Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Stephanie Dowrick reads at Leichhardt Library

This morning author Stephanie Dowrick came to Leichhardt Library to read her new book The Moon Shines Out of the Dark to some Leichhardt kids. The children were in raptures listening to Stephanie read.

Australia's Biggest Harry Potter Fan Revealed

A 13-year-old girl from Burren Junction, NSW, has been selected as Australia’s biggest Harry Potter fan. Her entry was chosen as the best in a recent competition run by Bloomsbury Publishing to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the publication of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.

13 year old Charlotte from Burren Junction NSW is the official Australian winner of the Harry Potter Biggest Fan competition. Her winning entry was selected from over 500 posted in bookshops throughout Australia. Charlotte’s entry stood out and included a very detailed Harry Potter Family Tree.

Charlotte has won a very special leather-bound, signed, dedicated and numbered 15th Anniversary Edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, as well as a boxed set of the Harry Potter books and a boxed set of the Harry Potter audio books.

3 runners-up have also won copies of the leather-bound, signed, dedicated and numbered 15th Anniversary Edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.

To celebrate the 15th anniversary of the publication of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone Bloomsbury launched a nationwide competition to find Australia’s biggest HARRY POTTER fan. Bloomsbury invited fans to write a letter of no more than 50 words explaining why they love HARRY POTTER. Fans could only enter by visiting a local bookshop and posting their letter in the specially designed postboxes. Over 200 bookshops signed up to take part.

From an idea born on a train journey, to its creation in a small cafe in Edinburgh Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone is the book that started a global phenomenon. Rejected by many publishers and with an initial hardback print run of 500 copies, it has now sold over 90 million copies worldwide. It is the book that put Harry’s destiny in motion and created a whole new generation of readers. It is hard to think now that before 1997 none of us knew about Hogwarts, Quidditch or Voldemort (who was voted as the favourite literary villain in a recent Bloomsbury poll).

The 3 runners up are: Hannah from Canterbury, VIC (age 19), Shirley from Hurstville, NSW (age 19) and Madeleine from Graceville in Queensland (age 20).

The Harry Potter novels have now sold approximately 450 million copies worldwide and have been translated into 73 languages.

J.K. Rowling lives with her family in Edinburgh.

Charlotte’s winning entry:

Monday, 15 October 2012

Interview with Keith Austin (Author of GRYMM!)

GRYMM is a surreal, creepy spine-shivery tale peopled with characters from your worst nightmares!
The small mining town of GRYMM perched on the very edge of the Great Desert is the kind of town you leave - but when Dad gets a three-month contract in the mine there, Mina and Jacob, unwilling stepbrother and sister, are reluctantly arriving. From a grotesque letting agent who seems to want to eat their baby brother, a cafe owner whose milkshakes contain actual maggots and the horribly creepy butcher, baker and candlestick-maker, Mina and Jacob soon realize that nothing in GRYMM is what is appears to be. And then things get seriously weird when their baby brother disappears - and no one seems to even notice! In Grymm, your worst nightmares really do come true...

We were lucky enough to grab author Keith Austin and ask him these questions written by our very own Kalina, aged 11, from our Tuesday afternoon bookclub!

1) How did you get the idea for the story?
Well, it came from a few different places. A long time ago I wrote an idea in my notebook (I try to carry one with me wherever I go) about a brother and sister who go to live in a terribly English village and slowly discover that everyone else there is a nursery rhyme character.
And that idea sat there for maybe 20 years! Then, a few years ago when I was driving through the outback in Australia I stopped in a little town that made me wonder how the people there managed to make a living. And suddenly, the two ideas just came together. I was also reading the original Brothers Grimm fairytales at the time so they their grotesqueness and nastiness sort of edged their way in, too, in the children’s names (named after Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm) and some other bits and pieces. Did you get the Grimm fairytale reference in the anagram of one character’s name?

2) Why did you make the main characters siblings and not just friends?
I think the relationship between a brother and sister is more complicated, more of a love/hate than a relationship between friends. Also, I liked the idea of them having a half-brother that they hated more than each other. And, of course, if they were not related they probably wouldn’t both be going to Grymm!

