Sunday, 22 January 2017

About Me

Either you are reading this because you have read some of my books (excellent idea) or you've met me on a school visit or at a writers' festival (big wave from me), or you stumbled onto this by accident (nice to meet you). Whatever the reason, here are some of the questions I've been asked over the 25 years I've been a published writer.

What interesting things have you done because you are a writer?
 I’ve met fascinating people of all ages, travelled to different countries, asked silly questions and sometimes smart ones. I’ve judged writing competitions; researched, written and performed a one person play 'Maggots and Mayhem', about early Adelaide;  written a column on writing for a magazine, given talks at writers' festivals, conferences and for groups interested in books in countries like Australia, Canada, Thailand and Singapore.   

How did you get started as a writer?
I entered every competition that I could, sent articles and short stories to magazines and newspapers, then approached book publishers with my short stories. Lots of hard work and occasional panics. 

What inspires you?
My readers. When someone has a reaction to my story, I love it. 

Which is your favourite out of all the books you have written?
I don’t have a favourite. Truly. All the fifty books that I’ve written are stories that I  felt enthusiastic about. And favourite books depend on a person’s mood. Sometimes you might select a funny book but other times you want to read something mysterious. I have characters that I am especially fond of, though, and Audrey from the  'Outback' series is one of those.

Did you like games when you were little?
Me, at four.
Pretend games, for sure. I had an imaginary friend, Jennifer Hobarr. 
And my Nanna Mavis joined in my made-up stories. She made me plaits from darning wool when I pretended to be a princess and ‘adopted’ me when I imagined being an orphan. Nan had a garden full of trees and bushes to play in and climb on (and write books in).

Where do you get your ideas?
Stories children tell, things I see or hear, articles from newspapers, movies, other books, pictures, songs and childhood memories. Every story is like a jigsaw. Pieces come from everywhere. I’ve travelled so I can write about other places: Russia, China, Turkey, Italy, Syria, Fiji, Vanuatu, Singapore, Hong Kong, Yugoslavia, Bali, Cook Islands, Thailand and Vietnam.

Where have you written stories?
At my desk, in the garden, in planes, cafes (I once wrote a story on a serviette in a fast food cafe), on ships ... everywhere really. But my first real story was written up a nectarine tree in Nanna Mavis's back garden.

What’s the best part about being a writer?
I can act weird and people expect it. I work whatever odd hours I like – or take a ‘power nap’ if I’m tired. Writing is exciting. I receive wonderful emails from  readers. Sometimes they write to me, Christine Harris, and sometimes to my characters. One of the funniest was from a boy who wrote to Jesse Sharpe, my Spy Girl/Undercover Girl character, saying, ‘Do you know you’re not real?’ Holding a new book in my hands is pretty good too. I look at the cover, then open the pages and sniff them. (Don’t laugh till you try it.)

What’s the worst thing about being a writer?
Waiting for my agent or the publisher to say whether they like my story. And when I’m about to start a new book, I sometimes worry that I can’t do it and spend a long time doing a cover page and setting up paragraphs because I trick myself that I’m working on the story. 

What does it take to be a writer?
'Is this a book bag?'
Imagination, being observant, regular practice – even if it’s diary or letter writing, and determination. Reading a lot, and all sorts of books, is a good idea. We absorb language patterns and ideas without realising it. A thick skin helps. Sometimes I’m asked, ‘Do you ever get rejections?’ Of course I do. What writer doesn’t? There’s an old saying, ‘Nothing ventured, nothing gained.’

What are some funny things that fans have said to you? 
‘You are my third favourite author.’
‘This autograph will be worth a lot if you die.’
‘I thought you were a man.’
‘I imagined you’d be six foot tall, have writers’ cramp and a bit of a moustache.’
‘I thought you’d be a much younger woman.’
'Did you do maths when you were a person?'

Where can I find more information about you?
Australian Writers’ Centre (30 min. podcast & transcript)
Scholastic: About the Author Q & A

Do you have a literary agent?
Yes. Lyn Tranter, 2a Booth St, Balmain, Sydney, 2041 New South Wales.
Phone: (+61) 2 9818 8557


Western Australian Premier’s Book Awards

  • 2010 Audrey’s Big Secret - shortlisted

South Australian Festival Awards for Literature

  • 2010 Audrey’s Big Secret – shortlisted

Children’s Peace Literature Award

For literary merit and for demonstrating a balanced example of constructive, non-violent approach towards the resolution of conflict.
  • 2009 Audrey Goes to Town, joint-winner
  • 2000 I Don’t Want to go to School – Recommended
  • 2000 Omega – Highly Recommended

White Ravens Award (International Children’s Library, Munich)

  • 2009 Audrey of the Outback  

Aurealis (Speculative Fiction)

  • 2002 Hairy Legs – Junior Fiction, shortlisted
  • 2000 Omega – Young Adult Fiction, shortlisted
  • 1999 Foreign Devil – Best Horror Novel, winner

Children’s Book Council of Australia

  • 2013 It’s A Miroocool! – Book of the Year: Younger Readers, shortlisted
  • 2010 Audrey’s Big Secret – Notable Book
  • 2009 Audrey Goes to Town – Notable Book
  • 2009 Audrey of the Outback – Book of the Year: Younger Readers, shortlisted
  • 2002 Jamil’s Shadow – Book of the Year; younger readers, shortlisted
  • 2000 I Don’t Want to Go to School – Notable Book
  • 1998 Vibes #1: Jigsaw – Notable Book
  • 1997 Sleeping In – Notable Book
  • 1996 Baptism of Fire – Notable Book
  • 1996 Party Animals – Notable Book
  • 1995 Strike! – Notable Book
  • 1992 Outer Face – Notable Book

