My chapter book, Book Uncle and Me, won the Scholastic Asian Book Award back in 2011. It was first published in India, then in Australia. Now it’s going to be published in Canada and the US by Groundwood Books.
Which is nice for lots of reasons, but one of them is that it gives me a chance to take a second look at the text for this new market–something that doesn’t happen that often.
Not that I didn’t like the Indian edition. I liked the sassiness of it, the bright yellow cover, the illustrations by Priya Kurian. And yes, it was in lineated prose and I will confess that I liked my line breaks.
The Australian edition was fun to see. They kept Priya’s art. They took out the line breaks. To my great surprise the story still worked.
However, reworking the whole thing yet again is, in some ways, a writer’s dream come true. I’ve sometimes read in public from published work and had the experience of longing to pull out my pen and start fixing the text as I read! I wrote Book Uncle and Me some years ago, so it’s great to have the chance to look at it again. I know the story so well that I don’t have to go through the usual plotting agonies. I can play with words, juggle scenes, add a couple of new ones if I wish. I can look forward to the editing and production as if it were an entirely new book. I can recreate it knowing what I’ve learned as a writer over these last four years.
It almost doesn’t feel like work.