I’m so happy to be able to start off the author writing tips series with Jacqueline Harvey, the popular and thoroughly nice author of both the celebrated Alice-Miranda and the Clementine Rose series.
Fans of Alice-Miranda will be thrilled to know that there’s a new book out, Alice-Miranda in Japan – and it’s full of travel, treasure and trickery in bustling Tokyo.
It’s a fabulous story with lots of mystery as Alice-Miranda takes us on another exciting adventure.
Over to you Jacqueline to tell us about the writing process.
Why I wrote this book
This is the ninth book in the Alice-Miranda series. Alice-Miranda had lots of great adventures and I enjoy writing the books where she and her friends are at school every bit as much as the ones I’ve set in far flung locations. Alice-Miranda has visited New York and Paris and sailed on the Royal Yacht Octavia from Barcelona to Venice. Generally I will set a story at school then one away, so it was time for another journey. I love travelling and often use some of my own experiences to inspire things that happen in the books.
Tips for Young Writers
- Use places you’ve visited or are familiar with to inspire your own writing. I first visited Japan in 1994, when as a young teacher I accompanied a group of Year 5 and 6 students on a school excursion. It was my first overseas trip and I fell in love with the country and the people and have been back several times since.
- When you travel, keep diaries and take lots of photographs. They will help you to remember things and come in handy sometimes when you’re stuck for ideas. I kept extensive diaries during all my visits to Japan and now I blog about all the places we go – so I share my travels with others.
- Research – the Internet is your friend! Anything I wasn’t sure about with regards to the story, I researched on the Internet. I also used Google Maps to refresh my memory about locations and routes between places. Tokyo is an amazing city. I remember one Saturday night being utterly dumbstruck, standing still in the middle of a traffic island in Shinjuku, watching the waves of people moving around us. It was like Sydney on New Year’s Eve, except that this was just an ordinary Saturday night. My opening chapter really harks back to this experience except that of course it’s not me in the story, but instead a young runaway.
- Seek help from experts. I had a friend help me with the language translations as my Japanese is very limited.
- It’s your story – have fun with it. I write as if it’s a movie playing in my head. I also edit as I go and read the work aloud – with the accents of the characters too. This really helps me to get inside their heads and be part of the action.
Alice Miranda and her friends Millie and Jacinta are in Japan for their school holidays because the family cook, Dolly Oliver has been invited to speak at a conference.
But when Alice-Miranda is given a necklace by her father, the girls become involved in an exciting mystery, and Alice-Miranda finds herself being followed by some pretty nasty people.
Alice-Miranda makes a new friend in Japan, but Kiko is not what he seems.
In Alice-Miranda in Japan, Alice-Miranda gets to mix with royalty when she’s invited to dinner at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo. But why is the Emperor so sad and how can Alice-Miranda help him?
This story has so many twists and turns, you’ll be wondering what’s going to happen to Alice-Miranda next.
Alice-Miranda In Japan is available from Dymocks, QBD, Big W, K-Mart, Target, Collins, Booktopia and most independent bookshops. The series is also available for e-readers through Amazon Kindle, Google Books, iBooks, eBooks and Kobo.
Find out more about Alice-Miranda and her other adventures at her blog
Thanks for visiting Jacqueline and thanks for the great writing tips.