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Okay – so somebody got 5 stars!!!!!!

Posted by Nette on Jul 15, 2010 in Uncategorized

The new book, The Innocents, has finally made an appearance today on my desk as the final, final, final version and its nearly ready to to to the shops – for you, dear readers, to buy. It’ll be there in August but, behind the scenes, its been quietly charming, enchanting, exciting, mystifying and thrilling readers who have to rate it and review it. It has been awarded five stars! Now this is a 5/5, gang! Not a 5/10 or 5/20 – you know, it just doesn’t get any better than this.

So, I’m pretty chuffed with myself but its been a long haul. I think I’ve told you something about it as we went but, in case you missed it, the journey of this book has been a long one. Its been with me for a while and I’ve had to run at it a few times to make it sing – and now my faith in this work has paid off. All the days when I was sitting here weeping or cursing and grizzling or just plain bored with it have all been worth it.

Now I’m getting ready to do the study notes for schools – and guess what? I don’t get paid for this – so, students, I’m wondering to myself – how hard should I make these notes. Should I make you delve into the chapters to seek deep and mysterious answers – and boy, you could dig deep in this book – truly. Or should I make them dazzlingly smart and tricky so even when you think you’ve got the answer you just wonder if there might be another reading possible. Frankly, I think this last idea is the one to go with – a good book has so much more than one story in it – I think I’ll be getting you to find a keys to other meanings. And, anyway, it’ll prove that I’m good for nothing! (that is when I write the notes).

S0, the book is about ready. I’m about ready to go out with Oliver Briskett my new novel. He’s waiting on all four legs, in detective mode, in a very, very dark and clammy house with doors that close slowly and whispers that creep across your neck. Oliver, in case you didn’t know, already exists in a novel called ‘Grave Catastrophe’ – he’s pretty cool but this time he’s so cool he’s chilling – its a love story, a ghost story, a puzzle with maps and graphs and it’s going to be one of the very best yet….probably even a five starer! But hey, that’s what you’d expect from a five star writer.

Am I modest…nope. I don’t think so.

 
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A busy time.

Posted by Nette on Jun 7, 2010 in Uncategorized

I love chatting with you and can’t believe its so long between visits. I have been busy though – and loving every minute of it. My new novel has been taking most time – honestly when people ask me how long does it take to write a book I’m sure they don’t believe the answer. This novel has taken years. Its taken the last six months to tidy it, polish it, go back and pick out little bits for an extra shine, argue about whether the ‘headlines’ stay or go…and this has been really traumatic.

The ‘headlines’ are linked to events which happened in the Ukraine in the period from 1930 – 1950 and I went to no end of trouble to make sure my young protagonist is portrayed in connection to these. He is living in Australia and has flashbacks to his earlier life….although, I must say, this book is more about the mystery surrounding the death of a young child that his background. Sort of … actually its like trying to upick a very complicated bit of knitting – one bit is so woven into another that its hard to say what unravel one bit without the whole lot coming apart. Anyway, the ‘headlines’ were to be an added extra at the top of some of the chapters and we were not sure if it might interrupt the flow of the reading. I reckoned it wouldn’t but its a hard call for me to make – let’s face it…I know this story and so for me to try to be really objective about it is very, very difficult. A good editor is a must to advise you about which things should stay and which things are confusing. I have to admit that writing a blog is a bit scary because I don’t have someone double-checking my punctuation and the flow of the words. Hope you’re not having too much trouble…

As well as the new novel – The Innocents (due out in August) I’ve been working on the new bilby book. At the minute I’m working on story no. 7 and, trust me, its becoming such a journey. All those little bilbies are very tricky to keep in line – and to take them where I want them to go and to stay inside a low wordcount. At the minute we’ve got the word count down to about 1100 and I think there’s still too many -and I’m getting desperate!

As well as sitting working like crazy with bilbies and headlines I’ve been running some workshops with the best students. Honest to goodness, where do you all come from? Clever girls from Brisbane Grammar who spent a weekend working on stories and brushing up writing techniques. They were so, so good and came up with the best ideas. It rained on Saturday so we had perfect writing weather. During the afternoon when we’d drenched our brains with words we set off outside to make friends with a couple of coloured gum leaves – and then we drew them. Wow! That’s all I can say – wow! How can you all be so talented at so many things? Sunday – so many things to write and talk about and too little time. Girls, thank you for a wonderful time working with you.

