Meet My Book: Portraits of Celina, by Sue Whiting

I’m always happy to have visitors, and, today’s visitor is my lovely friend and clever writer Sue whiting, here to take part in the Meet My Book feature. Over to you, Sue.

1. Give us the details – title, publisher, illustrator, release date.

Portraits of Celina, Walker Books Australia, April 2013


2. Why did you write the book?

To be perfectly honest – I don’t know! I started out writing a very different book for a much younger audience about a genie, but it wasn’t working. My daughter suggested I ditch the genie, but keep the setting, characters and backstory. I took her advice (there’s a first time for everything) and started exploring the characters and ended up writing a YA suspense novel about a vengeful ghost and a family dealing with grief!

3. How long from idea to publication?

As with many of my books, it was several years from idea to publication. I am not fast. I first started working on the novel in 2008, though the half-finished manuscript lingered in my bottom drawer for a year or more (probably more like two).

4. What was the hardest thing about writing it?

Finding the time. I work full time, and for a while I was using that as an excuse for not writing, until I gave myself a stern talking to and made myself find the time. Consequently, I wrote most of the book on the train during my morning commute to the office.

5. Coolest thing about your book?

The creepy, ghostly bits – they were so much fun to write! As one reviewer put it I “went head to head with a ghost”. Also, hidden in the scenes with Bayley and Oliver, I share an intimate moment from my own life – the moment I fell in love with my husband (when I was just sixteen also). And that is pretty cool.

6. Something you learnt through writing the book?

Many things!
One: You can write a YA novel, work full time and keep your sanity (just).
Two: Writing romance scenes is REALLY hard.
Three: Writing darker themes and scary scenes is awesome.

7. What did you do celebrate the release?

On the day the book was released, I went to Kinokuniya Bookshop in Sydney with my daughter (to whom the book is dedicated) and her friend, took a cheesy photo of the girls holding the book in front of the display on the New Releases and then we went to High Tea in the Queen Victoria Building and toasted Celina with chilled glasses of champagne.

8. And how will you promote the book?

I have done a number of promotional activities with The Children’s Bookshop at Beecroft – a teacher/librarian event and some school visits. I also have a few festivals coming up: Sydney Writers’ Festival, Voices on the Coast, Southern Highlands Writers’ Festival, Ipswich Festival of Children’s Literature, as well as a couple of days of events with Westbooks in Perth. I also use my blog and Facebook page to publicise reviews and events and look out for opportunities to do interviews etc.

9. What are you working on next?

I am working on a new YA novel. It has the working title of The Awful Truth and is all about lies (and love and crime).

10. Where we can find out more about you and your book?
Facebook: here.
Publisher: Walker Books.
Buy online: here.

Thanks for sharing Sue. You can see my review of Portraits of Celina here.