Posts Tagged ‘Henry Hoey Hobson’

9781925324921_HenryHoeyHobson_300dpi

So tell me, whaddaya think of the new look Henry Hoey Hobson?

Penguin Random House has shouted my adored middle child a brand new jacket and I couldn’t be happier.

‘Henry is an in-house favourite,’ says my lovely publisher Zoe Walton. ‘We wanted to give him a fresh new look that’s fun and grabs young readers’ attention.’

So brace yourself young readers, the rejacketed Henry Hoey Hobson is heading your way soon. Look for him in bookstores from 1 March. 🙂

(Cover design by Christa Moffitt of Christabella Designs, who also designed covers for fellow Random House award winners Two Wolves and Are You Seeing Me?)

 

Sending air kisses into the ether – mmwa – to everyone who voted for Dust and Henry Hoey Hobson in THE BIG READ celebrating stories set in Queensland.

Thanks to you, they’ve both come in winners – Dust for Older Readers, and Henry Hoey Hobson in the Younger Readers category.

Saturday’s announcement at the State Library of Queensland by Book Links Qld as part of the National Year of Reading was a great way to end Book Week …and an every better kickstart to Literacy Week (oh yes, the big weeks just keep on rolling for we wranglers of words).

Tomorrow I’m off to Calvary Christian College, and then on to All Hallows and Mt Alvernia later in the week to talk books and writing to secondary students.

And for Brisbane lovers of picture books, please feel free to drop by Riverbend Books at 5pm on Tuesday 28 August for the launch of Gus Gordon’s gorgeous Herman and Rosie. We’d love to see you there. 🙂

Funny, what inspires us as writers.

I’ve never been much of a swimmer myself. I can manage a stately breast stroke in a flowered bathing cap, but it just isn’t my thing, if you know what I mean.

I grew up on a farm, in the middle of a drought, and was ten years old before our gully filled for the first time.

I nearly drowned in the Biloela pool in primary school, trying to swim its breadth with my eyes squeezed shut against the unfamiliar chemicals. I listed to the right  and ended up swimming an elongated dog’s leg before finally touching, exhausted, at the deep end.

Infrequent trips to the placid waters of Yeppoon and Tannum Sands didn’t teach me that much. Though I remember the excitement of my brother nearly drowning and afterwards discovering a tiny fish, still alive, in his Speedos.

It surprises me still that I grew up to marry a man with salt water in his veins, a man who is grounded in water. It surprises me even more that our children can swim and that I loved them enough to spend a large chunk of the past 18 years poolside.

But what surprises me the most is how much I’ve grown to love the friendships and sense of community surrounding our little neighbourhood swim club.

For the past nine years, every Spring and Summer, we’ve put out the lane ropes on a Saturday afternoon, gossiped with our friends and cheered our littlies on as they strove for personal best times in their races against the stop watch.

Dozens of trophies crowd our kids’ shelves including one for “Most Attentive and Best Behaved” and another for “The Esther Williams Award for Best Technique”.

My own trophy shelf is bare, but for one – awarded for debating, in 1977 – until now.

Because now I too have a swimming trophy. Awarded last Saturday at my last Swim Club meeting after nine fun-filled years. My youngest is moving on, so we will too, leaving the Club to the up-and-coming young families.

They’ll miss me on the megaphone, they say. I know I’ll miss them. But I’ll have something special to remember them by ….

My first ever swimming trophy and farewell gift with an inscription that reads “love KGASC”…

And I do.

Because without all those Saturdays poolside with the Kelvin Grove Amateur Swim Club, I would never have written my children’s novel Henry Hoey Hobson about a boy who nearly drowns in the turbulent waters of Year Seven.

So thanks KGASC for the inspiration. It’s funny where we writers find it, isn’t it?

I’ve just spent the best part of a week unable to walk up or down stairs.

Quadriceps that once functioned perfectly adequately for a woman of my years, have failed me.

Despite the general consensus of family and friends, I refuse to blame it on last week’s indoor netball game.