Not only but also….tra da!!! I was at St Aidans in Brisbane and let me tell you – there’s a bright bunch of little cherubs. Watch out for them when they get going. We wrote stories and made up some great artworks to go with our sea story. And, again, what great ideas. I can’t believe so many clever kids were all there in one class together….you amazing little things you!

Last month, not long after the writing in the old bus, I went down to the Bilby meeting. And you’ll never guess what!!! Fingers crossed – Billy Bilby is going to go into Tele! How about that. What a wonderful day with people talking about Billy and all the little bilbies. How interesting are film people and music people – they see and hear the world in such a way that they take what you know that little bit further.

Time to go – another conversation about Billy Bilby No 7 (and confusion because now there are two sevens and we have to make sure they’re sorted out….aaaagh!). You’ll love this one – I’ve had the best time planning it – the writing is still a bit tricky but its pretty close now.

Have fun and stay warm. And fingers and toes crossed for the Socceroos.

Nette. xxx

 
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Long Time No Speak

Posted by Nette on Mar 5, 2010 in Uncategorized

Its been ages – forever and then some. I’ve been busy writing and writing and writing – getting my new novel ready for release later this year. I have to tell you that its a busy journey – the end of the story is never the end of the story – or so it seems. I’ve just finished the third edit – and that’s not because it was so bad that it had to be done again three times – its more like the bits that needed attention were attached to other bits and they, in turn, attached to their other bits. Its hard to unravel a novel without going from the start and working your way through – and making notes as  you go. The exciting stuff is the cover drafts. I’ve been looking at spooky old houses and pictures of boys and girls in various poses and attitudes and all of them related to 1950’s which is when the story is set.

You’ll never believe where I’m writing this post. How about in Armidale in my old bus with the rain on the roof and the dogs snoozing (and snoring) on beds and cosy corners! And, get this, behind me is the Armidale Show warming up and there is a Scots band of bagpipers playing their little hearts out under the trees. It’s brilliant! I hope the rain stops for them – don’t know how wet bagpipes sound but I guess I’ll find out if it continues to get any heavier. My small dog, Bonsai, is the only one awake – I think he’d like to chew one of those yowly things that woke him up.

I looked at a new house today. Well, actually its an old, old house but a very beautiful one that I’d like to live in – don’t know how game I am, though. It’s hard, isn’t it, to make up your mind to do something really big and important. I like the house where I live and my friends and my workroom there but this house….its calling me and I fell in love with it once before. I thought it was probably already sold but its still there…waiting….waiting, I think for me.

So, that’s it for this time. Perhaps next time I’ll be writing from the old old house with a fire in the front room and my three dogs snoozing (and snoring) in front of it. (Be a bit too far away to hear the pipers though – I might have to invite them all to a barbeque).

 
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Busy Days.

Posted by Nette on Nov 21, 2009 in Uncategorized

This week has been busy, busy, busy. I’ve been visiting schools and have had two great days. Burringbar Primary – what an excellent place and what great story makers they turned out to be. I’m thinking we’ll all be reading their books one of these days.

And the other school – the lovely Clayfield College with lots of kids and a lovely old building right in the middle. We made up stories about bears and boys and Santa and fake Santas and all sorts of things. And my hand is still sore from signing books.

This is only a very short blog today – I’m busy working on my new novel and I’m dying to get back to it and do a drawing for Deefer the newest Guide Dog – who’s still learning how to do all things he has to do. I met my publisher, Leonie, yesterday and she said she liked it so far – and that’s good enough for me.

The weather is hot, hot, hot and my dogs are stretched out cooling their bellies. I might go and cool mine in the pool and then…Deefer! I’m going to draw him climbing up on a laundry tub trying to get an old washboard down…should be interesting.  Not sure which way I’m going to place him yet…from the side? Front? Back?….I think back might be fun.

So take care – and don’t get sunburnt.

Till next time.

Nette Hilton

 
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Meet My New Book.

Posted by Nette on Oct 15, 2009 in Uncategorized

It’s been ages since my last update – and now its time for me to sit and work out just exactly what I’ve been doing that’s taken a whole month to do…I think it must have been fun because the time simply flew by. One of the nice things along the way was an invitation by my local library to become a living book. I wasn’t sure what a living book had to do other than walk around out the front of the library doors dressed as a book with a sign on me saying ‘come in’…I wasn’t too sure that this was a look that I wanted to encourage. But no, my good friend Jo assured me that it is not about standing outside in a sandwich board…its all about being inside and being ‘borrowed’ by people who would like to ask me questions about my life and what it’s like to be an author. So I said yes, and on November 6th in Murwillumbah Library I will be available to borrow. Perhaps someone might like to borrow me and take me out to dinner in a posh restaurant…nah! its strictly library and book talk.

