Seven Years of Freelancery + CBCA Shortlisting + Debut Novel

NOTE: I am in Sydney, Australia where it is already April Fool’s Day. However, my blog is set to NYC time cause I was too lazy to change it.

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April Fool’s is the day I began my career as a full-time freelance writer. Back in 2003, having sold only one short story, I took the completely insane plunge. The first year did not go well, but since then it’s mostly worked out great. I’ve been very lucky indeed.

For my own benefit some stats:

    Books sold: 81
    Books published: 72
    Countries books have been sold in: 153
    Countries said books have been written in: 64
    Published words: 400,000 (Guestimate.)
    Books written but not sold: 25
    Books started but not finished: 32 (Guestimate.)
    Ideas collected: 2,372,456 (Precise measurement. I have an ideaometer.)

This week, as if in celebration of my seven years of freelancery, I discovered that Liar has been shortlisted for the Children’s Book Council of Australia’s 2010 Book of the Year. I fell over I was so shocked.

Let me explain: For those of you who did not grow up in Australia, the CBCA awards are the most prestigious and longest established awards for young readers in Australia. USians: think Newbery. As a kid I would read the award winners and most of the shortlisted books every year. When I was nine I wrote a letter to the editor I was so indignant that the latest Patricia Wrightson6 book had not been considered for a CBCA because the judges decided that it was too old.7 Nine year old me’s head would have exploded to learn that one day something I wrote was going to be shortlisted for a CBCA. Frankly, the me of 2010’s head is not exactly in one piece having learned the news.

*Heh hem*

Congrats to everyone else on the shortlists and to the notables as well, which include my partner in crime, Scott Westerfeld8 and many, many, many other wonderful writers.

Today is also the day Karen Healey‘s first novel, Guardian of the Dead is published in Australia, New Zealand and the US of A. Set in New Zealand, NOT AUSTRALIA AS SO MANY MISGUIDED USIAN REVIEWERS SEEM TO THINK,9 Guardian is one of the most original and unputdownable novel debuts I’ve read in ages. In fact, I was just discussing how cool it is with Melina Marchetta. How could you not buy a book that Melina Marchetta is recommending? I’m not going to tell you anything more about the book except that you should all run out and grab a copy. RIGHT NOW. OR I’LL JUST KEEP SHOUTING AT YOU. AND NO ONE WANTS TO BE SHOUTED AT.

That’s all. Happy April Fool’s day! Don’t believe a word anyone tells you today.

  1. One non-fiction tome, two anthologies, five young adult novels. []
  2. 8 in September []
  3. Australia, Brazil, Denmark, France, Germany, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Korea, the Netherlands, Spain, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey and USA. []
  4. Argentina, Australia, Italy, Mexico, New Zealand, Thailand and USA. []
  5. One I hope will be some day. The other NEVER. []
  6. Who was my favourite writer in the entire world and died recently. A sad day for Australian letters. []
  7. This was before an older reader’s award was created. []
  8. For those wondering how Scott is eligible he is an Australian resident. Most Australian literary awards are open to residents as well as citizens. []
  9. Newsflash: they are not the same place and have very different histories. []


  1. Karen Healey on #

    Congratulations, Justine! And a very happy April 1st to both of us!

  2. cherie priest on #


    Apparently it is very difficult for some reviewers to get a book’s location right. I know this because I’ve gotten reviews accusing my most recent book of being set in Portland, Tacoma, “somewhere in Oregon,” and Canada. (Actually several people have thought it was set in Portland.)

    Considering that most of the story’s primary points revolve around getting into or out-of a walled city which is quite precisely named and on many occasions, I find this kind of baffling.

  3. cherie priest on #

    Also, though I told you on Twitter I will now tell you here, again: CONGRATULAAAATIONS!

    You are awesome and you deserve it ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Joe Iriarte on #


  5. Jenny Davidson on #

    Yes, congratulations – hugely well-deserved! Don’t know what you think about Malcolm Gladwell, but since he is now the name mostly associated with the “10,000 hours to develop mastery” argument, we will tip the hat to him and lift a glass in celebration of Larbalestier-Westerfeld world dominance…

  6. Sean the Blogonaut on #

    Congratulations. Trying to get the local community/school library to stock your and Scott’s books. The nomination should help ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. AliceB on #

    Congratulations Justine!

  8. Tania McCartney on #

    HUGE congrats on your shortlisting, Justine! and hope you didn’t hurt yourself when you fell over! Nothing a drop of bubbles won’t fix…

  9. Ellen on #

    “Happy April Foolโ€™s day! Donโ€™t believe a word anyone tells you today.”

    … Does that mean I should not believe this post, either? Everything is a lie!!!! *flails*

  10. Doret on #

    Congrats on being shortlisted for the CBCA. Its well deserved.

    The cover of Guardian of the Dead is freakin gorgeous. If I ever visit Oz I am bringing an empty suitcase to load up with YA books.

  11. the dragonfly on #

    Liar was the best book I read last year, no question. (And I’m not just saying that because this is your blog!) It gave me a minor headache and made me feel like I’d been running in circles for a few hours, but it was brilliant. I know it’s a book I’ll read again and again.

    Book of the year nomination? Well deserved. Congratulations!!

  12. Lizabelle on #

    I saw the nomination on twitter the other day. Many congratulations – you truly deserve it, and it’s wonderful to see you get the recognition. ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. Ronni on #

    Congratulations, Justine, that’s wonderful news (and a very well-deserved nomination).

  14. wandering-dreamer on #

    Congrats on the shortlisting! I’ve seen Liar pop up now and then in blogs and such but this is a whole lot more awesome!

    On that Australia =/= New Zealand thing, I read the first two chapters that she posted and it quite clearly states this is near Christchurch, South Island. Makes me wonder what the reviewers think the North Island and South Island of Australia are….

  15. Shveta Thakrar on #

    Aw, Justine, yay! That’s such wonderful news, and Liar really deserves it.

    Also, happy anniversary of freedom!

    I can’t wait for Karen’s book to arrive in my mailbox, along with Toads and Diamonds. *drool*

  16. Jodie on #

    I saw that announced and my first thought was ‘Good she deserves it’ because that book is awesome. It’s been a couple of months and I’m still thinking about it. PS How do I go about ‘encouraging’ (read making) our local Waterstones carry your books?

  17. Jacob on #

    Congratulations on the nomination! (…Or would that be finalist-ness? Must go find a thesaurus or something.)

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