Publishing news and panelling blues

I have a new, six-month gig in the dayjob, and it’s pretty frantic, so I was delighted and surprised to get an email from my Penguin editors Katrina and Katie saying that my upcoming Chomp, Famous!, is almost ready for its final edit, and that Michelle Katsouranis is doing roughs for the cover.  Check out Michelle’s work here – it’s heartwarmingly whimsical and yet has nice strong lines that counterbalance the whimsy in an arresting way.  I can’t wait to see how she will interpret the story and my character, Sophie, in the illustration.

Speaking of dayjobs, I don’t know about how other writers feel, but I find I have to completely put aside my writing self at work, as one cannot be, as they say, servant to two masters.  When I’m writing, I write; when I’m working, I work.  But I have to say, I do enjoy weeks like this, when as soon as the work is done, the Perth Writers Festival begins, and the writing/work lives don’t feel quite so separate.  As I mentioned in an earlier post, I’m chairing a couple of panels, which to be perfectly frank scares the bejesus out of me.  I’ve prepared within an inch of my life, but I fear the deathly pause, writers getting upset (with me, with audience questions, with the thrust of the conversation), and other normal stage-going things like being unable to suppress the desire to lick the microphone (does anyone else share this?), forgetting to do up my fly, and/or calling the wrong author by the wrong name.  Call me a masochistic freak, but I’d much rather talk  to a thousand teenagers for half an hour(as I’m doing on the 25th June at the SAETA Meet the Writers conference in Adelaide) than chair a panel: the level of nerve required is greater for the latter.

If you’re in Perth, I hope to see you at the Festival.  I’ll be the one asking if anyone has spare valium.

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