The big news is how popular my new book is proving to be. Its called ‘My Silent World’ and its about facing new challenges. It’s a particularly unusual challenge this time as it involves a young girl who is having a cochlea implant inserted in her ear which will allow her to hear. Imagine how that would be! My first husband, Peter, was partially deaf and had to have hearing aids to allow him to hear more clearly – and, as it turned out, to hear many things that he’d not heard for a very long time. His first experience with his new hearing aid was to walk around our house looking very, very worried. He was becoming quite alarmed as he could hear something that he assumed would explode as it was becoming louder and louder. Finally he traced it to the electic jug which was working up to a boil…so you can maybe begin to imagine your world filled with sounds that you hadn’t heard before. Perhaps there might be so many that you’d prefer your perfectly silent world. I thought very long and hard about writing this book – eventhough it has only so few words and one of the things that prompted me to go ahead was a conversation that I read about between a very famous doctor called Oliver Sachs and a friend who was blind. When Oliver asked his friend if he wouldn’t prefer to have sight if it could be given to him, his friend asked Oliver – right back again – how he might like to suddenly have x-ray vision. Everything that he knew would be changed; simple things like unlocking the front door would suddenly become a new experience because the keys would have to be located in an x-ray puzzle of many objects all of them visible at once, and then the key hole in the door found from all the other information that would be x-rayed straight out to you. Sometimes I think about a perfect world and how easy it is to forget that everybody’s world is perfect to them in its own way.

On the 28th October I’m off to Cootamundra to visit EA Southee Public School and Cootamundra High School – I’m really looking forward to it in a big way – I haven’t been to good old Cootamundra for years and I can’t wait to see what its like. I’m keen to work with the students there – I think I might tell them about the Adventures of a Late Night Swearer and Pyro Watson and The Hidden Treasure and all the other stuff to do with being an author (and a bit about the new dog, Bonsai the Brave who is the Leader of The Pack – its a bit sad the Pack is only two very old Maltese – I’m sure he’d like some younger, feistier members of his gang).  

A quick end note on Bonsai The Brave – he has had a new kitten to play with for the last few weeks. Sadly its not mine and had to go home to its mother in Armidale so Bonsai is punishing me by chewing up my shoes, my flowers, the toilet roll (which I found floating in the pool like a sad soggy lily blossom) and then just sitting and frowning in my general direction while I work at my new story (which is about Oliver Briskett and the Ghost’s Story). I think he still loves me deep down though – he’s first on the bed at night!

So, take care and have fun – if you can do both at the same time. If you can’t…oops, don’t know the answer to that one.

Love Nette xxx

 
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Book Safari

Posted by Nette on Aug 26, 2009 in Uncategorized

Wow, so long since I wrote and so many things to try and remember to share with you. Best, perhaps if we go backwards with this week’s great adventures which have included visits to Pottsville Public school – and what great story making we did there – and Cooparoo and Our Lady of Lourdes and MacDowall State school and before that some great work done in Grand Avenue State School. There are some amazing students in all these places and some even more amazing ideas – I loved it all.

Last Saturday I went to Brisbane to the San Marco Cafe and had brunch with a crowd of aspiring writers and excellent readers. Greg Rogers and I talked about our new book called “Pyro Watson and the Hidden Treasure” – I talked and read a bit and Greg drew some lovely pictures of Calamity…and everyone got to design their own pirate to begin with.

On Friday I went to another morning tea ceremony at the State Library of Queensland. This is such a wonderful place – and there’s a tree there that I reckon must be hundreds of years old – its so brilliant. I was dying to climb down and take some photos but got so busy talking to new writers and other IMPORTANT people that I didn’t quite make it. We looked at books and books and then more books and then I heard my name read out on the Queensland Premier’s short list for Sprite Downberry. Isn’t she a little cracker! short listed in NSW and now short listed in Queensland. Fingers crossed for her.

So, happy safari-ing – I’ve been reading book with animals in them but you could read books that have ‘b’ in the title, or books that have red on the cover, or books with maps….you know that list is endless.

Have fun and stay safe,

Nette.

 
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Writer’s Cramp – oops, Camp!