3) Why was Bryan kidnapped?
At the risk of revealing too much of the plot Bryan isn’t really kidnapped – you need to think about what the children’s deepest, darkest desire was when they first arrived in the town…

4) Why is Thespa Grymm just a realtor rather than the mayor of Grymm?
Well, the town isn’t really big enough to have a mayor – and I liked the idea of a real-estate agent in a town that’s basically drying up and dying. A rather pointless job, you might think, but Thespa stays there …why?

5) Where did the names of the characters, Anhanga and Bugleslab, come from?

Anhanga is actually the name Brazilian Amazon Indians give to a devil who is a prankster who likes to trick humans and also likes to steal children. I thought it fitted the character quite well. Inky Bugleslab comes from my time working in newspapers; he is the newsagent, as you know. I used to know a designer who used to call newspaper information panels ‘bugleslabs’, so I used that. And Inky, well, because newspapers use ink!

6) When you first wrote the story, were there more or less town folk?
There were a few more townsfolk in the first draft but it all started getting a bit too long and too confusing, to be perfectly honest. I haven’t killed them off completely, though! They’re still hanging around somewhere in my head and in my computer.

7) How long did it take you to write the book?
The first draft took me about 3 months to write (it just sort of poured out of me as if it had been waiting to be born), but I have rewritten it many times in the 9 years (yes!) since then.

8) Did you ever get writer’s block and how did you get rid of it?

Well, certainly not with this book! But it can occasionally happen, yes, and I find it’s best to just keep writing and keep reading. Both are essential for the writing process. I just write and write and eventually something pops up even if I have to delete most of it. And I find reading other people’s books can sometimes give me ideas about how to work my way around obstinate obstacles.

9) Will you write a sequel?
I’d like to, yes. I have some ideas about where the story goes – and it will start immediately where the first book ends – but that will only happen if Grymm is popular enough. I have written another book, called Snow, White, which will I hope will come out in the next 18 months or so, but it’s nothing like Grymm. Indeed where Grymm is steaming hot and sunny this one is freezing cold and dark. Oh, and if there is a sequel I want to call it Grymmer!

Saturday, 8 September 2012

Clementine Rose - from the author of Alice-Miranda

A gorgeous new series for girls from the bestselling author of the Alice-Miranda series.

Clementine Rose was delivered not in the usual way, at a hospital, but in the back of a mini-van, in a basket of dinner rolls.

So begins the story of a lovely little girl who lives in Penberthy Floss in a large ramshackle house with her mother, Lady Clarissa, Digby Pertwhistle the butler and a very sweet teacup pig called Lavender.

When her scary Aunt Violet arrives unexpectedly, the household is thrown into disarray. What is it that Aunt Violet really wants and what is she carrying in her mysterious black bag?

From the author of the best-selling Alice-Miranda series, for readers aged 5+.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Interview with Ambelin Kwaymullina

Ambelin Kwaymullina’s debut novel The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf is a fresh new entry into the Young Adult genre. Kwaymullina deftly creates a dystopian world where society is divided between the Citizens, the ordinary but oppressed population, and the Illegals, runaways who possess strange powers. The author’s first venture into fiction tells the story of Ashala, the leader of an Illegal tribe captured by the Citizens and held in a Detention Centre for interrogation. The survival of her beloved Tribe hangs in the balance, and Ambelin Kwaymullina tells Ashala’s story with such ease that it was impossible to put down.
- Review by Willem Proos, 14, from our Teen Book Club

Ambelin will be at Shearer's on Wednesday July 25th at 4.30pm. To give you a little taste of what she might talk about, here's an interview we did with her.

Why did you choose to write a young adult novel rather than an adult or children's novel?

Let’s face it, teenagers are way more interesting than adults (no, just kidding – sort of). Really, I wrote the story that was there to be told. It was Ashala’s story, and she is sixteen so that made it a young adult novel. I didn’t see much point in writing a novel about a teenager for adults, because we all know that teenagers are very mysterious and adults will never understand them. Except for me of course, but I feel like a teenager on the inside. It’s very disconcerting to have people around you expect that you’ll act all confident and mature when I feel about 18 most of the time.  When I was writing Ashala I felt sixteen, because I was writing from her perspective and sharing her thoughts and emotions. Because of that I think teenagers will understand Ashala just that little bit better than adults do. And I think they’ll know, too, what it’s like to challenge the world the way she does.

