Maya's October Newsletter with a giveaway, writing tips and great news
Hope this finds you all getting into the swing of spring! There's some great news, a giveaway, behind the scenes snippets, a whole heap of gorgeous biscuits to make you smile, plus a few pointers for aspiring authors.
Happy reading, folks! x Maya
More books coming your way
The highlight of my September was sharing the news I've been keeping under my belt for the last month - signing contracts for another two novels with Allen & Unwin! Big thanks for all the online messages of congratulations. For everyone who wrote asking about Diana's story - rest assured it will be coming to a bookstore near you in winter 2022, right after Lara's story in 2021. I'll also be coming up with a completely new setting and farming family for my 2023 rural romance. Woohoo!
Five fast minutes with Monica McInerney
As a longtime fan, it gives me great pleasure to welcome Monica to the blog this month! I've been reading Monica's Irish-Australian stories for many years. I was thrilled to get my hot little hands on an early copy of her new novel, The Godmothers, which hit the shelves on September 29.
Another rich tale about family, love and friendship, The Godmothers takes readers from Australia to England, Ireland and Scotland as Eliza Miller tries to track down her lost past. Flanked by her loving godmothers, and spurred on by snippets of secrets and stories from her late mother, Eliza embarks on a whirlwind adventure. The cast of flamboyant characters is painted with McInerney's trademark style.
Click here to read more on Monica's new bestseller, the motivating power of bad reviews and her favourite weekday dinner dish. Contest to win a copy, thanks to Penguin Random House NOW CLOSED.
COMING UP - Crime fans - get ready! I have Chris Hammer lined up for next month's author spotlight. There's also some extra special pre-Christmas giveaways in the pipeline. Feel free to forward these newsletters to your book-loving friends so they don't miss out!
Helpers over my back fence
As an author, I adore reading the acknowledgements section of a book. In fact, I often read that bit before the novel, so I can picture the people who played a key role in making the story come to life. In my next few newsletters, I'll introduce you to a few of the fabulous folks in the acknowledgments of Bottlebrush Creek.
First up are my neighbours, Karena (left), Heather and Tony (middle) and Katrina (right). These four are my over-the-fence cheerleaders, enquiring about characters, lending me books and sneaking me interesting snippets that might one day lend themselves to a plot point. I feel lucky to have friends who chat about writing over the fence (and in non-Covid times, over glasses of wine or during long walks along the beach)!
Aspiring writers corner
I'm often asked about advice for aspiring writers. I sprinkle my tips throughout my author talks and interviews , but I also quite liked this presentation by Fiona Lowe for Kingston Libraries about developing your writing career. Then there's this interview with Harper Collins publisher Catherine Milne on Shelley Gardner's blog The Author Stalker, including her advice on getting your manuscript noticed. And if you're not following Sally Hepworth on Instagram, it's worth checking out her Writerly Wednesday segment.
An avalanche of yo-yos!
I can't get enough of your baking photos! Big thanks to Claudine, Cate, Chrissie, Holly, Sarah, Ava and Bron for the above pictures, made using this recipe from my website.
I've also been part of two online Baking & Beverages events with a lovely group of ladies. I had a ball teaching Amy and her keen baking friends how to make my yo-yos and scones! Keep me posted if you make any recipes from the blog, I'd love to know how you found them.
On the home stretch in country Victoria
I'm finding plenty of reasons to smile this month. Lockdown is almost over, the bees are buzzing around my garden and the days are getting longer. I've got little dahlia, onion and garlic seedlings poking their heads through the soil. There's teeny little snow peas on the trellises. Foxgloves, beetroot, rhubarb and coriander are going gangbusters, and my roses are budding up and blooming along with the purple, burgundy and blue irises.
I was also thrilled to have a visit from one of my favourite authors, Fiona Lowe, last weekend. She came bearing hellebore seedlings from her garden, champagne and yo-yo biscuits. It's the first time we've had piano-playing visitors since we bought the piano in Lockdown 1.0. So nice to have the house full of music! We played tour guides in our own backyard and had a lovely time talking books and writing.
We celebrated a birthday in our household this week, which of course involved a big cake (modelled on a hippo this year) and making and collecting presents. Books are always an easy choice, and we sewed a sweet little apron for Miss 10 to go with her very first 'proper' cook book. Already, our little MasterChef has whipped up Donna Hay's French toast, aranchini balls, pancakes and milkshakes. Can't wait to see what's next!
With restrictions easing in SW Vic, we've had several fun day trips. Highlights included a visit to Nigretta Falls (had to laugh when my eight-year-old proudly proclaimed she'd been to Niagra Falls), Timboon (their distillery and ice creams are fab), and Budj Bim National Park (where the big surprise of hiking around Lake Surprise was the sheer size of the thing!). Everyone in our house is excited about school starting on Tuesday. Fingers crossed we manage more than a fortnight without being banished back to home schooling!
In terms of writing, I'm nearly at the halfway point of Diana's novel. It's lovely exploring the world of flower farming (all for the purpose of the 2022 book research of course). I've also been writing with friends on Fridays (who knew Zoom writing sessions would be so productive?!?) and I anticipate oodles more writing when I have the house to myself next week.
I hope this finds you all well and smiling, with bees, flowers and sunshine in your days too. Stay cheerful and brace yourselves for some fantastic giveaways next month!
Love, Maya x
PS Winners of the September giveaways were Meagan Whitehead, Rachel Crossley and Bev Shute.