A guest! We have a guest! It’s always wonderful when an author drops by to chat, and today I’m happy to welcome Kaz Delaney, here to talk about Almost Dead, her latest book-baby. Welcome Kaz!
Hi Sally! Thank you for having me here – I’ve been really looking forward to it!
- Give us the details – title, publisher, illustrator, release date.
Title: Almost Dead
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Released: January 2nd, 2014.
So, as you can see, it’s still a newborn! And typically I’m still clucking and oohing and ahhing over it. And stroking it and telling it how beautiful it is…
2. Why did you write the book?
It was my publisher’s suggestion. She thought Macey’s story would be a great one to tell, because in her words, “Everybody Loves Macey.” (Macey, if your readers don’t know, was the witty, fast-talking side-kick from ‘Dead, Actually’.) I was keen to get onto the next project, but it took a little bit of soul-searching on my part to take that particular step.
3. How long from idea to publication?
Over two and a half years. Maybe more. A long time. But it couldn’t be helped, and I’ll be forever grateful for sympathetic publishers who could see clearly when I couldn’t. You see, my beautiful Mum became ill and subsequently passed away during the creation of this book. Initially, I was upset when my agent told me the pub date had been pushed back. Because of what was happening with Mum, I was distressed and hurting and to my befuddled brain it seems like a vote of no confidence. I’ve always been diligent about deadlines and I was convinced I could still make this one. But they were right and I was wrong. The structural edits were due back a week after my mum passed away. Of course I wouldn’t have been able to get them done and in fact I couldn’t look at them for three months afterwards. So, it was much longer than was probably ideal. Allen & Unwin, though, were brilliant and supported me though in not just being so understanding, but by re-releasing Dead, Actually to coincide with the new release: Almost Dead. Happy dancing!
4. What was the hardest thing about writing it?
Aside from the obvious above, the hardest part was my fear of losing the essence of Macey. That was my initial concern. You see, Macey is a big personality, she takes no prisoners and says what many of us would (sometimes) like to say but aren’t quite able to. But, are those the traits of a character the reader can relate to and cheer for? I wasn’t sure. Yet, I knew there was a whole lot more to Macey than met the eye. To make her more sympathetic, I knew we were going to have to dig deep, to rattle her self-assured cage and take away the few visible support systems she allowed herself. And I had to do all that without losing the quintessential essence that was Macey. That uniqueness that made her awesome (in the true sense of the word ). So the tricky bit was to have her evolve and yet remain true to who she really is. Phew. Lots of deletions and rewrites! (But I was delighted with the result, and so far the reviews are agreeing so it’s making it a teeny bit easier to sleep at night. J Double phew...)
5. Coolest thing about your book?
Wow – great question. Hmmnnn… Maybe the gorgeous, warm, semi-tropical setting would be one very cool factor? But probably it’s Macey. She’s very cool and very sharp – in the witty, quick-thinking-on-her-feet sense. She makes me laugh and wish I could be her. I know she’s the lead character, and so she should take the limelight, but this is definitely her book in every sense. Also, the interaction between her and Flick, the unhappy surprise who falls into her life, is such fun. And not one, but two, cute guys? Oh but wait! The mystery! The stalker! Not sure if this is something I’d term ‘cool’, but it is very engaging and sometimes downright scary. I loved creating the mystery – it’s one of my genre first-loves. So, is it the humour or the mystery? Maybe it’s both…
6. Something you learnt through writing the book?
Another great question. I think we learn, or have something reinforced with every book we write. With Almost Dead is was: To not get carried away with plot; to maintain control of the story. I got so caught up in the drama that I took the story to a place that was completely out of left field. It was shocking (in the sense that no one would ever have seen it coming) and it was big. But it was wrong for this story. It was a complete story on its own, really. It was a novice mistake I shouldn’t have made and cost me a lot of unnecessary wasted time.
The release was just eight days after Christmas, and kind of crept up on us. We had family staying and I was knee deep in looking after them and frantic plans for the launch which happened on the 11th, so it was almost a non event! Amazingly we had a big family get together that night (2nd), but with my attention elsewhere, we forgot to even toast the release until there just the hub and I still up and awake late into the night. The launch however was amazing and I was humbled and grateful to all those who came out to help us celebrate and give this baby a great welcome. There are some photos of that day on my blog The Ditzy Diva if anyone would like to take a peek. http://kazdelaney.wordpress.com/ Scroll down to the January 17th entry.
8. And how will you promote the book?
As much and as often as I can until people scream at me to stop or maybe until the death threats start arriving. J Seriously, promoting is such a big, and important, part of being an author these days, and with the dearth of bookshops it’s getting harder and harder for people to find our books, let along buy. I’m in the midst of an amazing blog tour now with fabulous hosts – thank you very much Ms Sally! J – and fingers crossed that’s helping to spread the word. I have several appearances scheduled for throughout the year and we’re the early stages of planning mini launches in Brisbane and on the South Coast and Sydney. It’s going to be a big, busy year where I hope to connect with as many readers as I possibly can.
9. What are you working on next?
I’ve just completed a mid grade novel that I hope will turn into a series. Not even my agent has seen it yet – through she’s about to – so I’m at that very nervous stage. Is it good? Does it work? Is the pacing right for that age bracket? From there I will go back to the next YA in what I loosely term my Dead Series. After that, I hope to have another two YA’s written by the end of 2014 and perhaps I’ll get to that series for boys that keeps screaming at me. Well, that’s the plan, right? Reality will probably deliver something entirely different, just to remind me I’m not in charge J, but until then, that’s what I’m working towards.
10. Where we can find out more about you and your book?
I’d love people to meander along to my website: kazdelaney.com
It will list all the places you’re likely to find me this year – so far!
My blog – http://kazdelaney.wordpress.com/ – has been a bit sadly neglected, but I’m trying to rectify that so there’ll usually be the latest happenings and always photos. I’ve made a concerted effort this year. So come along and visit and keep me honest! J The latest is the exciting news about my book being immortalised in clay which is totally one of the most exciting things to happen in a long time – besides having a new book out, of course.
And the book itself? Almost Dead is available at Booktopia.com.au and Bookworld –or through your local bricks and mortar bookshop. If they don’t have it yet, order it! Actually puleese order it! J
Thank you so much Sally! You’ve been a gracious hostess and it’s been loads of fun chatting to you about Almost Dead. xxx
And thank you for coming, Kaz. Enjoy that new baby 🙂