What were your main inspirations for writing The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf?

My brother Blaze originally thought of the title to the book. Blaze is very good at thinking up titles and names. But he didn’t have a story. So for a few years there was this great title hanging about. All my family write books, and sometimes we’d have conversations about what a fantastic title Blaze had thought up, but it didn’t go any further than that. Then, one day, Ashala’s story started coming into my head. The first line of the book has been the same from the very beginning – ‘He was taking me to the machine’. When I wrote those words, I didn’t know what the machine was, or who ‘he’ was, or where Ashala was. But that was alright, because I knew I had a story. I figured I’d find out eventually, and I did, as Ashala and the other characters in the book revealed their world to me.

Did you base any of your characters on anyone you know?

Not consciously. But on re-reading the book recently I think there’s a lot of myself in Ashala. She shares my fear of spiders, for a start, although she has far less of a phobia than I do. And she’s probably about as stubborn as I am, or maybe even a little more, and I think we both have a bit of a slightly off-the-wall sense of humour. There’s a few occasions in the book when Ash makes jokes in serious situations and nobody laughs – yeah, I can relate to that. Also, anyone who reads the book and knows my family immediately identifies Jaz with my younger brother Blaze.

Have you always wanted to be an author?

Oh yes! I have always, ALWAYS wanted to write a novel. I’ve done picture books before, but writing a novel has been my goal for a very long time. I’ve been writing various novels anytime for the past twenty years, although I never finished most of them. I am the proud owner of a box of unfinished books, and I don’t think any of them are very good. The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf is the one that worked and I think the reason for that is Ashala herself. She is so strong, and I heard her voice so clearly, that I had to write a good story to do justice to her, and all the rest of the Tribe.

I still can’t quite believe I’ve actually done it. I catch sight of the book in a bookstore with my name on it and think – wow. That’s me. That’s my book, right there on the shelf with all those other books. How cool is that?

Unfortunately I don’t think writing a novel has actually made me any cooler than I was before. I still tend to trip over my feet and make jokes that no one laughs at. I’m also the person who walks up to the automatic doors and they don’t open for me even though they’ve opened for dozens of people ahead of me (those doors see me coming, I swear). But you never know. Give me a few years and few more books and I might just be a little bit cool – or at least be able to get the doors to open...  

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr Morris Lessmore

Just a quick heads up for anyone who loves watching animated films on the internet. The Fantastic Books of Mr Morris Lessmore is not only an awesomely illustrated picture book but it's also an Academy Award-winning short film - and as everyone knows, that means it's got to be pretty good! 

The story of this book and movie was inspired by a kind of crazy mixture of The Wizard of Oz, Hurricane Katrina - which almost destroyed New Orleans in 2005 - and Buster Keaton, the comedian whose nickname was "The Great Stone Face". All of this is mixed in with a man who really loves books. 

Buster Keaton - "The Great Stone Face"

The Fantastic Books of Mr Morris Lessmore was created using a hybrid style of animation, which combines miniatures, computer animation and 2D animation, which makes it really amazing to watch. Great for anyone interested in animation, or for anyone who just loves seeing an interesting movie with fun characters on a rainy holiday afternoon!

Check this 15 minute movie out below:

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

The sun was shining on Leichhardt one glorious day in May when the handsome prince of picture books, Oliver Jeffers, joined us for a drawing extravaganza in the Town Hall. He was greeted by 250 smiling, and very excitable fans all armed and ready for Oliver to put a secret scribble in the front of their books.

He treated us to a very funny trip down Jeffers memory lane with lots of photos and drawings of people and places that have inspired him. He then went on to do a live action drawing session of three of his magnificent books...from beginning to end. There were lots of laughs and after watching the Bafta award winning film of his book, 'Lost and Found', everyone went home to read about the boy who ate books, the other boy and his friend the penguin, the cool new jumper and someone with a heart in her bottle.

