I just received in the mail a stack of shiny new books. These are pre release copies of my latest book Meet Poppy which will come out in February. When you are an author, the publisher sends you copies of your book before they go into the shops. It is always exciting
John Leonard was a well known American critic. Here’s what he wrote in a New York Times’ article called ‘Smash Mouth Criticism’ about responsible reviewing. “[I now] suggest some hard-won guidelines for responsible reviewing. For instance: First, as in Hippocrates, do no harm.
Reading reviews of your own book can be an unhealthy occupation. You tend to remember only the bad comments even if the review overall is favourable. If there is only one negative sentence in the whole article, that’s the one your brain tends to zoom in on, forever branded on a wall in your mind […]
Ideas for stories are like water from a well. Sometimes the well goes dry and the novel, which began in a gush, diminishes to a trickle. No matter how deep you dig the ground remains hard and dry. That’s when another source has to be found, a new spring to draw from.
Wrapped in thoughts Warm sheets of flannel Hidden from your mum In our dark cave dwelling Icy toes touching Giggling eyes closing Whisper you Whisper me Whisper boys Whisper beaches Whisper hand mouth kisses Whisper you Whisper me Whisper warm breaths of tomorrow
I recently spent a week ‘playing’ with my childhood friend, Wendy. She now lives on beautiful Kangaroo Island off the coast of Adelaide. I say ‘playing’ because it doesn’t seem that long ago since we were curious ten year olds. And if you
I’m off to Kangaroo Island to stay with a childhood friend, Wendy. I know there’s a story there in the whisper of wind, the surge of wave, the grunt of seal. Only the Muse knows.
Last week the ceremony for the Victorian Premier’s Reading Challenge was held in the Great Hall of the National Gallery. The top 20 or so schools were awarded a certificate by the Premier, John Brumby.
I have a book called Common Knowledge published in 1975, edited by the psychologist Dr. Robert E Ornstein. In the forward Ornstein writes about the San Francisco Chronicle which, in 1965, began to – ‘print stories which continually upset our “idea of the world” as a stable neat place.
I didn’t know that this frogmouth who is nesting in the street outside my house was sitting on an egg when I took this photo a few weeks back.
I have a Dancing Ladies orchid in my back room. Every time it flowers tiny ants crawl up and down the stems and collect the nectar. It’s sweet like honey. When the flowers die, I cut the stems and the ants disappear.
This beautiful Tawny Frogmouth I saw on my walk the other day nesting in the branches of the oak tree outside my house. A few years
1926, 1938, 1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, 1998, 2010 I know I’m a bit behind to post this illustration of a tiger. The Year of the Tiger seemed to go by so fast and now it is almost over. This is a card from my horoscope card series
Here are some illustrations from my first picture book Kalah, written a life time ago now around 1982. It never got published and looking back at it I can see why.
In a park in Shanghai, a lady paints characters on the paving stones. She uses only water. She is writing a poem. But in the summer heat, the characters evaporate almost as fast as they are written. The poem is simply for that moment and then it is gone.
Writing has been such a priority for me over the past 8 years that I have neglected the artist inside. And as we all know, if you want to get better at anything you need to practice, practice, practice.
As an ambassador for the Victorian Premier’s Reading Challenge I will be appearing at
Sometimes I feel as if I’m on a giant ferris wheel and my carriage is stuck way up at the top. I’m looking down wondering when they’ll get the wheel moving again. Well, at the moment my carriage has finally touched the ground and while I can, I’m stretching my legs and writing this blog.
This time of year is a feverish time for all children’s authors. There is Children’s Book Week where schools request authors to give talks over the course
I have had a lovely four weeks working in my son and daughter’s old primary school. The grade 3 children have been a delight and are so so talented.
I am slowly working my way back through my books and making a book trailer for each one. Here is the latest teaser for A Ghost in My Suitcase.
I have been having an inspiring and fun time working with grade three students at my son and daughter’s old school, Auburn South Primary.
