Finally I Can Tell You…

Announcing: DEAD ACTUALLY, my YA novel. Published by Allen and Unwin. To be released March, 2012…

It’s been a long four months. On December 9th last year I was teaching a group of gifted writers in a workshop organised by the DET.  It was a hot, hot, hot day and it had gotten off to a shaky start.

Many students had to travel quite some distance to get to the venue, and from several directions. One of those directions was the F3 which is the freeway linking Sydney and Newcastle. That morning a truck had overturned, blocking the freeway and so those travellers from the Central Coast were delayed.

I was really excited as I love those days and  I’d had a full day planned, but as each minute ticked by, I was mentally crossing off  some elements of each exercise; condensing the day…

While we waited for the others I began talking to those already assembled.  These were, and indeed are, savvy kids; some of whom would like to make a career as an author – so they were asking about agents, editors and the publication process. I was just explaining that process, using myself as an example and saying how my agent had just submitted my latest manuscript to a couple of publishers and we were awaiting a reply.

At that moment, my phone rang. Yes, I had forgotten to turn off my mobile and it was chirruping in the background. It was a very big room and it wasn’t on top of us, so I apologised, told the kids to ignore it; that it would stop in a moment and went to move on. Except it didn’t stop. Well, it did – but it began again immediately. And in fact by the time I’d raced to the back of the room, found it and shut it down it had rung three times…

By this time, most of the kids had arrived and it was vital  that I begin the workshop, so I didn’t check the caller. In many ways, and given the discussion of the moment,  I’ve been kind of disappointed that I didn’t…

Later that afternoon, hot, tired and yet happy with the day, I wandered back to the oven that was pretending to be my car.  I opened all the windows to give the air con a fighting chance and while I waited for the steering wheel to cool enough to handle, I remembered my phone.

There I found not three or four missed calls but seven! And three messages! I didn’t recognise the number straight off, and don’t ask me why I didn’t check the messages first, but I didn’t. Instead I simply pressed the missed call number to return the call.

It answered immediatey and a familar voice said, “Miss Kerri! Where have you been! Allen and Unwin have made an offer on Dead Actually and Anna McFarlane wants to talk to you!”

The voice was my wonderful agent Jacinta di Mase of JDM Management, and Anna McFarlane was to be my new editor.

So, why wait four months to share? Call it a combination comedy of errors and bad timing. It was close to Christmas and everyone was going to be on holidays…  Then the contract kind of got a bit lost… Then the floods came. And the crushing heat wave… And my broken toe… And the snake in my friend’s pool… 

Okay, I admit that none of the last four were relevant,  but you have to admit it’s a far better story. Yes? Even better this story has a great happy ending: The snake was rescued, my toe healed, the rain finally stopped up north, autumn crept in and put the heat wave on seasonal suspension and my contact was found!  And now it’s all signed and I can officially make the announcement!

DEAD ACTUALLY, is about a girl, a ghost and a secret. And of course there’s a boy – a very cute boy. Oh, and the ghost is a teenage girl – an A-lister, who was a bitch in life and hasn’t learned any manners in death…  

And if I can just wade through these revisons, I hope one day you get to enjoy it as much as I enjoyed creating it. 

Stay tuned to this channel for updates…

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