Although I’m not writing anything at present, this last month has been really busy with writing-related activities, especially with CBCA Book Week coming up in August. Amongst other things I prepared and presented a workshop at this month’s Society of Women Writers NSW meeting on using settings not only to set the scene but also to give the reader some insight into a protagonist’s character or situation. I used extracts from Hannah Kent’s Burial Rites and Geraldine Brooks’ The Secret Chord to illustrate the point of several exercises and it was enormously gratifying to see bent heads and reams of paper covered in writing by the end of each one – especially when I heard some of the exercises read aloud. Brilliant writing, especially given the time constraints and the pressure of having to produce something.
I’m also busy co-ordinating the booklet that will showcase the 21 authors who will host tables at the annual (and very wonderful) Lunch With The Stars, organised by fabulous author Belinda Murrell and held in the magical Great Hall at the old St Patrick’s Seminary in Manly. It’s always a great day where students get to dress up and decorate their tables (prizes awarded of course!) and also have the chance to meet and talk to favourite authors, including this year’s keynote speakers Deb Abela and Marjorie Crosby-Fairall.
With Book Week coming up, I have talks and more workshops to prepare, and new powerpoint presentations to go with them – which is a great excuse to revisit ‘old friends’ from past books and retell their stories and also remember past research trips which include, amongst other things, The Quarantine Station in Manly, Norfolk Island, the Little Penguins of Manly, and research overseas, immersing myself in Arthurian legend and also following in Janna’s footsteps to write The Janna Mysteries – now repackaged and republished by Momentum/Pan Macmillan as The Janna Chronicles. (Left: a convict drawing of the ‘cooking pot riot’ on Norfolk Island during the Second Penal Settlement, which I write about in A Ring Through Time.)