Frequently Asked Questions

Want the answers to all your burning questions? You might find them here. I get asked these questions a lot, so I thought I’d throw the answers up to save us all repeating ourselves.

 

I’d be delighted! If you’d like me to come visit, please get in touch with my speakers agency, Booked Out , and they can arrange it.

Again, yes! (I love being able to say ‘yes’ like that) If you run on over to the #LoveOzYAbookclub Facebook page , you can join us there for discussion of the latest Australian YA titles, and all things bookish.

Alas, like most authors, I don’t receive more than a few copies of my books free from the publisher, and I usually give those to my immediate family. Books I sell at events or use for giveaways, I have to buy myself. If you really need a review copy, your best bet is to contact my publishers, Allen & Unwin (in Aus/NZ) or Tundra Books (in US/Can).

Good question! And the mysterious answer is…about twelve months after I’ve finished writing it. That’s about how long it takes to get a book released, from ‘final submission’ to ‘book on shelf’ (although it can vary widely). The Every series is out now in Australia, New Zealand, and North America. If you’d like to keep up with what I’m working on next and when it will come out, I usually give pretty regular updates on my blog.

First tip: read lots. Read everything you can get your hands on, across as many genres and categories as you can. My best teachers have always been other peoples’ books. Second tip: write as much as you can. Don’t worry if it doesn’t sound good – most of my first drafts are pretty awful (every writer I know says the same thing, btw). But keep at it, keep revising, and try to develop a routine around writing, and eventually you’ll get there. Third tip: write what you love. If you like historical romances or westerns or horror stories or science fiction more than anything, then don’t be ashamed, write that. Writing a book is way hard, so you don’t want to be slogging away on something you just feel ‘blah’ about.

There are lots more tips I could give, but there are also loads of places you can go to get more information about writing. I recommend the ones I’ve listed here as a good starting point:

Allison Tait

Brigid Kemmerer

Chuck Wendig

Holly Black

Barry Lyga

Bwahaha! Did I mention that I’m also a teacher? As well as that job, I have a couple of other casual jobs that help keep me and my family afloat. Writing novels is not very lucrative – you can find out some rather unfortunate statistics about it here, if you like. The money part kind of sucks, so that’s why it’s always good to support your fave authors by buying their books. But I don’t write for the money (and neither should you). I write because I love it, and it’s something that makes me feel incredibly happy. The thought that my books might make other people feel happy gives me a lot of enjoyment as well.

The Magical Idea Emporium in the Sky. In other words, I don’t know! I get a lot of my ideas while I’m doing dishes, or gardening, or sweeping the floor, or talking to people. Sometimes I even get ideas when I’m driving, or in dreams. Weird, huh? Writers can be a bit weird like that.

Ah! I don’t find it. I make it up. Truly – when I first started working on my books, I set my alarm clock for 4.45am every morning, so I could get a couple of extra hours in my day for writing. When you’re that keen, you have to make the time you need. Some people have said that I must have given up sleep to do all this writing, plus work and have a family. This isn’t too far from the truth! No, that’s not it, I do sleep. But I have to be very organised and also very protective of my writing time (which is why I sometimes don’t return emails and calls straight away – soz, but the writing comes first).

I’m sorry, but I really can’t. It’s not that I don’t like reading other peoples’ work, but I’m extremely busy with my own writing, plus taking care of my family and working other jobs. Also, I’m not allowed (that’s kind of a publishing industry thing). I recommend that you find a writer’s group to share you writing with, either local to you or online (the Absolute Write forums have some good groups going). Or else find somebody who you can work with as a Writing Buddy, so you share your work together and help each other out.

Well, apart from parenting and working and stuff, I do a lot of reading. I’m pretty much reading all the time, actually. I don’t get to watch much TV – I read instead. I also like to garden, when I can, and I try to keep fit, because writing usually involves a lot of sitting down. And sometimes I go out with friends and talk! To real live people! (yes, I spend a lot of time in my writing cave, but you’ve got to get out sometimes)

Music (but not when I’m writing, because then I must have Absolute Silence). Also, pictures and photos and art in general. Sometimes movies inspire me, or other books, or interviews, or something I overheard on the train. Memories are good, too, and dreams. Inspiration is quite easy to come by – it’s what you do with it that counts.

First of all – thanks! Hearing people say they’d like to buy my books makes my heart do the happy dance, because buying an author’s book is both a huge compliment and a great way to keep them writing. And it’s actually very easy to get your hands on copies of my books – your first port of call should be your local bookstore. If you can’t buy it there, ask them to order it in. Alternatively (and this might be even easier), go to the Books page here on this website, click on the link to the bookseller that you like the most, and follow the prompts.