Welcome to #TheQuickSixInterview with Nova Weetman!
Just Write For Kids is excited to feature another new face to the blog, multi award-winning author, Nova Weetman, introducing her latest middle grade novel, Sick Bay! 🙂
About the Author
Nova Weetman lives in Melbourne with her partner and two children. She has written for TV, including Backyard Science, H20 and Pixel Pinkie. Nova is the author of several middle grade and young adult novels. Her middle-grade novel The Secrets We Keep was shortlisted for the Readings Children’s Book Prize, the Speech Pathology of Australia Book of the Year Awards and the ABIA Awards, and was a 2017 CBCA Notable Book, winner of the KROC Award for Best Fiction for Years 7–9 and Honour Book in the 2018 KOALA Awards. Her second book in this series, The Secrets We Share, was a 2018 CBCA Notable Book. Her latest book is the middle-grade novel Sick Bay (out June 2019 through UQP).
Who wrote, illustrated and published this book?
Written by Nova Weetman.
Cover illustration by Sandra Eterovic.
Published by UQP.
What is it called and what is it about?
It’s called Sick Bay and it’s about two Year 6 girls called Meg and Riley. Meg hides out in Sick Bay reading Anne of Green Gables, avoiding the schoolyard. Riley hates going to Sick Bay but sometimes she has no choice. They think they’ve sized each other up, but everything they’ve got wrong will turn out to be more important than they can imagine. On the brink of high school, Sick Bay could be the place where Meg and Riley find the courage to be themselves.
When is its release / launch date?
June 4 in Australia. We’re launching the book at The Little Bookroom in Melbourne on Sunday June 2 and would love to see you there. You can RSVP here.
Where did the inspiration for this book come from?
I always knew I wanted to write a book set in a school Sick Bay. I’m fascinated by places where we are forced to communicate with someone we may not like at first. My children had some interesting encounters in Sick Bay, often spending time with older kids or younger kids or kids they didn’t like. It took me a couple of years to work out the two characters for the book. And then one day I was talking to my daughter’s best friend who is a type 1 diabetic about writing a character with diabetes. The character of Riley developed from there. My daughter’s friend helped me shape this character and her and her mother helped me better understand what it’s like to experience diabetes as a young person.
Why is this book meaningful to you and why would its message resonate with readers?
I love books that explore the cusp of childhood and teenagehood, and that’s what Sick Bay is about. It’s about young people wanting to be normal before realising that normal doesn’t exist. And it’s about the disconnect between how the world sees you and how you see yourself. I think readers will identify with those feelings, and also understand the desire for freedom and independence that both girls have. Ultimately Sick Bay is about friendship and the real need to have not just a friend, but a ‘kindred spirit’, in the words of Anne Shirley. I think we all understand that need.
How have you promoted this book and how can we find it?
My publisher and I are working together to promote Sick Bay through bookseller engagement, reviews, interviews (like this Q&A), events and a strong social media and online presence. The book is available at all good book stores and online and for more information you can click here.
Sick Bay: UQP
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