I’m Fern, the second intern to grace the halls of MidnightSun. I’m in my final year of studying Creative Writing at Adelaide University, and I’ve been fortunate to have the chance to look inside the world of publishing. I’m the sort of oddball who researches as much as they can about any given situation before heading into it, but the internet can only prepare you so much. Luckily, Anna has been a wise and gentle support in guiding me through this busy new world.
Before I even had my first session at MidnightSun, I was invited to the book launch of Beneath the Mother Tree by D.M. Cameron. Talk about coming in at the end of the process. It was a night of joy and tears as Donna spoke about the journey of creating her novel, the endless trials of research, re-writing, and refining.
She thanked her family members for supporting her throughout the experience, and I felt tears prickling in my eyes for this woman I had never spoken to. I mean, I’m a bleeding heart, but there was something special about being in the function room of The Jade surrounded by these people brought together by her story.
There was magic in the air, just as there was in the reading she gave of her first chapter. Yes, I bought a copy that night. But despite how the speeches that night moved me, I couldn’t entirely comprehend how much work had gone in to making this novel a reality.
Upon setting foot in the studio of MidnightSun on my first day, I was introduced to the novel that is to be published in October. Heaven Sent is a young adult novel by debut novelist S.J. Morgan, set in the Adelaide Hills. However, before I actually had a chance to read the novel, I had to write an impassioned speech to reviewers about why they should drop everything they’re doing and give this novel a chance. There was some hurried flipping through the book to look for key words, that’s for sure. It was to my extreme relief when Anna loaned me the proof copy so I could understand what I was writing so enthusiastically about. My lecturer the next day must have hated me, because I ended up reading it throughout my class on Editing for Writers. It was on topic! I was understanding what a novel looks like before it is sent to copy editing! Or at least that’s what I tried to insist when I was told to put away the book for the third time.
Most recently we’ve been working to prepare Heaven Sent for its launch, and hunting down writers’ festivals who would be delighted to have Sue attend. It’s not hard to appear passionate in my emails to festivals and reviewers now. Having read the book for myself I’m excited to show it off to whoever I can. It was even more exciting to see the newly printed copies of Heaven Sent when they arrived. There’s something special about opening up a box to see a fresh book which is waiting to be passed out and read.
I feel like I’m going backwards through the publishing process so far. I’ve attended a book launch, asked reviewers to look over a completed novel, and enjoyed the thrill of the arrival of new books. I’m looking forward to seeing the earlier stages of the process of seeing how Anna gives advice and suggestions to her authors, how she decides how much time she needs to prepare everything for launch, how she decides to publish a novel in the first place. If I can see all this, I might be able to comprehend how Donna felt when she stood in front of everyone at her book launch and moved to tears by how much of herself she poured into her novel.
Here are some more photos from the wonderful launch: