Published by Allen & Unwin on 1 July 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Middle Grade, Historical
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The little girl found under a bush has no name and cannot speak. Is she a miracle child who escaped the raiders, or is she a bad-luck child, the one who called the Bull King's ship to the island? No one sees the mama-stone around her neck, with the sign of the dragonfly. And only Luki, in training to leap the bulls, knows that she charmed the viper who would have killed him. When the girl turns twelve, she discovers her name - Aissa - and she knows that her one chance to live freely is to become a bull dancer, and be taken away to the island of the Bull King.
Today is the release day for Dragonfly Song by Wendy Orr, a wonderful whimsical tale. Author Wendy Orr was kind enough to provide her experience on writing so far and offers some fantastic advice to budding writers! Oh, and it wouldn’t be a blog tour without a giveaway!
What I’ve Learnt Throughout My Career as a Writer by Wendy Orr
It’s not as easy as I thought it would be. Which means that I’ve also learned that I’m stronger than I knew, don’t give up easily, can survive painful criticism, accept constructive advice, and keep my feet on the ground when praise flows. Those traits are what let you survive as a writer – but don’t worry, you’ll learn them as you go.
Every time I think I’ve learned the rules, I write a new book and have to learn a whole bunch of new rules. Eg: I can’t write with music playing – Dragonfly Song required endless repetition of Sigur Ros. I have to write straight onto the computer – the verse sections of Dragonfly Song had to be written by hand. Who knows what rules the next book will come up with, but these are some that I think always hold true:
I can’t write in a genre I don’t enjoy. I once tried writing a Mills & Boon romance. I’d never read one. When I did read one I thought it was hilarious, so I wrote a humorous romance. I was told I did not have the magic required for Mills and Boon. (Also: if you’re going to write in a strict genre, you need to know the format).
I have to challenge myself. I’ve written a few sequels (Nim at Sea, Rescue on Nim’s Island) and one set (the US Rainbow Street Animal Shelter series, published in Australia in one volume, the Rainbow Street Pets.) But I’m happiest lurching around from genre to genre, discovering a new way to tell a story and learning more about this strange craft.
Genre and age-group jumping is not the best way to build a high income career. Writers who perfect working in one genre are easier to market and tend to earn more money. Neither way is morally superior.
Earning money is a good thing. Starving in a garret is crap. You can be more free to experiment and build your craft if you have some source of steady income.
A manuscript needs to be read aloud before it’s finished. I don’t care how long it is. I don’t care if nobody else ever reads it aloud. I have to hear the words sing out to know how they’ll sound in a reader’s head.
Never let a niggling phrase or fact slip by with the thought, ‘No one will ever notice.’
Editors want the same thing I do – to make the best book we can. Even if occasionally a suggested change isn’t exactly right, it means that something needs to be changed.
Books take time. Occasionally ones arrive as a gift – Ark in the Park is nearly identical to its first draft – but that’s never happened again. Others stall, gestate, change form and tone. I’ve learned to let stories go, and to let others lie fallow until they’re ready to rise from the ashes. I find it easier to think of a story as its own entity, and to have faith that its form will appear when it’s ready. And then I have faith in the power of endless rewrites to let it find that form.
Most importantly, I’ve learned that stories don’t belong to me once they go out into the world, and that readers can discover meanings in them that I’ve never thought of. Writing has taught and given me more than I could ever have dreamed – I’ve learned that the only thing equal to it is reading. And in writing Dragonfly Song, I learned that after all these years, I can still fall passionately and obsessively in love with a new story.
Dragonfly Song by Wendy Orr is published by Allen & Unwin, RRP $16.99, available now in Australia.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Wendy Orr grew up in France, Canada and USA. She was a compulsive reader and writer from an early age, and now writes for children, young adults and adults. Her books have been published in 25 countries and languages and have won awards including the CBC (Australian) Book of the Year, American Library Association Book for older readers, and the Israeli March of Books.
GIVEAWAY- AUSTRALIANS ONLY
To celebrate the blog tour, Allen & Unwin are giving away 5 copies to readers of Happy Indulgence! Giveaway ends 17 July 2016.
To enter, fill in the form below. Genuine entries only (we can tell!). Winner will be contacted by email and will need to respond within 48 hours.
FOLLOW THE TOUR BELOW!
Thank you Allen & Unwin for organising this blog tour!
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