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, beautiful monster, Crashing Down, Destroying Avalon, In Ecstasy, Kate McCaffrey, Uncategorized, writing

Crashing Down

 

My apologies for the wait between publications, but since Beautiful Monster was released in 2010, a lot of things got in the way- namely life! My dad died and that changed all the dynamics! Since then my family has made huge adjustments- moving houses, changing jobs, and all that fun stuff- but even though I wasn’t publishing- I was still writing. Now, the final proofs are in, the novel is at the printers- review copies are out. And so I’d like to announce to the world the birth of my fourth paperback baby… Crashing Down!

CRASHING DOWN

Lucy is in Year 12 and under pressure to succeed. The last thing she needs now is an intense boyfriend. Breaking up with Carl feels like the only way to keep her dreams on track.

 But good decisions can have bad consequences. 

 And leaving Carl is going to be a whole lot harder than Lucy could ever have imagined.

 

Posted in Book WInd, drugs, friendship, In Ecstasy, international rights, reviews

North American Review of In Ecstasy

Drugs: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

 People hear about hard-core drug addicts, maybe see them in movies or even know a few in or from their school. But what if that junkie was your best friend of fifteen years, and suddenly you didn’t know that person anymore?

In the book In Ecstasy by Kate McCaffrey, this is what happens between best friends, Sophie and Mia. Sophie is the popular one, while Mia is more reserved and shy. So one night at a party when Sophie decides to try ecstasy, Mia follows her lead. Sophie enjoys the high and has fun, but for Mia it’s a completely different world. Ecstasy gives her the courage and self-esteem she lacks on her own. She is able to socialize with the crowd and even finds herself talking to one of the most popular boys in school. Mia has the time of her life. The girls attend a few more parties together, and each time Mia is determined to take ecstasy as a way to become this new, improved person. Yet as the time goes on, Mia doesn’t need Sophie anymore. She becomes attached to her new boyfriend, Lewis, and even more attached to this other person she has started to become. Sophie tries rekindling their friendship but discovers the duo no longer has anything in common.

Mia begins taking more and more drugs in order to successfully be this happy, popular, carefree girl. Her grades slip, she continually loses weight, fights with her parents and convinces herself Sophie is simply jealous of her new life. One night at a party at her boyfriend’s house, Mia is brutally awakened to not only the dangers of drugs but to the type of person her boyfriend truly is. Yet at this point Mia is so addicted that she will stop at nothing to get her fix. Meanwhile Sophie and Mia’s family are forced to watch Mia destroy her life.

To listen to various real-life drug addicts who discuss similar situations and emotions seen in In Ecstasy, check out this video. I really enjoyed this book a lot. One aspect that really stuck out for me was simply that McCaffrey does not lie about drugs. Through Mia, the reader sees that yes, drugs can make a person feel incredible. They can give them that extra courage or help they think they need to become popular and even make people believe their lives are better. Yet at the same time McCaffrey shows the true effects of drugs.

 Mia doesn’t become a cool, popular kid; she becomes an addict who potentially loses everything important in her life. I also enjoyed this book because it is told from both Sophie’s and Mia’s point of view. It is interesting to see both characters and their personal situations through each others’ eyes. It gives the reader a deeper perspective into the characters. I think this is an excellent learning book for students but I do not know if there is any way that parents and/or administrators would allow this to be taught.

 Obviously this book is primarily about drug abuse, but along with that there are issues of sexual assault, teenage sex, peer pressure, and theft. Because of these serious issues and fairly graphic details, I would recommend this book for older students who are mature enough to handle them. Additionally I might recommend this book to parents. Not everyone knows the signs to look for if their child is doing drugs, and I think this book is especially informative and honest about drug abuse.

Since this is told from two female’s perspectives, I also think girls might get more enjoyment out of this book than boys, although regardless of the gender, this is still a very informative book on drug addiction. As a whole, this book is entertaining, interesting, sad and extremely realistic. Mia and Sophie really come alive for readers, and I empathized with them throughout the book. These characters remind me that being an impressionable teenager is not easy, something that as an adult, I think it’s sometimes easy to forget.

