Posted in Australian fiction, awards, beautiful monster, Crashing Down, cyber bullying, Destroying Avalon, Fremantle Press, Getting published, In Ecstasy, Kate McCaffrey, literary appearances, Saving Jazz, The Australian Therapists' Award, WritingWA

Book Talks 2019: An Open Invitation

Dear Schools and Libraries,

It’s now time to start thinking about booking your guest speakers for 2019.

I am available for classroom talks, seminars and workshops.

I can discuss the issues in my novels: cyberbullying, drugs, eating disorders, mental health, teenage issues, as well as the road to publication and the life of an author. I can deliver Professional Development in Creative Writing to English teachers, as well as Creative Writing workshops for students.

Don’t delay! Book now for 2019.

Cheers,

Kate

Advertisements
Posted in Australian fiction, Books, cyber bullying, cyber bullying resources, Fremantle Press, friendship, Getting published, Kate McCaffrey, Lamont's Standing Order, Penguin Books, Saving Jazz, teacher librarians, teachers, teaching notes, Uncategorized, writing, WritingWA

Saving Jazz Book Launch

 

SJ banner

It was a great turn out on Tuesday night- despite the wet weather and the Census Epic Fail. About 150 guests turned up to greet Saving Jazz as she enters the world!

My thanks to Catherine Kolomyjec and her team at Sacred Heart for all their work. Peter Bothe ( and Trevor Lynch) for so graciously allowing Sacred Heart to host it. Justin Whitt for an amazing job as the official launcher. Bianca, Zoe, Anthony for their contributions on the night. All of my students who had an input and interest in the development of the novel. Fremantle Press, in particular Cate – for her ongoing support and Naama for her meticulous editing and appreciation of who Jazz is.

And Jasmine Lovely is officially here…

Justin SJ

Justin Whitt

Kris Norman SJ

Kris Williams and Norman Jorgensen

SJ launch

Dymocks

Posted in Australian fiction, cyber bullying, Fremantle Press, Getting published, Lamont's Standing Order, Magpies, ReadPlus, reviews, Saving Jazz, teacher librarians, teachers, Uncategorized, writing, WritingWA

Reviews Saving Jazz

The book launch is nearly upon us and the reviews are starting to come out… so far, so good…

Writing WA:  Love to Read Local

In Saving Jazz, the lives of Jasmine Lovely and her friends are destroyed after a sexual assault at a party goes viral. The narrative takes us beyond the immediate aftermath of the assault and shows its long-term consequences, as well as the complicated moral landscape Jazz finds herself traversing. The novel deals with gender relations, the power of the internet, and personal responsibility in a comprehensive and compelling way; this is a book that will keep you up all night and keep you thinking for weeks afterwards. Saving Jazz is McCaffrey’s most powerful book yet, and it deserves to be widely read and discussed.

Magpies
Kate McCaffrey is known for tackling issues that may be prevalent in the lives of young adults, sometimes before these issues are recognised in the wider community. She has explored cyber bullying, drug use, abortion and eating disorders. Her new novel Saving Jazz is so confronting it gave me nightmares, but this should not deter people from reading it (except maybe at night) because it is an important cautionary tale.
Lamont’s Standing Order
Kate McCaffrey writes hard hitting, contemporary issue based novels and Saving Jazz is precisely that.
Jazz lives in a small, reasonably well off community north of Perth, where you make your own fun. This all gets out of control, when at an alcohol fuelled party, things are done to Jazz’s best friend Annie that Jazz had a part in at the start.
When one of the boys boastfully posts photo’s and eventually a video that lead to scorn for Annie and Jazz and rape charges for three people, including Jazz, their worlds are forever changed.
We see the result of this bad decision and its far reaching, devastating effects on all their lives.
The subject matter of this book probably makes it best suited for older secondary students, but in some ways, younger mature students would certainly understand the precautionary tale that is being presented.Well written, insightful and wholly believable, Saving Jazz can change attitudes and actions that could indeed save some.

