Ella and Olivia, Uncategorized, Writing
A YABBA-DABBA shortlisting!
May 1, 2016 at 7:46 am 0
I'm super thrilled and very proud to announce that ELLA AND OLIVIA: SPORTS CARNIVAL has been shortlisted for the 2016 Yabba Award, by the children of Victoria. I'm in totally amazing company - Michael Gerard Bauer, Emily Rodda (EMILY RODDA!), Anh Do, Aaron Blabey and Nick Bland. Cannot believe it. This story is genuinely one of my favourites. Anyone who knows me knows I love SPORT! I wasn't great at sports carnivals, and what I lacked in any form of skill I made up with in sheer aggression. Indeed, as I write this, I'm listening to the A-League grand final on ABC Grandstand and watching the AFL highlights from the weekend. Bliss. Ella and Olivia also love sports...and so do Mum, Dad and Max. What's your favourite carnival event? sports    
Netball Fever!
February 7, 2016 at 12:54 am 0
There is nothing that gives me more joy than receiving finished copies of my books. I'm particularly excited about my new book out this week - Ella and Olivia: NETBALL FEVER! This is one of my favourite topics (I'm a sports nut) and I was a mad netballer in my youth. It's dedicated to my childhood netball coach, someone who continues to inspire me with wisdom and advice. netball3 Plus, let's be honest...the book is green and gold! It doesn't get any better than this! What position do you play? In this story, both Ella and Olivia have to be real team players for the Ripper Rangers. Goal Shooter and Goal Attack were always my favourite positions - I wasn't fast enough to be a Centre or a Wing Attack, nor defensive enough for Goal Defence or Keeper. Netball is such a great game. I might have to dust off the sneakers and clip those nails...I'm feeling the urge to play once again... netball
Brave new work year, brave new work space
January 9, 2016 at 12:26 pm 0
Happy New Year one and all! I hope that you're off to a great start with whatever you're reading and writing (I just finished 'The Nightingale' by Kristin Hannah, given to me by a dear friend. Have a newfound interest in the French Resistance.). I also watched 'Something's Gotta Give' for the umpteenth time while on holidays with Mum this week (we managed to switch it off just as Dad walked in the door - he'd have us both committed if he caught us watching it one more time), and I felt inspired to tackle the prickliest question of all...where I write. I have had a break from writing in the past few months and this week my writing mojo returned with a vengeance. I realised I wanted to change the way I write, and change up my routine so that there are no interruptions. The theory is sound. In fact, I have a writer's residency in North Sydney at Don Bank Museum, totally set up with my stuff. It's a thoughtful, contemplative and QUIET place to write (being in a museum tends to have a soporific effect). But I tend to be there on weekends, and when I need to write or edit during the week, most of my writing is done on my laptop perched on my lap while I sit stuffed into my lounge. I have a terrific view from my apartment (I have water views, folks - though the water may be brown, I can see a river snaking for about a kilometre in either direction), but my office (read: ironing room) is located AWAY from the view. I tend to write on the couch but I need some inspiration and a clear working place, away from the lures of TV, netflix, magazines, cleaning...you get the picture. Which led me to thinking - what about THAT desk that Diane Keaton's character has in her fabulous Hamptons' beach house (more on Nancy Myers and her psychologising of the bedroom layout of the character here)? What about that view? And how does she write a play in a mere few weeks? The wonders of Hollywood, my friends. dk So I'm going to change it up: actually write in my 'office', put away all those receipts spilling out over my files, and buy a hamper to hide my clean laundry in. Who needs to iron when you can write? ericas-study-desk All I need now is a view of the dunes, some large bay windows, a white swivel chair, some chinos....and a turtleneck. Happy writing and reading! PS Okay, I wouldn't mind some Keanu either. 2003_something_gotta_give_007
Ella and Olivia, Uncategorized
It’s the most wonderful time of the year: a Christmas reading (wish)list
December 15, 2015 at 11:59 am 0
There are just SO many books I need to read! Hopefully I'll be slothing it out on the beach, slumped on the lounge with the cricket (or sailing) on the box, with possibly someone on hand to keep me fed and watered in the holiday period ahead. Hot on the heels of the announcement of the winners of the PM's literary awards, I am reminded once again that I have fallen very short of what I meant to get through this year. Here's a shortlist of what I'm planning to read over Christmas.... 1. Withering-by-Sea by Judith Rossell withering-by-sea   2. The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson (have you read I'll Give You the Sun? YOU. MUST.) 220px-The_Sky_is_Everywhere 3. Empire of the Waves by Christopher Richardson (OK, Chris is a dear friend of mine and I went to his book launch way back in August and I haven't read it and the dog ate my homework....etc. It's got PIRATES, people. Enough said.) empire of So many wonderful writer friends have books out at the moment that I can't wait to plonk down with: authors including (but not limited to)... Ruthie Maye, Jen Storer, Ellie Marney, Belinda Murrell, Jacquie Harvey, Libby Hathorn, Susanne Gervay, Gabrielle Tozer and Geoffrey McSkimming to name a few... Now I'm name-dropping! And I clearly have a bit of reading to do. I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and enjoy the festive season and the festive food that goes along with it. Oh, and did I tell you that Ella and Olivia have some Christmas adventures out too? Make sure you grab ELLA AND OLIVIA: MERRY CHRISTMAS STORIES for you, yourself, your pets and the people who live upstairs. Much love and peace out, Yvette. merry-christmas-stories Did I tell you there are 6 GIFT TAGS INSIDE? I really should've. IMG_3974 Also, I just saw this on the internets. I want it for Christmas: book-rest-lamp