Posted by Amy

Book Wind

Posted in Australian fiction, awards, Books, Bruce Whatley, Destroying Avalon, In Ecstasy, Jeff Raglus, Jon Doust, Kimberley Writer's Festival, Kununurra's Wrtiter's Festival, literary appearances, Liz Byrski, Media Appearances, Neil Murray, Phil Kettle, The Australian Therapists' Award, The Couch, Uncategorized

Whassup?

Pics : Kate Mac, Jane  Mac & Jon Doust    Kate Mac, Liz Byrski & Jon Doust

Returned from Kununurra this week. I was flown up there to be a guest of the Kimberley Writer’s Festival. First impressions of Kununurra- man it’s hot! It might seem like stating the bleeding obvious- but for a city girl (whose furthest trip north was Monkey Mia, back in the 80s) I left hail storms in Perth to 37 degrees on my arrival!!! The other thing I noticed quickly- was unlike Monkey Mia, where they have dolphins, Kununurra has crocodiles!!! Several crazy authors dived from the boat and swam in the Ord- I wanted to scream, “People there are crocs in there!” But apparently the ‘freshies’ only take a small bite- unlike the “salties” who have a palate for humans. Either way I wasn’t taking any chances!!!

Writer’s Festivals are great in so many ways. Firstly you travel to exotic and remote locations (meet the locals and get eaten by them), you have an opportunity to discuss literature (and often yourself) to communities that often miss out and you get to meet other writers and illustrators. It’s like professional development for the Arts World. This trip was brilliant- I met some fantastic people. Here, let me list them:

Jon Doust- my favourite Perth author. Jon is the greatest ‘people person’ I have ever met. He was like the Pied Piper of Hamelin- with his trail of school kids who followed him everywhere.

Liz Byrski- my other favourite Perth author. Jane and I shared a place with Liz and it was wonderful- a girls’ weekend away, much laughter and merriment. Liz is a highly successful writer and shared a lot of advice.

Jeff Raglus and Vicki Phillip- musos and performers- what a fantastic team. Crazy cats!

Bruce Whatley and Rosie- they are lovely people and we shared some lovely moments.

Phil Kettle a most prolific writer of children’s books- somewhere in the vicinity of 5 million copies sold. I know, hold onto your hat!!!

Neil Murray- songwriter and poet (a lovely poem about step daughters), Anna Jarrett (story teller), Ambrose Chalarimeri (autobiographical writer).

We worked hard! Lots of functions, school sessions and public workshops, big thanks to Emma, Marie and Jo- for shuttling us around and catering to our strict dietry requirements (Jon and I are both vegetarians and gluten intolerant! Yes, we are those people! The caterer’s nightmare. But in my own defence at least I’m not lactose intolerant too!! Jon!!)

Then back to the real world- teaching, editing (my latest work) and spending time with my children! That’s the hardest thing about tours and festivals- leaving the kids. But they were pleased with the mosiac geckos and crocodiles in eggs I brought back!

What now? Book Week is coming up, I have a couple of visits to the Morley library. In October I have the Singapore Writer’s Festival and maybe a trip to Sydney. Did I mention that ‘in ecstasy’ won the Australian Family Therapists’ Book Award? I was so pleased- finally a gold sticker- it lives in Destroying Avalon’s shadow!!

I was on ‘the couch’- a Perth TV show aired on Aurora channel.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dV5Zy8UlrBw

It’s actually quite horrible to watch yourself talk!

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 ASLA Conference, Books, Booktalkers, CBC, cyber bullying, Destroying Avalon, drugs, ETA, In Ecstasy, international rights, Kununurra's Wrtiter's Festival, literary appearances, Literary Awards, Matt Ottley, Media Appearances, Somerset Writer's Festival

Why I Can’t Say Sorry

I know I should– but it’s shallow and empty now, isn’t it? I leave this blog for lengths of time and then breeze in when I seem to have nothing better to do. So I will not insult you with another apology. Instead I’ll try and justify my absence by bringing you all up to date with the latest happenings.

I handed over the manuscript ‘Murder Within’ in January- just before school started– then was inundated with the trials and tribulations of teaching! I flew off quickly to Melbourne- for Booktalkers at the State Library of Vic, with none other than the legendery John Marsden– I pulled my 12 year old daughter out of school to attend with me. Unfortunately John’s farm fell within the bush fire zone and he was unable to get a car out to attend the night. Twas still great– with Kirsty Murray, Sue Saliba, Tim Pelger and Don Henderson in fine form commenting on what influences our writing.

