Entries in Ashley Hay (3)


A month....

The last month has been eclectic to say the least - filled with festivals and edits, covers and the obssessive mania of a new novel.

I spent my birthday back in Melbourne filming a segment for the Melbourne Writers' Festival.  Then it was back to Sydney to deliver a workshop on writing historical fiction for the Sydney Writers' Festival. 

Finally I headed to Bellingen for the Bellingen Readers and Writers Festival where I spoke on panels about crime and historical fiction. 

        With Claire Scobie, Irin Dunn, Omar Musso and Melanie Casey at BRWF.   

When I wasn't gadding about, I was finishing the final edit on A Murder Unmentioned (Rowland Sinclair #6). 

Early in May, Pantera Press did release an unproofed-unedited version for booksellers, before the text was edited at all.  I have a copy but I haven't opened it.  Now that the book has been edited, I'm a little afraid of what I'll find leafing through what was essentially a printed manuscript.  Much less anxiety-making was the bottle of wine Pantera released in honour of the book!

Whilst in Sydney, the charming Scott Whitmont of the Lindfield Bookshop presented me with a magnificent montage of the real people who have inhabited Rowland Sinclair's world from time to time.  It was a delightful, thoughtful gift... but then Scott is a delightful and thoughtful person.


I also attended my very first Sydney Writers' Festival launch party with Pantera Press and caught up with Ashley Hay (fresh from Premier's Literary Award People's Choice glory) P.M. Newton (whose latest book Beams Falling is being acclaimed in every corner) and Kate Forsyth, (who I panelled with last year).  My very favourite thing about writers' festivals is the opportunity to catch with old friends and like minds.

The new novels I'm working on are absorbing every other moment one way or another.   Neither is a Rowland Sinclair novel.  I don't need to start working on next year's Rowland Sinclair release till about December really.  So I'm taking a chance by stepping out of my usual genres.  When I first started writing, I didn't ever think of myself as either a crime writer or a historical fiction writer... I just wrote what I wanted to write, told the stories I wanted to tell.  It just so happened that at the time they were crime and historical novels.  I'm going back to that "write anything potential" in the few months I have up my sleeve, and just seeing what comes out of it.  It may work, it may not but it'll be interesting finding out!


Byron Bay Writers' Festival

There is no better way to describe the Byron Bay Writers' Festival than warm, the weather is so, the poeple are so and the conversations are particularly so.  2012 was no different.  Throughout the festival I felt I was among friends, surrounded by a common love of the word.  Some like Jesse Blackadder, Shamini Flint, Edna Carew and Ashley Hay were old mates with whom I'd pannelled and sparred and laughed before.  Others like Michelle Aung Thin, Jane Caro, Kel Robertson, Elliot Perlman, Rohan Wilson, Stuart Littlemore, Shane Maloney and Nick Earls gave body and personality and humour to names I've long heard and admired in this writing game.  And then there were the many many readers who spoke to me about books and fascists and excellent coffee and made me feel like I was at some glorious garden party full of the most engaging guests.

History tells a darn good story - with myself, Michell Aung Thin, Edna Carew (moderator), Jane Caro and Rohan Wilson (out of shot - sorry Rohan)

Myself and Michelle.

Giving up the Day Job... An Argument of Lawyers.  Elliot Perlman, Shamini Flint, John M. Green and me.

Keeping the Pages Turning - Stuart Littlemore, Russel Eldridge, me and Nick Earls. 

Classic Crime Fiction and its New Protagonists... kept in control by Chris Hanley (left).  Me, Kel Robertson, Shane Maloney and Stuart Littlemore.

The lineup.... Me, Kel, Stuart, Chris and Shane.

Congratulations and a very sincere thank you to Jonathan Parsons, his tireless and extraordinary committee and all the charming and cheerful volunteers at the Byron Bay Writers' Festival. 



Byron Bay Writer's Festival


Today I'm packing my bags to head north for the Byron Bay Writer's Festival.  The invitation to speak at this festival is particularly exciting for many reasons. 

First it's Byron Bay and it's a writer's festival! Probably enough said...but I'm a writer so I'll elaborate anyway...

Writing is often a solitary pursuit and these opportunities to meet readers and fellow writers are exhilerating, inspiring and just plain fun. 

On Thursday evening I'll be at the Opening Dinner for the festival where I will no doubt have many "OMG-isn't-that-[insert famous author here]" moments.  Can't make any promises but I will try to be dignified.

On Friday I'll be attending the launch of John M. Green's fabulous new thriller Born to Run.  As well as being a talented writer, John is one of my very favourite people and I am looking forward to applauding his latest work into the literary world.

On Saturday I'll be speaking with Leslie Cannold (The Book of Rachael) and Jesse Blackadder (The Raven's Heart) on a panel entitled Using History as a Springboard for Fiction (2.45pm - Red Marquee) chaired by the warm and wonderful Edna Carew (who like Rowland Sinclair's Edna, is called Ed). 

On Sunday, Ashley Hay (The Body in the Clouds) and I will be speaking with the winner of the Varuna LitLink Award and Moya Costello about A Career's Progression (2pm - Chatroom A).  I met Ashley when our books were both short-listed for the Commonwealth Writer's Prize.  Coincidentally both our novels had the Sydney Harbour Bridge at their centres, and I remember Ashley joking that we would probably meet again at "some bridge panel".  Not quite...but I am looking forward to catching up with her.

Two years ago I last attended the Byron Bay Writers Festival.  That was before signing with Pantera Press.  I don't think I'd ever met a published writer before.  I remember how inspiring, fascinating and daunting the festival was.  Things have changed a bit since then.  This year I'm attending as writer and a guest of the festival.  I'm still inspired, fascinated and a little daunted.

In other news, A Decline in Prophets was reviewed in this month's Women's Weekly.  For someone whose novels weave through and around so many great Australian icons, this is really lovely...or as Rowland would say - "Smashing!".