Last night I was on the stage at Booktalkers with two other YA authors, Kathryn Lomer What Now Tilda B? and Michelle Cooper The FitzOsbornes in Exile, Book 2 of the Montmaray Journals. Arranged by the Centre for Youth Literature for teacher librarians, the discussion centred around
In case you want to come along, I will be appearing at the Melbourne Writers Festival on Wednesday 1st Sept at 10am with Kate Forsyth, 11.15am with Kirsty Murray and solo on Thursday 2nd Sept at 10am.
I love Google Alerts because without it I wouldn’t have seen this great review of Little Paradise on ALPHA READER, MY SOLO BOOK CLUB. If only someone in the film industry would read the review too, it might just convince a movie producer to adapt the novel to screen. But that is purely wishful thinking on […]
I always find dialogue the hardest of all to write. Here is some excellent advice from Janet Fitch- A Few Thoughts About Dialogue
For those of you who maybe interested in making a DIY book trailer, here is how I went about it.
I received new copies of Little Paradise Audio book today from my publisher, which is always very exciting. But my excitement is often tinged with trepidation.
Last week I spent five days teaching a bunch of very talented teenagers about writing. They were truly inspiring to work with and their enthusiasm knew no bounds. They had given up a week of their holidays to do the workshop. About half wanted to be authors, the others didn’t know yet.
I have just received an ARC – that’s an advanced reading copy of Cath Crowley’s new YA novel Graffiti Moon. I can’t wait to read it.
Last year, I worked with a group of students from migrant and refugee backgrounds in a series of creative writing workshops at Maroondah Secondary College.
“A picture must possess a real power to generate light and for a long time now I’ve been conscious of expressing myself through light or rather in light. I have always tried to hide my efforts and wished my works to have a light joyousness of springtime which never lets anyone suspect the labors it […]
When I was studying graphic design at RMIT, I majored in photographic design and one of my dreams at that time was to become a movie director. I even made a short film for one of my assignments which was centred around a chessboard. If it sounds familiar my heroes were Bergman, Fellini and my […]
The Race for the Chinese Zodiac is very much a traditional tale. It begins ‘‘Long ago in Ancient China’’ and ends ‘‘And that is why, to this very day, cats have hated rats’’. It tells the tale of 13 animals who race across a river to decide which animals will become part of the Chinese Zodiac, which has only 12 categories. Gabrielle […]
I returned from the Sunshine Coast hinterland with a tick in the top of my head.
“But the Kelvar can flee or defend themselves, whereas the Olvar that grow cannot. And among these I hold trees dear” (from Tolkein’s Silmarillion) Spending a week in an elegant place within beautiful surroundings is the perfect medicine for writing. You can’t waste a moment, especially if you are paying for the privilege.
Thank you to everyone who commented and asked questions on The Age newspaper website blog about my chapter in the MS Readathon competition.
I went to Shanghai in search of Mirabel, the character in my latest novel, Little Paradise. I walked the winding tree-lined streets of the old French and International concessions and pushed through the crowds of Nanjing Road and the Bund.
I have just returned from a trip to Shanghai and Nanjing presenting books gifted to Shanghai and Nanjing libraries by 49 Australian children’s authors.
Being a writer of children’s fiction has its benefits in the age race. When I’m writing a novel, I inhabit the mind of my young protagonist. At the moment I’m 11, going on 12 which
I have heard time and time again from friends, acquaintances, even strangers, how wonderful my mother is. She has this strange effect on people. When she leaves the room people make this comment. But it wasn’t until my mother broke her wrist and I had to take her to the hospital, that I discovered why.
Kate Forsyth talks about the inspiration behind her new fantasy novel, THE WILDKIN’S CURSE which will be released in May. It just goes to show that when you have a story to tell, even a little newborn babe cannot stop the flow of words and ideas.
