Pan MacMillan Speech

Pan MacMillan Speech

The last time I was here was to talk to you about ‘The Gypsy Crown’ and the Chain of Charms series, which was the beginning of an amazing few years for me - and for that I’d like to thank all of you at Pan Macmillan - from my wonderful publisher Claire, to my extraordinary editors Julia and Catherine (who went so far as to visit Scotland in the middle of a bitterly cold winter to test my research), to the gorgeous Sue who has worked so hard to spread the word, to every single one of you that went out on the road persuading booksellers to take my book and not somebody’s else. Thank you, all!

‘The Gypsy Crown’ was a real breakthrough book for me - the last 5 books in the series won the Aurealis Award for Best Children’s Books, plus Book 5 was a CBCA Notable Book. The US edition was also nominated for a CYBIL Award in the US and a Surrey Book Of The Year award in Canada. 

It also saw a massive growth in the number of countries my books are published in with that number now being 12  (Australia, NZ, the US, Canada, the UK, Germany, Italy, Spain, Russia, Japan, Indonesia, and Poland.)

I have just this month been on an international blog tour for my last novel ‘The Puzzle Ring’, with countries involved including Slovenia and Argentina, while last year I was on a book tour in the US & UK. This June I’m off to Greece to teach a week’s long writer’s retreat at Skyros. Past teachers have included Margaret Drabble, Booker-prize winner Hilary Mantel, and now Kate Forsyth. It’s a dream come true – being paid to go to Greece!

I have always wanted to be a writer. I think I was born knowing that’s what I was meant to be. Certainly, I was born into a family of storytellers. My great-great-great-great-great-grandmother wrote the first children’s book published in Australia – (A Mother’s Offering - $50,000). My great-great-great-great-aunt was our first Australian-born novelist (born 1834 – died aged 38, daughter just 18 days old) (Gertrude).

I think it’s utterly amazing that all my dreams have come true. I get to make my living daydreaming, making up stories and writing them down, and knowing that people all over the world can read them – even if they don’t speak my language! (foreign editions)

I’d like to share with you an e-mail I received last Friday:

Hi Kate, My name is Kristen, I'm seventeen and I read The Starthorn Tree YEARS ago. My friends and I used to act our favourite scenes and makeup what was going to happen next to Pedrin, Durrick, Lisandre, Briony, Mags and Sedgely (I always loved Sedgely!). To this day it is still one of my favourite books and I could read it again and again and again!  The Starthorn Tree was one of the most inspirational books I've ever read and started my love for fantasy writing. I've grown to love writing other styles as well, but The Starthorn Tree will always hold as the ultimate fantasy for me 🙂  I was wondering if there would be any chance of a second book (or more!) that I should be watching out for? I know it has been a long time since it was first published, but I can't help but continue to hope!  Thank you for sharing your amazing stories with our minds, and sparking my imagination Kristen Blair xoxo

Well, I was very happy to be able to write back to her & let her know that the long-awaited sequel to The Starthorn Tree has finally arrived!

The Wildkin’s Curse is a tale of true love & high adventure, set in a world of magic & monsters, valiant heroes and wicked villains. It tells the story of two boys and a girl who undertake the impossible task of rescuing a wildkin princess from a crystal tower. 

The princess Rozalina has the power to enchant with words – she can conjure up a plague of rats or wish the dead out of their graves, she can woo a cruel king with her stories and, when she casts a curse, it has such power it will change her world forever. 

The Wildkin’s Curse is a book about the power of stories to set us free.

Those of you that have read my other books may wonder why it is I so love to read books that are filled with wild adventure and thrilling escapes, set in faraway lands and long-ago times, and that so often feature towers and prisons and besieged castles. 

I wonder if it is because I spent a great deal of my childhood in hospital, with nothing to do but read books, write stories, and stare out the window and dream of escape. I could tell you why I spent most of my childhood in hospital, but that’s a whole other story ...

Kate Forsyth
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