a 2020 update

Oof, it’s been a while since I updated this blog! Almost two years.

In that time, my book has been published (!) in Australia, New Zealand, North America, and the Netherlands (!!), and is now available all around the world. (!!!)

I am now a published author. Pinch me!

It’s been an extraordinary year and a half since my book came out. Last year, in April, I got to launch my book beside the sea. Margo Lanagan—friend and huge writing inspiration— stood in front of over 100 friends and family, and released my book out into the wild. A stunning day.

Last year, I was welcomed by the YA writing community so warmly it took my breath away. It continues to blow my mind. The kindness, the open arms, the connection. I keep marvelling at it. You spend all these years, standing in this liminal, wanting space—as a reader and as an aspiring writer—training to be better, working so hard towards the dream of being published, and then, suddenly you’re there. The door opens, the windows are flung wide, and you realise you were always welcome, that there never really was a door, just people on every side who love words as you do, supporting you completely. What a revelation.

Last year, I travelled to the US for a mini book tour, and found my book in all my beloved book stores in Seattle and in the Bay Area. I met and chatted with the wonderful Joy McCullough in Seattle and the amazing Jandy Nelson in the Bay Area. (I got to talk to Jandy for four hours about books and life and the craft of writing. Complete bliss.) I saw my face on a poster in Barnes and Noble! I signed my book in all sorts of stores and spaces. I sat in Golden Gate Park one afternoon, on the grass; I breathed in and out, and marvelled at my life.

Last year and this year I received incredible reviews—in the Saturday Paper, in the Australian Book Review and in the Sydney Review of Books, to mention some of the ones here in Australia. In the US, I received starred reviews in five literary review journals. FIVE!?! Mind blown. I also received beautiful letters and read online posts from readers, sharing their stories with me, letting me know how my book had resonated with them. And what an extraordinary gift that is—to write your heart out onto the page and have it be welcomed with such love and then have a reader’s heart offered back to you in return. I will never ever get over that. I am so grateful.

I also appeared in my first ever writing festivals—last year at Writers Unleashed, Heroines Festival, and the Wollongong Writers Festival. I was on panels. I sat in front of rooms of humans, on these mini stages with incredible fellow writers, and people listened to me as I spoke. WILD. This year, I was supposed to do a whole week of workshops and talks at Somerset Storyfest, in Queensland, but it was cancelled due to Covid. I was also supposed to fly down for Melbourne Writers Festival—also cancelled. But then, little lovely spots of sunshine opened—for example, I appeared in the MWF Digital Festival, talking on the topic of Kindness. And I have to say, speaking to the thing I care most about, for such a legendary festival, was beyond any dream I’ve ever had, and one of the most wonderful experiences of my life.

Hugely, I was also shortlisted for awards. My book! Awards! The NSW Premier’s Literary Awards, the Queensland Literary Awards, the Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards, and the CBCA Book of the Year. I was longlisted for the ABIA Literary Awards and the Indie Book Awards. AND this year… I won one. How is that even possible?? But yes, I won the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for Writing for Young Adults. I went down to Melbourne on the train with my daughter, and on awards day I shook hands with the Premier and met smiley, dear fellow authors and book-lovers, and spoke on ABC Melbourne radio with David Astle, and ate vegan tacos and drank mescale with my friend and People’s Choice winner Chloe Higgins and her lovely Picador editor Matilda. WHAT A DAY. The outpouring of support afterwards was extraordinary—I am so grateful for all those kind words, just wilding in and leaving me speechless. Literally almost speechless—I still haven’t managed to thank everyone personally. But please know: I am SO THANKFUL.

In the last couple of years I have also worked with some extraordinary humans—my agent, my editors in the US and in Australia, and their incredible colleagues—all working to make my words better, to get my book out into the world, making it beautiful inside and out, and supporting me at every turn. And we are all excited for the next new journey, which is Book Two, forming as we speak! Ah…I love working with these lovely people—they are as supportive as you could ever imagine, or hope for, and I’m so glad to have them in my corner.

To finish up My First Blog Post in Two Years, I can’t quite believe that I’m living out something I have wanted to do and be since I was young. I wanted to write—now I am writing; I am a writer; I am a published author. I get to teach writing and teach mental health self care through writing. I get to watch my students grow and become stronger and find their voices and speak. I get to tell my story on my own terms; I get to connect with other people in ways that move me to tears and delight me, that make me squishy with love. I am so grateful. I know I said that before, but the gratitude is huge, deep, and flowing.

Hopefully I will write again soon, before another two years have passed! I will post this and immediately remember all the things I didn’t say. About readers (YOU ARE AMAZING) and about mental health and self care and how vital it is we have open conversations about how we feel, and about the Black Lives Matter movement and the huge, huge need for diversity in publishing, and the incredible LGBTQ+ community and how important representation is, and about love and compassion and how critical it is we practice kindness every day.

Yeah, I have lots to say. Hopefully I’ll be back soon and share some of these thoughts with you!

Much love,


Look: It’s my book!




My book had its cover reveal this week and I am over the moon about it!