A big thank you to Harper Collins for bringing him along and also to Leichhardt Library for helping organise the event.
For those who missed out, don’t despair... we have lots of signed copies of Oliver’s books available.

(Last photo by Penny Ryan photography. Thank you Penny!!)

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Video Interview: Eoin Colfer!

I had a quick chat to Eoin Colfer as he was in Sydney for the Sydney Writers’ Festival.  He was having afternoon tea near the harbour with the water glistening in the background.  I couldn’t help thinking about how we live in a magical city.

Eoin trained as a teacher, and when he showed his son the first ten pages of Artemis Fowl his son’s response was “You didn’t write this”!

The idea for Artemis came from a photo of his brother, at the age of 7, dressed in a suit and making a very funny face. Eoin knows kids loves technology and he wanted to bring technology to his fairy story and so the first Artemis Fowl book was born.
The 8th and final Artemis Fowl book will be published in on July 10th this year. This final chapter of the exciting and well-loved Artemis Fowl series is called The Last Guardian, and is eagerly awaited.  It’s often a sad moment when a favourite character’s journey comes to an end, but Eoin realised the Artemis story was finished and didn’t want to betray the beginning of the story.

Eoin, who lives in his native country of Ireland, said a big thank you to all his Australian readers “from the bottom of my green heart”.

Monday, 16 April 2012

Chris Morphew Interview

 If you can't wait until the May release of 'Fallout', the next instalment in the painfully exciting Phoenix Files series... here is a little interview we did with Chris to see you through....

1. Congratulations on the series going international. I was just looking at the UK fan website and they seem to be loving the series. Great covers too! What is it like to be an international superstar?
It’s pretty surreal to think of all the places where my books are starting to appear. But honestly, life for me continues pretty much as normal. I still get up and go to school three days a week. I still sit down with my iPad every day and bash out the next page of the next book. I still drive to church every weekend in my second-hand car. But every now and then I’ll get an email from someone halfway around the world and I’ll remember just how incredible it is that I get to do this job!

2. When did you discover you were a writer?
I guess I’ve just been writing ever since I learned how. I’ve got stories all the way back to age five or six, mostly featuring dinosaurs and/or spaceships. Actually getting published always seemed like a bit of an impossible dream, but writing for the fun of it is something I’ve loved pretty much forever.

3. The Phoenix Files is quite an ambitious series not only in its length but it is jam packed with action and loaded with an assortment of twists and turns. Are you a planner when it comes to writing or do you just go with the flow?
I’m definitely a planner. So much of The Phoenix Files is about mystery and the unknown that I’d feel like I was ripping the reader off if I didn’t have a pretty solid idea of where it was all going.
Before I even started on the first draft of the first book, I sat down and came up with a pretty detailed outline of the whole series. Some details of the plot have changed a bit in the writing, but as I sit down to write the
final book in the series, it’s quite gratifying to realise how much things have gone according to plan.

4. Some of your fans have said how frustrating it is that you always leave things on a spectacular cliffhanger, leaving them desperate for the next book. Are you going to be able to wrap everything up in the last book or are we all going to be cursing you for the rest of our lives?
I’m going to do my absolute best to wrap up all of the major threads of the story. Part of this means not leaving everything hanging until the last book. Fallout, the second-last book in the series, has just gone to print, and it answers a few of the really big questions that have been hanging over the series since the beginning.
But of course, I’ve still left myself with plenty to do in the final book.
The one thing I’ve never had to do in The Phoenix Files is write an ending. As you say, so far it’s been cliffhanger after cliffhanger, so this is a new challenge for me – but it’s one I’ve really been enjoying, and I hope you’ll all be satisfied with the results!

5. Do you think working as a teacher and being constantly surrounded by kids has helped you tap into what the kids want to read?
The kids I teach are mainly in years K-2, so there’s actually very little overlap between my teaching and my writing. So if I’ve succeeded in tapping into the teenage mind, I think that’s probably got more to do with the part of me that’s still very teenagerish.
I never sit down and think to myself, “What would kids think is fun to read?” because I think that’s a sure-fire way to end up sounding really lame and artificial. Instead, I ask myself, “What would I think is fun to
read?” and I just go ahead and write that.

