My life as a children's author while juggling being a mum, a wife and professional volunteer. (Sometimes it gets complicated)

Monday, 3 September 2018

Katapult - Edition 9 - September, 2018



Welcome to Katapult!

I am writing this today in between showers. I have a glorious sunbeam spraying across my desk. Everything outside is wet and shiny from a morning of glorious rain. I love waking up on wet days knowing I can hide in my studio and write all day. Hopefully some of this rain is reaching you too!

Rainy days + 6 month old puppy = mess!

So what’s been happening at my desk since the last time we had a chat? Book Week celebrations!

What’s Up?

1) CBCA Book Week Awards announced:

Here are this year’s winners of the CBCA Book Week Awards. They were officially announced on Friday, 17th August. I picked Rodney Loses It to win. This is a hilarious book. But honesty, all these books are beautiful. Go grab a copy!

2) Book Week School Visits:
I had a wonderful time dropping by some lovely schools this year for Book Week. Thanks for having me Lyn, Amy, Emily, and Maria! More detail of each visit was shared on my social media. Go have a look!

a) Holy Spirit Infants School, Abermain - K-2 author/illustration presentation 



b) Alphabet Cottage, Castle Hill - storytime with the toddlers and author   
            presentation with the preschoolers


c) Harry Hartog, Green Hills - storytime


d) New Lambton Public School - K-2 author/illustrator presentations and writing and illustration workshops



e) St Mary’s Primary School, Warners Bay - K-2 author presentation

Book Week reminds all creatives (authors, illustrators, book designers, editors, publishers) who work in isolation why we do it. So much inspiration!

My children were asked to dress up as pirates or explorers as part of their school Book Week presentations. Here we have Link (explorer) from the game Zelda, and Uma (pirate) from the movie Descendants 2. I know they aren't from books but they had fun anyway.


3) Movie Making Workshops at Apple:

I had a few lessons on how to improve my movie making skills at Apple earlier this month. I learnt more about editing sound. I also bought a professional microphone and a tripod for my phone. 

I made a ‘sneak peek’ video of our upcoming book, Up To Something for the kids we visited during Book Week. It included videos of Kirrili drawing and how she adds colour to sketches. I can’t make this one public yet - sorry! I had to ask the infants kids to make sure they left their phones in their pockets as no photography was allowed as I played it. They thought I was mad :)

I have grand plans of making more movies soon - trailers etc. I love being creative using technology and I love learning new things.

4) Puppy Update: 

Ivy had her half birthday on the 28th August and she is still a master of chewing things! My picture book manuscript about her has been sent to a professional editor now. Watch this space.



Upcoming Events

CBCA NSW Branch Inc Newcastle Sub-branch Annual Childrens' Event

Stories After Dark - Find your treasure! 

This Saturday 8 September 2018, 5pm - 7pm. 
BBQ Sausage Sizzle available from 4.30pm

This event is a magical fun-filled night with treasure, craft, music, stories & stars. Kids will be able to explore the Newcastle Region Library after dark and meet our special guest, award winning illustrator Liz Anelli. Other local authors and illustrators include Jess Black (Keeper of the Crystals), Lynn Jenkins (Lessons of a Lac), Gwynneth Jones (Don’t Think About Purple Elephants), Deb Kelly (Ruby Wishfingers), Kirrili Lonergan (Ollie’s Treasure), ME!!!! (Dandelions), Paul Russell (Grandma Forgets) and Ant Wood (Flaming Charli). 

Kids can come dressed in PJs or pirate costumes. This event is suitable for ages 3 - 7 years. Each child will leave with a ‘treasure’ thanks to our sponsor, Charlestown and Newcastle Toyota. Free but bookings are essential.

An article about it in last Saturday’s paper is here.


Publishing Update

1) Kirrili has been working very hard on the illustrations for Up To Something. The illustrations are almost complete. YOU SHOULD SEE THEM! Such a joy to have been able to watch them progress from roughs to final artwork. The colours are magical! If you follow Kirrili on Instagram, you may have seen a few sneak peeks. OMG is all I can say!

2) Cheri has continued to work on the illustrations for No Baths Week too. I have seen all of the roughs now. Gosh I love this book! You should see our mud pie stack! OMG! She is so clever. I’m now making sure the text is still working with the illustrations. I plan to make a couple of minor edits as some words aren’t needed now it’s illustrated. I can’t wait to see these illustrations in colour! Offical release date coming soon.

Anything to Share?