I may be the oldest member of the team (the oldest member in the comp, some have unkindly suggested), and I may have played only the one season since 1973, but by golly, I’m still up for it.

The sweet young things we played were barely half our age, but I only fell over the once; the scrape on my elbow hardly bled at all and my left knee didn’t turn green for days.

But old and cunning still has some advantages over young and beautiful.

Unlike the SYTs on the other team, we didn’t have any makeup to sweat off, we weren’t there to hook up, and we didn’t have the rest of our lives to win a game of netball; every mature netballer knows that every game could be her last.

I was feeling pretty good afterward, despite my fall. So good in fact, that the very next day I offered to stand in for a fellow indoor netballer at her group Pilates class.

Clearly she knew something I didn’t.

The instructor had biceps like ham hocks and little understanding of the special needs of the more mature indoor netballer.

An hour later I wobbled out on trembling legs, in such a state that a friend who has survived cancer asked if I needed a hand.

I’ve been keeping a low profile since. Walking the dog slowly, hoping to regain full use of my legs.

But today, I rose without groaning, felt an unaccustomed spring in my step, ran up the stairs, just to prove that I could, and turned on the computer to hear via the lovely Jim Roy that HENRY HOEY HOBSON had made the Victorian CBCA Clayton’s Shortlist for Younger Readers.

So chuffed was I that I did a little dance (just because I could). Happy too, that Jim’s latest novel ANONYMITY JONES made the list for Older Readers, along with fellow Woolshed Press author Nette Hilton for THE INNOCENTS.

If you’d like to see the Victorian Clayton’s judges’ hot tips on which books could be contenders for the REAL Children’s Book Council Shortlist to be announced on April 12, click here.

Meantime, I can die happy.

I’ve won an indoor netball game (I did mention we won, didn’t I? 29-20. Against those spritely young things) AND I’ve shared a (Clayton’s) shortlist with the likes of  Michael Gerard Bauer and Glenda Millard.)

Oh yes, my week has definitely got better. 🙂

A huge thank you to all the hard-working librarians who have chosen Henry Hoey Hobson for this year’s Readers Cup.

Five regions so far – Brisbane South, Brisbane Bayside, Gold Coast, Capricornia and Somerset/Lockyer – have put HHH on the list of books to be read in their regional competitions in June. Other regions will be declaring their lists in the coming weeks, so fingers crossed!

I’m really looking forward to presenting the cups and medallions to regional finalists in June  and being part of the State Finals to be held in conjunction with the Ipswich Literature Festival in September.

The Readers Cup promotes the love of literature to students in Years 6/7 and 8/9, so if your school hasn’t yet signed up, click here to register. You have until the end of March to join the cool kids. 🙂

Caleb and VeeOK, this has never happened to me before, so I just have to share it.

When I rocked up to Brisbane’s Somerville House this week to talk to 250 Year Seven and Eight students, the last thing I expected was to be greeted by two of the characters out of my latest novel, Henry Hoey Hobson.

Somerville’s inspirational and enthusiastic librarians, Lucia and Jannine, not only transformed themselves into Caleb and Vee, HHH’s mysterious coffin-owning neighbours, they also recreated the chili fizz cocktail served to Henry by the broken and scarred Manny.

Thank the high heavens, as Vee would say, for librarians everywhere.  And a special thank you to Lucia and Jannine, for bringing my characters to life and making my visit to Somerville so memorable. 🙂

I’m dying here, people. Torn. Torn. Torn.

Half of me wants to let the cat out of the bag, the other half wants to warn off anyone who hasn’t yet read Henry Hoey Hobson.

Teachers Notes for HHH are now available. They’re awesome, but be warned, they do contain, ahem, spoilers (like a chapter-by-chapter breakdown of plot and character, and pages of ready-to-use classroom activities for over-worked teachers of Grades 6-8).

Click here if you are a teacher, know a teacher, or want to make a teacher’s life just that little bit easier.

The rest of you, click here for a taste that won’t spoil your appetite for more. 😉

People love to know where we writers get our ideas.

They seem to think that ideas are elusive, and that we find them in secret places where others never think to look.

