HAPPY NEW YEAR everyone! What? It’s February? Already? How did that happen? Okay… so I’m a little late. I’ve been a bit preoccupied writing a book. But I’m taking a break to catch up with things and do a 2014 retrospective.
It was an amazing and busy year for me. As a result, I didn’t end up reading nearly as many books as I had planned to. 🙁 But on the bright side, the books that I did read were pretty great. So choosing my favourites is difficult. But I’ll give it a go…
Favourite kids’ book: The Tale of Despereaux: being the story of a mouse, a princess, some soup, and a spool of thread by Kate DiCamillo [see mini-review in “10 mini- reviews”]
Okay, this is an older book, but I read it for the first time in 2014.
Favourite Doctor Who book: Salt of the Earth by Trudi Canavan
This was an e-novella released as part of the Time Trips series during 2014. All these stories have now been collected together and will be released in hardcover in March — Time Trips. I get to brag about this one. Trudo asked me to beta read it for her, so I got to see it long before it was published. 🙂 It’s a great story in its own right, an excellent Doctor Who story and the characters of Doctor #3 and Jo Grant are spot on.
The new reading year is off to a great start, with several books devoured so far. I’m hoping I can maintain this pace for the remainder of the year. The first book for the year was Blueback by Tim Winton. What a delightful surprise it was. A deceptively simple tale about growing up and pursuing dreams, it is beautifully written. Filled with observations about life and nature and family, with an environmental message that isn’t preachy. I loved this book so much. I was very pleased to discover that it is on the Year 7 reading list for English at many schools. There is a lot in this book to spark discussion.
On the writing front, 2014 was extremely productive. I wrote three books for the education market and I had twelve education books published, including seven school readers, four non-fiction books for the Australian curriculum and one novelette tied in to the Australian geography curriculum.
The BIG thing for me in 2014 was the launch of my You Choose series. These interactive kids’ books, inspired by my own childhood love of Choose Your Own Adventure books, were published by Random House Australia. The first two books, The Treasure of Dead Man’s Cove and Mayhem at Magic School, came out in April 2014, with the second two, Maze of Doom and The Haunting of Spook House, in June.
Since then, I’ve been working on the next four in the series, which will be published this year. Night of the Creepy Carnival and Alien Invaders From Beyond the Stars are all set to go for May. Super Sports Spectacular, which is currently being edited, and Trapped in the GramesGrid, which I’m still writing, will be out towards the end of the year.
So 2015 is already looking pretty good! And I’ve got some new writing projects on the boil — but it’s too early to tell you about those.
The success of the You Choose books in 2014 suddenly gave me a higher profile as a writer. So I ended up doing more speaking gigs than in previous years. All up, I visited 42 schools and libraries across Australia, doing a total of 71 sessions. I even got the chance to appear on ABC3’s morning kids show Studio 3, where they interviewed me while slamming cream pies into my face. 🙂
It looks like 2015 will be just as busy, as I’ve already been booked for a bunch of speaking gigs. I’m particularly looking forward to attending the Somerset Celebration of Literature in March on the Gold Coast. This is one of the largest literary festivals for young people in Australia, with thousands of kids attending over three days. Check out their website if you want some more info. And their YouTube channel has intro vids from some of the authors and illustrators that will be speaking. Here’s mine…
So… busy times ahead. Fun times ahead. Bring it on!
Catch ya later, George
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