As I Am

She knew she was alive the day her daughter died . . .

As I Am (working title - perhaps you can think of a better one!) is about how a woman named Clare deals with a tragic loss in her life, and how a man, called Jack, who's had his own share of bad luck, joins her on her journey.

And I'm not just talking about the characters' inner journeys. There's a physical journey involving an actual car, on an actual road, traveling north along the Australian coast to find Clare's missing husband Charlie who is coping with his grief in his own way.

There are sugar cane fields, a Chinese restaurant with decor dated 1975, waves as big as houses, and a discovery that leaves Clare and Jack questioning their place in each other's lives.

It's a story about grief and friendship, what makes a family, which lollies really are best for road trips, and of course, love.

I can't wait for you all to read the finished novel.

Actually, I can't wait to read it myself!

As I Am was shortlisted for the 2017 Richell Prize for Emerging Authors and won the Highly Commended category - a 12 month mentorship with Hachette Australia.

Path To Publication

All I ever wanted to do was write a novel but, like many wannabe authors, I rarely got past the first few pages. The muse was a fickle wench who barely deigned to show up and my inner editor was too bossy, like that canteen lady we've all been on duty with, who insists that tomatoes only be sliced, never diced or pureed.

Then in 2009 I embarked on NaNoWriMo and, woah, what a revelation! Write 50,000 words in a month, they said. Don't edit, not even one single little bit, they said. It'll be fun! they said. And in that month of writing 1667 words a day, I learned to completely let go and just WRITE. THE. WORDS.

So I wrote those 50,000 (that's half a novel people!) and then . . . ? Oh yes, that's right, I had one of those mid-life crises where women stop short in their active wear and sob I forgot to have another child. So I ran straight to the nearest IVF clinic and twelve months later I was a 42 year old with a newborn and half a novel in a drawer.

I didn't pick the novel up again until February 2014 when I also picked up a fabulous new friendship with Meredith Jaffé who took on the role of butt-kicking mentor.

I also started learning from other experts.

My mantras became . . .

"Write fast, edit slow" Allison Tait

"Done is better than good" Elizabeth Gilbert

"Stop drinking cappuccinos and get back to the writing Mish!" (said in a bossy voice) Meredith Jaffé.

So here we are. Done with the word count. But not done with the novel. Winning the Richell Prize is a wonderful opportunity to work with a professional editor at Hachette Australia and really knock this book into shape over the next 12 months.

Stay tuned!

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