Looking forward to the High Country Writers’ Festival!

Next Saturday, I’ll be heading to Glen Innes for the High Country Writers’ Festival, where I’ll be presenting a workshop on creating children’s books, based on Inside Story: the wonderful world of writing, illustrating and publishing children’s books, which I was involved in writing. I’m really looking forward to it! The workshop is two hours long and features a talk, Q and A, and hands on activity. You can get tickets for the workshop here.

The rest of the program is great too, with sessions on true crime, historical fiction, how to get a book project back on track, and more. See the full program here. Concurrently with the Festival also is the High Country Writers’ Retreat.

Publication week for new edition of The Green Prince and The Firebird

Absolutely delighted to announce that this week marks the publication of the new print editions of two of my earlier fairytale novels, The Green Prince and The Firebird, published by Brio Books in the Untapped Australian Classics list. The Green Prince was originally published in 2000, was shortlisted in the Aurealis Awards, and also turned into a stage play. It was chosen to be republished as an ebook in the wonderful Untapped Australian Literary Heritage Project, and from there was selected for inclusion in the print republication by Brio Books. The Firebird was first published in 2001, and was produced as an audio book in 2005. It also was chosen to be republished as an ebook by the Untapped project, and from there selected for inclusion for a new print edition by Brio Books. Aren’t both covers gorgeous!

It’s so wonderful to see these books back in circulation, both as print and e-editions, and hopefully they will find their way into the hands of a new generation of readers, as well as earlier fans whose previous copies might have worn out :-)Thank you so much to Untapped and to Brio Books for keeping the books alive, available and accessible!

Later, in late October, will come the new print edition of Cold Iron. Watch this space!

Great first review for Four Up In Lights!

There’s a great first review for Four Up In Lights in Buzz Words. Here’s a short extract:

Award-winning author of over 70 books, Sophie Masson has clearly had a lot of fun creating these four endearing characters, putting them in all sorts of trouble and helping them find their way out with plenty of chuckles and adventure along the way.

Cheryl Orsini’s fun illustrations bring the characters to life and capture both the tension and celebration of the story as it unfolds.

Perfect for young readers, aged 5–8, Maxie, Flash, Fergie, and Lady once again demonstrate the importance of friendship and the joy of adventure. With a hot-wheeling pace, Four Up in Lights will keep readers engaged and wanting to read the story in one sitting. 

You can read the whole review here.

Publication day for Four Up In Lights!

Yay! Today is publication day for Four Up In Lights, the third and final book in a little series I created with illustrator Cheryl Orsini, about the adventures of four friends who happen to be vintage vehicles! Published by Christmas Press, Four Up In Lights follows on from Four All At Sea(2021) and Four On the Run(2020) and were huge fun to write.

Here’s hoping the four friends’ final adventure finds many many readers, as the earlier books have done! And cheers to Maxie, Fergie, Lady and Flash, four fabulous characters who drove their way into my imagination quite a while ago–and who have been brought to such fantastic visual life by the wonderful Cheryl Orsini!

Four Up In Lights is available from any bookshop around Australia, as are the earlier two books. And you can find a fun little trailer for Four Up In Lights here.

Cover reveal for Four Up In Lights!

I’m delighted to reveal the gorgeous cover of Four Up In Lights, the third and final in the fun little chapter-book series I’ve created with the wonderful illustrator Cheryl Orsini. The series, which has been very popular with young readers, is about the funny, fast-paced adventures of four friends who just happen to be vintage vehicles–two cars, a motorbike and a tractor–and I’ve really loved writing it, and loved, too, collaborating with Cheryl, who has made our four friends come to such lively, characterful and endearing life! Four Up In Lights will be released in September by Christmas Press, and is a sequel to Four On The Run(2020) and Four All At Sea (2021).

Isn’t the cover just beautiful! And below the cover you can also see the books as a set–they look pretty good together, don’t they!

Crowdfunding campaign for Inside Story!

I’m very pleased to announce the launch of the crowdfunding campaign for a unique and wonderful book I’m involved in, as part of the writing and production team–Inside Story: the wonderful world of writing, illustrating and publishing children’s books.