I finished the Stieg Larsson books the other day and have to say I rather enjoyed them. It took a little while to get used to the Swedish names and I felt The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
The longer I write the more I feel like the woman in the famous 1964 Japanese movie ‘The Woman in the Dunes’. This film has haunted me ever since I first saw it years ago as a teenager. One of the lines in the film is ‘Are you shovelling sand to live, or living to […]
I love reading spooky stories but not before I go to bed. My imagination is a little too overactive. SHORT AND SCARY is a a small book but it’s packed with 216 short stories, poems and illustrations by some of your favourite authors and illustrators. Carole Wilkinson, Shaun Tan, James Roy, Andy Griffiths,
The Children’s Book Council of Australia has just announced its Shortlist and Notable list. I was very pleased to learn that  A Ghost in My Suitcase was named a Notable Book.
I am lucky. I have a house that stands on a hill so I can lie in bed and see trees and sky and the horizon. I can talk to the birds in the daytime. And the bats flying passed my window at night. I can see the stars turning.
I love this review of Little Paradise written by Australian journalist and author, Helene Chung. Her book Ching Chong China Girl is published by Harper Collins. 
I interviewed Sally about how she went about illustrating THE RACE FOR THE CHINESE ZODIAC.
I received these photos in an email from a friend this morning and I had to share them. Some were taken immediately after the Sichuan earthquake of 2008. The earthquake occurred in the area where the pandas live.
On my walk I heard a cricket sing. I looked ever so carefully at a small patch of garden. And found a dollar coin. In the Fitzroy Gardens where ancient trees breathe, I spied a small hole high up in a trunk.
My mind must be very open at the moment because I am highly susceptible to the power of suggestion. Two separate incidents have occurred in the past week which most of you will say is sheer coincidence but I call it uncanny.
I had a lovely time at my book launch for Little Paradise. It was held at Hutong Dumpling Bar in Melbourne. The decor is old Chinese, the perfect setting as it mirrors
This is a very short post. I just wanted to mention that Little Paradise is going into its second reprinting already! This is music to my ears. Normally people celebrate with chocolate, but I don’t like chocolate except chicken mole which is Mexican chocolate chicken. So instead, I bought myself a tub of Maggie Beer’s […]
WARD SAGAR You are invited to join us with Gabrielle Wang on Friday the 12th of March at 5pm. Where she will be launching her new book Little Paradise. Her other books include Garden of Empress Cassia, Pearl of Tiger Bay, A ghost in my suitcase and her new picture story The race for the […]
This afternoon we had the most amazing hail storm I’ve ever seen. Great balls of ice, some as big as baseballs, rained down from the sky. My neighbour’s windows were smashed, our house is leaking like a sieve. All towels and buckets are in use. Here are 3 beauties my son picked up from the […]
Today I discovered that perfection was like watching a beautiful butterfly. It is there but for a fleeting moment.
I had two radio interviews today. One was good. The other was bad. One was in a studio. The other was from home on the telephone. The bad interview was like speed dating. That was the one in the studio. Not that I’ve been speed dating mind you, but the premise is the same – […]
If you haven’t seen this Youtube clip already, here it is. Pretty Cool.
Two other children’s authors released their beautiful new books today. Jaguar Warrior by Sandy Fussell And Toppling by Sally Murphy. I can’t wait to read them.