SCBWI Conference is on in Sydney 24-26th Feb, 2019. Tickets are on sale here! Hurry!
I’ll be the MC for a panel called 'Let’s talk vision! Are your story elements all working together?' with some well known publishers. I can’t wait! 

Recent Book Purchase/s?

Funny Kid - Prank Wars by Matt Stanton
Pig the Pug by Aaron Blabey
Liars - The Truth App Book 1 by Jack Heath


Where can you find me on social media?

I’ve made it easy. Just click on the live links below and like or follow me.

Website and blog: www.katrinamckelvey.com

Feel free to leave a comment or drop me an email: author@katrinamckelvey.com

I’d love to hear from you!



It's very hard to get cranky at this bundle even after she's chewed computer cords, expensive reading glasses, Apple Watch bands, charger cords, joggers, Barbie dolls, furniture legs, some of my favourite brooches, rocks, sticks, grass runners, towels, and even parts of our house! 

You'd think we haven't bought her any approved chew toys after reading this list! 

Hmmm ...



Tuesday, 7 August 2018

Katapult - Edition 8 - August, 2018



Welcome to Katapult!

This August weather has been glorious here! Warm, sunny days and cold, snuggly nights. We spent a few days in Port Stephens over the weekend for my birthday and the weather put on a show. It was the prefect weekend away - great food and accommodation, yummy high tea, lots of presents, very successful whale watching experience, and relaxation (except I forgot both pairs of reading glasses so no reading for me!).



So what’s been happening at my desk since the last time we had a chat? Bucketloads!

What’s Up?

1) Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton's visit to Newcastle:

The boys came, talked about their latest treehouse book, drew a few pictures, hit marshmallows at us with tennis rackets, and then signed our books and posed for photos. Too much fun! Kids and adults were highly entertained by their antics. 



2) Puppy Update: 

Ivy had her 5 month birthday on the 28th July and she is a master of chewing things! This has inspired me to write a picture book about a puppy who chews everything, especially boxes! Too much inspiration around here to ignore any longer. I asked my facebook friends to help me with some non-human puppy names for the puppy in my story. I got over 100 suggestions! Watch this space.



Upcoming Events

1) Book Week School Visits:

Kirrili and I will be visiting lots of local bookshops, preschools and primary schools in the coming weeks to help celebrate books, reading, and writing. We have made a video giving some lucky children a sneak peek inside our upcoming picture book, Up To Something, which will be released May, 2019. 

Good luck to all my creative friends who will be sharing their writing and illustrating talents across Australia!



2) Hunter Writers Centre - Writing for Children Workshop:

I'll be attending this workshop presented by Sue Whiting this Saturday and I can't wait. A few spots are still available if you're free and live near Newcastle. Click here for details.


Publishing Update

1) Kirrili has been working very hard on the illustrations for Up To Something. We can’t wait to share this one with the world! Wish I could show you some of the sketches :)

2) Cheri has continued to work on the illustrations for No Baths Week too. I haven't seen anything for a few weeks so she must be working very hard.

3) And now I can finally announce that my fifth picture book, Isla’s Family Tree will be illustrated by Prue Pittock (www.pruepittockillustrations.com) and published by EK Books in 2020. Prue’s work is beautiful and her style is perfect for this story. Her initial concept sketches were divine. Prue and I look forward to sharing more of Isla with you next year.


Anything to Share?

1) It’s Love Your Bookshop Day this Saturday, 11th August. Go and support you local independent bookseller and eat cake with them.


2) Good luck to all the publishers, authors and illustrators who have books shortlisted in the upcoming Book Week Awards. Winners will be announced Friday, 17th August.


Here's how you can get involved: https://www.cbca.org.au/cbca-book-week

Recent Book Purchase/s?

Barney by Catherine Jinks and Stephen Michael King
The 104-Storey Treehouse by Andy Griffiths & Terry Denton


Where can you find me on social media?

I’ve made it easy. Just click on the live links below and like or follow me.


Feel free to leave a comment or drop me an email: author@katrinamckelvey.com

I’d love to hear from you!




This is a photo of my studio. 
So how does Ivy entertain herself while I write? 
By chewing of course! 
Look at that mess.
She's supposed to be on the mat at the back :)
She chews that too - ha!


Thursday, 5 July 2018

Katapult - Edition 7 - July, 2018


Welcome to Katapult!

July is one of my favourite months of the year! Both my children were born in July so it’s like Christmas at our house. Cards, balloons and wrapping paper can be seen everywhere. One party is sadly over, but we still have one more to go.

