What a year it’s been! I was thinking about highlights and lowlights, and thought I better find some wood to knock on – fast – because there’ve hardly been any dark spots. In fact, apart from the year I met, fell in love with and married Tom, and the years when James and Susan were born, it’s been one of the happiest years of my life.
So, some of the highs?
January was visiting my family and friends in Canada; having some quiet time with my parents, seeing Susan in her new life in Vancouver (and listening to my sister’s crazy parrot)
– Santa Monica: spending time with Nim’s Island’s producer Paula Mazur and her family again, meeting Mark Levin and Jennifer Flackett, Nim’s directors/screenwriters, for the first time and sitting in a café being shown scene dioramas and storyboards, being taken for lunch by the Walden executives and discussing dreams (I said mine was that Nim would be greenlit while I was in town)… and a fabulous last day, starting with a walk on Santa Monica Beach, on to a meeting at Fox, back to meet Paula, discuss the film’s progress, and then be whisked out to the wonderful Getty Museum , and finally, pick up soy chai lattes for a final walk on the beach at sunset.
March was Paula’s phone call to say Nim’s Island had the green light, with Jodie Foster and Abigail Brslin. Gerard Butler’s name was confirmed some time later – each one of those announcements was a celebration in its own right.
– my parents arriving for Dad to help James renovate his apartment ; the three generations of men working together, and finally James moving into his own first home.
– the shortlisting of Across the Dark Sea for the NSW Premier’s Community Relations Award.
May was a day in Sydney with Paula , realising that we’d finally met in Australia and that the film was truly going to happen.– and looking at a map at the end of the day and realising we’d walked about 20 km as we’d chatted.
June was the publication of the American Mokie and Bik, a book that is truly close to my heart, not just because of the family stories it incorporates, but the risk of playing with language as I did (or maybe just because it took so many years to work out)
July was Susan coming over for a couple of weeks – some special times with her, including a trip to Brisbane for the launch of the Australian Nim at Sea, also dear simply because I love these characters so much, and had been so caught up in the writing of this next stage of their adventure. And then that funny evening at Riverbend Books, with Paula, Mark & Jen all stuck on the boat .
August was our visit to the set, and that could be a whole list of highlights in itself: seeing the reality of it all, feeling the buzz of the atmosphere and the warmth of the crew, watching Paula, Mark and Jen in action, having Jodie Foster tell me that Nim’s Island was the book that got her son into reading, going to the beach with Abigail and her family, going out for dinner with Gerry and a bunch of his friends after seeing 300 and being serenaded by Rocco, a young opera singer from Naples…
September was my second visit to the set: arriving to a “Welcome Home,” from one of the assistant directors and feeling that I was back friends , being made up and doing my EPK interview, understanding a little more of the process as I watched, and opening my wonderful gifts at the airport on the way home
October was starting to work on my new website with Linda Judd, and getting to know and admire her.
November is birthday month for both Tom and me, a lovely dinner at la Petanque with James and my agents Debbie and Colin Golvan.
December was the thrill of seeing the trailer, and a wonderful Christmas with James, Tom and I going up to Tom’s sister and her family in northern Queensland; phone calls with Susan, my parents, and sister Kathy. My most unexpected gift? A Mokie and Bik mouse pad from my lovely editor at Henry Holt. Very special!
And through out the year, there’ve been the special contacts with friends and readers; friends we’d lost contact with who got in touch when they heard the Nim’s Island news; kids who write to tell me of the events in their lives, whether happy or sad, teenagers who first wrote when they read Nim’s Island as children, the fans who throw unbelievable energy into supporting the movie, all the family and friends who share who our lives.
My list could go on, so I’ll simply conclude again with , What a year it’s been.
May 2008 be filled with joy, happiness and health for everyone.
Wendy Orr is a Canadian-born Australian writer. Her books for children and adults have been published in 27 countries and won awards around the world. Nim’s Island and Nim at Sea have also become feature films, starring Jodie Foster and Abigail Breslin (Nim’s Island) and Bindi Irwin (Return to Nim’s Island.) Her latest book is Cuckoo’s Flight, a companion to the highly acclaimed Bronze Age novels Dragonfly Song and Swallow’s Dance. Read full bio