I have been remiss in my blogging efforts.
I know. Naughty.
In an effort to make good, I shall look back on the events of the last year or so. My school year is about to start so now is probably a good time to reflect.
2015 was a great year in many respects. Thanks to the Ministry of Education, I received study leave to complete my Masters in Creative Writing (MCW). It was a wonderful year where I could concentrate on my writing practice without having to juggle my teaching hat with my writing one. All very positive. I learnt a lot from Paula Morris as well as the other eleven students on the course. I’m a better writer and better able to teach writing as a result.
I had shoulder surgery where my tendon was reattached to the bone with three pins. Boxing will do that to you when you are in your mid 40’s. Recovery was slow and tedious and the inability to exercise frustrating. But I’m much better now and back on the exercise horse
Around home, we did some building work which did not go smoothly. But that’s over now and the less said, the better.
Minotaur, my first book with U.S publisher, Month9books, was released in September and has been getting (thankfully so far) favourable reviews.
Thanks to funding from the University of Auckland and Month9books, I was able to travel to Boston for the ALA midwinter conference. I was there to promote and sign copies of Minotaur. That was an amazing experience where I met some fantastic people including Jeff and Cynthia (from my distributors, IPG). I met some awesome librarians (hi Hope and Jennifer!). The conference was a blast. Certainly the biggest one I had ever been to before. And I loved Boston. I would jump at any opportunity to return. I was there for only 4 days. Interesting fact: I think I spent more time in an airplane or at an airport than I actually did in Boston.
My next book, Argos, got picked up by my publisher, Month9books, for an August 2016 release. I should receive editing any day now. I’ve also had some interest from movie studios about a few of my works.
The book I completed for my MCW, Titan, is with my agent. I’m three quarters into the sequel, Earthborn.
I wrote several pieces for magazines and educational publishers. One of those was an article for the Education gazette about my experiences in Boston. I wrote a whole book for Essential resources on narrative fiction writing.
My UK based artist collaborator, Mat Dawson and I completed our picture book, Over the Rainbow Bridge. We’ve also done the first 9 pages of the Rapture Graphic novel. We’re hoping to get these projects out there at some point this year.
So, by and large, a good year.
I’m looking forward to 2016 as well. I have a brand new class and new level which is always exciting. I’ve been setting up my class for the last week and a half. Just have to finish my paperwork now. School starts next week and both the teachers and the students get to ease into the year with only three days in the first week.
I took my son to see Star Wars. I loved it. He got scared but I still think he loved it. Despite my love of the movie, there were elements I found disturbing (not my lack of faith). [spoiler alert]. Another deathstar? Really. Come on. And there were an awful lot of convenient plot devices. But that's me. I'm picky.
Speaking of Jack, he starts school in 4 months and will be just across the courtyard from me. This will present other challenges as he will no longer be in daycare in the holidays (which is my writing time).
I feel refreshed after my sabbatical. Unfortunately, we are planning on doing some more building work which always makes me feel a little frayed around the edges.
I just hope it goes better this time around.
Phillip W. Simpson
Phillip W. Simpson is an author of YA and children's books.