Read Plus
McCaffrey has written a book that will be hugely popular, gaining an audience through word of mouth, readers taking to heart this cautionary tale comparing it with the ‘what might have been’ in their own lives and questioning the role of social media in their lives.
Posted in cyber bullying, Fragments of Life, Fremantle Press, Getting published, Kate McCaffrey, Saving Jazz, teacher librarians, teachers, The Australian Therapists' Award, Uncategorized

Saving Jazz

Saving Jazz coverHere it is, my latest novel, and to date, my favourite yet.  The novel is written as a blog, from the point of view of Jasmine…

Post 1: In the beginning

My name is Jasmine Lovely, Jazz usually (unlessI’m in trouble), and I’m a rapist. In fact, I’m guilty
of more than just rape but, as my lawyer says, in the interests of judicial fairness, we can’t be prejudicial. It’s hard enough to admit to rape. As a girl, it’s exceptionally hard. People look at you blankly. Not that it’s something I admit to in company, like I just did to you. I don’t normally preface my introductions with that abrupt statement, and I’m not part of a self-help group, where you hold your hand up, state your name, then your addiction, affliction, crime.
But this is the truth. I’m sixteen now, but twelve months ago that is what I did, I raped a girl. Her name was Annie Townshend. I could sound all David Copperfield and say, ‘To begin my life with the beginning of my life, I record that I was born (as I have been informed and believe) on a Friday,’ but I’m not recording this as an act of prosperity. In fact, I’m really just creating this blog to address everything. This platform is where things began, so I guess this is where I set the record straight.

The novel is Jazz looking back on an event that went viral, one that shaped her existence…

This is what Fragments of Life had to say about it…

 

Upon cracking open Saving Jazz, I did not know, exactly, what to expect. After the first chapter, Saving Jazz instantly cemented its spot on my list of favorite YA contemporary novels. The writing itself was beautiful and fluid. The storytelling was on point, spiraling in and out of the dramatics, the scandals and the tragedies of the lives of the characters. McCaffrey laid out an entertaining cast; each one of the characters was perfectly realistic, a blend of the good and the bad, a study of gray areas. I won’t dig too deep into their characters in this review, so as not to spoil you, my dear readers.

Jazzmine was a flawed and lovable character. At the beginning of her blog posts, I was able to see a Jazzmine who was determined to fit in well with her peers, at her school and in her community. She tried to be as pleasing as she could be, with her pretty face, her pleasing personality and her high grades. She ran with the popular crowd. She partied hard like the rest of the Greenheads. However, unlike her meaner friends, Jazz actually had a heart. She was really bothered by the way boys viewed girls, like they were objects. She was also bothered by the slut-shaming going on in her school, as manifested in social media platforms Facebook and Snapchat.

Jazzmine’s involvement in the Greenhead party, the night that changed everything, would be an integral albeit painful part of her life. I liked her growth and transformation throughout the book. After the whole thing blew up, Jazzmine’s parents kept her isolated in their home. Jazz felt the distance between her and her parents, as if they couldn’t quite look at her. She also lost her two closest friends, Annie, the victim, and Jack, her longtime best friend. She felt alone in all of the chaos and the roller coaster of emotions. I liked how Jazz took the long but difficult road after the incident. She tried to fix her life and get back on track, even if the road itself was already crumbling to dust. Through it all, she has matured and could then look at the world from a different perspective.

I liked how friendship was discussed and dissected in Saving Jazz, especially between Jazz and Jack and between Jazz and Annie. Jazz and Jack have been friends for years, since the first day of Jazzmine at her new school. Jack has been with her through the good times and the bad times. He held her hand during her first period. He defended her when someone picked on her. Jack was a constant in her life, always there by her side. As Jack and Jazz grew up, things started to change. I really loved how the author dissected Jazz and Jack’s friendship through all the things they have been through.

