Fifteen-year-old Mariah Kennedy is passionate about fighting for social justice. As the UNICEF Australia Young Ambassador, Mariah created REACHING OUTas a fundraising project and all author royalties will be donated to UNICEF. Heartfelt and inspiring, this book contains stories, poems and illustrations that have been donated by some of the most world?s renowned and respected authors and illustrators, including Graeme Base, Jackie French, Michael Leunig, Bruce Whatley, Michael Morpurgo, Andy Griffiths, Anna Perera, Libby Gleeson, Melina Marchetta, Alison Lester, Morris Gleitzman and many more.
I’m one of the “many more”! My story “The Leaving” is in this wonderful anthology. Hurrah! Thanks, Mariah, for letting me be a part of such a wonderful project. You’re an inspiration.
Here are two things that have changed since the publication of Pink in 2009:
1. I used to be a bit nervous about saying that, at the beginning of the book, Ava has a girlfriend. I got some disapproving looks from teachers, especially at religious schools. Students would giggle and whisper. One girl loudly informed me that it was “gross”. Not anymore. Four years later, and nobody blinks. It’s just part of the story. Nothing unusual. This is a really, really good thing.
2. Four years ago, when I held up Pink, boys would wince. And girls would say “I like that cover”. Now, instead of mentioning the cover, boys and girls alike (but mostly girls) squeal IS THAT A QUOTE FROM JOHN GREEN ON THE COVER!???
And one thing that hasn’t changed:
I get more fan mail about Pink than all my other books put together. I’ve received so many emails from people (young and old) who say that Ava’s experiences spoke to them, and made them feel braver, or less alone, or prouder about being a nerd. And I’m so grateful for those emails, and so very glad that the book is reaching new readers, and that people are still enjoying it.
The purpose of the Georgia Peach Award is to highlight and promote the best current young adult literature for Georgia high school age students, to encourage young adults to read and to promote the development of cooperative school and public library services for young adults. Teens vote for their favorite books out of the year’s top 20 nominees at their high schools and local public libraries.
It sounds a bit like the Inky Awards here in Australia, so it must be awesome.
Things are super busy here in my world. Working on my new book, which has transformed itself into also being part of my PhD. Also working on my thesis, which I’m enjoying so much more than I thought I would. I love literary criticism! Who knew?
I’m also super busy at various schools, festivals and other events. I’m really enjoying being a host for The Wheeler Centre’s Texts In The City program – I’m reading lots of things I’ve always meant to read, and rereading some old favourites. I do a lot of talking about my own books, so it’s very refreshing to be able to talk about someone else’s! And I get to do more of that on Monday night when I’m Q&Aing with the wonderful Patrick Ness at the Athenaeum.
And next Saturday I get to talk with Penni Russon at the Emerging Writers Festival, which will be excellent.
Other things that are going on include: I have an awesome new friend through the Big Brothers Big Sisters Young Achievers program, which I’m totally loving, except tomorrow we are playing laser tag and I’m a bit scared.
There’s also lots of house and garden stuff going on around here, and to avoid boring you all with endless photos of plans and plants, I’ve started a garden blog. But there are some literary connections, because there is some sneaky gardening in my next book.
SPEAKING OF BOOKS. Remember how I wrote that book called The Zigzag Effect which came out two months ago? Well people seem to really like it, which is great. I’m enjoying performing magic tricks (okay, trick. I only know one) at schools and reading out scenes that contain buckets full of wee.
Simmone Howell has tagged me to do this, and it’s SUPER late because I got distracted by Christmas. But here we go!
1) What is the working title of your next book?
The Zigzag Effect. That’s the final title. For a while it was Never Miss A Trick, then The Sucker Effect, then about a million other things, but now it is definitely, finally The Zigzag Effect.
2) Where did the idea come from for the book?
A documentary about magician’s assistants. There is a bunch of ladies whose job it is to dress up in a spangly little leotard, look beautiful, get tied up, cut in half and made to disappear. Creepy, amirite?
3) What genre does your book fall under?
YA. More specifically, YA romcrime, which is a mystery with kissing. A kisstery.
4) What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
Jennifer Lawrence as Sage, the main character. Andrew Garfield as Herb, the love interest. And Taylor Swift as Bianca, the magician’s assistant. Ooh, and Alan Rickman as The Great Armand. Except then they’d all have to pretend to be Australian. I really should know more Australian actors.
5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Backstage kissing, vanishing magicians and ghost-photography – Sage Kealley’s new job is more than she’d bargained for!
6) Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
Published Australia in April 2013 by Allen & Unwin. Represented in the US by KT Literary.
7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
The first draft probably took five months. The whole thing in around eighteen months.
8)What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
It has a similar feel to my previous books Pocketful of Eyes and Love-Shy.
9) Who or what inspired you to write this book?
Partly wanting to explore some of the bizarreness that comes with being a magician’s assistant. Partly wanting to learn more about stage magic.
10) What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?
There is a bunny called Warren. There is a kissing scene which takes place in the dark, near a bucket full of wee. There may or may not be a ghost.
Well. I was pretty rubbish at blogging in 2012. But in my defense, I did:
- get engaged
- release a new book
- buy a house
- move house
- get married
- go on a honeymoon
- go through PhD confirmation
- write a novel (more on that tomorrow)
- do over a hundred talks/workshops in schools
- attended four literary festivals
- and like a million other things that I can’t remember.
It’s been a pretty damn awesome year. I’m hoping 2013 will be just as wonderful as 2012 was. I have lots of super exciting projects coming up. Plus in three weeks we are getting a PUPPY. YAY!
I’m currently the writer in residence at ibrary, Brisbane City Council Libraries’ website.
On Thursday 18th October, I’ll be chatting with Isobelle Carmody about her awesome career and books at Fitzroy Library More info here.
And in answer to the many teenagers who have asked if I have a tumblr – yes. Yes I do.
My next book finally has a title! More on this soon.
And yes, thank you for asking. Our honeymoon was amazing.