'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Thursday 11 August 2011

Interview: Prana Writers' Group on their Write a Book in a Day Challenge

KBR warmly welcomes the lovely Angela Sunde, author and member of Prana Writers' Group on a jaw-dropping literary challenge, with a warm charity foundation...

KBR hears you are going to write a book in just one day. Who thought up this crazy challenge!?
I cannot even remember where I heard about the Write a Book in a Day challenge, but it seemed like the perfect opportunity to give something back to the community.

My writers group, Prana Writers, had recently discussed our goals for this year and how we saw our ‘way forward’. As a number of us are children’s writers, the Write a Book in a Day challenge offered us the answer. Raising funds for the Royal Children’s Hospital Queensland is a way to volunteer our time, bond as a group and help the kids.

The Write-a-Book-in-a-Day is a wonderful, fun, team building and writing experience, open to people of all ages with all levels of writing, computer and graphic skills. You register a team of 5-10 people in the Open, Secondary School or Primary School category and get friends, relatives and others to sponsor you by donating to your State's hospital for children.

Tell us about Prana Writers. How many are involved?
The eleven members of Prana Writers came together as a group three years ago when the Gold Coast City Council ‘Creative Juices’ arts development team put out a call for submissions from local writers to write a novel under the mentorship of author, Louise Cusack for twelve months. Of the 70 applicants, sixteen were chosen. Three years later we’re still together (minus five).

Prana Writers hopes to establish relationships with the wider arts community and contribute in small ways to the cultural recognition of the Gold Coast as an arts hub with a vibrant and active community of artists. What’s more, our values are underpinned by our desire to help others.

What is the basic structure for this Book in a Day challenge?
On our chosen day, Sunday 14th August 2011, our team will be emailed a random setting, two human characters, a non-human character, an issue and five random words at 8.00am local time. Our story must be written around these and be emailed to the Katherine Susannah Prichard Writers Centre by 8.00pm that evening. A panel appointed by the KSP Writers Centre will judge our completed work.

And did I say the minimum word count for the book is 8,000 words? Yes, we’re crazy!

Our book will then be presented to the Royal Children’s Hospital Queensland library and the funds we raise through online sponsorship will also be given to the hospital. I love that sick children and their visitors will be able to read our book.

Have you already began sorting out the tasks and roles within the group?

With so much to do in only twelve hours, it’s necessary to know who’s doing what. Right now, I’m the illustrator – yes, the book must be illustrated as well!

I have roped my husband in to be computer technician and coffee maker (there will be a lot of coffee drunk), and my daughter will be official photographer. The rest of the group involved are writers: Helen Stubbs, Rebecca Fraser, Tom Betts, Margaret Choinsky, Kerry McGuicken, Amanda Worlley and Janis Hanley.

After a round table brainstorming session, where the plot, world and characters are sussed out and planned, we will each work on one scene or chapter. These will be read out to the group over lunch (yes, there will be a BBQ lunch), plot problems discussed and editing begun by just two or three of us while others are working on page layouts, illustrations, etc.

These have to be finalised and the book compiled into one file, with illustrations. The book must also be printed out and bound for snail mailing to the judges – this is also a criteria – and all within twelve hours! Aaaahh!

Our completed book will be judged by the Katherine Susannah Prichard Writers Centre and then donated to the library of the Royal Children’s Hospital. There are awards in each category for National Best Book, National Most Sponsorship, and we’re also eligible for Vic, Qld, SA, Tas, NT Best Book. As the only team registered for the challenge in the open category in Queensland, we have a good chance.

Where will you be doing all this? What equipment do you have in place?
As I am the illustrator, we’ll be working at my house in the beautiful quiet, surrounds of the Tallebudgera Valley, where I have my studio set up and an A3 scanner/printer for use. Everyone is bringing their laptop and we have loads of room to find a quiet space to plug in and write. In the writers’ uniform of trackie dacks, the team is arriving at 7am for a briefing and my husband is making muffins!

What plans do you have for binding the book? How many copies will you produce? We’ll be producing at least ten copies, but we only need one on the day. Prana Writer, Amanda Worlley is a teacher librarian who has book binding skills and equipment.

Are you daunted by what lies ahead?
Yes and no. (She chews her nail.) Mostly we’re very excited. The Prana Writers are more than just a writers group; we’re also friends who love to spend time together and this is a great excuse.

Where can people find out more and can they help in any way?
Yes! Please pop over to the Write a Book in a Day website and sponsor us. Head to writeabookinaday.com/index.html. On the left you’ll see in red ‘Sponsor a Team’, then choose the Royal Children’s Hospital Foundation Queensland, and our team - Prana Writers.

Can anyone follow you along on this journey?
We will be blogging at pranawriters.wordpress.com and I’ll also be blogging at angelasunde.blogspot.com.

Find out more about this incredible challenge at writeabookinaday.com/index.html, where you can also read about last year’s winners and perhaps enter a team of your own!

Good luck, Prana! from the KBR Team