Hey, young readers, Happy New Year from a nervous grown-up

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What will I have written by the end of 2016?  Now that the Tales of Fontania are finished (the 4th, The Knot Impossible, is out already in New Zealand and Australia, out in March in the USA) it is time for me to try something new.

At the moment I’m packing my bags ready to take the ferry from Wellington NZ to the South Island. Then I’ll drive all the way down the east coast to Dunedin and Otago University for six months as the 2016 Children’s Writing Fellow. This still makes me blink with astonishment.

I told the University something about the new novel I hoped to write. I even showed them the first few pages of the first draft. They said, ‘Yay, we want you! Come down!’ (Um, they were rather more formal about it but they did sound excited, which was very flattering and made me super-excited too.) I had to keep the news deep-secret for months. That was extreeeemely hard.

But now – I’m nervous.  I’d rather scurry back to Fontania and the strange creatures that live in its forests and oceans. Already I miss the brave Fontanian children who struggled to sort out the muddles grownups were making of everything.

I have to tell myself – the new novel will have a different set of brave children. They too will struggle, make jokes and be bemused and amused by grown-ups. (After all I am still very bemused and amused by plenty of grown-ups.) When I’m finally in Dunedin in my own university office, maybe the ideas and action of this new novel and the jokes will begin to bubble in my brain and race out my fingertips through the keyboard and onto the screen.

Please send encouraging thoughts to beautiful Dunedin with its magical harbour and Otago University with its handsome clock tower – very gothic and even a bit Harry Potter-ish. I must post a photo of it on the blog very soon.

In the meantime here’s a shot of a performance of the Anarchists’ Marching Song from The Volume of Possible Endings. Rousing.

Marching Song 3