Frank was one of the reasons why I liked this book so much. He was a cheerful, charming and handsome barista. He was the love interest. Although he was just found in small scenes, I found his presence in the book to be overwhelmingly inspiring. He worked at Chicco, the best coffee shop in the area. As a coffee lover myself, who has spent hours and hours in cafes, I enjoyed the sections with Frank and Jazz in the coffee shop. It was a breather from all the heavy emotional, guilt-stricken plot. The author balanced out the good and the bad with enough charm and humor.

In the end, I gave Saving Jazz 4.5 cupids because I was beginning to forget some of the small details of the book a few days after reading the novel. Saving Jazz is a gritty, suspenseful contemporary that delves into the side of humanity that is linked and almost always submerged in the waters of social media. Although I knew what was supposed to happen, as Jazzmine took us back to the past with her blog posts, the author managed to keep me sitting at the edge of my seat, with goosebumps on my arms and my heart accelerating. It was a quick read that had me immersed and lost into Jazzmine’s world. The writing was hypnotic and the plot was fluid. There was never a dull moment. I felt like I was riding an almost never ending roller coaster of emotions, zooming through the feeling of being betrayed, guilt, love, loss and the sense of being broken. I highly recommend it to readers of contemporary (particularly Australian contemporary), readers who are looking for pop culture references and a more modern take on realistic stories, and readers who are looking for books that tackle relationships.

Many thanks to Precious for this wonderful review.
But wait, there’s more… Saving Jazz is being launched in August… and then there is another baby out there in the world… Go gurl…
Posted in Australian fiction, Buzz Words, Crashing Down, Fremantle Press, Getting published, Kate McCaffrey, Neridah McMullin, Uncategorized, writing

Another Review- thank you Neridah McMullin

Crashing Down

Crashing Down by Kate McCaffrey (Fremantle Press)
PB RRP $19.99
ISBN 9-781-922-089-854
Reviewed by Neridah McMullin

Crashing Down is an engaging, insightful and realistic read for teenagers and adults alike.

This story is fast paced and fun and McCaffrey uses common turns of phrase that are engaging and accessible to today’s teenagers. Her writing voice and narrative is strong and genuine and written in an Australian cultural context that we would all understand.

Lucy is in Year 12 and under pressure to succeed. The last thing she needs is an intense boyfriend. So Lucy innocently breaks up with Carl at the school dance. She admits it wasn’t great timing with exams coming up, but it felt like the only way to keep her dreams on track.

Things haven’t been great with her and Carl for a while now and she knows this is the right thing to do. She feels completely smothered by him and his expectations of the future are so very different to her own. All he can talk about is living locally, with no plans of university, settling down and having kids.

Unfortunately some good decisions can have bad consequences.

Carl leaves the dance angry and hurt and stoned. Driving recklessly, he crashes his car, badly smashing up not only himself but also his best mate JD.

After coming out of his coma, Carl is a changed man. As a result of his brain injury, he’s angry and paranoid and acting completely irrationally. And he can’t remember breaking up with Lucy. She doesn’t want to hurt him so she keeps up the pretense.

Everyone is extremely upset and then McCaffrey throws in a curve ball that will send you into a spin: Lucy is pregnant. She tells Carl she doesn’t want to keep it and he has a brain aneurism! His parents then slap an ‘injunction order’ on Lucy to stop her from having the baby aborted.

Wow, this story has got it all. It’s fast past with a winding plot and complex characters. Even so it raises some valid questions about how these situations could be handled.

Crashing Down is written in a distinctive and engaging style and is thoroughly recommended to Young Adult readers.

This is Kate McCaffrey’s second novel and now I’m going to track down her first book to read!

Neridah McMullin is the author of five books for children. Her next book is an Indigenous folklore story called ‘Kick it to Me’. It’s an ‘aussie rules’ story that’s being endorsed by the Australian Football League. Neridah loves family, footy and doing yoga with her cat Carlos (who also happens to love footy!).

