10 Things About Me

I've seen some other authors like Samantha Shannon and Laure Eve writing these "10 Things About Me" posts and I was like... Hey, I am a person and there are probably ten things about me. Maybe I should do a post like that. 

So here we are. What a wild ride. 

Ahead of the publication of Our Chemical Hearts, which comes out in two weeks (OMG I'm not hyperventilating you're hyperventilating), here are ten interesting things about me: 

1. I am deaf in one ear. 

If we're having a conversation and you're on my left side and my eyes are kind of glazed over and I laugh at inappropriate times, it's probably because I can't hear you. I started losing my hearing my left ear when I was fifteen thanks to a condition called Ménière's disease. It also means that I have a high pitched buzzing sound playing in that ear.

Every second. Of every day. For the rest of my life. 

People kind of freak out when I tell them that. Honestly, it's not so bad. It makes getting to sleep really easy because I just roll onto my good ear and suddenly all nighttime sounds (traffic, possums, ghosts, soul eating demons etc.) are blocked out. I can pretty much sleep anywhere because of my broken ear. 

Places like bars and loud restaurants are a struggle though, because it's exhausting trying to hear people and pick out their voices over the din. I need to be able to see people's lips moving - and I need to sit at the left end of the table if I'm to have any hope of conversation. Super frustrating sometimes, but I've learned to adapt. 

2. I've lived on three continents. 

I grew up in Australia. Then I studied in Europe. I loved studying in Europe so much that I decided to study in Asia.

Living in countries where you don't speak the language is very humbling and character building - I'm so glad I did it. 

3. I love Worcestershire sauce. 

Worcestershire sauce is kind of a tradition in my family. My grandfather loved it all his life. When he was a kid, it was the only thing that made bland wartime food taste good.

My mother caught it off him. As a joke on her wedding day, someone gave her two four litre bottles of Worcestershire sauce - with teats attached.

I was kind of weaned off it while living in Asia, but I still enjoy it on eggs. And pasta. And pizza. And toast. Okay I wasn't really weaned off it at all. 

4. I have two younger sisters who are both brilliant. 

One is going to be a fully-fledged doctor at the end of next year. The other is beginning her international science degree majoring in genetics and French. They're both also really good writers. It's kind of unfair actually. 

5. I hate the cold. 

So much so that it makes me physically angry. I have been known to shout at the weather on cold days. Honestly, nothing makes me feel closer to a total psychotic breakdown than a winter's day. I just hate it. I wasn't built for the northern hemisphere. 

6. I used to be a book thief. 

As a child, I wasn't allowed to read anything that depicted witchcraft and was therefore banned from read Harry Potter. My family were Jehovah's Witnesses (we are no longer and haven't been for a long time), and that meant no birthdays, no Christmas, no Easter, no national anthems and no magic. 

I considered this a great injustice and - curious as to what all the fuss was about - I decided to take matters into my own hands. Because I wasn't old enough to get my own library card (you had to be twelve for one of those, so mature) I had to smuggle a copy of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone out of the library and into my bedroom.

Naturally, I fell in love. Eternal life be damned - ten-year-old me was more than willing to give it up for my next hit of J.K.Rowling. I read the series in secret for two years before my parents split and we left the religion. 

I had my first Christmas at the age of thirteen and it was freakin' awesome

7. Growing up, I wanted to be an actor. 

When I was twelve or thirteen, I decided – against my mother’s wishes – that I was going to be a child actor. I thought it was a brilliant escape plan to get out of my small, humid hometown. Look out Hollywood! I sent headshots to agencies in Melbourne and Sydney, saying I was looking for an acting agent and was available for auditions. I got a lot of phone calls asking me to come in – which was difficult because I was thousands of kilometres away.

I begged my mother to let me move to Sydney by myself so I could be in movies, but she (thankfully!) declined. 

8. Sydney is my favourite city in the world. 

In a four way tie for second place is London, New York, Paris and Edinburgh. They're all far too cold though. 

9. I once killed a cactus. 

I'm definitely not ready for children. 

10. I'm a struggling vegetarian. 

Two years ago I was one of those "I'll always eat meat" people. Then I discovered the extreme impact meat production has on the environment and it's huge contribution to climate change, and I decided to cut down on my consumption. 

It was really, really hard not to eat meat in Hong Kong (even vegetarian wontons come in pork soup. Everything has pork in it). Now that I'm back in Australia, I never prepare meat for myself at home, but I do eat it occasionally if I'm out with friends and sharing meals, or if I'm at someone's house and they've cooked for a bunch of people. 

I think it's a good balance. 

BONUS:

Since killing the cactus a few years ago, I've managed to keep mint, parsley and kale alive for a couple months now. I'm practically a card carrying adult. 

An Ode to Book Bloggers

Before this year, I'm ashamed to say that I didn't really comprehend how important and awesome book bloggers, Bookstagrammers, Booktubers and Goodreads reviewers really were.

Sure I liked your pretty photos and read some of your reviews and was grateful that someone, somewhere had taken the time to produce them. Then I moved on with my life.

Pic by @pixelski on Instagram

Pic by @pixelski on Instagram

Over the past couple of months, however, with reviews and pictures and posts of Our Chemical Hearts pouring in, I really had to take a step back and marvel at the online book community. It is a thing of wonder. 

Pic by @lisa_lostinlit on Instagram

Pic by @lisa_lostinlit on Instagram

Thousands of people working every single day - usually without pay and frequently without recognition - to help support the dreams of others. And they do this for one reason and one reason only: because they love books.  

Pic by @youngadultbookaddict on Instagram

Pic by @youngadultbookaddict on Instagram

I try to avoid bad reviews of my book, mostly because I have the delicate ego of Kim Jong-un, but I have to say, I appreciate even the not-so-nice ones. (Or at least I start to after several glasses of wine, a small amount of crying and 'Shake It Off' played on repeat). You took the time to read it. More than that, you took the time to go online and tell other people about it, which is more than most readers can say. 

