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16 October 2010 ·

Finishing Raven’s Mountain

Two and a half years ago, flying home from the excitement of the Nim’s Island premierre tour, images for a new story started creeping into my mind. There was a girl prowling desperately around a locked, vacant cabin (no idea where that image came from!); there was a memory of breathlessness at 10,000 feet when climbing a mountain with my father and sister, and an image of sheltering from hail under a big rock further up that same mountain. Somehow the story grew from those three thoughts, not always in the way I expected. It changed form and structure. Characters grew, and developed their own personalities – again, not always the ones I expected. The story fell into place, rewrite after rewrite, until it seemed like the only logical way it could have happened. The title flapped back and forth between my editor and me until it was finally settled; Raven’s Mountain.

So on Tuesday morning I finished proof reading, (including a major rewrite of one chapter, which my editor was kind enough to agree to, even though you’re really supposed to have finished rewriting by the!). I dropped it into an Express envelop and sent it back to my editor at Allen & Unwin. It’ll be released in February.

Now I’m taking down the maps I’ve drawn for the story, that have been on the back of my office door for nearly two years. I’ve taken the photos of bears and mountains off my screensaver, though the salt dough mountain top is still on top of my bookshelf. And I’ve spent some quiet time saying goodbye to Raven, the girl I’ve grown to know and love. Until February, she’s in a bit of limbo, but then she’ll fly free to meet the world, and not really belong to me any more.

Here’s one of the images that inspired the story.


  1. Melanie Selemidis How lovely to have new Wendy fiction to look forward to!
    Thanks for sharing the process and pics with us. Feeling inspired to get back to my work in progress. Thanks again.
    October 17, 2010 at 8:13 am · Reply
  2. Wendy Thanks Melanie. When I'm working on a book I tend to be so involved with the characters and getting their story right, that I forget that (if I do get it right!) there'll be readers who'll care about it later. Nice to think about.

    Good luck with this same process for your own wip.
    October 17, 2010 at 9:12 am · Reply
  3. kj We're completely thrilled, and we anxiously await its publication!

    October 19, 2010 at 8:06 am · Reply
  4. Rebecca Hello Wendy. Delighted to hear you have a new title coming out. I just found your blog whilst searching the net for other titles by you since my daughter just finished reading 'Nim's Island'. She couldn't put it down so I've just bought and given her 'Nim at Sea' much to her delight. The pace at which she's reading your books mean I need to buy another two now! Thank you so much for the enjoyment you have brought to her via your writing. Best wishes, Rebecca, a grateful mother x
    October 20, 2010 at 8:32 am · Reply
  5. Wendy What a lovely thing to hear! Knowing that a child is passionate about one of my books is the best kind of reward.

    Thanks to KJ too for your kind comment!
    October 20, 2010 at 8:35 am · Reply
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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