I’m one of those authors who likes to try different types of writing, and I’ve been spending part of this week writing a long (1750 word) book review of some YA novels. They’re all by New Zealanders, and the are all GOOD.
So do try David Hair’s Ghost’s of Parihaka, a funny and frightening story of modern kids who keep being pulled back into the past where scary things are happening. And Anna MacKenzie’s Cattra’s Legacy, her novel of a young girl in a lost kingdom who has to save her people from a dark, advancing enemy. And Des Hunt’s Phantom of Terawhiti, in which the paw prints of a strange beast are found on the coast near Wellington. And R L Stedman’s A Necklace of Souls, the first novel by this Christchurch writer, in which a girl of high birth and a boy from the humblest of backgrounds unite to face a frightening foe.
I’ve also been away for a day – flying up to Auckland to visit St Kentigern College, where I was teaching a writing workshop and talking to some of the classes who have read my books or stories (poor things). I had to get up at 5 am – not good – to catch the plane, but it was brilliant watching the west coast of the North island crawling along below us, with the low morning light making long, dark shadows across the land. The waves on the coastline looked as if someone was lifting up the edge of a duvet to show its white underside.
In the writing workshop, I suggested that the best way to become a writer is to STEAL: to watch and listen, to get ideas from what people say and do; from what you read. We talked about topics, and the very nice kids tried a piece of writing about “A Moment You’d Like To Go Back To” – a moment in sport or performance, or with an animal, or at a special place, that was so brilliant, you’d like to relive it. OR that was so embarrassing or disastrous, you’d like to go back and change it, or stop it from happening. They came up with some terrific ideas.
I’ve finished the story that I mentioned in my last blog, about the kid who likes making terrible jokes, though I’ll probably go back and add some more jokes later. And I’m waiting for the page proofs of my newest novel to arrive from the publisher, so I can check them one last time. It’s called BRAVE COMPANY, about a teenage NZ sailor in the Korean War of the 1950s. It’ll be in the shops about…..May or June. I hope.