It’s completely gorgeous, this cover. The amazing Kristie Radwilowicz at Dial/Penguin Random House designed it; she put together something completely stunning, including the extraordinary illustration by Karolis Strautniekas, whose artwork just blows me away. I feel incredibly grateful that I have a cover I want to pore over, every time I see it. There are so many tiny, gorgeous details. The font, and the way the letters are gauzy like clouds, and the way you can see the hair through the letters, and the colour, my goodness the colour, and the way the whole cover absolutely captures the sense and essence of floating. I could go on and on! (And I have with my family, lucky things, who love the cover too.)

Then, cup-runneth-over time, my cover reveal happened on Tuesday, on Bustle.com. It was incredible. They called my book a ‘modern THE BELL JAR with ghosts’. The author, Kerri Jarema, talked about my novel’s ‘honest, nuanced portrayal of grief and mental illness’. She called it ‘mesmerizing and timely’. I mean. I MEAN.

Please go check out the article. It’s just lovely. And there’s an excerpt! The first four chapters are in there. These words of my heart, the ones I wrote in cafes by the sea, at the dining table, on the train, in the library…they are going out into the world for people to read, people I’ve never seen or spoken to, lovely strangers who will meet my characters and through their story, meet me. And that feels like nothing I’ve ever experienced in my life before.

I am so, so grateful.


Dream coming true


Recently Facebook memories told me about a dream I’d had three years ago.

The Facebook post went like this:

I just had a dream that a literary agent was going to take on my novel and had already found me a publisher…on the condition I wrote a murder scene into the book, and turned the novel into a murder mystery. At that point, she assured me, ‘Agatha Christie Publishing’ would take it on. 

The agent gave me ten minutes to write the murder scene…I was sent off with her assistant to my writing room, set at the top of a tall metal tower we could only get to by some super-fast UFO-like shuttle. When I got to my writing room it was filled with little old ladies catching up and having tea. So I had to go downstairs to the tower atrium to write. 

Time was running out. My brain was nearly blank, but I gave myself a pep talk into a little mirror set into the wall. Then I wrote and wrote and it was good! When the agent arrived, I showed her my scene. 

Which I had written in BROCCOLI. 

Clumps of broccoli sat on the paper, each little floret representing a word I could not remember. I could not for the life of me tell her what I had written. 

End of dream. 

This may be hard to believe, but that dream did not come true. I don’t have a murder mystery novel written in broccoli and I’m not being published by Agatha Christie Publishing.


I DID write a new book about a year and a half ago—a YA novel called How It Feels To Float, about a girl and grief and mental illness and losing yourself and love holding you up as you find yourself again.

And then an agent DID take on my novel! The amazing Catherine Drayton of Inkwell Management. And she wonderfully found me not just one publisher, but TWO.

And now I’m getting published!!!!

My book is coming out next May with Dial/Penguin Random House in North America and Pan Macmillan in Australia and NZ. It’s been an amazing ride so far, and it’s only been three and a half months. I’ve loved words and stories and writing my whole life—publishing a book has been a really, really big dream for a very long time. Now, right in front of me, the dream is coming true.

So VERY cool.


(As for my written-in-broccoli murder-mystery? Maybe in some alternate universe, it totally exists.)



photo credit: Allan Lau

Chinese Space Stations and Literary Agents


A little while ago, I was pretty convinced a Chinese space station was going to fall on me.

The space station was due to return to earth, any day in an out-of-control descent. According to the experts, no one knew where it was going to land. Chances of it landing on a human: one in a trillion. Well! thought my brain. That means it’ll definitely land on me!

Because, you know, logic.

I spent the days before the landing imagining how you might outrun a space station, like, if you saw it coming, could you dodge? On the day the station was due to plop down to earth, I followed its trajectory on a somewhat-reliable site, and read scientists’ tweets about the landing—everyone in the dark and trying not to seem in the dark. Who would win in the great Space Station Landing Game? A mountain? A mountain goat? The sea? A woman in a suburb in Australia, patting her cat?

The station dropped into the ocean on April 1st. No one was hurt (including the fish, hopefully). Life went on. And I didn’t get hit by a space station, because people don’t get hit by space stations.

What I didn’t map the trajectory of, and what I wasn’t expecting, was an email five days later from Catherine Drayton, literary agent with InkWell Management, responding to my query about my YA novel.

Catherine very kindly asked to see more pages; I sent thirty of them on a Friday evening, fully imagining a no, any second, in reply. The very next morning, her assistant asked for the full manuscript. I sent that on, and then, well—of course the answer would be a no, because space stations don’t land on people and how were these not exactly the same odds?

Five days later, I got a phone call from Catherine. She loved my book, she said. She would love to represent me! she said. And there I was, completely landed on. And it felt incredible. I accepted her offer the next day. And now we’re working together. It’s amazing.

The moral to the story is (if there’s any moral at all!): It’s a whole lot more likely that someone will fall in love with your book than you’ll be hit by falling space debris. That is, as long as you keep writing and you don’t spend too long in bed, worrying about the sky.