamela Osti, as well as Val Capuani. Special thanks to Publishing Coordinator Sylvia Chan, for always going above and beyond.
Alison Arnold, for being there from the start of this series and whose influence still guides my writing (and inspires me to try to write beautiful sentences).
Rebecca Cram (Place), for nearly three decades of friendship and encouragement – and providing helpful feedback on an early draft Burn.
Tony Minerds: my brother who can spot a typo at fifty paces. This time around he got a chance to find them before we went to print. Thanks bro.
Vikki Wakefield, a gifted writer who I’m proud to call friend, for feedback and candid conversations that help me feel like I almost know what I’m doing.
Marianne de Pierres – a multi-talented writer, friend and mentor – for invaluable advice and much appreciated support.
My family and friends, many of who had never read anything even remotely resembling urban/contemporary fantasy before this series came along, for taking the time to read every book and make appropriate noises of enthu- siasm. You guys rock.
My amazing friend and business partner, Heather Scott, for her friendship and unwavering belief in me.
Mum and Dad, for their overwhelming love and support in all aspects of my life.
Murray, for knowing me better than anyone else on the planet, and for still being beside me twenty years on. And last, but most certainly not least, all of you – readers, bloggers, reviewers, booksellers and librarians – who have picked up the Rephaim series. There is no writing career without you guys. Thanks for being a part of this adventure.
I know the Rephaim series isn’t going to change the world, but I’ve loved writing this story and these characters—and they’ve certainly brought an amazing new dimension to my world. For that, I will always be grateful.
This is it, the day the fourth and final book of the Rephaim series steps into the wild. Australian readers get to have Burn first, with the UK edition releasing on 5 August (the North American edition is out next year).
There’s a lot I want to say about this series and my journey to get to this point, but I’ll save that for another post in coming days. This post is all about the launch, signing events and other bits and pieces you might be interested in. 🙂
The launch – 2 July 2015.
There’s still time to book if you’d like to be part of the Burn launch. It’s at Riverbend Books in Bulimba, Brisbane, on 2 July. It’s a free event, and open to everyone – you just need to book by 26 June. Huge thanks to the wonderful team at Riverbend Books at Bulimba for hosting all four launches, Text Publishing for making these launch events possible (in every sense), and to my friend (and award-winning writer) Marianne de Pierres for again officiating. Here are the details:
I’ve been fortunate to have the support of a host of wonderful booksellers, particularly in and around Brisbane. The following stores will be hosting me for signings over coming weeks. Come say hi!
Westfield Shopping Centre
27 June 2015, 10.30am
Angus & Robertson
Riverlink Shopping Centre
18 July 2015, 10.30am
Angus & Robertson Victoria Point
Victoria Point Shopping Centre, Qld
25 July 2015, 10.30am
Carindale Shopping Centre
1 August 2015, 10.30am
#OzYAChat on Twitter
25 July 2015
I’ll be answering questions on Twitter during the next OzYAChat, which is hosted by the lovely Shaheen from Speculating on Spec Fic. To follow the conversation (and ask questions), simply search the hashtag #OzYAChat (or follow me @PaulaWeston, or @speculatef) and be online during that hour.
Some early reviews for Burn are in:
Aussie readers: matching set of Rephaim books now available!
Shadows (Rephaim #1) has now been re-released with the international cover art concept, so Australian readers can now have a matching set. Check with your book store to see if they’ve got the new stock available, or order direct from Text Publishing (www.textpublishing.com.au). Of course, this now means the original covers are collectors’ items. (Assuming, of course, there will one day be collectors of Rephaim novels!)
And just to wrap up a HUGE month, I also received hard copies of the Turkish edition of Shadows, complete with gorgeous bookmarks, from my Turkish publisher Yabanci. 🙂