Advance copies of Wild Boys have arrived … and it’s such a thrill to hold the book in my hands after all these years! A couple of weeks ago, I met up with my dear friend and fellow writer, Edwina Shaw, for one of our regular coastal retreats. Normally, these retreats are full-on hard work – eight-hour days of editing and re-writing and discussing each other’s manuscripts – with only the nights free to hang out and ‘chill’. But this was a ‘no rules’ writing retreat … I had a copy of Wild Boys to hand over to Edwina and we were in a celebratory mood. Chocolate pudding for dinner? No rules! Strawberry champagne at three in the afternoon? No rules! Lie on the sand for hours and just rest? No rules!
Each morning, I walked for miles along the beach at Evans Head, dressed only in my swimmers and a sarong. The air felt easy on my skin and my hair went curly from the salt water. One day, Edwina and I went to Chinamans Beach, one of my favourite places on the coast. In our bare feet, we followed a path to the top of the headland, where the grass was so soft and spongy that I just had to lie down, spread-eagled on the ground, staring at the blue sky above me. It felt like we were on Kirrin Island with the Famous Five – all we needed was a bottle of ginger beer and some sardine sandwiches. Oh, heavenly times … I drove home to Armidale feeling very grateful for my friendship with Edwina.
Wild Boys will be publicly available in July, and it’s a strange thing to imagine other people reading such a personal story. I’m trying to stay calm and focused – remembering why I wrote the book, and not letting the pre-publication rollercoaster of emotions knock me over. I’m ready for whatever’s coming my way … and, besides, riding a rollercoaster is exciting and fun!