6. Have you modelled any of the characters on yourself or people you know?
I think all the characters have a little bit of me in them. Luke’s got my tendency to worry too much. Jordan’s got my strong-mindedness and fierce sense of right and wrong. And I’d say Peter’s a pretty solid metaphor for the darkness that I think all of us have inside of us.
I try to avoid modelling characters directly on people I know. Given the dangerous world of Phoenix, I think that could be a fast-track to getting myself into trouble!

7. Jordan is my favourite character. So nice to see a strong, adventurous female as a major player in the storyline. It is still rare to find such a fun, feisty female. Why do you think the boys seem to still have all the fun?
I think other people are probably better equipped than I am to answer the question of why boys get so much more attention, but the lack of strong female characters in kids’ and YA fiction was certainly on my mind as I was coming up with Jordan. I work part-time at a Sydney girls’ school, and I really wanted to create a hero for them – someone who wasn’t a superhero, but who was intelligent and courageous and morally-centred. She’s my favourite character too!

8. How close do you get to your characters? Is it like a nine to five job where you can shut off at the end of the day or do they haunt you long into the night?
I can get pretty emotionally invested in the characters while I’m actually writing, but once the iPad is put away for the day, I’m usually pretty good at leaving them behind. I have heaps of fun writing the characters I’ve created, but I’m not one of those authors who imagines secret lives for them that bleed off the page.

9. You are over half way through the series. Can you imagine not living with these characters?
It’s pretty surreal to think that, by this time next year, the series will be finished. That said, I’ve known all along that it was going to be six book and out, so I’ve had a while to brace myself. I think there’ll be a real sense of accomplishment that comes with wrapping the series up, but I can imagine there’ll also be a bit of a withdrawal period when it’s all done and dusted.

10. We are all massive Chris Morphew fans at Shearer's because not only do we all love The Phoenix Files, but also you are always great with talking to the kids. You are on Facebook, Twitter, you have a blog where you talk to the kids... Do you think it is important to be so accessible?
That's my favourite part of the job! To me, the whole point of writing issharing ideas with people – and Facebook, Twitter, blogging, writers' festivals, etc. are all just extensions of that conversation.
On top of that, I'm more than happy to do what little I can to break down our culture's weird obsession with fame. Not that I'm claiming to have any sort of actual "celebrity" status, but to whatever extent people are tempted to view me as a Special Famous Person, I like to do what I can to talk them out of it.

11. Where did you get that amazing yellow jacket that appears in a lot of press release photos?
Ha! That jacket was a present from my sister. She’d been travelling through south-east Asia for several weeks, and I got a Facebook message saying, “Send me your measurements. I’ve got a surprise.” Two weeks later, she came home with The Suit.

12. Is yellow your favourite colour because I have also seen that magnificent yellow car that you drive?
No, that’s just a happy coincidence – although it does make figuring out where I parked a whole lot easier!

13. What are you reading at the moment?
I’ve just finished Michael Grant’s two newest titles: Fear and BZRK, which were both as dark and gross and gripping as you might expect if you’ve read any of the Gone series. I’ve also just this week finished reading the whole Bible through, cover to cover, which has been fascinating.
As always, I’ve got a huge stack of books waiting to be read. Top of the pile at the moment is the complete Lord of the Rings, which I am determined to actually finish this time.

14. As a writer and a reader, does the eBook phenomenon excite you or bore you?

I really don’t think about it too much. Personally, I’d much rather hold a physical book in my hands than read a novel from a screen, but that’s mostly just personal preference. As long as people keep reading books in one form or another – which I’m sure they will – the format they choose really doesn’t bother me.

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Leichhardt Public School's 150th Birthday

In 1862, the world was awash with beginnings and change.  The first railway New Zealand ever saw was opened, Abraham Lincoln gave his State of the Union address to end slavery and Archer won the Melbourne Cup.  John Young was the Governor of New South Wales and it was also the year that the famous French inventor Auguste Lumiere (whose invention spurred the start of the film industry) was born.  Oh what a year!  And of course, it doesn’t end there, as 1862 was the year that Leichhardt Public School first opened its doors.

