Strange Creatures


Chris Bell and Clare Hallifax CYA 2016A little bit of writing news, well big news for me really. I’m thrilled to say I’ve been awarded a “Highly Commended” in the published section of the 2016 CYA Writing and Illustrating Competition for my middle-grade chapter book “Strange Creatures”. (Pretty cool since they only award one overall “winner”, and no placings, over three combined sections.)

I wrote this story some years ago and though I haven’t written chapter books in quite some time, I’ve never been able to let go of the characters or the world in which my Strange Creatures exist. Often times when I’ve been between projects or a bit stuck, I’ve grabbed out this manuscript and tweaked and played or rewritten. I love that the story’s underlying theme is ecological and though it features fantasy creatures, it is set firmly in the human world.

When Noah and Angelo stumble upon the hidden underground world of the Gwoks and lose the glowstone, they enrage the Gwok Guardian. For the glowstone is no ordinary stone, but the cocoon of the Gadija, future ruler of the tiny Gwok people.

Strange Creatures is a story of friendship and courage: of trusting and taking risks: of sometimes proving yourself to others to prove something to yourself. It was originally conceived as a three book series, but, busy with novels, I haven’t gotten back to write books two and three. This award may just be the catalyst.

Special thanks to Tina Marie Clarke and CYA team for organising a wonderful conference and offering writers and illustrators the fabulous opportunity to put themselves and their work in front of publishers face-to-face. Absolute gold! Special thanks also to ‘published’ section  judge, Clare Hallifax, Scholastic Australia.