How to launch a book

Full confession: launching a book really is fun. And everyone is so nice! Over in Facebook land I've never had so many likes in my life. I went into Readings Carlton to sign some copies, and they've subsequently put a copy of Elizabeth Macarthur into the window. Truly, I can now die happy. I've had two radio interviews so far, and they both went well. Only one is available online, though: ABC Melbourne (774) Breakfast Show. Fast forward to 1:14:20 if you want to hear me rabbiting on for about 6 minutes [...]

2018-04-04T21:00:00+00:00 April 4th, 2018|Writing|0 Comments

And so it begins…

Publication Day is Monday 2 April, although I'm not sure what it actually means, because nothing actually happens on the day. Some bookshops already have Elizabeth Macarthur on their shelves, others will no doubt get it in over the next few weeks. The launch party, a private function for friends and family, will be held a week or so later. My lovely publicist has lined up lots of talks and radio interviews for me but none are scheduled for Monday. Well, one was, with Wendy Harmer on the ABC Sydney [...]

2018-03-31T16:36:57+00:00 March 31st, 2018|Elizabeth Macarthur|8 Comments

Waiting

What to do in the limbo between the book being out of the box, and the book being out in the world (or at least in bookshops)? It seems like a long three weeks until the official publication date of April 2 but what does that mean anyway? April 2 is Easter Monday, so in reality the book will start appearing in shops during the week prior, and in the weeks after. But what does that mean for me? It's not like I'm going to rush out and buy a [...]

2018-04-09T21:33:01+00:00 March 12th, 2018|Life, Writing|8 Comments

Elizabeth Macarthur’s Grave

I took the opportunity, late last year, to visit Elizabeth Macarthur’s grave. The Macarthur family graveyard is on a quiet hill, about a mile away from and opposite the family home at Camden Park House (about 70kms south west of the Sydney CBD). Elizabeth’s son William, passionate about botany, planted the site with exotic palms, which no doubt quickly grew tall enough to be seen from the house, but most of the site is now sheltered by native trees. In all my years of researching, I never did find a [...]

Help me with this paragraph?

To set the scene, I'm reading my manuscript out loud, to test for clarity and sense. The dog seems nonplussed but the cat is appreciative. I'm also beginning to realise how lazy my pronunciation usually is. Govvumen. Govvament. Government. Anyway. I'm reading the part where it is 1790, Elizabeth has just arrived in New South Wales, and is lonely and bored. It's the third paragraph (in the second half) where I'd like your opinion - what am I trying to imply? Is it clear enough? Elizabeth ‘filled up the [...]

Drafting a Blurb – the craft of catching a reader

Once I started thinking about blurbs, it became clear how little I rely on them these days. I usually choose books to read because I've already read or heard about them - on blogs, in reviews, in articles, on podcasts. It's rare for me to pick up a random book, read the blurb on the back and buy it. Even at the library, whether or not a book takes my fancy seems to very much depend on my mood at exactly that point in time. But that said, when I [...]

2018-03-25T00:51:28+00:00 September 23rd, 2017|Work in Progress, Writing|15 Comments

How to finish a manuscript

Young Woman Writing a Letter (detail), from a poster for Encre Marquet by Eugene Grasset, 1892. Image courtesy Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division. Well, by not spending time writing blog posts, obviously. The manuscript must go to the publisher (for editing) in about week, so the last little while has been just a teensy bit frantic. I kind of finished working on the text a few weeks ago, and since then I have: drawn up a Macarthur family tree (thank you PowerPoint), included a list of [...]

Elizabeth Macarthur died today

Elizabeth Macarthur in old age. Source: http://blogs.hht.net.au/cook/happy-birthday-elizabeth-macarthur/ Not actually today, obviously. Elizabeth Macarthur the woman died almost 167 years ago, on 9 February 1850. She was eighty-three years old. But today I wrote the paragraph in which Elizabeth dies, the final paragraph of the book really, and I felt strangely sad. It’s been my job to make her come to life on the page and I’ve been working to do so for more years than I care to admit. Yet there she was, having a stroke and quietly [...]

Camden Park House

Camden Park House Source: Adventures in Biography Took my family to Sydney for the weekend, ostensibly for a quick sightseeing stopover but actually so that we could attend the annual open day at Camden Park House. We were lucky with the rain, and managed to explore the house and extensive gardens before it poured. * * * * * During the first week of June 1805 the signal was made at Sydney Harbour's South Head and Elizabeth’s prayers were answered. John Macarthur, having left NSW for England in [...]

2018-03-25T13:09:33+00:00 September 26th, 2016|Colonial History, Work in Progress|7 Comments