Posted in Australian fiction, Books, Crashing Down, Fremantle Press, Getting published, Kate McCaffrey, Literary Awards, Media Appearances, writing

Crashing Down Launch

It seems appropriate to update this blog with the biggest news of late- my fourth novel Crashing Down was launched last night at Sacred Heart College Sorrento. It was a fantastic night, a turn out of about 140 people ranging from students, teachers, parents through to industry folk- oh, and of course, family and friends. Catherine Kolomyjec did an awesome job organising the event, aided by Emma Killian and supported by some of my Year 10 Lit kids- who were absolute standouts both in front of, and behind, the camera. News from my publisher is that the first print run of Crashing Down is already 3/4 sold! Not bad news to hear on the night of the launch.

Jan Nichols, in top form, dressed as a midwife to “birth” the new baby (the theme of the book being teen pregnancy). The celebrity guest in Norman Jorgensson (Jack’s Island and The Last Viking- to be launched in September at the State Library)  was a true crowd pleaser.

The reviews are coming in- the latest can be accessed via this link

https://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/entertainment/a/24687616/pregnant-teen-faces-choices/

And so, a good night was had by all!!

CD Book Launch CD Book Launch 2 CD Book Launch 3 CD Book Launch 4 CD Book Launch 5 CD Book Launch 6 CD Book Launch 7 CD Book Launch 8 CD Book Launch 9 CD Book Launch 10 CD Book Launch 11 CD Book Launch 12 CD Book Launch 13 CD Book Launch 14 CD Book Launch 15

Posted in Books, Destroying Avalon, Getting published, In Ecstasy, Kununurra's Wrtiter's Festival, literary appearances, writing

Where do we go from here?

Hi it’s me! So latest updates- as that is all I’m good for! Look, at the risk of sounding like I’m apologising- which as I’ve stated previously I’d never do for fear of insulting your intelligence– thought I’d update the latest news I have. ‘in ecstasy’ has been released in North America- and so far so good- no bad reviews (yet!!) Destroying Avalon shows no sign of that shelf life we worried about- unfortunately (for kids) cyber bullying goes from strength to strength-I just hope that someone, somewhere gets something out of the book that changes the path they’re on. It’ll be released in Hungary this year (I share JK’s publisher!!!) Also still have film option on it– so who knows there?

A few appearances coming up- in mid July I have Kununnarra’s Writer’s Festival- never been to the Kimberley– so that’s exciting. August is book week- and I’m doing a few libraries in Perth (my birthday is also in that week!!!)

New book! Yes, there really is one– two in fact. Let’s talk about one first. ‘Murder Within’ is its working name and is under contract with Fremantle Press for an April 2010 release. It’s done- and ready for edit and production- it’s the third in my YA angsty teeen fiction- though I  (and the publisher) both believe it is more psychological and less ‘issues’ based than the other two.

Book Four? I hear you ask– well now for something completely different. I have moved away from teen angst to enter the Contemporary Fantasy realm. For me this is interesting- and as yet I’m unsure as to whether it is successful. It’s at 25000 words and to paraphrase my ex- Masters tutor– it has a heartbeat. But whether others (publishers) will detect that remains to be seen. It is a genre I’m not in love with-as a reader-fantasy. Which poses the question why on Earth would I attempt it? Well, let me set the record straight- I never liked fantasy because it always seemed like too much hard work. Remembering worlds and monarchies- people and types, was always too hard.I hated having to look at the map and glossary to figure out what was going on. Okay- call me lazy, but I guess I am. My fantsy story could be categorised as contemporary fantasy- no ‘other world’ names and types just a parallel world if you like, set in contemporary times. But for me, it gets better. For this story I research Irish mythology- and in case you’ve not made the connection- McCaffrey is an Irish name. So I was able to explore my ‘roots’ mythological and geneological to write this one and its been fun and interesting.

Like I said it doesn’t have a publisher yet- in fact it’s unfinished. But I’m enjoying the change and the different focus. We’ll wait and see.

That’s me- how are you travelling?