A week later I was off to Somerset Writer’s Festival in Queensland. What a fantastic week that was. Andrew Stark– organiser of the library conference performed magical acts to pull the event together and then the Writer’s Festival itself followed. I was in the company of some brilliant people, terrific authors and illustrators– Lee Fox, Tobhy Riddle, Suzanne Gervay, Kate Forsyth, Garth Nix,Debora Abela, Tristan Bancks, Shamini Flint, Rob Newton, and Matt Ottley. Just on Matt, for a second, not only was I impressed with his sandgroper status– yes he also crossed the spinifex curtain to attend Somerset– but the man is an all out genuis. I tell you- how can anyone not read Requium for a Beast and not see genuis at work?? Not only are his illustrations brilliant– but Matt composes his own music! I’m not being parochial when I say that Matt deserves all the credit and kudos he is receiveing (especially with his latest nod from the CBC!!)

Following that– teaching, marking, reporting and a few visits to schools. School holidays- which is a laugh, isn’t it– whose holiday is this??? Not mine!! I’d received word from the publisher that I needed to re-write a part of the latest book– oh, only about 20, 000 words!!! Hello! So first week of my delightful holiday was spent doing such. Second week– marking 4 classes of work– delightful!! And now I’ve just teed up the latest gig guide with my publicist– so I’ll let you have it:

16 May- ETA panel-  at Perth College- discussing female vs male protagonists (I think!!)

23-27 July Kununurra Writer’s Festival (I’ve never been to the Kimberley– I’m really looking forward to it)

25 & 27 August- Morley library– for CBC Book Week (PS Aug 25 is my birthday!!!)

2 October– breakfast at Frasers for ASLA Conference. Later that day I’m sure I’m on a panel!!

That’s it so far. Will keep you posted on other happenings.

 

Oh, by the way– Hungary has bought rights to Destroying Avalon– now I can boast I share JK Rowlings publisher!! (if only it was her bank balance!!!) That’s me– up to date i think. Will try and be a better blogger!!!

Posted in Australian fiction, Books, CBC, cyber bullying, Destroying Avalon, drugs, In Ecstasy, international rights, literary appearances, Media Appearances, teacher librarians, teachers, writing

What’s Up?

It’s time for me to tend to this rather neglected blogsite and dust away the cobwebs and up date the latest happenings. Where to begin?

Saw out the end of ’08 down south in the most magnificient part of WA the Margaret River Region. It is a debauched writer’s heaven what with winery after winery! And also one of the longest water ski areas in the West too. I did plenty of skiing and also tried to master the wakeboard too! But though the holiday home I have presents as a writer’s haven up until the 11th of January no writing was done!

Panicking– I promised my publisher the latest book in January, I had no choice but to push through the writer’s block and turn those 28 000 words into a 56 000 word manuscript! Is it good? Time will tell- but for now it’s a draft- albeit a rather rough one. Which is good because on the 27th I returned to teaching– taking on a much bigger load than ever before!

So– I’m hoping that ’09 will see me juggling all those balls very nicely! Teaching, writing/editing and being a contributing member of society– did I forget family? My eldest daughter has sailed into Year 8 and my youngest into Year 3– so there’s another ball to throw up into the mix!

This week has been inundated with radio interviews on ‘sexting’– most ABC stations have asked me to talk about this phenomenon as well as the cyber bullying one too!

Upcoming Appearances

On March 3rd I appear at the Centre for Youth Literature in Melbourne with the likes of John Marsden– my 12 year old daughter is coming to, excited to meet a ‘real’ Australian writer!

On March 5th I’ll be at WA’s Night of Stars– with my great friends at Westbooks!

From March14th – 21st I will be soaking up the sunny rays of Queensland at the Somerset Festival for Literature– attending both the Librarian and Writer’s components of their festival. And then after that there are more appearances on the cards.

Oh– and here is the ‘book trailer’ for the American release of in ecstasy— I thought it was pretty cool. Tell me what you think. Now if only the North Americans like it– there could be an overseas tour in the pipeline!

