FREE FREE FREE Miss Lily Story
Have written a free Miss Lily Story, With Love from Miss Lily. It will be available on December 1. Will send an email out to all on the email list and also put a link up on social media. Hope you like it!
Koala Bare illustrated by Matt Shanks
An hilarious koala tail, sorry, tale, with the brilliant Matt Shanks. He is furry, fat and stroppy, and kids are falling in love with him, as are adults overseas — it looks like it will be nicely signed up for many foreign editions.
Actually Matt and I have fallen in love with him too, as has HarperCollins, and the next book is in the pipeline, and I am brooding on the third.
Facing the Flame
This is the next book in the Matilda saga. It is a love story, both of people and of the land; and it's a story about the strength of community when faced with challenge.
Set in the late 1970s, Facing the Flame tells the story of a small rural community suffering through a debilitating drought. When bushfire catches and spreads, the people of Gibber’s Creek must come together to defend their home and all that they have worked for, a dangerous struggle that many Australians must face each year.
Lu Borgino has been recently blinded, but she battles flames to save a racehorse, even though her dreams of being Australia's first professional female jockey have been destroyed.
Scarlett O'Hara risks her hard-won life at medical school and the new love of Alex Romanov to save a child.
Flinty McAlpine draws on the local knowledge of tens of thousands of years to protect her valley. All the while Jed Kelly must escape, not just bushfire, but the man who plots to kill her with its power.
There have been fires before, but not like this.
Facing the Flame is for both teenagers and adults. It is pretty much a book that I have lived as well as written. The people are (mostly) real, though each character is a combination of people, except for the villain, who died years ago and so cannot sue me for defamation, and anyway, he is pretty well disguised too. Others, like the blind Lu Borgino, who can find her way through the smoke to save a horse when those with sight are suddenly helpless, are inspired by close friends – although it is probably best not to give away too many details.
Facing the Flame is set in 1978, and the bushfires in it are based on two local fires I fought early that year. One was to save a friends' house, and we used the techniques Flinty McAlpine does in the book, as well as McLeod tools and the green wattle branches, so absorbed in defeating the fire that we didn't realise it was midnight until the fire front was conquered and we found ourselves many kilometres from the firetruck, with no torches.
We found our way back by the flares of still burning bark, the moon and stars hidden by smoke. Incidents from other fires have been added, including the Canberra and Deua fires of 2003, when the air was soot black, and even torchlight couldn't penetrate the ash, and the sky burned red and orange flames above us.
Don’t let the bushfire put you off. This is a book about happiness, and love, even if each character must face their own flame- the literal ones and the symbolic.
Goodbye, Mr Hitler
This is the best book I have written and the most deeply important. It is a book that matters – and I have never said that about my work before.
Goodbye, Mr Hitler is the third in the loose trilogy that began with Hitler’s Daughter and Pennies for Hitler. It is the story of Johan; and of Heide, who has now become Helga Schmidt; and Georg’s mother.
The book still has too powerful a hold on me to write about it. If I could summarise it I wouldn’t have needed to write the book. Perhaps this quotation from the last chapter might say what I can’t about the book, and why it is one that so many need to understand now, today, as the world begins another insane spiral that, as a historian, I recognise too well:
The world has many ogres. Some, like Mr Hitler, do not even know that they are ogres, but dream they are the hero of the story.
But I have learned this in the years since I was ten years old: when you see injustice, stand beside each other and seize your spears. My spears are made of words. Yours may be different. But do not hesitate or look away. If too many look away, the ogres win. To be mostly deeply human we must risk our lives for others. Only when we stand together can we be truly free.
It is not easy fighting ogres. No one who fights an ogre comes away unscarred, even if you cannot see the wounds. And so you owe the ogre hunters this.
When the ogre has been vanquished, sit down upon the quiet earth and try to understand the ogre’s anguish and his twisted fear. Only by understanding can we stop them rising in our midst.
When you understand, forgive.
And then stand up, and live.