To celebrate the sesquicentenary (what a terrific word), Leichhardt Public School is compiling a souvenir history book for all its students, past and present.  To do this, they are calling on everyone to donate or lend any photos and other memorabilia so that it can be archived.  Already the school has found their oldest living past pupil in John Dugdale, aged 96, who has been emailing photos and stories of his school days.

If you are a past student, print out the pdf form here and send it to the school.  They will keep you up to date with any events planned for 2012, including the Back to Leichhardt Day being held on 9 September and the Sesqui Ball on 11 May.

Congratulations Leichhardt Public School and Happy Birthday!

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Call Out for Diary Pages!

Hey guys -

We hope everyone's having awesome holidays!

Have you had a chance to read any books you LOVED? Or even hated? What about working on your journal - have you got any pages you're particularly proud of?
Write us in a review (a paragraph will do!), or send in a copy of that special journal page to rachel@shearersbookshop.com.au
We'll share it here, and not only that - you can come in to the store and pick a book from the Blog Box of Treats!

Monday, 2 April 2012

Jennifer Walsh Video Interview!

A few weeks back, the book club was lucky enough for Jennifer Walsh to pay them a visit!
Afterwards she sat down and answered some of our questions. Here she is talking about her awesome book, Tunnels of Tarcoola.

Friday, 23 March 2012

Interview with Frances Watts

To celebrate the release of Frances Watts’ new series, Sword Girl, and  all of Frances’ other amazing books we have cornered her for an exciting interview! Check out what she has to say....

1. What is it like to have someone else illustrate your wonderful ideas? (Are you sick of this question?)
I’m not at all sick of this question because I love having the opportunity to sing the praises of the illustrators I work with! It’s an incredible feeling to see ideas and images that have only ever lived in your head brought to life, and transformed, in pictures. Illustrators always extend my ideas in directions I could never have imagined. Of course, I’ve been extremely lucky with illustrators. One of my great joys is my long-time collaboration with David Legge, which began in 2005 with Kisses for Daddy. We went on to create Parsley Rabbit’s Book about Books and Captain Crabclaw’s Crew, and are now working on our fourth book together, The Fearsome, Frightening, Ferocious Box. Then there’s Judy Watson, who channelled the characters of the Extraordinary Ernie and Marvellous Maud series so miraculously that, even though I had never ‘seen’ them before, I recognised them instantly. Creating a book with David Francis was particularly special, since he is my partner, and our book A Rat in a Stripy Sock was born out of a trip to Paris. Most recently, I’ve had the pleasure and privilege of working with the international award-winning Gregory Rogers, who is illustrating the Sword Girl series with such warmth and charm—and he is a medieval expert to boot! You see, far from being sick of the question I could go on and on and on!

2. You are extremely versatile and prolific...you write picture books, books for developing readers and books for older readers. Does your background in editing encourage you to explore different ways of telling a story?
Being an editor is enormously important to me, but I don’t necessarily set out to consciously try different ways of storytelling; I just follow where the character or story leads. The stories themselves come from somewhere else altogether—from my own childhood as a voracious reader, probably, and from a deep love of stories and storytelling as a way of engaging with the world around me.

3. Do you enjoy writing one more than the other?
I can’t say that I do! I really enjoy writing for a range of different age groups. Picture books bring the excitement of collaborating, the challenge of distilling an idea to its essence and focusing on language—which I love—so that the book works when read aloud. But the more I write, the more I want to write, and the bigger my ideas get, which is why my books keep getting longer. As much as I love writing picture books, I also get a lot of pleasure out of crafting more intricate plots, developing more fully realised characters, and using more sophisticated language and ideas.

4. Any chance of delving into young adult writing?

I’d never say never, but it’s not something I have any immediate plans to do.

5. You are a regular in the shop always talking to the kids and their parents about the joys of reading and writing, and you are always travelling the country working with schools. How important is having that contact with the kids? I know lots of authors that never do events and keep very much to themselves.
Talking to kids (and parents and teachers) is something I love to do—as you well know! One of the best things about writing for kids is that they respond with such energy and enthusiasm, which gives me energy and enthusiasm.

6. You have travelled overseas and around Australia to write. Does this help your writing? Do you prefer to write away from home?