Ella and Olivia, Uncategorized, Writing
Living with your characters
November 21, 2015 at 2:08 am 0
I've been writing the series Ella and Olivia for a while now - for over three years. It's been a fantastic experience - and even though I've written longer novels, the challenge of storytelling in five short chapters of five hundred words per chapter is something I've really learned from. As an English teacher, I am always at pains to explain to students the following: something HAS to happen (complication) and something HAS to be resolved (resolution) in any story you write. Ella and Olivia is a fantastic test: the girls must find a solution to a problem by the end of the story! And the characters of Ella and Olivia are writ large in my mind. There is only 18 months between them, yet they exist in my every day life - every young person I see or meet, they are my sister and brother embodied, they are memories that I have or perhaps people in my future. There are elements of my parents (and myself) in Mum and Dad of the story, and Uncle Stu the sparkie is a close relation to my brother-in-law. I have just spent an inordinate amount of time working on more stories for the canny little sisters, and with each adventure, their personality becomes more clear. They are the embodiment of life, people, myself and indeed my own siblings, just on the page. Characters of my favourite books have ALWAYS been real to me - even if it's Alex Cooper in the Linda Fairstein crime books (what would Alex do, I often think), or Jane Eyre or even the bumbling Stephanie Plum. I live my life intensely through the lens of a beloved character, and so many (young) readers do too. Whether or not you know it, if you're a writer, the characters will live within you, their voices finding a way out when you least expect it! And once they're drawn (in this case by the expert hand of illustrator Danielle McDonald), they have a life of their own! Ella and Olivia Bind-Up #4: Merry Christmas Stories (4 books with a surprise inside!) is out now! merry-christmas-stories
Your creative mojo – recommended writing guides
October 14, 2015 at 8:58 am 0
I've been reading BIG MAGIC: CREATIVE LIVING BEYOND FEAR by Elizabeth Gilbert (also a fantastic podcast!). If you've ever wanted to write, or be creative - this is THE guide for you. I've found it great inspiration for reflecting on projects that I'm mid-stream with, and books that I have for the future. There is a book I've been planning to write for years, and somehow all my other books got in the way. Thanks to Liz (that's what I call her in my mind), I'm back on the trail of pursuing the story. She's also great about getting rid of ideas that are going nowhere. Reading her book (I'm not so much a fan of her book Eat, Pray, Love, but more of her fiction such as The Signature of All Things and Stern Men) has made me appreciate my writing time and getting back to the basic pleasure of writing - whether for yourself or a living.

Like anyone else who enjoy's Oprah's wisdom, Ellen's humour, and who has a strange fascination with Tony Robbins, I've often turned to writing guides as pseudo-mentors over the years. Here's my take on a few: 1. STORY by Robert McKee Everyone, and I mean - everyone - swears by this book. Loads of friends have been to see him in the flesh. Yes, it's a bible - it's a real doorstopper but it's a goodie. Forget about the obscure movie references...but enjoy his dissection of plot through the eyes of a filmmaker. You can also watch Brian Cox play the film version of Robert McKee in one of my favourite movies, Adaptation. To be honest, I actually enjoyed that more.

Brian Cox playing Robert McKee giving a seminar in Adaptation. A long story.

2. BIRD BY BIRD: SOME INSTRUCTIONS ON WRITING AND LIFE by Anne Lamott I remember tracking this one down through Amazon and thrilling in its flimsy US cover. It's a meditative gem - all about how you just need tackle your writing word by word, or 'bird by bird'. It's a gorgeous read. 3. THIS YEAR YOU WRITE YOUR NOVEL by Walter Moseley I won't lie to you. This title scared the daylights out of me and it totally motivated me to write my first novel (as yet unpublished, but definitely written). My sister gave it to me just before I packed up and embarked on my writing sabbatical to Honolulu. A slim volume but it gets to the heart of the matter - you just need to start somewhere. 4. THE MAEVE BINCHY WRITERS' CLUB Another given to me by my beautiful sister, I'd never been a big fan of Maeve's work but reading this changed everything. It's written as a letter to her writers' 'club' with wonderful advice about how to start writing. Essentially, it's a collection of her columns. Her talk of 'bum glue' - the fine art of gluing yourself to the chair until the thing is written is utterly memorable and something I recommend to all writers. 5. HOW I WRITE by Janet Evanovich Ranger or Morelli? Need I say more? If you're a fan of Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum character, you'll love her recommendations in this writing guide. My favourite part is when she describes how she eats Cheetos while walking on the treadmill, just to keep her life in balance. A really honest guide to the (un)glamorous writing life, with a focus on snappy dialogue and memorable characters. GOLD.

