So on three I bumped into Andrea Pasion-Flores who I hadn't heard from since the writers festival last year. So we sat down for a drink to catch up with what she's been up to. She very kindly bought some of my books :) Thanks, Andrea. We planned to catch up at an informal supper party at Jacaranda literary agent Helen Mangham's house later that night. It would turn out to be a hair-raising experience getting there, but more on that later.
Our first talk of the day was Challenge, Trauma and Recovery in YA by Susanne Gervay and Wendy Orr. Susanne spoke about her research on burn victims she did for her book Butterflies and Wendy reflected on her recovery from a car accident and how the protagonist in her book Peeling the Onion had to go on a similar journey after an injury.
It was an extremely interesting and thought provoking session which left the attendees with no doubt that young readers are able to handle the truth about difficult situations in novels as well as life and that though a story may not conclude with a happily ever after, it should end on a note of hope.
I've had a couple of YA stories percolating for years and one is based on a group of friends of mine who lost their lives in a mountain climbing accident back when I was in high school. So this session was extremely helpful.
Right after the session I called Auntie Susanna because we had planned to take Mio Debnam out for lunch before her session which had been bumped up an hour. We met Mio in Hong Kong when we were there for the Hong Kong Young Reader's Festival in March, and where she treated us to a yummy dim sum lunch in Central. So for her visit here we decided to take her for the SE Asian buffet at Swissotel, which featured Roti Jala, Chilli Crab, ice kachang and durian pudding. I think I ate a tad too much.
With a belly full of buffet, I headed back for Mio's talk with Shirin Yim Bridges Writing Non Fiction for Early Teens. I always thought it was hard writing non ficiton, harder than writing fiction because sometimes the facts are hard and dry, so how on earth could you possibly make it interesting? Well after this session I found that you can make non fiction fun by adding a dash of creativity to connect the facts. Now that I know that, it's something I just may try.
That evening I attended a portion of Malaysia Night, where the Princess of Johor was the guest of honor. Then Auntie Susanna and I skedaddled off to Helen Mangham's house to meet up with the Jayapriya Vasudevan and Andrea Passion Flores. Unfortunately our taxi driver was completely out of it and spent an hour or so driving us around and refusing to look at the map. With the way he was driving I thought we were going to DIE!
We finally made it to Helen's house after catching another cab. I felt badly about it, but Helen, Jayapriya and Andrea were great about it and I had a really good time there. And I'll be meeting up with them again soon. After a while, we decided to head back home as it was getting late and I had an early wake up call the next morning. Just to make sure I got up on time, I set my alarm and asked Mum and Kumuda, AFCC's faithful PR lady to give me wake up calls. Then I crashed for the night.