Friday, February 09, 2007

Book Designs

My new book, "Sixth Grade Style Queen (Not!)", is coming out in May and we are up to page proofs. Normally I think I would have done these earlier, but the book has a very interesting page design and the publisher (which means the editors and designer) have been experimenting and trying out new things.
It's fascinating to see how this concept has developed, and then to see other publishers doing similar things. I picked up a copy of "Cathy's Book" a couple of weeks ago and it has been created to look like a girl's everyday school book, with a hard, black cover and the book inside like a notebook with doodles all over it, plus a pocket with other stuff inside the cover. I haven't read the book yet - it's a diary - so can't comment on the quality of the story. Yet.
I've just finished reading "Searching for the Secret River" by Kate Grenville, which is about the research and writing process for her novel "The Secret River". She details how she went about finding out information on her great-great-great grandfather, Solomon Wiseman, and how eventually the non-fiction book became a novel, in order to tell a story. A very interesting book if you like to write historical fiction. I have been to Wiseman's Ferry near Sydney and remember enough of it to be able to visualise what she writes about. It also helps that she is terrific at description!
Also have almost finished "The Silent War" - another of those books about crims and cops in Victoria in the 1980s and early 1990s (true crime). Quite a bit of the material has been in other books I've read, so the authors must be doing well from the same stories. It's one form of research, but the State Library newspaper files will probably be more useful. And interviewing a police detective is top of my list!
Went to see "Miss Potter" the other day and loved it. A five star movie for me.
Writing is in "struggle phase". It took me 5 hours to squeeze out 1700 words on Wednesday (admittedly there were interruptions, but still...) whereas on a good day I often write 2000 in an hour. But I am at that point where I need to make sure I'm not creating plot boo-boos that will affect the rest of the book, so slow and steady is probably the way to go.
And as it's only 9 days until teaching starts, I'm using the available brain power while it's there!

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