The truth is that ideas spring at us from all directions.

Like hungry cats, they clamour for our attention, rubbing up against our legs, jumping onto our laps, and whingeing till they get what they want.

Some inevitably drift off, bored with our lack of response.

Others are more persistent, digging in their claws and refusing to let go till we give in to their demands.

Henry Hoey Hobson was a clawer. He arrived unannounced, when I was busy working on a crime novel, and waiting for my novel Dust to come out.

A likeable kid that nobody liked. How was that even possible?

I felt for him, even pulled out a pen and jotted down his details, then shooed him away so that I could concentrate on my work-in-progress.

But he was a persistent little begger, sneaking into my thoughts, and into my dreams, until finally I got out of bed and started writing his story.

Now there’s another one clawing at me.

I’ve been pushing Intruder away with my foot, while I got through the month of Book Week, the school visits, the festivals and conferences.

It’s shredded my pants up to the knee, and if I don’t get to it soon, there will be blood.

This morning I shoved it, hissing and spitting, into a hold-all, to take it up the coast for two weeks.

There’s no internet. No telephone. No mail deliveries. And they’re predicting rain.

Wish me luck. It’s time to feed the beast.

As a kid, I loved reading Zane Grey westerns and Jack London adventures

I’d ride horses bareback and fight boys with sticks, then retire to my room with my uber-Barbie (the one with the swivel waist and the bendable knees).

I devoured Jane Eyre, Ann of Green Gables and Little Women with the same avid obsession as Reach for the Sky, the true story of Douglas Bader, the legless World War II fighter pilot.

In my dreams I was Black Canary from the Justice League of America comics, but it was Green Lantern’s motto that I would chant when alone:

In brightest day and blackest night

No evil Shall escape my sight

For those who worship evil’s might

Beware the power of Green Lantern’s light!

My childhood idols included Catwoman, the Lone Ranger, Emma Peel (for her lethal elegance) and Jane Russell (for her smart mouth).

I grew up to fight with girlfriends over my right to watch Diehard over Passage to India (which admittedly I still haven’t seen). But it didn’t stop me sobbing convulsively all the way home from Driving Miss Daisy.

I read Robert Ludlum and Wilbur Smith long before they became franchises, and would segue seamlessly from John Le Carre to Georgette Heyer and Jane Austen.

I’ve never preferred male authors to female authors, or female protagonists to their male counterparts; my lifelong preference is for well-written, strong stories with engaging characters.

So clearly I am the wrong person to ask “Are you books for boys or for girls?”

My novels – Dust, Intruder and Henry Hoey Hobson – are for anyone who ever missed out on the A-team, anyone who ever feared that they might not fit in, anyone who would love to be accepted for simply being him or herself.

And in my book, that would be just about all of us, wouldn’t it?

 


Feels like I been everywhere, man – Biloela, Rockhampton, Bracken Ridge, Toowoomba, Newmarket, Springfield, Ascot, and Sunshine Coast (for an online festival)… I barely had time for a breather after Book Week and now Brisbane Writers Festival is upon us.

Word Play, the kick-ass program for kids and lovers of youth literature kicks off on Wednesday with a host of international, award-winning, and best-selling authors and illustrators including Kate Forsyth, Morris Gleitzman, John Danalis, Leigh Hobbs, Gabrielle Wang and Dave Hackett.

I’m there Wednesday and Thursday introducing Henry Hoey Hobson to Years 6-9, trying not to look like a naughty school girl with my scraped knees and band aids.

Seriously, I’ll be hobbling rather than hobnobbing, after not one, but two nana falls in the past week.

I tripped over my Birkencrocs on the way to school last week. Tore my tights and looked like a right scrag when I fronted up at St Margaret’s for my Book Week talks to Years Six and Seven.

Then I opened up the same knee a few days later, crash-tackling my runaway beagle after he rifled my visiting brother’s suitcase and stole his socks.

I came away with an egg on my forehead, bent glasses, a tear in my brand-new jeans and a sliced open knee.

The beagle, of course, got away with the socks.