Do you have any other writing guides to recommend? Good luck and happy writing!
events, Festivals, Writing
A moveable feast…of readers
September 13, 2015 at 10:45 am 0
Since I landed back from San Francisco, I've hit the ground running. Work has been keeping me busy - my day job sees me in unis and schools talking to students about the teaching profession, all over the place. But the best part of being back has been meeting so many terrific readers at various events: the fabulous Lunch with the Stars - an annual event put on by wonderful comrades and writers Belinda Murrell and Kate Forsyth (who are also sisters!); returning to my old bookselling stomping ground at Dymocks Lane Cove - helping my old bosses celebrate 20 wonderful years in business; and the CBCA's wonderful Big Book Day Out at the NSW Writers' Centre. It has been fantastic meeting so many readers and fans; thank you for coming out to chat with and meet me - and a big, special thanks to the awesome crew at St Mary's school in Manly! Happy reading, everyone.My cool crew at Lunch with the Stars. Also joined by my great friend, author Susanne Gervay. A legend. My place at the table. Thanks Eva for creating this for me. With the little darlings Brooke and Ryan at Dymocks Lane Cove 20th birthday celebrations. Love your reading work, guys. With big Ella and Olivia reader Rebecca, and her big sis, Rachel - at the Big Book Day Out! Two lovely writer friends at the Big Book Day Out - Jess Black (who is launching her new series) and Nadia Polak - whose second book is out soon.
san francisco, Writing
On leaving your heart in San Francisco
August 26, 2015 at 10:07 am 0
10 days in San Francisco is good for the soul. I had forgotten how wonderful travel is; and travelling solo has its many virtues. A wonderful literary city, I experienced it all - from staying in a Victorian apartment in Nob Hill with cable cars rumbling up the hill outside my window; to waking to an earthquake; doing the touristy thing at Fisherman's Wharf; food trucks by the Marina at sunset; chowing down on dan-dan noodles in Chinatown; walking the Embarcadero; sampling gourmet delights at the Ferry Building; trampling down Haight St with flowers in my hair; journeying to Berkeley; gourmanding at Chez Panisse; swilling martinis at the Top of the Mark; crashing an Indian wedding at the Fairmont; walking the Castro and the Mission; scanning the shelves at City Lights; baseballing at AT&T Stadium; arty-fartying at the de Young in Golden Gate Park; inspecting ruins at Sutro Baths...and shopping. So...do you think I got any writing done?
Great stuff
Counter culture
August 14, 2015 at 5:33 pm 0
Guys, I had a great day on National Bookshop Day! Many thanks to the fabulous team at Better Read than Dead, especially Amelia, in Newtown for talking me through the till, to those customers who were so patient with me, and to my friends and family (and editors!) that came along to support a great cause. There's nothing like being behind the counter. I had forgotten the thrill of seeing what people are buying; what's hot and garnering many ideas for my own shelves. As Meg Ryan's character says so famously in You've Got Mail - 'Don't you love New York in the fall? It makes me want to buy school supplies.'... National Bookshop Day in August does just that....'Don't you love bookshops in the winter? It makes me want to buy many, many, many books....' Happy reading, everyone! Nothing beats payment for a review like cupcakes. And everyone needs a support team as good as this! Hamming it up behind the counter. I left my Hogwarts uniform at home. Thanks, Miles!
Love your bookshop!
August 5, 2015 at 11:52 am 0
Bookshops have always been the love of my life. For as long as I can recall, I've spent hours upon hours in bookshops across my home suburbs and far-flung cities across the globe. My sister and I have compiled lists of faves over the years - from Daunts in London, to Strand Book Store in New York and City Lights in San Francisco. I worked as a bookseller before being drawn headlong into the book publishing industry; my Sunday mornings spent managing the small suburban store with one of my best friends to this day are some of the best memories I cherish. My sister is also book-mad, and calls the book industry home. Now I live vicariously through her and her book-filled world of work to get my 'fix'. Bookshops have taken on new meaning since becoming an author. I haunt them all - wherever I happen to be. This year I've been lucky enough to visit bookshops in almost all of Australia's capital cities. It's been exciting to see my beautiful books on the shelf (and where possible, give them a face-out) and even more thrilling to see customers actually buy them. Handselling - the skill of hand-to-hand recommendations from knowledgeable booksellers is a fine art. Spend any time in a great bookshop and you'll overhear the most interesting discussions (from 'it had a blue cover') not to mention suggestions ('it's like '50 shades', but classier'). National Bookshop Day is a day when Australian authors and bookshops align as one major force: to celebrate the incredible tradition of bookselling and local storytelling. I'll be appearing at one of my fave bookshops in Sydney - Better Read than Dead - in Newtown. I first discovered as a Sydney Uni student, and it's a real Sydney institution. The staff are brilliant, and the selection is top-notch. The kid's section is run by people I trust with all my heart - they're always recommending great reads to me. I hope to see you there on Saturday, August 8, from 11am - 12 pm. Come and say hello! And buy a book (or three)! Here I am haunting a book section of a department store in Canberra recently!!!