Travel definitely inspires me. The Sword Girl series, which is set in a medieval castle, is definitely drawing on my travels in Europe. I was born in Lausanne, a medieval city in Switzerland, so I’ve always had a love for that period in history. I’ve been doing quite a bit of research for Sword Girl: in Switzerland, in Italy, and later this year I’ll be visiting some castles in Wales. When you travel you can come across the most unexpected details that give life and character to settings and stories, not to mention ideas. And while I don’t necessarily prefer to write away from home, a change of scene can be very refreshing. The Gerander Trilogy was dreamed up on a walking holiday in the Snowy Mountains, and then the second book in the trilogy, The Spies of Gerander, was written in New York. Stepping out of my regular routine and its everyday distractions and responsibilities enabled me to focus much more on my writing.

7. In an interview with author John Green, he said each book takes him about 4 years to write. How do you manage to be so wonderfully busy?
I don’t know quite how to answer that! I think everyone works differently, writes differently. I love to be busy, and I’m also very disciplined. And let’s face it—John’s (beautiful) books are much longer than mine!

8. Your new series, Sword Girl, is very exciting, with a magnificent female character, Tommy. What was the inspiration for this series?
I’m so glad you like Tommy! Well, I really wanted to write something with a medieval setting, and I was also keen to create a girl character who was bold and courageous while also being kind and loyal. The setting and the character came together in Tommy (also known as Sword Girl), who lives in a medieval castle and longs to be a knight.

9. Who is your favourite female character?

How to choose! I love Eloise—she’s so bold! And Cassandra Mortmain from I Capture the Castle — that wonderful honest voice.

10. I imagine you are far too busy to be reading anything at the moment...but the off chance you are, what is it?
Reading is as necessary to me as eating and breathing; I’m never not reading. I’m nearing the end of Nicole Krauss’s The History of Love, and I am absolutely loving it.

11. What have you always wished someone would ask you?

I’ve always wished someone would ask me to live in Paris and/or New York! But that’s not what you meant, is it?

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Gabrielle Lord Interview

Here it is guys! Gabrielle Lord, author of Conspiracy 365 answers your questions!

Monday, 19 March 2012

Cool Competitions

Hey guys! Here are some great National Year of Reading competitions. There are some great prizes for book lovers.

Reading Super Hero
Who is your reading super hero? Just write in 25 words or less and you could win an Apple home entertainment system, a book prize pack from Scholastic and prizes for your school library!

For ages 12 to 18.
What book do YOU think people should read? Pitch your favourite book by drawing, writing, making a video - or anything else you can think of! You could win part of $40,000 worth of prizes.

For pre-school age to 12 year olds.
Tell about your favourite place in Australia, either as a picture or short story. There are heaps of prizes including author visits, books, games and more.
The entry date for NSW is August & September. This is when the Alison Lester Are We There Yet? exhibit will be visiting Newcastle!

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Diary of a Reading Kid Journal Days: They're Back!

Reading Kid Journal Days will be returning in the Easter Holidays! We had a blast last time, and this time is certain to be the same.
If you were here for the first dates - don't worry! We'll be showing you all sorts of new things you can do with your journal. Make sure you bring your journal not  If you havn't been to a Journal Day yet - don't worry either! We'll still be showing you how you can decorate your journal as well.
Also very exciting news: Duncan Ball, author of Selby Speaks, will be joining us for the first date, with Shearer's favourite Deborah Abela, author of Max Remy Super Spy and Ghost Club for the second!

Tuesdays, April 10th (Duncan Ball) & 17th (Deborah Abela) at 2pm
This is a free event for Reading Kids, but make sure you book your spot! You can do that by dropping in to the shop, or ringing us on (02)9572 7766.

Library Events - Garth Nix & Pip Harry

Hey guys - we've just received some info for some great events you might be interested in!

