18 April 2011

Young Street

It's odd how much you can dread change and then when it happens it all seems absolutely perfect. Our new office is so much like home now that I wonder how we ever lived with the old one. This one is quieter, closer to terrific shopping, loaded with charm and in all ways feels quite perfect for us.  That's a pic looking through my office to the meeting room.  Those persimmons are from Patricia's tree -- my absolute favourite fruit I think, after mangoes.

Kon, our wonderful new landlord, came in this week loaded up with Haigh's for Easter. He shops for us regularly at Haigh's and we love him for it. I went to dinner at a local Italian restaurant on the weekend and guess who was sitting behind me?  Kon! In his spiffy black shirt, and minus the silky basketball singlet, I almost didn't recognise him. It's his neighbourhood so perhaps he isn't stalking me ...

It turns out that he owns a church just down the road which is inhabited by many young people -- they've sort of taken it over for the last ten years and Kon is very easy going about that. He tells me the church is famous for its halloween parties. I wonder if we'll score an invite this year?  Our dear illustrator Dan is in the know so I'll check with him around October.

We had our housewarming a week or so ago, a very pleasant affair with no rowdy drunks or illustrators flinging themselves around the carpark on scooters as happened a while ago. And nothing spilled on the new carpet. We are very impressed with how sedate our creators are in the late afternoon. Poor Dan McGuinness was heard to cry, ' A young person!' when he saw Claire Richards turn up. He's not so young himself ... he should watch out.

I'm tremendously excited about a new author -- Emma Allen has written two beautiful picture books for us. Watch this space. Freya Blackwood is illustrating one of them. Emma has a lyrical quality to her work that is very special and we feel she will go far. I also read an unsolicited manuscript this week that sent shivers down my spine. It reminded me in a way of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nightime, but it was darker and more adult.  I would love to publish it, but the YA market is so hard and this is so different that I think I will have to twist arms.  Note to self -- build up arm muscles.

I feel that mental itch publishers feel when great talent is about to pop on to the list.  Looking forward to reading the great Australian novel on the slush pile very soon.  It's in the post, I'm sure of it!

A note from your Conductor xx

14 April 2011

The CBCA Book of the Year 2011 Short List & Notables

We're proud to see several Omnibus books on the CBCA Book of the year shortlist and notables lists this year.

Congratulations to our wonderful, hard-working authors and illustrator for making the cut.

DM Cornish Monster Blood Tattoo Book 3: Factotum (Notables)

Gerard Michael Bauer Just a Dog (Younger readers shortlist)

Dave Luckett Paladin (Notables)

Dorothea Mackellar and Andrew McLean My Country (Notables)

13 April 2011

April books

Omnibus Books is delighted to have two very special books out this month.
New junior fiction novel, Bungawitta, by super-mega-stars of children's literature Emily Rodda and Craig Smith, hits shelves this April. In a 5-star review the Junior Bookseller and Publisher says: 'The author of the popular Deltora Quest and Rondo series has done it again with a captivating tale that shows how good morals and values can guide us out of any problem. Whether or not it rains is completely beside the point!'

And just when the children are going to be ransacking the backyard for eggs laid (in a quirk of evolution) by the Easter Bunny, My Little World by Julia Cooke and illustrated by Marjorie Crosby-Fairall, will be appearing on bookshop shelves. After the chocolate hunting frenzy is over this book will inspire a closer look at all the wonderful creatures to be found hiding in the garden.

12 April 2011

Win an iPad 2!

Yep, you read right, commuters. Ian Irvine is only giving away an iPad 2 over at his Facebook page. Be quick and click because this competition is running only during April. Goodness me, that's exciting!

04 April 2011

Q&A with Dan McGuiness

Dan McGuiness, the comic genius behind Pilot & Huxley (1, 2 and 3), shares some of the behind-the-scenes secrets of creating a comic book slash graphic novel. 

How long did it take you to write and illustrate Pilot & Huxley?
Each time I wrote and illustrated a Pilot & Huxley book I got more efficient. The first one took around a year to do, while the latest one took around three months from start to finish. I now work on a Wacom Cintiq (an LCD tablet) to do the drawings and colouring. Being able to draw straight onto digital paper cuts out a lot of time-consuming steps.

Do you procrastinate? Are you an early-morning or late-at-night writer?
When I have a deadline I treat it as a nine to five job. I set an amount that I have to do every day. For example, if I am writing a script I say to myself that I have to write fifteen pages a day. This is the best way I have found for me to work. In between books I treat that time as like a holiday or work on other projects. Sometimes it's hard for me to get back into it after a break, but I'm not a procrastinator in general.

Where do you get your inspiration for your books?
I can remember quite vividly the sort of things that I used to love when I was younger. I was a reluctant reader, so now I put stuff into my books that I would have liked to read about when I was a kid. That's probably why children love my books but some adults have a hard time accepting them! I also get a lot of inspiration from the movies I watch, video games I play and comics I read.

When did you write your first book and how old were you?
I started writing and drawing my own independent comics when I was about 26. I would just draw them up on A4 paper, take them down to the newsagent, photocopy them and staple them at home. From there I would sell them at comic conventions around Australia. I'm 33 now, so a lot has happened in the last seven years.

What does your family think of your writing?
My parents love my books. I have to get them like 40 copies of a book when it comes out to send to all my relations and their friends. My parents have always supported me in everything I have done, from running a skateboard company to working in the film industry. I could not have asked for better parents.

What are you reading at the moment?
I'm reading a manga (Japanese graphic novel) series called Bakuman, which is about two kids trying to become professional manga artists in Japan. I'm also reading a western comic called Invincible which is about a boy whose dad is basically Superman. It's about him growing up and dealing with the problems that arise when his powers kick in at puberty.

Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
I have a website where kids can leave me comments and I have a Dan McGuiness Facebook fan page as well. I pretty much hear from kids every day asking me questions like, When is the next book coming out? Is there going to be a TV show? Is there going to be a movie? Are there going to be toys? I love reading and answering all of them.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A dinosaur. 

What do you like to do when you're not writing?
I like to play video games. I have an Xbox 360 and a PS3. I also help run a retro gaming website called Retrospekt. I love reading comics and manga as well. But my favourite thing is eating. I'm so into going out to dinner with my girlfriend, Clare.

When was the last time you went on a bus?
I live so close to the city that I just ride my bike everywhere. It's way easier than paying for a ticket, so I don't catch the bus at all. Sorry, that was a bit of a boring answer 0_0. Maybe I could make up an answer like, "The last bus I caught was when I got stuck on the back of a giant blue super worm. It was so big that I had to catch a bus to get to its tail. When I got to the tail I shot a flare into the sky and my personal helicopter came to pick me up to take me home."

Pilot & Huxley 3 out now!