I’m just back from France where I was researching my new novel Madame Mathilde.
I had an amazing time, met loads of interesting people and saw some beautiful places – in particular this village called Cordes-sur-Ciel which is in the South-West, Tarn region and will be the setting for the novel.
In the meantime, The French Perfumer is coming along nicely. The editing process is almost complete and I have now seen the first cover proposal which I’m looking forward to revealing soon. It will be released in March 2017.
This book has quite a new look which will be replicated in a re-issued edition of The Olive Sisters. I’m so thrilled that Penguin have decided to re-release The Olive Sisters as people often ask me where they can buy a copy and it’s been tricky for the last couple of years since it went out of print.
So good things to come! You can see more about my research trip HERE
So, now that ‘The French Perfumer’ is with my publisher, I can enjoy the second part and am off to France to conduct research for the new novel I’m working on entitled ‘Madame Mathilde’.
You can follow my journey HERE
For me, the research aspect of writing is one of the best parts – and a lot easier than the actual writing! I love the fact that the research experience is simply about opening the mind, observation and creative composting. It’s good to undertake the process with ideas, without being locked into anything and so allow for possibility.
The last 12 months have been steady writing and, at the 3rd draft, I sent the manuscript to a select few for feedback. It’s a great gift for any writer to have readers who take this role seriously and respond with well thought out and constructive feedback. It’s nothing to do with proof-reading (although anyone with particular expertise who can pick up factual slips is a huge asset) it’s more about the reader experience, finding out where the story does or doesn’t engage, loses credibility or momentum. I’ve had some very insightful and specific feedback relating to different elements and so now it’s on to the 4th (and no doubt 5th and 6th) revision.
I was recently invited by Berkelouw Books Mona Vale to interview Magda Szubanski in the store as part of the launch of her memoir ‘Reckoning’.
I thoroughly enjoyed the book (fortunately!) and there were so many fascinating elements, it wasn’t difficult to develop enough questions/prompts to fill an hour of ‘conversation’.
Just finished running my two-day ‘Extreme Writing!’ school holiday workshop for budding young writers – always a heap of fun.
I’m always blown away by the imagination and enthusiasm of young writers, although it saddens me how often they ask if they are ‘allowed’ to do something a different way. Unfortunately our school system is geared towards assessments – not creativity. It’s very special to be able to help them break out and write from the heart.
I’m currently writing a new novel with the working title of ‘The Parfumeur’ which is set in the South of France in 1956. So in January 2015 I went to France for five weeks to do background research on the area where my story is set and learn as much as possible about the world of fragrance creation.
Here I’m attending a workshop at Parfums Galimard in Grasse where you are guided in the process of developing a personal perfume. Follow my journey HERE
Although I was away for the first half of the year, it was a bumper year for my Memoir Made Simple workshops which ran in three different locations, with around 25 writers participating. Continue reading
It’s always a privilege to be invited to speak to young people – although a little nerve-wracking as well. You can tell pretty quickly by the wide yawns when you’re being boring and need to liven up. Continue reading
Over the last couple of years I’ve had the privilege of working on the screenplay for The Olive Sisters with the internationally admired and hugely talented Australian director Fred Schepisi. Over the last seven years I’ve written and rewritten this script but the last couple of years under Fred’s direction have been quite a learning curve for me and taken the script to a new level. Continue reading
In April 2014 I took some time out to walk the Camino de Santiago. Starting from Saint Jean-Pied-de-Port in France and finishing in Santiago de Compostela in the far west of Spain – 800 kilometres over 40 days. Continue reading