Garth Nix - Leichhardt Library
Tuesday April 17th 5pm
Come and be inspired bu the highly acclaimed Australian author Garth Nix at Leichhardt Library. A Confusion of Princes is due out this April.
Leichhardt Library
High School Aged Young Adults
Limited Spaces Available
Bookings essential
Phone 9367 9266


Pip Harry - Balmain Library
Friday April 20th 2pm
Come and be inspired during National Youth Week by freelance journalist and emerging Australian author Pip Harry at Balmain Library. Her debut novel I'll Tell You Mine is due out this March.
Leichhardt Library
High School Aged Young Adults
Limited Spaces Available
Bookings essential
Phone 9367 9266

Monday, 27 February 2012

Upcoming Events

Hi everyone,

A big thank you to everyone who joined us over the last 2 weekends for our launch of the Diary of a Reading Kid Journal. With the help of our wonderful authors Chris Morphew, Frances Watts and Claire Craig we all made a great start on our journals, creating pages for author autographs, writing about ourselves and the books we are loving and circling dates for some pretty exciting author events coming up on the calendar.
If you missed out, don't despair! We have some more journal days coming up in the Easter school holidays, which are only around the corner. These will be specific to your age groups so we can really get stuck into creating a masterpiece of a journal all about you and the books you read. We will keep you posted with dates as soon as they are locked in.

Don't forget Jennifer Walsh, author of local adventure story Tunnels of Tarcoola will be at our bookclub this Thursday at 4:30 to tell us a few secrets about the tunnels in Balmain and the inspiration behind her thrilling tale. It is free, so come along - but for those who can't make it, join us for an interview with Jennifer on the blog.

We also have the launch of Deborah Abela's new book, Ghost Club on Tuesday, 6th March at 4pm... there will be a spectacular performance by Stanmore Public School and some delicious cupcakes to celebrate the new book.

And finally we have Gabrielle Lord of Conspiracy 365 fame coming in for an interview for the blog in March so if you have any questions about Cal and his ability to hide in some pretty amazing places... send me an email and we will ask her for you!

We have some cool competitons coming up in the next few weeks so get your pencils sharpened and start sending in some of your reviews.

Happy reading!

Rachel Robson
Children's Specialist
Shearer's on Norton
T: (02) 9572 7766

Friday, 24 February 2012

Coming Soon: Gabrielle Lord Interview!

Have you got a question for Gabrielle Lord, author of Conspiracy 365?

Is there something about Callum and his mission that you're just dying to find out? Want advice on how to write your own exciting series?

Well good news - we're excited to announce that Gabrielle will be visiting the store in March to sit down with us for an interview!
Just send your question to Rachel at rachel@shearersbookshop.com.au and we will ask her for you!

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Video Interview: Eva Katzler

Today British musician-turned-Picture book author Eva Katzler stopped by to have a chat with us! Here she is discussing her upcoming book, Florentine and Pig Have a Very Lovely Picnic.

Florentine and Pig will be released in Australia in July. The book is full of recipes and crafts - there are tons of these on the website!

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Welcome to the Year of Reading

Can you believe we are at the beginning of February already? Maybe it is too late to say Happy New Year but all of us at Shearer’s are getting ready for what promises to be a really exciting year as 2012 just happens to be the National Year of Reading. The aim of this year is to help people discover and rediscover the magic of books and to share that with as many people as possible.

To celebrate all things word related, we have just started this blog and we would really love you to all get involved. The ‘Diary of a Reading Kid’ blog will include updates on exciting new books and also some of our old favourites, there will be loads of author events to get involved with, lots of your favourite authors will do guest blogs and we will also have prizes for you guys for posting great blogs about anything to do with the wonderful world of reading... so if you have read a great book recently or maybe one that was not so great, let us know, because it is your blog too!

Welcome to the National Year Of Reading and welcome to Shearer’s Diary of a Reading Kid blog - we can’t wait to hear from you.

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Journal Launch Day!

To celebrate the Year of Reading we are giving you a book journal to last the year filled with wonderful books and reading experiences you have throughout 2012!

On Saturday 18th OR Saturday 25th of Feburary, come and join authors Chris Morphew (the Phoenix Files) and Frances Watts (Kisses for Daddy and the Spies of Gerander) for a workshop on how to create your journals so you can have a lasting memory of the Year of Reading.
Events are free but bookings are essential!

To book, simply contact us:
Ph: (02) 9572 7766
99 Norton St, Leichhardt, Sydney