My new Young Adult novel Little Paradise hits the shelves today! It’s always a wonderful feeling to know your book is all grown up and out on its own. It’s also tempting, when out shopping, to pop into a book shop to see if your new book is there. Little Paradise has had some great […]
My sister-in-law, Allison is a wonderful cook and cake maker. This time, she made a tiger cake for the launch of The Race for the Chinese Zodiac. It had a lovely tiger face surrounded by marzipan grass and stripey insides of chocolate, but you’ll have to wait until we cut the cake to see that […]
1926, 1938, 1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, 1998, 2010 Tiger people are sensitive and brave. They like to joke around and can be lucky with money but they also have short tempers and often stand up against authority. Tigers are most compatible with Horses, Dragons, and Dogs. You can read the story about the zodiac in […]
It’s good to be able to spread myself out. This is the beauty of being on a writing retreat and I am treasuring every moment. At home, my writing room is cramped and dark. When I began writing 10 years ago, I used the corner of our bedroom, so it’s not necessary to have a […]
I am still on the surfcoast at Lorne editing my novel. Yesterday was the anniversary of the devastating Black Saturday bush fires which swept across Victoria last year. I am sure everyone in this state remembers exactly where they were on that day when the temperature soared to an amazing 46.4 °C (115.5 °F). It was a […]
My picture book The Race for the Chinese Zodiac came out yesterday. I’m down on the south coast working on my next series of novels so I visited the local bookshop to see if they had it in stock. To my disappointment, but not my surprise, they didn’t. Then later, as I passed the secondhand […]
Are you a perfectionist? Do you ruminate over every sentence, every paragraph? Are you all blocked up? I used to be one of these people. It’s kind of like being constipated with words. I couldn’t go on until I had written and rewritten a paragraph at least five times and then, when I returned to my […]
Our street is lined with beautiful 80 year old oaks whose arms reach proudly skywards. But of late, their leaves have drooped, their dark grey limbs appear wrinkled, brittle and dry. The drought Melbourne has been experiencing over the last few years has had its effect on all the beautiful big trees in this city. […]
THE READING STACK A GHOST IN MY SUITCASE Winner of the 2009 Aurealis Award Best Children’s Novel Puffin Books (a subsidiary of Penguin). Australian, Junior, Young Adult. Paperback rrp $16.95 Guest Reviewer – Jo Burnell When twelve-year-old Celeste travels to China to visit her grandmother, she carries her mother’s ashes. A feeling of expectation hovers. Is […]
Last night in Brisbane, the winners of the Aurealis Awards for 2009 were announced at a special awards ceremony in the Judith Wright Centre. My book, A Ghost in My Suitcase was awarded Best Children’s Novel. Unfortunately I couldn’t attend but I followed the announcement of each winner on Twitter, which was almost as exciting […]
Sometimes you come to a place in your writing and there seems to be no obvious direction to take. The story has been rolling along but suddenly you come to a roadblock. That’s when you let your main character take over. He or she will tell you where they want to go. They have an […]
I have just returned from a research trip to the area around Wahgunyah and Beechworth where my great grandfather settled when he came from China to Australia in 1853. It is a beautiful part of Victoria and is a significant gold mining region. Beechworth has been extremely well preserved and still carries the old world […]
Christmas means Family, Friends and Fine Food. Of course, being Chinese, family is of primary importance and next comes food. If you have ever been to a Chinese family dinner you might find that we always discuss each dish as it comes out. Or if not each dish then something to do with food. We […]
Everyone works to the beat of their own drum. Everyone has tools that they like to use. The following are some that I have found most useful. Laptop or Computer It goes without saying that a computer is essential in this day and age. I do almost all my writing on my laptop unless I […]
I’ve been too busy with my current project to blog lately. I have to complete the first draft of my novel before Christmas so I’m working on a chapter a day which averages to about 1100 words, and it seems to be going well. I would never show anyone my first draft. I have written […]
DO TREES LAY EGGS? This one did – a golden one. When writing a novel, especially an historic one, there are so many interesting facts you learn along the way. This is one I learnt this morning. I was able to use in my chapter too. The Welcome Stranger, a gold nugget that weighed 210 […]
It takes a particular personality type to be an author. Do you make the grade? The following are some of the essential ingredients. 1. Are you a seeker after truth? 2. Are you tenacious? 3. Are you patient? 4. Are you a dreamer? 5. Are you a perfectionist when it comes to words? 6. Do […]
Note To Self: Never answer fan mail when you’re tired. This is what I almost sent off to a young fan the other day: ‘Dear Stephanie, Thank you for writing and telling me how much you love my boobs.’ This was very funny and I’m so glad I re-read it before pressing the send button. […]
It’s been a hectic few weeks with a panel discussion on story telling at the Victorian State Library, a meet the artist’s day at the beautiful Dromkeen, then I flew off to Cairns for the Cairns Literary Festival at Trinity Bay High School. The kids there were great and the older students from years 10-12 […]
For the past 2 weeks my kitchen table has looked like this. My family has had to eat their meals between first pages and old manuscripts of Little Paradise. At least there’s no lack of reading material. I don’t have a big office and you need a lot of table space at this stage of […]
Writing is hard work. There are many stages in the life of a novel, from first drafts (of which there are too many to count), to structural edit, to copy edit, to cover design, to first pages, second pages, third pages and then final print. Of course many of the work is invisible and hard […]
This is the finished front and back covers for Little Paradise. The girl in the photograph is my mum taken in 1944 when she was 20. On the back is the blurb and a fashion illustration that my mum drew when she was 14. She was crazy about fashion. The end papers will feature more […]
My daughter just told me that I’m ahead of the game. The real name for poo catchers is Harem pants and they are the very latest thing. So I just retrieved my poo…I mean Harem pants from the bin and am proudly wearing them once again.