Posted by Nette on Jun 24, 2009 in Uncategorized

It’s been a busy few weeks for writers. The weather, all rainy and a little bit misty and the wind blowing with a colder breath – all good stuff for writing it seems. I’ve started my new novel, I think. I’m never sure until the hairs on my arms go all prickly and I feel wickedly excited by the way the words are falling on the page – or the screen as it happens at this stage. I’ve already done the notebook stuff with arrows and maps of the way my characters will move together. Its going to be a ghost story – and its going to feature Oliver Briskett, the detective dog who has already appeared in Grave Catastrophe. I’m liking it so far but I had to talk about it with a friend to really get it going. I had all the ingredients and all the ideas happening but sometimes I need someone else to help me find the key that will unlock the way into the story. In this case it was my good mate Brian who works with Children’s literature – it took a while but he finally asked the question that made me think of the answer that led me to the key.

I’ve been busy working away in schools again and my last school was at Rochedale in Queensland. What a great place – all bushy and snuggled up close to Brisbane. And what great writers I met there. Everyone keen and busy and full of ideas and ways to get stories happening. They’d already had one day with Simon Higgins who’d shown everyone how to unlock some great stuff – I was green with envy at some of the lovely sentences that were produced. My day was about stringing the story together and we did heaps. One of the nice things about writers is the way the go off on a tangent and produce something unexpected.  Kiarna produced the poem that she sent to me – it was a surprise and I could see that she was completely caught up with her images. You’ll love it – have a read.

One of the ways that you can publish your work – and the work that was being produced at Rochedale would certainly suit publication – is to send a copy of your best work to ‘Oz Kids In Print’ – check out their website www.ozkids.com.au for all the details.

I have a new family of wrens in my yard this week – all happily searching out nibblies in the wet grass. There’s also a bush turkey – they perch in the trees like some overgrown, evil budgerigar, waiting until I go inside and then they swoop down and dig up the herbs. Grrrrr….down with turkeys!

And some bad news – Kiana’s poem that was happily sitting on my desktop was just eaten by the delete button. Kiana is going to send it through again, I hope … can’t believe that it happened so quickly but I guess the lesson is: ALWAYS SAVE A COPY!!!!!! Eeeeeeek (sorry Kiana).

Till next time when the poem will be here and I will be able to lift my head from the shame of sending a lovely poem to the place of deleted objects (they probably all sit around like odd socks waiting for someone to claim then).

Nette Hilton

 
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Nesting Weather.

Posted by Nette on Jun 5, 2009 in Uncategorized

p60200961Okay – so I didn’t win but it was a great dinner with lots of really interesting people all over the place so I didn’t really mind. I was able to spend some time walking around the Art Gallery of NSW  at night looking at the Archibald Prize Entrants and being very, very impressed. Dinner was served after we’d finished looking about – it was magic having the Gallery and all those portraits looking down at us. I’m sure there’s a story in an Art Gallery for me – I did start one when I visited the Musee D’Orsay in Paris. It wasn’t all the paintings and famous, famous names of artists that got me going – it was the waiter in the Restaurant upstairs. It was this marvellous place with a giant clock on one wall – we were sitting behind the clock having our coffee and cake and watching the hands go around when I noticed the waiter. He had on the whitest shirt and swished around flapping a tea-towel (I’m sure it wasn’t a tea-towel – probaly has a special name or something but it looked like a tea-towel to me). He was mostly rousing on the other staff and hurrying people into the seats. We were all rushed about and it was a bit of a battle not to gobble the cake and gulp the coffee so we didn’t clutter up the place. We managed though – and while I watched him (and the hands  of the clock) I began to wonder what might happen if a little mouse lived in the pocket of a guard and at night he was able to come and the crumbs in the restaurant. I began to think that this waiter would be a mouse’s worst enemy – and the guard (and I’d already called him Guilliame) would be his best friend. And it would be well until Guilliame gets the sack…mmmm, what future then for a small, inconsequential mouse….maybe I’ll get back to that story.

I met some beaut kids at A.B. Paterson College. They were very keen and we laughed our heads off about me and my newest addition (more about that in a minute). We wrote stories together and solved problems. I love it when everyone giggles together – seems like the whole world needs a good laugh sometimes, don’t you reckon?

I didn’t intend to write about art gallery story making. I was intending to write about the lovely rain and colder days and grey skies and how its just brilliant being warm and snug inside. Its a time when I worry about people who aren’t as lucky as I am – I do the little bits I can to try and change that situation – mostly I fill bags with clothes and books but I’m thinking I’d like to get involved with some of the knitters who make squares and then turn them into warm rugs. The good news about grey skies, for this writer anyway, is that it seems to free up my imagination and my fingers twitch to start getting into some new work. I have started playing with a new idea this week – its another novel about Oliver Briskett, the seeing-eye private detective dog who solved the murder of Thomas A Gentle. This time I’m thinking he might have to help solve the mystery of the Missing Baby. Her name is L’il Chloe and she’s toddled off- well, maybe….or she might have been kidnapped…I’m still working on this….I’m a bit worried about who might kidnap her, and for why…is she rich, special, have super powers…what what what??

