I'm off to Boston!
Yes, it's true! Thanks to funding from the University of Auckland (School of Humanities Research Fund), I'm off to Boston to attend the American Library Association (ALA) midwinter conference in January. Find out more about the ALA midwinter conference here.
My publisher, Month9books, has invited me. Up to 10,000 librarians from around the States (and the world) will be there. The young adult fiction I write has applications in the classroom. My publisher wants to get me in front of these librarians (either on panels or as a guest speaker) to discuss 'Fictionalising mythology for YA audiences'. I'm also extremely interested in discussing the 'Evolution of monsters in mythology and fiction' (a possible PhD topic).
This has all come about from enrolling in the MCW (Masters in Creative Writing). The course has not only made me a better writer, but it has created opportunities. The University wrote a press release about me and my work. On the back of that, the NZ film commission has been in contact with the goal of introducing me to leading New Zealand producers/production companies to option my work for screen adaptation and to explore the prospect of developing new projects for screen. To say that I am excited is an understatement but I need to be cool. A Hollywood studio approached me about Rapture a couple of years ago but nothing came of it -- so I don't want to get my hopes up. I also have some more exciting news but I'm not allowed to say yet.
Admittedly, these opportunities haven't just fallen in my lap. I'm doing the course in the first place because I was successful in applying for a sabbatical from the Ministry of Education. My lecturer, Dr. Paula Morris told me that she gets occasional comments like she is 'lucky' getting residencies to exotic locations or funding to research or write a book. There's no such thing as luck. You work hard and you apply for things.
I applied to the NZ book council for this and they knocked me back. Creative NZ doesn't cover international travel to conferences (even to promote NZ fiction on a worldwide stage). I felt despondent and a little depressed by this response. But then this opportunity came up, I applied and the University of Auckland said yes. I'm impressed by how progressive and supportive they are. It's a great opportunity and I would particularly like to acknowledge Dr. Paula Morris, Associate Professor Malcolm Campbell and Professor Tony Spalinger.
More for me to keep track of things (I really have very little idea of what's going on here), here is the official blog tour for Minotaur
presented by Month9Books
and hosted by Chapter by Chapter!
This Review Tour will run from Sept. 28-Oct 11, 2015.
Sept 28, 2015 Books and Ladders – Guest Post
Sept 28, 2015 Bitches n Prose – Spotlight/Promo
Sept 28, 2015 Ogitchida Kwe’s Book Blog – Spotlight/Promo
Sept 29, 2015 Coffee Books & Art – Spotlight/Promo
Sept 29, 2015 Kelly P’s Blog – Spotlight/Promo
Sept 30, 2015 On Writing and Riding – Spotlight/Promo
Sept 30, 2015 Mama Reads Hazel Sleeps – Guest Post
Sept 30, 2015 Illuminite Caliginosus – Spotlight/Promo
Oct 1, 2015 Crystal’s Chaotic Confessions – Spotlight/Promo
Oct 2, 2015 BooksChatter – Interview
Oct 2, 2015 Literary Obsessions – Guest Post
Oct 5, 2015 The Avid Book Collector – Spotlight/Promo
Oct 5, 2015 The Page Unbound – Spotlight/Promo
Oct 5, 2015 Mommabears Book Blog – Guest Post
Oct 6, 2015 Don’t Judge, Read – Interview
Oct 6, 2015 Lisa T. Cresswell – Guest Post
Oct 6, 2015 WS Momma Readers Nook – Spotlight/Promo
Oct 7, 2015 Seraphina Reads – Guest Post
Oct 7, 2015 A Fold in the Spine – Spotlight/Promo
Oct 8, 2015 Book Lovers Life – Spotlight/Promo
Oct 8, 2015 Kimber Leigh Writes – Guest Post
Oct 9, 2015 A Book Addict’s Bookshelves – Spotlight/Promo
Oct 9, 2015 YA Chit Chat – Guest Post
And here's the review schedule (which has already started obviously - duh!)
This Review Tour will run from September 21-25, 2015.
Monday, September 21, 2015 The A P Book Club
Monday, September 21, 2015 YA Chit Chat
Tuesday, September 22, 2015 Books of Love
Tuesday, September 22, 2015 Cloud Nine Girl
Wednesday, September 23, 2015 Mama Reads Hazel Reads
Thursday, September 24, 2015 OriginiquEquanimity
Thursday, September 24, 2015 Karen lee hallam
Friday, September 25, 2015 Book Lovers Life
Friday, September 25, 2015 Kelly P’s Blog
Friday, September 25, 2015 Books and Authors
I have almost finished my Masters in Creative Writing at the University of Auckland. In other words, deadlines are looming, my thesis is due.
This is generally a time to panic.
My thesis is in the form of a novel. Now, for all intents and purposes, the novel is complete. ‘Complete’ and ‘Finished’ are two entirely different concepts however. I am still in what authors call the rewrite and editing phase.
Some authors like doing this. Some view it as the ‘fun part’. I don’t. I would rather create something new than remould something old. Frankly, I would prefer to be in Hell having my nose hairs plucked. But it’s part of the creative process and has to be done.
Writing a novel is a tiring, exhilarating, soul-destroying, emotional roller coaster ride, especially when you are currently working on version No. 6.
In order to deal with it (and especially rewrites), an author uses a variety of strategies. Foremost amongst them is procrastination. Some would call it work avoidance.
Procrastination takes many forms. The interweb is an enabler. Procrastination and the interweb are very good friends. My lecturer, Paula Morris, tells me that she does not let herself on the interweb until after 3pm. I am not so strong. Before I start a day’s writing, I check a variety of on-line distractions. First, I check my bank balance in the forlorn hope that some mysterious benefactor has deposited a large amount of money. Sometimes I hope that one of my royalty cheques will be large enough to write full-time. I’m still holding out for that day.
Then, I read my emails. In particular, I’m usually looking for something from my agent that is linked to the paragraph above.
Next, I check facebook. This can take some time. I closely examine my author page and see if I have any more likes. Then I check to see if any other authors I know have had any likes. Then I click on links to see if there’s anything interesting. There usually is. This is what I like to call ‘research.’
Then I check twitter. This also takes some time. I often toy with the idea of tweeting, even going so far as to write one. Then I find that it’s not very interesting or funny and delete it. I find it much more enjoyable to read other author’s tweets, authors who all seem to be far more funny and interesting than me.
Then there’s goodreads. I call it the black hole of Calcutta. There’s reviews to read (of my books and those of my peers), other books to find, other authors to check out, links to their webpages. All very interesting.
Actual words written so far: 0
After that, I go onto Amazon’s author central to see how many sales I’ve made the previous night. Often, I think about tweaking my author profile before discarding the idea as blatantly stupid. There’s really nothing I can say about myself that will make me darkly mysterious or even vaguely cool.
Finally, I crack my knuckles, lean forward, fingers poised above the keyboard as though I’m about to play a challenging piece by Mozart, and begin typing, praying that it is not today that my Muse abandons me.
If she does, it’s not the end of the world. That’s a whole different genre.
Phillip W. Simpson’s latest YA novel, Minotaur, is out with Month9books on September 29th.
Phillip W. Simpson
Phillip W. Simpson is an author of YA and children's books.