Inside Story will be a full colour illustrated book, an invaluable resource and guide for aspiring writers, illustrators, editors and designers, but also of great appeal to anyone interested in the wonderful world of Australian children’s books. Commissioned by the New England Writers’ Centre, with the support of Create NSW, it is being produced and published by UPA Books, the collaborative imprint newly launched by United Publishers of Armidale partners Christmas Press and Little Pink Dog Books, working with a team of local professional writers, illustrators, designers, and editors. Contributions from other creatives and professionals–writers, illustrators, editors, designers, agents, publishers, booksellers and reviewers- from across the country are also included. The book will be published under the UPA Books banner in May 2022.

The crowdfunding campaign is to raise funds for printing, marketing etc.
Here’s the direct link to the campaign, which includes a video, lots of good FAQs, and all details of perks etc:

There are great perks available for campaign backers, including, of course, copies of the book. Regular updates on progress of the book will be posted on the campaign page. The crowdfunding campaign will end on Dec 2.

And here below is the fabulous video to introduce the crowdfunding campaign, and the project itself. Hope you might consider joining us!

Physical journeys in fiction–my latest post on Writer Unboxed

In my latest post on the international writing website, Writer Unboxed, I write about physical journeys in fiction, concentrating on how I’m doing that in a historical novel for children that I’m writing at the moment, plus looking at the classic adventure novel I consider to be one of the great ‘road trip’ novels, Jules Verne’s Mikhail Strogoff. Here’s an extract from my post:

At the moment I’m writing a historical novel for children, set in the Roman province of Brittania (Roman Britain) in the late first century AD/CE. The novel involves a great deal of journeying, as the main characters attempt to meet up with someone who always seems to be a day ahead of them, and whom they have to chase after from town to town. Eventually they do catch up with him, but not in the way they hoped and it makes matters much worse as they then have to flee cross-country to escape pursuers! This is the part I’m up to, and I know my poor exhausted characters still have a way to go!

Most of my novels in fact involve journeys of one sort or the other, it’s a natural theme of my writing—perhaps because I was brought up between two countries, France and Australia, and we travelled so much as kids. But in this one, the structure and plot of the novel absolutely depend on the physical journey. Now when you’re writing a novel like that, you have to work hard to make sure that the constant traveling doesn’t get boring for the reader (as well as tiring for your characters).

You can read the whole post here–and please do make comments(on the Writer Unboxed site) if you like!

The key to a work in progress…

Some years ago, in a little antique shop near the British Museum in London, I bought an extraordinary object–a Roman key-ring, that is, a key designed to be worn as a ring. Made of lead, it was dated to the 1st century AD. It wasn’t particularly expensive, because apparently such rings are not uncommon finds. But I was immediately fascinated by it when I saw it in the window of the shop: it was the kind of humble object that propels you straight into another world, another time. And when I looked at it more closely, I saw that the ring size was very small–on my own hand, it only fitted on the little finger. So either it had been meant for a very small woman or a child, or it had simply been meant to be worn around the neck, on a leather thong or something similar. And what lock would such a key open? Definitely not a door, but probably a box of some sort. A money or valuables box? A medicine box? I had no idea as to the truth of it, but immediately what ifs began bubbling in my head…I began to see, through the mists of imagination, a figure become clearer, a young girl living in the province of Brittania whose widowed Roman father is an oculist, an eye-doctor(they were commonly found in Roman times, especially in Gaul and Brittania). And when he dies, he leaves her this key, a mysterious key that does not fit any of the locks of his boxes. And he tells her not to speak of it to anyone, but to find her uncle, who will know what to do. And so she sets off…

I began writing the story not long after I bought the key. But for various reasons–mostly because I couldn’t get past certain plotting problems with it–it never got finished or even really properly going. I had set it aside and almost forgotten about it until just a few weeks ago, when trawling through documents in my computer, I came across the outline and sample chapters which was all I’d written of the novel I’d called ‘The Key to Rome.’ Instantly, it called to me again. I got the key itself out of the display box in which we keep it and I looked at it for a long moment, and then I knew: I had to write this story! And now I knew just how to write it, and what I had to change to make it work.

So that’s what I’m working on: the unlocking of the story, and the real meaning of ‘the key to Rome.’ And now, somehow, all the plotting problems have disappeared, the story is powering along, simpler, tighter, stronger than I’d originally seen it.

And that’s why writing is so exciting!