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 Kelly – a lovely Canadian actress and screenwriter – bought the rights to adapt Shadows into a film. 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.
Shadows is about to make its debut in Turkey in a Turkish translation published by Yabanci Yayinlari (I’m in good company – among its excellent list of authors is fellow Aussie Jessica Shirvington).
Here’s the cover (which makes me grin every time I look at it):
Shadows (aka Golgeler) is out in Turkey 16 January 2015. (And yes, I get a buzz seeing it in a language other than English!)
Calling US and Canadian bloggers.
Would you like to be part of the blog tour for Shadows (Rephaim #1) in North America? Tundra Books is offering a range of ways to be involved (review, interview, guest post).
You can find out more here.
Here are some fab photos from our Haze promotion outside the State Library of Victoria today, where ‘Rafa’ was handing out copies of Shadows.
Huge thanks to Rachel and Shalini at Text Publishing for this fun promo. And to Harry, our ‘Rafa’ for being such a good sport – and bringing smiles to a few faces. 🙂
Oh, and did you know Haze is out tomorrow!!!! (Note rare use of exclamation points.)
I’ve loved that so many reviewers have enjoyed the Australian settings in Shadows, so I thought I’d share some of the locations that inspired them.
First up, the track where Gaby is running in the opening chapter. When I wrote this scene, I was picturing one of my favourite places in south-east Queensland, a rainforest track on Mount Tamborine (not far from where I live) in the Joalah section of the Tamborine National Park.
The fictitious Pandanus Beach of course features a beach (this shot is from North Stradbroke Island, also not far from me):
(I think the next shot is at Burleigh Heads on the Gold Coast – I didn’t record the website where I found it…apologies to the photographer. The rest of the shots here are mine, except where noted below)
I picture Pandanus Beach as a bit of a Noosa/Byron Bay/Port Douglas hybrid. This image (from www.businesseventscairns.org.au) captures the feel of the town nicely. Just picture a beach right across the road.
Here’s a poinciana (a tree that features on the esplanade in Pandanus Beach):
And a Moreton Bay fig tree, which also gets a mention in the opening chapter (I love these trees):
The falls, where Tommo’s farewell is held (these images are also from Tamborine National Park):
And finally, this is the sort of cabin I pictured when I wrote the scene at The Retreat on the mountain (imagine rainforest around it):
Now, picture some sword-wielding Rephaim…