‘Please Don’t Hug Me’ press.

IMG_6880-2I thought I would put all my interviews in one place for ease of reference.

I was on ABC’s The Drum and later spoke with Elly Duncan for a deeper dive into the need for diverse autism representation in books and pop culture.

I spoke to Katherine Collette on my favourite podcast (!!) The First Time Podcast about Own Voices, pandemics, and the joys of waiting.

Please Don’t Hug Me was the May pick for Kill Your Darling’s First Book Club. There is a review from Ellen Cregan and we had a great chat for the KYD podcast. I also did a Shelf Reflection interview.

Anna Whateley interviewed me for the Sydney Writers’ Festival Podcast series.

I did an interview with Books + Publishing where we talked about what it was like getting an autism diagnosis, epistolary novels, feeling ‘seen’ and vulnerability. B+P also featured a review by Charlotte Guest.

I wrote a post for the Readings blog, where I highlighted three things I’ve learned from getting an autism diagnosis.

I spoke to Rhianna Patrick at ABC Radio about the process of writing the book.

I had an in-conversation event with Nina Kenwood at Oz Authors Online that can be viewed on YouTube.

I did Ten Terrifying Questions with Booktopia, in which I talked about autism, fairies, my emo phase, crap pay in journalism, Hannah Gadsby, #LoveOzYA and my advice for aspiring writers.

Please Don’t Hug Me was a Staff Favourite pick for April with Booktopia.

I spoke to Andrew Pople who hosts Final Draft on 2ser about writing, representation and our love of books.

I spoke to The Bookish Bex as part of the Autistic Pride Readathon about autistic rep—the good and not so good.

Autistic writer Clem Bastow and I exchanged letters (well, emails) as a little nod to ‘Please Don’t Hug Me’ for Amaze.

I was part of Bendigo Writers Festival Backstory, speaking with Sarah Mayor Cox about ‘Please Don’t Hug Me’, writing for young people, and reader reactions.

More to come!

Hello from Varuna (amidst a pandemic).

To say this has been a strange week feels a little undercooked. In the span of five days I’ve nervously boarded a flight armed with hand sanitiser and disinfecting wipes, traveled to the Blue Mountains for my first writing Fellowship, written more than 20,000 words (and counting) while anxiously following the news, seen the Coronavirus (COVID-19) declared a pandemic, the SAME DAY announced my first ever festival panel for Sydney Writers Festival, and now a day later, watched as tickets are suspended and signs point to the event not being able to go ahead. We will know more come Monday, which is, funnily enough, also the day I’m due to fly home. Fun! Continue reading

What I learned from my first reading.

img_9097If writing a book is the natural state for a writer, getting up in front of an audience and reading from that book feels about as far from natural as I can imagine. There are plenty of writers who are natural orators, but unfortunately I don’t fall into that category. I’m to the left in the ‘so anxious I might cry and/or pass out’ category. Hello to all of the other nervous talkers in this category with me. Welcome. May I offer you some peppermint tea? Continue reading

The year in review.

Completing a structural edit-32018 has been a big year for *feelings*. I don’t feel alone in that. Just about everyone I know has had an intense year in one way or another. For me there’s been personal loss, creative doubt, incredible milestones, and a whole lot of waiting. I’ve also been panning through my own insecurities and trauma for gold nuggets of emotional truth in my work. And you know what, that gets exhausting. I’m feeling a little wobbly. So if you’re going through any of the above at the moment, or have been this year, I see you. It’s tiring. Be kind to yourself. Continue reading

Tearing down the walls (the structural edit).

Untitled Design-3

Three months on from receiving editorial notes and I’m out the other side of my first structural edit. I feel equally wrung out and exhilarated by how much better my manuscript is looking at this point. Here are some editing stats I collected along the way:

  • 60+ hours of editing
  • Manuscript is (only) 5,000 words longer. Ouch. Now sitting at a much healthier 55,000 words. I’ve fixed plot holes, pacing issues, formatting, thin secondary characters, and the ending
  • Soundtrack: Camp Cope, Sia, Thelma Plum, Missy Higgins (basically Australian/women/feelings)
  • Snack of choice while editing: Popcorn, chocolate
  • Coffee consumed: far too much
  • Most neglected part of my life: housework

The manuscript is now off to some sensitivity readers (I will do a post on this at a later stage) and once I’ve received their feedback and edited accordingly, I will send it back to Jane at Text Publishing. Hopefully I’ll have done enough for it to be ready for a line edit, but we’ll see. This is my first time and it’s a huge learning curve, so if it comes back for another structural edit, that’s OK too. I hardly feel qualified to give advice at this stage of the process, but I thought it might be worth sharing a few of the things I’ve learnt so far. Continue reading

Let the editing begin.

Finding the way back to writing-2I received the first round of notes from my editor at Text Publishing late last month. It’s the email I’ve been waiting on for months. It’s the green light after being at a red long enough to wonder if it was all a dream, or if someone somewhere had changed their mind. The notes are detailed, kind, and so spot on. My book is going to be infinitely better because of them, and because of my editor Jane Pearson. I feel like I should be in turmoil, but instead I’m thrilled. A little vulnerable, sure, but I can’t believe I can finally get going. Please Don’t Hug Me is going to be a real book! Continue reading

The one where I sign with a literary agent.

Finding the way back to writingThere is a lot out there about whether or not a debut writer needs a literary agent, or if signing with one is even something that can happen without a published book to your name. I can’t give a definitive answer about that, but I can say that signing with Danielle Binks and Jacinta Di Mase has been one of the best parts of my path to publication thus far. So I’d love to share a little bit about how that came to be and what it’s done for me. Continue reading