Pic by the @thebooksbuzz on Instagram

Pic by the @thebooksbuzz on Instagram

When a good review pops up, or a gorgeous picture, or a blog post dedicated entirely to my book, or a short and sweet tweet, or a listicle, or anything basically, I'm reminded how much time and effort you incredible people put into this - reading, styling, photographing, writing, posting and more - and I'm floored. Absolutely floored. (And then I drink some wine and cry happy tears. Being an author is like 80% wine and crying.) 

Pic by @_sarahdreamsbook on Instagram

Pic by @_sarahdreamsbook on Instagram

So every book blogger/Tuber/Grammer/reviewer - I salute you. I always say that book people are the best people, but you guys are the very best of the best. 

Pic by @molliethereader on Instagram

Pic by @molliethereader on Instagram

We couldn't do this without you and I can't bloody wait to meet you all. 

 

 

On Tours and Heroes

I recently listened to an episode of This American Life called "The Perils of Intimacy" in which comedian Kyle Mizono met her hero, spent a week working with him and then sent him an email (with disastrous results - her unnamed hero never emailed her back). Listen to it here, it's great (and deeply cringeworthy). 

Anyway, I listened to it at the perfect time (albeit accidentally): the next day, I found out that my book launch would be in New York City and it would be with Scott Westerfeld.

SCOTT FREAKIN' WESTERFELD, author of the Uglies series, the Midnighters series, Peeps... Basically the YA books that defined YA for me before I even knew what YA was.  

I've been stalking this man (well, stalking is maybe too strong of a word) since I was sixteen. Uglies is the book that made me want to be a writer. When I was a teenager, I checked Scott's blog religiously. I emailed him when I was seventeen and asked him some questions for a school assignment and he actually emailed me back. Almost a decade later, I emailed him again when I got my book deal and he emailed me back again. 

Me receiving a reply from Scott. 

Me receiving a reply from Scott. 

Scott Westerfeld was the first author who made me realise that authors were real people and writing books was a real job. I'm not sure I would've become a writer if I hadn't discovered his work. 

So how can I meet this person without freaking the fuck out? How are you supposed to act around a person you've never met before, but whom you know so much about? 

As Ira Glass said on the podcast, "It can be so awkward meeting one of your heroes. I swear, there should be a seperate word for the phenomenon, for the specific problem of like, what in the world do you say or talk about that is going to live up to everything you know and feel about them?" 

Kyle Mizono's initial tactic was just to...ignore him. Ignore her hero. Somehow, I don't think that's going to work for me at our joint book launch. Anyway, here's my US tour dates. COME LOOK AT ME IN PUBLIC AND STUFF. 

NEW YORK: October 5
Books of Wonder at 6:00pm
Appearing with Swarm author Scott Westerfeld
18 W. 18th Street
New York, NY 10011

CHICAGO: October 7-9
Anderson’s YA Conference at the Hilton Lisle in Naperville
3003 Corporate West Drive
Lisle, IL 60532

MINNEAPOLIS: October 11
Red Balloon Bookshop at 6:30pm
891 Grand Ave
St Paul, MN 55105

ST. LOUIS: October 12
Main Street Books at 7:00pm
307 S Main St
St Charles, MO 63301

DENVER: October 14-15
Colorado Teen Book Con at Littleton High School
199 E Littleton Blvd
Littleton, CO 80121

Lookout Hollywood!

Wow, it's been a long time since I last blogged (sorry!), but a lot has happened since then - I moved from Hong Kong back to Sydney, handed in the draft of my second book (!), I'm currently travelling in the US, my international tour was announced, and I finally got to talk about the movie deal for Our Chemical Hearts

Yeah kids, you heard that right. MOVIE DEAL. 

Basically how I interact with everyone now. 

Basically how I interact with everyone now. 

I had a meeting with the studio in LA yesterday (just before my 14-hour flight back to Sydney was cancelled - while we were on the tarmac. Brutal) and OH BOY am I excited to be working with Awesomeness to bring Our Chemical Hearts to the big screen.

As an author, it's kind of drilled into you not to expect anything from Hollywood. An astronomically small number of book rights that are purchased actually end up becoming movies. But... I have a good feeling about these guys. They're doing cool stuff with book adaptations and they're entirely focused on a YA audience. I have high hopes and a lot of faith. 

(Plus I really just want to be allowed on set and have a chair with my name on it and unlimited access to the craft service and lots of champagne. Make my dreams come true please Awesomeness. #Goals.) 

Accurate depiction of me on set. Always. 

Accurate depiction of me on set. Always. 

Basically, there aren't enough reaction GIFs in the world to cover the rollercoaster of emotions that has been the last three months. Oh and there are now only FORTY-TWO DAYS until Our Chemical Hearts is released into the wild and real people will really be able to read it. How the hell did that happen? Cue internal screaming. 

 

ARC Giveaway!

Are you a special and unique snowflake? Do you want to get your hands on a copy of OUR CHEMICAL HEARTS before its mass release in October? WELL GUESS WHAT KIDS, YOU TOTALLY CAN. 

I shamelessly stole both of these images from Penguin Teen because I have no book styling skillz.

I shamelessly stole both of these images from Penguin Teen because I have no book styling skillz.

Every month until its release, I'll be giving away two signed ARCs of OUR CHEMICAL HEARTS - one on Instagram and one on Twitter. 

My Twitter is here (the competition for the current month will probably be pinned to my profile). 

My Instagram is here (just scroll through and find the relevant post to regram). 

MAY THE ODDS BE EVER IN YOUR FAVOUR.