And, finally, I want you to meet my newest addition. He looks like a miniature Doberman (black and tan) so his name is Bonsai. He’s a tea-cup Chihuahua – he really is although he’s more coffee mug size now. My daughter sent him to me as he had no home – he landed via Qantas in a giant crate…such a wee, small thing in the corner. We loved each other straight away – he sleeps on my bed and chews my old dog, Noelene…and she loves it! They play chasing up and down the hall and generally have a fabulous time. If you want to see Noelene and Timon (the other Maltese) have a look in ‘Grave Catastrophe’ – they’re the Maltese whose names are Block and Tackle.

That’s all for this week. Have a wonderful winter. Snuggle down and, if you feel like it, try and get onto the knit a square thing. And then there’s the MS Readathon – are you doing it? I’m going to have a quiz night at my house..Oh, and just one last thing – had a great time at Mater Dei in Ashmore the other day. We made up stories about bears and kids fallin off cliffs and dogs who have no home. Brilliant.

Smile at someone close to you – they’ll either smile back (good) or think your nuts (better)!

Love Nette.

 
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I’m SOOOOOOOO Excited.

Posted by Nette on May 17, 2009 in Uncategorized

It’s been ages but hey, there’s been a lot of good stuff happening. Tomorrow I’m going to Sydney to the NSW Premiers dinner where they announce the winner of the award. Nice to be short listed and, even if I don’t win (which I reckon I should) I’m ready…today I’ve been practising walking around in my stilettos (made the bed, fed the dogs, hung out the washing)- not easy in velvet bowed, empty toed, stiletto heels but I did it!!!! Practised with the red lippy too and the new hairstyles – I was way to glam to be just hanging around in my old track pants doing the house work.

Of course, my life isn’t just housework. This morning we all went off the support the RSPCA Paws walk (I didn’t wear the stiletto – the good old Crocs were doing it). We walked the 3.5 kilometres which isn’t too bad for old Maltese Terriers and …trada.. the brand new mothers day present…a tea-cup chihuahua. Boy, let me tell you, for something so tiny it has a huge attitude. And I love it to bits. His name is Bonsai because he looks just like a miniature doberman and my darling daughter, Emma sent him up to me. He’s five months old and very, very smart and I’m his third home. So…sometimes people ask where do you get your story starts from and Bonsai is a classic example. You know, I just looked at him as he leapt around terrorizing two old fuddy-duddy dogs and I thought…Bons was the child that nobody wanted. And there you have it – a new story start when I can pretend Bons is a human child and get cracking on his adventures and how he wins his place in household No. 3.

Okay, so team…fingers crossed for a winner tomorrow night. But, if its not me I can cope. It’s pretty darn good, I reckon, to get to be short listed – when else do I get a chance to practise hanging out the washing in velvet Molinis. I’ll be better at keep you up-to-date and promise to look out for all the goss tomorrow night.

Enjoy your week. I’m starting off on a high note – as well as going to dinner tomorrow night I’m off to visit A.B.Paterson College in Arundel for the day. We’re going to hit up on book writing and story making and we may even try and find a bit more for the Bons that nobody wanted.

Look after yourself.

Nette H.

 
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A great week

Posted by Nette on Mar 26, 2009 in Uncategorized

This week has been brilliant! I’ve just returned from a trip to Sydney where I learned that my book ‘Sprite Downberry’ has been nominated for the New South Wales Premier’s Literary Prize. Its in there with some excellent company – my friend Joanne Horniman has her book in as does Di Bates. We’ve been writing for a long time and, I guess, it makes it very special to know that you can still deliver a good story.

The list is made up of many books and in different categories. It is well worth having a look – there are books for all sorts of readers and all sorts of ages – and if you only read these books – well, you’d be reading some of the best. Many of the authors were present for the publication of the list and it was wonderful to be able to have my copy of Tohby Riddle’s book signed by him.

It was  nice be lined up to be photographed as well. I felt pretty important until the photographer said that the wall behind us was just spectacular! I’m hoping that the wall was pleased to hear it was being photographed in good company.

So that’s my big news. I hope your week’s been fabulous and you’ve found a story to tell.

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