Posted in Books, drugs, friendship, Getting published, In Ecstasy, Uncategorized, writing

Humble Apologies

xtc-back-cover.jpgxtc-front-cover.jpg

Well here it is! What do you think? If you click on them I think they get bigger!!

And I’m so sorry it’s been two months since my last posting (that reads a lot like a confession doesn’t it?) but in all honesty I’ve been so immersed in writing things I haven’t had a chance to write anything else….

Let me bring you up to date in the World According to Kate….

In Ecstasy is done and dusted. Packaged, sealed and emailed to the printers this week! HOOORRRAAAYYY!!!!!

It’s been quite a long and arduous process and goes to show how different the birthing of each book can be. Of course things were always going to be different- but I guess once you’ve done something once, you have a set of expectations.

With In Ecstasy I had a choice- when it went to first edit- would I allow the editor to edit only the hardcopy or edit directly onto the computer screen? I said it was fine to change the digital copy… that was my first mistake. I had no idea how disconcerting it would be to read my book already edited- with all the changes hidden. When the editor works directly onto hard copy with both red pen and lead pencil the changes (and therefore the reason for change) is apparent. But this way it was like reading someone else’s book.

This process occured again with the copy editor- who also made invisble changes… I have learnt that I do not like the hidden change. That’s not to say I think I’m above editorial change- I’m not, I welcome it, it’s just I like to see where and why the change is being made. Then I can accept, reject or modify the alteration.

I must say there was a point there where I was totally fed up with the work, tired of reading it, or re-writing it… It had lost its shine. But then, it came back to me for final proof– after hours of sitting shoulder to shoulder with the publisher working through the final changes and I liked it! I really did. By the final edit, we’d managed to recapture all the best parts of my work and alter all the worst….

It was a very long process, but it made it there. And another thing I’ve learnt now, is how I like to have my books edited. And thankfully I have a great publisher who is not satisfied unless I’m happy with the words. So the final say always came back to me… which is a huge relief to know. You don’t relinquish control of your book when you sign on the dotted line.

But anyway, what do you think of the new cover and blurb?

Posted in Books, Destroying Avalon, Getting published, In Ecstasy, Uncategorized, writing

Insecurities of Writing

A couple of weeks ago I handed over my manuscript to my editor– after a big structural reworking. It had required a lot of re-writing, development etc to address the points (and there were at least 6 pages of points) from our editorial meeting.

The problem is once I’m home, letting go of particular phrases I might like the sound of because they don’t fit, or having to change aspects of the plot and therefore lose some element I like can prove quite hard. However, I try very hard to ‘let go’ and use my editor’s criticism to develop the novel.

I recently finished reading a mammoth novel (not about woolly creatures) but around 450 pages in length. It is by a ‘brand name’ author– incredibly successful and prolific. I hated it. There were passages that ‘clunked’ , descriptions that were cringe worthy, character development that was totally ludicrous and I came to the conclusion that good writing is like beautiful light fittings– the lovelier they are the less you notice them– the more ostentatious and elaborate the more intrusive they feel. I wonder if once an author reaches a certain level they just don’t listen to their editor any more– or maybe an editor is too ‘in awe’ to really comment. Then, do very successful writers get worse– the more they write?

I’m probably suffering from second book syndrome– the fear that the second will not live up to the first. And worse that it might not surpass it. I remember listening to Tim Winton on writing and he was asked “have you written your best work yet?” I remember slapping my steering wheel (I was driving at the time!!) and declaring loudly– for him, “Of course not.” To my mind no one has ever produced their best work until they are dead– otherwise what’s the point in trying?? But he was a little more (humble?) reserved in his answer– and said “May be not yet.”

So, my editor rang me today– to ask if she could edit directly onto the computer screen (as opposed to hard copy– which I then accept or reject). Of course I said– go for it. Anything that sounds awkward or laboured cut it– go to work with that editorial pen and carve the sucker up. I want to become a better writer– not a worse one. Besides behind every successful novel there has to be a good writer but an even better editor.