Christian Schools Award

  • 1998 Baptism of Fire – Shortlisted

KROC (Kids Reading Oz Choice Award, Northern Territory)

  • 1995 Buried Secrets – Runner-up

CROW (South Australia, changed to Kanga Awards)

  • 1993 Outer Face – Shortlisted
  • 1994 Buried Secrets – Shortlisted
  • 2003 Jamil’s Shadow – Focus book

WAYRBA (Western Australian Young Readers’ Book Award)

  • 2003 Brain Drain — nominated
  • 2000 Vibes: Shadows – nominated
  • 2000 Fortune Cookies – nominated
  • 1997 Widdershins – nominated
  • 1996 Buried Secrets – nominated

Simultaneous Storytime Book

  • 2003 I Don’t Want to go to School – winner

YALSA (Young Adult Library Services Association, USA)

  • 2007 Undercover Girl #1: Secrets – shortlisted ‘Quick Picks for Young Adults’
  • 2007 Undercover Girl #2: Fugitive – shortlisted ‘Quick Picks for Young Adults’
  • 2007 Undercover Girl #3: Nightmare – shortlisted ‘Quick Picks for Young Adults’

Australian Book Publishers Association

  • 1992 Trees in my Ears – Best Designed Paperback

South Australian Festival Awards for Literature

  • 2006 – Carclew Fellowship

Books - published

Raven Lucas: Missing (2012), Dead Wrong (2012), Chinese Whispers (2013).

Audrey of the Outback: It’s a Miroocool! Picture book (2012), Audrey of the Outback (2008), Audrey Goes to Town (2008), Audrey’s Big Secret (2009).

Spy Girl (also known as Undercover Girl, Girl Undercover and Spy in various countries): Secrets (2004), Fugitive (2005), Nightmare (2006), Danger (2006), Twisted (2007).

Picture Books: It’s a Miroocool! Picture book (2012), Sleeping In (1997), I Don’t Want to Go to School (2000), Snowy’s Rescue (2007).

Hotshots: Brain Drain (2001), Windbag (2001), Psycho Gran (2001).

Vibes: Jigsaw (1998), Shadows (1998), Masks (1998), Suspicion (1998).

Other novels: Strike! (1994), Countdown (1995), Baptism of Fire (1996), Pitt Man (1996), Deadly Friends (1997), Slime Time (1997), Torture Chamber (1997), Foreign Devil (1999), Omega (2000), Jamil’s Shadow (2001), Hairy Legs (2001), Halfway Round The World (2001), Head Space (2004), Outback: The Diary of Jimmy Porter 1927-1928 (2005) and paperback title My Australian Story: Outback (2010), Cool Bananas (2007), Mask of the Jackal (2007).

Short story collections: Outer Face (1992,) Buried Secrets (1993), Widdershins (originally Party Animals) (1995), Fortune Cookies (1998), Warped (2000).

Omnibuses: Audrey of the Outback Collection (2011), Mystery Stories for Girls (2006), Freaks (2007) features Torture Chamber, Wally the Undead, and Slime Time, Vibes: Four Novels in One (2002), Perfect Replica in SpinOuts: It Came from the Lab (1999).

Plays: Break a Leg (2001).

Non-fiction: Trees in My Ears: Children from Around the World Talk to Christine Harris (1992), Oddballs (1998), Lions Hearing Dogs  in Animal Scraps (2003), Little Book Of Elephants (2000).

Stories in anthologies: Keeping A Promise in Tracking Through History (2001), The Trap in Tales from the Wasteland: Stories from the 13th Floor (2000), My Enemy in English Interactions (1999), A Real Corpse in Shivers (1997) Rent-A-Crowd in Deadly Friends (1997), The Missing Finger in Blasters: Fears & Fantasies (1997), Doing Time in Top Stories 1 (2007), and in Personal Best (1997), Left With the Baby in The Phone Book (1995).

Poems in anthologies: Jelly, What Am I? If Eggs Were Round, I Hate Vegetables in Tadpoles in the Torrens (2013).

Books published in languages other than English: Countdown, Fin Du Monde ( French edition of Countdown 1999), Carità Pelosa (Italian edition of Hairy Legs, 2004), Spy Girl series in Thai, Portuguese, Japanese. Jamil’s Shadow (Japanese), It's a Miroocool! (Mandarin Chinese).

Books - in print

                Buy a copy:   Booktopia


                       Buy a copy: Booktopia
                                           Books Direct
                                           Scholastic shop

                       Teacher notes: 'Outback' 

'Audrey of the Outback' series is available in paperback. They can be ordered from good bookstores such as: Booktopia  or   Readings
Also available as ebooks:  Kobo and Amazon Kindle.                                                                                                                                    Teacher Notes for series.

                   Buy a copy: Booktopia
                           Ebook: Amazon

Inquire at your local book store about 'Raven Lucas.

Buy: 'Dead Wrong' Scholastic bookstore

Teacher Notes: 'Raven Lucas: Missing'(Scholastic Australia)
'Dead Wrong' (Scholastic Australia)
'Chinese Whispers" (Scholastic Australia) 

                          Buy ebook: Amazon

                          Buy as an ebook: Kobo

                          Buy a copy: Booktopia
                                  ebook: Amazon