Thursday, April 15, 2010

Ten Years

On the first of May, it will be exactly ten years since my first novel, Feeling Sorry for Celia, was published.

Actually, ten years is not that long. Ten. It’s a cute little number. I remember when I turned ten. I was just a kid.

Anyhow, but ten years ago was the year 2000, and I was a lawyer in Sydney then. Everything was in good spirits that year. The ferry boats, the desk chairs, the dictaphones. All in a good mood. Boats bobbing, chairs spinning, dictaphones sitting on my desk with wry little smiles. Those down-turned smiles.

In 1999, I was drafting contracts to comply with the Year 2000 Disclosure Act. My name and number were listed on a pocket-size card headed Y2K Action Response Team.

But on New Year’s Eve, I stood on a Birchgrove rooftop watching fireworks, and nobody phoned for urgent legal advice.

I didn’t even have my phone switched on, to be honest.

And then it was the year 2000! And everything was cheerful. The contracts took a turn for the better. The Sydney Olympics were great! Everyone was worried but they turned out fine. The writer, Garth Nix, working as a literary agent at the time, sat opposite me in the café downstairs from my office—the one that closed down years ago, the one with the strange, inky spell—and told me with calm confidence, that he could get me publishers for Feeling Sorry for Celia. I didn’t believe him for a moment. I thought it was an elaborate hoax, like Y2K itself. But that’s what he did.

The year 2000, eh? That was years ago.

Ten years.

It’s a lifetime.

In celebration of the ten year anniversary, my Australian publishers are planning new editions of my books. The Ashbury books. I never set out to write a series about Ashbury High, but the books kept going back there. So now there are four.
In the UK and North America, beautiful new editions of the Ashbury books are already underway. I will show you the UK ones later, but here are some of the American covers, designed by the brilliant Elizabeth Parisi.

Ten years seems the right time to shift to a new series. This time I will do it on purpose. A five book series set partly in a Kingdom, and partly in the real world.

But I’ll tell you a secret. There’s something—a voice in my ear. There’s a great bird of prey just here on my shoulder, leaning in when I try to write. Its claws in my flesh, its voice in my ear—and you can’t start something new with a bird on your shoulder.

So I have a plan to get free of it. I’m going to write it away. Thirty blog posts in thirty days. Starting next week, I will write every day for a month. I plan to talk about the Ashbury books, and how I wrote them, and about a recent roadtrip to the Western Plains Zoo. And somehow, in the course of that, I’m going to let it go. Get free of it, that bird. Those talons, the voice, that weight.

Then I can start my new series— I want a character to walk out free and clear, I want him to be tossing a ball, a red ball, and his hat is woollen and dark grey, and he’s walking across snowy fields. Across white, white, white, white fields.


Blogger Nomes said...

Those new covers are really lovely. I already own all your books, but I know I will be tempted to purchase the new editions :)

I am so excited for a new five book series...but also grieving the end of the brookfield/ashbury high gang. I cant wait to meet a boy who walks across white, white, white, white fields. he sounds like my kind of guy...

4:41 PM  
Blogger Ellen Osborne said...

Very excited about all these future blog posts!

I will also be sad to bid farewell to the Ashbury gang! Can't wait for the next adventure though.

:D El

6:32 PM  
Blogger hayleyghoover said...

So excited for these upcoming blog posts. I can now say quite honestly (what with the death of J.D. Salinger) that you are my favorite living writer.

12:12 AM  
Anonymous TLC said...

Good Luck Jaclyn. I am looking forward to your posts and the new series. Love to Charlie x

6:30 PM  
Blogger Karen Mahoney said...

Really glad I found your blog thanks to your wonderful post over at Justine L's.

Um... that's all I have to say. For now. ;)


6:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

very excited to read these new blogs :)
farewell seb and charlie :'(
but hello! new series! hey!

5:46 PM  
Blogger Arielle said...

Woooooooooooooooooooo hooooooooooooooooooooooooo!

Your books are brilliant, and I cannot wait until the next series! I love the Ashbury books. All 4 of them. They are my favourite books in the universe. Literally.

Woooooooo hoooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!

I am very excited.

Did you notice!!??

11:10 AM  
OpenID saffronlie said...

Congratulations on ten years in publishing! I can't remember if I picked up Celia in 2000 or 2001, but I know I was in high school and I read it and reread it because it was helping me get through my own Ashbury experience.

2:45 AM  
Blogger Jaclyn Moriarty said...

You people are all wonderful. Nomes, I love you for liking the new boy before you have even met him; Hayley, you seem to have a gift for making me smile; Kaz, thanks for your comment here and over at Justine's blog, and for taking a chance on my books; Arielle, you are funny; and Saffron, I would like to hear more about your Ashbury. And everybody else, thank you so much for your lovely comments. Jx

3:36 PM  
OpenID clarehitchens said...

wonderful, wonderful news about re-releases and new series. We spoke once long ago because I coordinate the authors for teens at a writers' festival in southern Ontario (Canada). If you're touring in the future please keep us in mind (September).

3:11 AM  
Blogger Jaclyn Moriarty said...

Hi Clare, yes, I remember you, and yes, i will definitely keep you and your festival in mind the next time i'm planning to be in your neighbourhood. I'm keen to be back in your hemisphere soon, it's been too long. Hope you are well. Jx

5:07 PM  
Anonymous Tammy said...

i check back here out of habit and it is such a joy when you have new stuff on it :)

love your writing and very excited about your new books and sad that I already have your old ones so i can't buy the ones with pretty new covers :(

i discovered your books pretty soon after they came out - so i have been following your journey too, in a way! looking forward to many more lovely literary moments!

8:31 PM  

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