The first book trailer I ever viewed was for Richard Flanagan’s The Unknown Terrorist. I was hugely impressed that a publisher would invest so much time, effort and funds into a promotional website for one book, let alone give it a cinema-style trailer. It worked on me. I went out and bought the book.
I’ve seen several book trailers since and, despite the nay-sayers, I reckon they’re a great way to give a quick and tempting taste of a story. So, while I wait for a verdict on my current manuscript, I decided to have a crack at a trailer for Game as Ned. Please have a squiz and let me know what you think.
Many thanks to the very talented and generous Ash Davies for the use of his track Stormclouds, from the album Ned Kelly.
An invitation to speak at a book-flavoured breakfast for fathers and sons this week saw me cover a couple of topics – a brief version of my Melbourne Writers’ Festival chat on Ned Kelly and a rundown of the books that I enjoyed reading as a lad. For good measure, I threw in those that I’ve read recently and would recommend to male readers.
Some of the fathers have since requested the list and it goes as follows:
To the Wild Sky – Ivan Southall
Biggles books generally – Capt W.E. Johns (mainly because my Dad had oodles of these.)
A Pictorial History of Bushrangers – Tom Prior et. al
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe series – C.S. Lewis
Asterix books – Goscinny & Uderzo (a great way to learn wordplay and puns)
Tintin books – Herge (Is this why I became a reporter?)
The Chrysalids / The Trouble with Lichen / The Midwich Cuckoos … anything by John Wyndham
The Stand – Stephen King
Blade Runner – Philip K Dick (actual book title Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?)
1984 – George Orwell
A Kindness Cup – Thea Astley (a book that I believe still influences my life)
The Hobbit; The Lord of the Rings – J.R.R Tolkien
And while I forgot to mention them on Thursday, I’d also include just about all of Ian Fleming’s James Bond books.
Current recommendations for YA readers
The Harry Potter series – J.K. Rowling (more fun to read to my son than solo)
Tomorrow When the War Began series – John Marsden (favourite book Burning for Revenge)
Boys of Blood & Bone – David Metzenthen
Across the Nightingale Floor (Tales of the Otori series) – Lian Hearn
Samurai Kids series (White Crane, Owl Ninja, others to follow) – Sandy Fussell (My son and I got a lot of laughs out of these books.)
Gravity – Scot Gardner (also One Dead Seagull and White Ute Dreaming)
Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist – Rachel Cohn & David Levithan
Fighting Ruben Wolfe – Markus Zusak
The Messenger – Markus Zusak
Of course, there are plenty more titles that have inspired and informed me. When I work out the technology, I hope to post a library shelf to show you what’s currently on my bedside table.
NB: This post has attracted a LOT of eyeballs. For those who are interested, here’s a follow up post where I expand on my ideas about boys and reading.
To check out my personal library, click here. I have added a Books for Boys tag to anything I think cuts the mustard.
In a previous post, I mentioned that a book takes on a life of its own once it is released. In part, this is because every reader brings their own world experience to the words they read and they respond accordingly.
Indeed, the first time a publisher read a manuscript of Game as Ned, I was encouraged by her response because she said she shed some tears at key moments in the book. I would have picked the same two moments – one sad, one happy – as most likely to make me choke up. That said, I’ve had other readers contact me to say they cried (or laughed or smiled) at entirely different moments. Truth be told, I’m chuffed to hear that the story is triggering any emotional responses as this suggests readers are identifying with the characters or events I tried to portray.
A book also takes on its own life in the commercial world. I’m gobsmacked (and grateful) that Game as Ned has been purchased for publication in Poland, for instance. If I’d had to hazard a guess as to potential international readers, I would have picked Ireland as first cab off the rank. GAN has also been turned into an audio book (more on that in another post), read by professional actors.
Critical acclaim is another aspect of a book’s life that is difficult to predict. I was rapt that GAN made the Children’s Book Council of Australia Older Readers Notable Books list for 2008 and amazed to be mentioned in such high-powered company. GAN was also long-listed for the Ned Kelly Awards 2008, as judged by the Crime Writers’ Association of Australia. As a first-time novelist, I’m flummoxed just to be on the same page as these wordsmiths.
During my time as a newspaper journalist, I became familiar with writing articles that generally had a very short shelf life. You soon learn that today’s news is tomorrow’s food for the compost worms. When you write a novel, the experience is very different. A book takes on a life of its own the minute it is published. Where and when it will make an impression is almost impossible to predict.
So it was a fantastic surprise to hear from Albion Park High School in New South Wales where an entire Year 9 class had just read Game as Ned. I received handwritten letters from each student and the feedback was blunt and brilliant. Thanks guys. You made me laugh (and my wife cry.)
I hope to be having more to do with schools as GAN becomes better known. With this in mind, I’ve signed up with the speakers’ agency Booked Out where I’m humbled to be on the same list as scores of much better known and comprehensively published wordsmiths than me.
I spent time recently with five classes of grade 1/2 students from my son’s school and, once again, was blown away by the enthusiasm of the kids and their wacky, obtuse questions. (For the record, my favourite colour is still green.) I’m also scheduled to chat to Year 9 students at Braemar College soon and join a Ned Kelly-themed panel at the Melbourne Writers’ Festival. August is going to be action-packed!
Speaking of MWF, if you have read Game as Ned and want to learn more about how I tangled bushranger fact and fiction together, please join me at Federation Square’s ACMI Cinema 1 on August 25 at 10am.