I’m so proud of this book, and I love that the judges connected with Eva and her race across a continent. There were so many brilliant Australian YA novels published in 2021, and I’m honoured – right into the heart of me – that Evacuation Road was selected as a Notable.
It took a while to sink in
Imposter syndrome is totally a thing. Sure, I was waiting excitedly for the Notables List to be published. But not for myself, no.
I wanted to see if my writing friends got selected.
Imagine my shock when I opened the download and my name jumped out at me. My first thought? I must have downloaded the list of entries. Of course. So I went back to the website.
And there was my cover staring out at me.
I didn’t trust what I was seeing until I’d verified it through someone else!
(And my writing buddies? They all got listed too. Best. Feeling. Ever!)
Three weeks to go until Evacuation Road comes out! I’m so excited, and I’m loving how many early reviewers are really connecting with Eva and her story!
This week I’ll be looking at one of the important foundations for the book. Resilience. Getting back up when you’ve been knocked down. Making new plans when your original plans die a terrible death. And then devising even more cunning plans when your back up plans fail as well.
And, sometimes, throwing all your plans in the proverbial bin and coming up with a entirely new aim that at least gets you out of there.
I did a lot of this sort of thing as I travelled around South America, and one of the best (and most enjoyable) examples involved a train called Death, somewhat monotonous food, and a few phantom buses. It was my first blockade (of many) and it went like this …
Firstly, follow your dreams. Always. No matter how hard.
And a dream I had? One that had grown and flourished for years? It was to take the so-called Death Train, which ran from Quijarro in the very east of Bolivia to Santa Cruz, kind of in the middle. It could take anything from sixteen hours to days and days, apparently. Traversing amazing countryside. I really wanted to experience it.
(And that wasn’t a death wish or anything. It wasn’t the Death Train because it was super dangerous to ride in. More because either lots of workers died laying the line, or because it had once been used to transport people sick with Yellow Fever and/or the bodies of those that died in the outbreak.)
Anyway I planned it out and I got there. Quijarro. Nice and early in the morning on a Friday. Went straight to the train station. Butterflies in the stomach. This was it.
In four weeks my next book ‘Evacuation Road’ will be out in the world, and that calls for a super celebration countdown! So every week I’ll be bringing you some of the actual events that inspired some of the story.
Let’s start it off with a bang. One of the big mantras that Eva and my other characters learn to live by as they race for the last flight home, is “Stick together”.
It’s something I learned the hard way. How? Glad you asked …
Getting kidnapped is not recommended
I don’t think anybody is out there just aching to be kidnapped (though thinking about this has me coming up with some great story ideas!). And I was no different.
Every book has a set of milestones, and sending it to the printers is definitely a great (and mildly terrifying) one for me!
After all the months and years of writing and editing, the submissions, the rejections, the happy acceptance, the final edits and the typesets… now ‘Evacuation Road’ is becoming an actual book. One I can hold in my hands. I’m so excited!
Think end-of-the-world road trip. Think danger and humour, friendship and fear. All against a ticking clock.
Eva is far from home when everything goes wrong. And it only gets worse after her evacuation bus leaves her behind, stranded with classmates she barely knows. The chase is on. But South America is big, and the old rules are changing quickly.
This is a powerful novel. Filled with powerful female characters and a dad who could be a role model for dads everywhere.
The way it’s told pulls the reader in, and then makes them question everything.
I love the clever use of POV. Beth Teller is dead, and narrates in first person prose, past tense. Yet second narrator, Isobel Catching, narrates in 1st person verse, present tense, even though she’s mainly telling the “what has been”. Her narrative tricks you at first, until you realise the truth and your mind flips and the story suddenly gets a heck load deeper into your gut.
‘Catching Teller Crow’ is a jewel of a murder mystery with paranormal side serves and some intriguing gusts of wind.Continue reading →
It’s SciFi with added ethical conundrums and a dash of Stockholm syndrome. Prepare to cry. And grin. And be absorbed.
My library wants my copy back, stat, and I’m that working-my-shift-button-stuck kind of busy ATM. Plus I just spilt tea on my keyboard…
So I’ll keep this quick.
Fabulously Awesome Book.
It won the Ampersand Prize and it’s so obvious why. Be prepared to get 3/4 of the way through and have one of those existential crises where you question why you ever bother to write because Black does it so well…
… Of course, we write because we can’t imagine life without writing, and we read because sometimes they’re as perfect as this book! 🙂
If you’re looking for spooky and surprising and generous and sweet, then I solemnly swear you should pick up ‘Yellow’ by Megan Jacobson.
Because it’s all of these things.
Dead dude on the end of a phone. Suspense and suspects and twists. And a seriously awesome friendship. A girl who learns how to be happy. And CBCA Shortlisted too, judging by the sticker on my library edition 🙂
I think the book works so well because of how much is happening in it, everything intertwined. (Beware the occasional weeny eeny spoiler as you read on…) I work on the belief that every book needs a central idea that is DROP-DEAD GREAT.
And then, like, three more FAB ideas added to it in order to make it IMMENSELY AWESOME.
This is clever writing, FUNNY writing – I absolutely devour books with humour! I love laughing to myself in the middle of the night. I love finishing a book and feeling empowered and happy and like I want to read the whole thing again.
<Earth shudders on its axis as billions of hands are raised>
It’s no secret I really dig this series. I love the way it’s written. I love the way you have to work to read it. I love the way it makes you question good and bad and ethics and whether we all should have a murderous AI watching our backs.