Being a writer means that I sit on my bottom a lot which means that I wear only comfortable clothing. I live in my polar fleece top, tracksuit pants and Ugg boots. But yesterday my daughter told me that my eight-year old Target tracksuit pants look like ‘poo catchers’ – a term I discovered young […]
When I am browsing in a bookshop, I often pick up a book because of its cover. Then I look at the title, then read the blurb and if I’m still interested, I’ll turn to the first page to get a taste of what’s inside. The cover of a book is of utmost importance. It […]
The secret of writing is simple. All it involves is placing one word after the other to form a sentence. Then place one sentence after the other to form a paragraph. Then one paragraph after the other to form a chapter. And by the end of it all, you have a novel. Of course this […]
I love writing because each story is like opening a golden door to the unknown. I love its slipperiness, its unpredictability, the way it has taught me about life, about death, about people. I love finding a new voice to write in. At first this voice is just a whisper, a shimmer inside your brain. […]
After finally finishing Little Paradise I thought I would never write another historical novel again. But this was not to be. Along came an opportunity to write a series of four novels set in the Victorian goldfields. And every writer knows that it’s all about opportunity. I couldn’t let this one pass me by. My […]
In my novel The Hidden Monastery I used a fox spirit as the antagonist in the story. These pesky creatures can morph into humans. Here are some foxy tales. In China there are many tales about Hu Li Jing or Fox Spirits. It is said that they acquired shape-shifting qualities after meditating in mountain caves […]
Here is the sky at 6am from my back garden. It only lasted for about 5 minutes. So thankful I was up early. The sound effects were incredible too, amplified on the still Spring air – magpies warbling, doves cooing, a butcher bird carolling, a wattle bird cackling, minor birds squawking.
One of the questions I was asked at a recent school visit was Can you write two books at the same time? Yes I can, but they have to be of different genres. For example I can work on a picture book and a junior novel, or a picture book and a YA novel but […]
I remember when my kids were small, seeing boys driving in their cars sporting the tell tale P plates on the front and back windows, and my immediate thought was that they were hoons. If I passed a group of these boys in the street, I would feel uneasy, not knowing what was going on […]
This is my dog, Saffy. She is 12 years old, quite an old lady really, in fact she’s the same age as my mum if you counted her age in dog years. I needed Saffy to pose for a photograph on a skateboard. When I placed her on the board she didn’t want to stand […]
I have an author friend who told me that when he was a judge on a panel to award literary grants to Australian authors he immediately weeded out all entries that were written in the genre of fantasy or science fiction, discounting them as being non-literary. I was dismayed. Would he have tossed out Lord […]
This odd spot appeared in The Age British naturalist Sir David Attenborough is honoured that a giant rat-eating pitcher plant has been named after him. It could  have been worse, earlier this year three species of slime-mould beetle were named after George Bush, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld.
To view the full article go to. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-1194668/First-glimpse-Johnny-Depp-Helena-Bonham-Carter-Alice-Wonderland-movie.html