One of the most incredible things that happened to me in 2019, was being awarded the Writers SA residency at Varuna the Writer's House.
I went to Varuna (in the Blue Mountains) for a week and I have never been so productive in my entire life!
I worked on a new project and wrote 50,000 words. I am so excited about the (still very rough) manuscript, and so grateful for my time at Varuna. I never get time like that. Days of uninterrupted writing time. I made the most of it.
Being an author means doing a lot of interesting and exciting things you have never done before. A big one for me in 2019 was being asked to do the opening 20 minute speech for the 2019 Salisbury Writers Festival.
It felt like a particularly big deal, considering how many times I have attended the festival as part of the audience. It is a place where I have learnt so much about being a writer, and to be asked to speak was pretty incredible! :)
I decided to provide a transcription of my speech here, which is about my long and difficult road to publication and the books I loved growing up. I hope you enjoy reading it! :)
Being shortlisted for the Readings 2019 Readings Young Adult Book Prizehas just been so amazing! Every time I think about I feel so excited, and to be honest the whole thing has been very unexpected! I feel really proud of it :)
As part of the shortlist, I got the opportunity to write a guest blog post for the Readings blog, WHICH YOU CAN READ HERE, where I talked about some of the themes behind the book and how anime really influenced me when I was writing.
So..... 2019 is shaping up into quite a freaking awesome year for me! I will be honest, the last bunch of years for me have been quite a struggle. My mum died and since then things have been hard. On top of everything else that was going on, was that I wanted to be a published author very badly but nothing was happening. But I feel like things are finally shifting for me, and that has been a complete relief. It is nice to feel like life is moving again, that I am feeling happy!
In 2019, my very first book came out, Making Friends with Alice Dyson, and it was shortlisted for the Readings 2019 YA Book Prize (so amazing!) and I was also recently awarded a residency to spend a whole week writing at Varuna!!!!
And now, I have also signed a contract with the lovely people at Wakefield Press for my second YA novel, Taking Down Evelyn Tait!
I am so excited to bring this story out into the world in 2020, and also so grateful that life has been so kind to me lately! My biggest takeaway from all this is that persistence is more important than talent, and hard work pays off!! :) Don't give up! :)