July 1st is publication date for Saving Charli.
There's been a lot of work that has been done since I signed with Scholastic Australia last year a lot of work from a small and dedicated team. To be honest - I still don't know most of what goes on behind the scenes.
Here's a quick outline of the process from my point of view:
Zoom meeting with editor Lorae Fossy and publisher Laura Sieveking
More editing (probably x3)
Cover and blurb
Final edit - this is it!
Off to the printer.
It sounds fairly straight forward, and you would think quick when listed like that, but no. Each step takes time and in between there is a time lapse while waiting for the next step to happen. There's reading and rereading and more rereading.
During the process I think a lot about character voice and word choice. I marvel at the suggestions Lorae makes and enjoy the collaborative process. I can't focus on writing anything else - I just need to go through each step and do the best I can to make the story better.
It is not, however, all easy going.
I worry... a lot.
There are thoughts like, what if my email with the final edit gets lost, what if the printer hasn't got enough paper to make the book, should that sentence be one or two, is it too late to rewrite the entire thing, have I over used a word... you get the idea (and before you say it, I know most of those are irrational).
Now we are in the home straight. Even though July 1st is still a couple of months away, everything that had to be done to get it ready has been done - the process is complete and thanks to the amazing team at Scholastic, Charli is ready.
And I now have a bit of time for reflection.
Saving Charli is my third book to be published, and they all link together in a way.
Just like Unpacking Harper Holt and Every Thing We Keep, Saving Charli is a contemporary middle grade book. And like the others it is set in Melbourne.
It is however, the three books' central themes that really tie them together. Each of the characters - Harper, Agatha and now Charli have to face a loss - one that is so great that their worlds are turned upside down. They come to see how friendship can help to find the path forward, how important memories are to how they see themselves and others.
So, what are my books saying? Lots of things - and for different readers it can be different things. For me it is about how loss can impact each of us differently, how we deal with it can be different and that loss changes us - sometimes in small ways or it can be life altering.
However, underpinning all of these elements is the importance of friendship, understanding and love. Each of the main characters find this either in new friends who have been in the right place when they are needed, or in old friends, who don't always get it but nevertheless don't give up.
These three characters are also resilient. Sure, at times, things get a bit wobbly, the future is uncertain, but in the end there is always hope, even when it is hard to see it - and that is a mighty fine thing.
I hope that when Saving Charli finds its way into the world that maybe it says some of those things to readers. Fingers crossed.