<embed src=”http://blip.tv/play/AemIBZD+ZQ” type=”application/x-shockwave-flash” width=”320″ height=”270″ allowscriptaccess=”always” allowfullscreen=”true”></embed>

Posted in Books, cyber bullying, Destroying Avalon, In Ecstasy

Hello -I’m back!

inecstasy_cover_r4Hi ya- I’d apologise, but why should I really, it’s my blog site and i think I’m allowed to do what I like! Anyways, I have been kinda busy- what with the north American rights to in ecstasy and now confirmation on some interesting news I’ve been keeping secret. So now the contract has been signed I’ll let you know the guff. The option has been bought on Destroying Avalon to turn it into a film. Now, I know, before we crack the Vueve Cliquot, that thousands of novels are optioned and very few made into films. But all I can do is hold my breath for a couple of years and wait and see!!

Back to North American in ecstasy– when the international rights were bought I was asked if I would be happy to ‘Americanise’ the language- and even the setting, as even though the setting on Perth’s west coast was potentially recognisable as California- we needed to tighten it up. So we did. But the edit got even tighter. I had  to shorten the ending- not change the plot but make significant changes to the storyline, nothing significant to the story as such- but as a writer I had to let go of a lot of little phrases and things I quite liked. It was tough and a bit of to and fro but eventually we got there. I have their cover to show you, and it’s appearance in their catalogue. Let me know what you think!

Posted in Australian fiction, Books, cyber bullying, Destroying Avalon, drugs, In Ecstasy, international rights, peer pressure, writing

It’s Time!

It’s that time of year when I feel I must attend to this poor neglected blog. I’m terrible at updating- I know that, but at the risk of whingeing (though this is my blog and I do believe the perfect forum for it) I have been so damn busy! I’m not only a writer, but also a teacher and a mother- so when that time is divided up there leaves very little for self promotion. I know- I really should sit down and get my priorities in order!

Anyway, where to begin? in ecstasy has been doing the rounds and so far has been met with mostly favourable reviews. Phew! The anxiety associated with having a new book out there is almost indescrible- you await the reaction (and having had previous experience you know ‘you can’t please all the people all the time’!!) But here is the most exciting news of all. in ecstasy was bought by a Canadian publisher (yep- that means North American rights!!) and is now in the process of being edited for the North American market. What does that mean? Don’t they speak English too? Of course they do, but the publisher wants to make changes to suit the target audience over there.

What that means is this… when I write my books they are distinctly Australian- nay, West Australian. Why? Because I love WA. I think it is a great place to live. I love writing about its beaches and lifestyle. I remember as a teenager reading Tim Winton’s Cloudstreet and revelling in the recognition of places like Subiaco- landscapes I knew and could readily identify. Given that so much of the work I read as a kid was American, or British it was liberating to see home in the pages of a beautiful book. (NOTE: to date Cloudstreet still remains in my Top Ten). So I wanted to pay it forward. Give new teenagers a chance to connect with their own environment.  After all Young Adult fiction often serves to provide a mirror for these kids- with regards to issues they face, and choices they make and an identifiable environment often makes that even more accessible.

So, both Destroying Avalon and in ecstasy are set in Western Australia, but for both of them the environment doesn’t contribute to the challenges these kids face, as much as provide a backdrop against which this plays out. The themes in both books I believe are universal- cyber bullying is a world wide phenomenon- and alarmingly, still on the rise. Experimentation with drugs, peer pressure and social acceptance has been around since, well, since forever, and will continue as young adults seek to find their place in the world.

What’s this got to do with North American publishing rights? Glad you asked. What it means is the Canadian publisher wishes to locate the action somewhere in North America- so their audience will readily identify with it. I guess I was lucky, I didn’t have to even think about it because of my own thoughts on the subject (see paragraph 3). So now I will be working with my Canadian editor to make the changes for this. I don’t know what else will be adapted or changed- we will see as it goes along. But it’s an exciting time for in ecstasy– a reinvention of self, already!

There has been work afoot to take Destroying Avalon into another market- with an offer being made to publish it in another country. But as I don’t have official confirmation (and this one involves a translation!) I’ll update when the contract arrives.

The babies are entering the big wide world. All I can do is kiss them and wish them luck with their new audiences!