It’s a beautiful, sunny day as I write this newsletter today - something we haven’t seen enough of around here recently - we are water-logged! 

So what’s been happening at my desk since the last time we had a chat? Plenty!

What’s Up?

CBCA NSW Branch Inc Newcastle Sub-branch Meeting: 

Our latest meeting featured Ed Wright from The Creative Wordshop. Ed shared with us how his business is helping local writers of all ages and experiences improve their writing skills. 


Puppy Update: 

Our puppy, Ivy turned four-months old on the 28th June. She has certainly claimed her spot in our family and we adore her. The good news is she is 100% clear of any health issues and we managed to avoided surgery last month for a reoccurring abscess. She is happy and busy - just the way puppies should be. We’ve completed puppy school now and things are going well. Fingers crossed they stay that way! I could waste time looking at her all day long - similar to when you bring newborns home. I just wish she would stop stealing things and chewing them! She's so cheeky.

And of course I have a picture book story plan thanks to her puppy antics with a box.



Kids and YA Festival: 

I attended the biannual Kids and YA Festival last weekend hosted by Belinda Murrell and Writing NSW (formally the NSW Writers Centre). Lots of engaging and entertaining panels filled the day with inspiration and hope. I was lucky enough to have been chosen to pitch a picture book manuscript to a panel of three children’s publishers during the last session (Scholastic, Hachette, HarperCollins). Two of them wanted to see the manuscript after the pitch. I've sent it off now so cross your fingers for me :)

I love catching up with all my writing and illustrating friends from afar at events like this. It's such a warm and friendly community!


Photo 1: Belinda Murrell in conversation with Jacqueline Harvey
Photo 2: Dub Leffler, Sarah Davis (chair), Aura Parker, Kirli Saunders and Paul Russell


Photo 1: Dub Leffler
Photo 2: Me, Marian McGuinness, Belinda Murrell, Lindy Batchelor


Photo 1: Jacqueline Harvey (chair), Tim Harris, RA Pratt and Oliver Phommavanh
Photo 2: Kate Forsyth, Jane McCredie (Writing NSW), Belinda Murrell

Bookings for Books Week School Visits:

If you’d like me (or Kirrili and I as an author/illustrator team) to come to your school, shoot me an email so we can organise one that is perfectly designed for your school’s needs. Preschools, Primary Schools and High Schools welcome!





I'm also represented by: 

Greenleaf Agency (Greenleaf Press)

Upcoming Events

I’m doing a monthly story time event at Harry Hartog, Kotara until the end of the year. My July visit is on Wednesday, 11th July at 10:30am - first week of the school holidays.

All my 2018 story time dates can be found here.


We are going to see Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton on stage taking about their latest release, The 104 Storey Treehouse during these school holidays. Andy is my hero and I can’t wait to see both of them on stage. They released a second show in Newcastle recently. Tickets for the second show can be found here.


Publishing Update

I’ve been working with Kirrili and our publisher this week on all the draft internals of Up To Something due for release May next year (EK Books). OMG! is all I can say. Our book is coming together beautifully. We tweaked a few pencil lines here, and a few words there to make it the best book it can be. Kirrili is now ready to splash the colours around and start the final illustrations. We can’t wait to share this one with the world!

I’ve also seen some draft internals of No Baths Week today, due for release early 2019 (Big Sky Publishing). These are full of magic too. Cheri Hughes is a very clever chook. 

My fifth picture book, Isla’s Family Tree (third one with EK Books) has found a home on an illustrator’s easel who is busting to help my words jump off the page with the help of beautiful illustrations. I saw some of the concept drawings this week. My heart is singing. Her full identity will be revealed soon. This will be a 2020 release.

I know … when it rains, it pours! All three books in the one week! I have three beautiful illustrators working on my stories at the moment and I feel like the luckiest author in the world!

Anything to Share?

The Hunter Writers Centre is hosting a children’s writing workshop with Sue Whiting on the 11th Aug from 9:45am. If you'd like to join us, please follow the link here.


Recent Book Purchases?

Teacup by Rebecca Young and Matt Ottley (This one took my breath away.)
Errol by Zanni Louise and Philip Bunting (This one is simple and cute but clever.)


Where can you find me on social media?

I’ve made it easy. Just click on the live links below and like or follow me.


Feel free to leave a comment or drop me an email: author@katrinamckelvey.com

I’d love to hear from you!



Some photos of my winter Camellias I popped onto Instagram last week. 


I love receiving drawings from my daughter.