Well hello there, come inside. You’ll see the place is quite new and I’m not used to visitors. But don’t let that put you off. Let’s get to know each other.
How about an ice-breaker?
Okay, I’m going to share a story. An embarrassing one. When I was sixteen and a senior in high school, the afternoon bus stopped outside my house during a downpour. It had been raining all day so the ground was soaked. When I stepped off — well, I think you can guess what happened — my foot slipped in the mud. In addition to landing spectacularly on my bum, my skirt split, revealing my underwear. A good mother’s advice — “wear clean underpants, just in case” — was useless in this instance. I was covered in mud. Every single kid on that bus, from year seven to year twelve, stuck their head out the window and laughed. And you know what? I laughed too. What else was there to do?
Why am I telling you this? Well, partly because I think it’s a fun getting-to-know-you story. Also, I want to let you know — I’m not afraid of getting into the mucky stuff. I’ve been there before.
So what else do you want to know? Here are a few other things:
Work ethic: Like many writers, I fit writing between my day job and family. It gets done because it’s a passion. I love the writing community and vibe of mutual support. I would write for that reason alone.
Sleep: I run at the lower end of the sleep-scale, averaging around five to six hours a night. My husband regularly points out that when I fall below four hours’ sleep, sense of humour failure is imminent.
Outside interests: My family (I’m smiling a big gushy smile just thinking of them). I don’t watch a lot of television but when I do, it’s usually series’ stuff (Doctor Who, Sherlock, Game of Thrones) or British reality shows (I get homesick, even though I’m not a born Brit).
Middle Grade influences: When you Reach Me, Breadcrumbs, The Darkangel trilogy, the Kat Incorrigible series, all Roald Dahl (my absolute favourite is The Witches), the Harry Potter series, The 10PM Question, The Wig in the Window, Coraline, Splendours and Glooms, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night, The London Eye Mystery and too many others to list.
Strengths: Character development, setting the scene.
Weaknesses: Getting carried away with characters, scene building at the expense of the plot. Prone to certain style and grammar blunders.
Two things about my manuscript (that you may not learn from my query):
1. My MC would normally play the support role. As a two-dimensional character, she might fit the trope of “Lovable Alpha Bitch”. I got to know those girls in school (we played sport together) and they were anything but two-dimensional. My objective is to flesh out some of that complexity without losing the humour and getting too dark.
2. My cast is multicultural. But, this is dealt with in a subtle manner — mainly because I want to portray an environment where first-generation Australians live in harmony. During my youth, this was the norm. There are so many things I can say about the current state of affairs, but in the interests of not getting preachy, I’ll leave it by saying: I feel all the more rich for having grown up alongside kids of Chinese, Greek, Italian, German, and Portuguese heritage, to name a few.
What will I do if I’m picked for Pitchwars? Dance a happy dance, be a good communicator, and work hard (really hard — think eyeballs-bleeding hard).
La la la — these are a few of my favourite things:
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