About adampb

I am an English teacher and occasional drummer with an interest in literary pursuits, rhythmic permutations, theological amplifications and comedic outbursts.

Read the First Letter from Ella-Louise for FREE

Friday 6th January, 2012

Dear Jude,

Please excuse the crappy yellow legal pad. Had I waited to find fancy stationery, I might never have sat down to write. Your parents are still listed at Blecker Street, so I’m sending the letter there and hopefully they’ll pass it on to you.

Why don’t I just ring your dad, see if you’re alive and well, and get your phone number or an email address? I can’t. I need to write and do it old school with pen and paper. Think about each word before I put it down (and swear because my hand is already aching from writing more than I have in a decade). To send an email would be like warping the fabric of space and time. But then again, writing a letter to you after so long feels a little like that anyway.

When we sat at The Point watching the sun come up on 1992, I believed in an eternity of New Year’s Eves with you, my best friend, by my side. I had no idea it would be our last.

Just so you know, it hasn’t taken me twenty years to forgive you for not showing up at my farewell party. Or at the bus the next day. You did me a favour. Had you come to say good-bye, I don’t think I would have had the courage to go and leave you behind.

I quit my job at the end of last year. Decided it was time for a sea change, to reassess what’s important in life. Important to me. I’ve bought an old weatherboard cottage just up the coast from Coffs Harbour. It’s not Piper’s Reach (I couldn’t go back there) but I’m near the ocean again. I can lie awake at night and hear the crash of  the waves, smell the salt and seaweed.

Finding the shoebox with your letters and other teenage stuff (I still have the chewie wrapper you gave me the first day we met) it felt like no time had passed. But at the same time, I feel like I’ve lived several lives since then. Guess I have in a way.

Reading your old letters, there were events I remembered and others I’d forgotten — like the first thing I ever said to you was I didn’t kiss boys, so you thought I was a lesbian until I pashed Bart Lehmann at the Year 10 social. Shit! Some things and some people are best left forgotten. But you are not one of those people, Jude. Despite the years of silence, I never forgot you.

You always said The Waterboys wrote ‘The Whole of the Moon’ about us, and while you said it was me seeing the whole of the moon, it was you who was the optimist. No one has ever filled those shoes since I left Pipers.

I’m done with the wandering in the wilderness. I want to reconnect with what I left behind. I hope you have the time and inclination to write back. I could use a friend like you in my life (and no, that’s not code for ‘I’m going through a messy divorce’).

Always your



P.S. I realised I still press hard enough for your patented brand of reverse Braille. Some things never change!

P.P.S: Placebo’s ‘Pure Morning’ is playing. The mention of stormy weather, friends in need, and thoughts compressing all seem rather fitting as I fold this up and go in search of an envelope.

Reaching “The End” for The Second Time

A few weeks ago we sat down in our respective chairs, me in Sydney, Jodi in Brisbane, to read through the last forty pages of edits.

We were reaching “The End” for the second time. It’s probably about the fourth time: the first time we wrote it, when our readers reached “The End,” during our own edits, and lastly, reading through the edits together.

And it was emotional. Very emotional.

We both wrote up how we responded to reaching “The End” and you can read Adam’s post, Tears in the Writer, Tears in the Reader, and Jodi’s post, Goodbye Jude and Ella-Louise.

Meanwhile, the edited version is with our trusted reader, Rus, and Season 3 is sent to our editor, Toni.

While we wait for the feedback and comments we are putting together all the bits and pieces ready for out assault on the publishing world.

What Are Your First Impressions?

In this world, first impressions have a marked effect on how we react to someone or how we engage with an event. Make the wrong first impression and it can be hard work to build positive relationships. Make a great first impression and people forgive the tea stain on your shirt.

As the editing on Post Marked: Piper’s Reach comes to a close we are now looking beyond “The End” to where and to whom we pitch our tome, which means carefully constructing how we want to make a good first impression.

Two weeks ago Jodi had the opportunity to pitch Piper’s Reach to the commissioning editor of a large publishing house. While it was unsuccessful in terms of being asked for a sample, it was the first step in looking for publication options.

Over the coming weeks we will be finalising the first round of edits, checking edits received from our good friend, Toni, and putting together a full synopsis and query to have a great package to make a positive first impression.

We firmly believe in the story we have told, its universality and connection to a wide range of readers, not limited by gender, age or geography. Therefore, about a month and a half ago the first 400 words of Piper’s Reach appeared at First Impressions, hosted by In High Spirits – Diane K Salerni and Maine Words – Marcy.

We wanted to see if Piper’s Reach had something to hook readers in and make them want to keep reading. It was a gamble for us to gain reactions and feedback from readers unfamiliar with the world and characters of Piper’s Reach. Diane and Marcy offered their impressions and left it open to readers to offer their feedback.

Overall, the feedback was very promising and positive and most commentators said they wanted to read more. The one thing they stumbled on was the use of the word, “pashed,” an Australian term for kissing.

You can check the comments here: Dianne Salerni and here: Maine Words.

In the coming weeks we will be revamping the website and offering a few teasers of the new version of Piper’s Reach.

If you’re a long time reader of Piper’s Reach, what do you like in the first impressions? Would you read on?

If you are unfamiliar with Piper’s Reach, have you read the first 400 words and have we piqued your curiosity to want to know more?

Let us know in the comments.

Post Script: Piper’s Reach

Post Marked: Piper’s Reach has come to an end*.

Jodi and Adam have included a few words by way of farewell.

Jodi's Final Note

Adam's Final Note

*At the end of July, the letters will all be removed from the site as Jodi and Adam put some serious hours into editing the story of Ella-Louise and Jude in preparation for bigger things.

Interview With Rus Vanwestervelt

Throughout the time of Post Marked: Piper’s Reach, one commentator has engaged with the series in such as way as to be almost a third author. Rus Vanwestervelt has given Jodi and Adam remarkable insight into each of their characters, articulating their psychology and motivation in ways neither of them could have envisaged.

Such is the impact of Rus’ insight and lengthy essays he posts after each letter that Jodi and Adam have coined a phrase: WWRT – What Would Rus Think?

With that in mind, Rus sent through a series of questions about Piper’s Reach to Jodi and Adam. They responded with four thousand words.

Drop into Rus’ site and get a behind the scenes look into the process and thinking behind Post Marked: Piper’s Reach.

Find the three parts of the interview at http://www.rusvw.net/

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Blog Tour: Day 9 with Icy Sedgwick

The final stop on the Post Marked: Piper’s Reach blog tour is with the wonderful Icy Sedgwick.

In today’s post, Icy asks us about how letter writing differs from traditional narrative story telling, dialogue in letters and how email has affected modern communication.

A letter is perhaps the one form where backstory is integral to understanding the characters, their relationship and their current situation. The events of the past inform the present. As the characters replay significant events from their past, they focus on their perspective of that moment – Adam

All my old friends and I lament the digital age and the fall from grace of letter writing. While we love being able to see what each other is doing on Facebook, have instant access to photos, status updates and to comment on them… we miss receiving a letter – Jodi

To read the rest of the interview, click here.

Blog Tour: Day 8 with Rebecca Emin

As we reach the eve of launch day of Post Marked: Piper’s Reach, today’s host is Rebecca Emin (@RebeccaEmin).

She asks us about how we came up with the idea before exploring the ups and downs, advantages and disadvantages of a collaborative project.

Writing collaboratively has always been a bigger and better experience than going solo for me. I find it almost intoxicating… Most of all I love watching my characters come alive through another writer – Jodi

We write independently of each other but the narratives are intrinsically tied to the other. We weave in and out of each other’s stories. The advantage of collaboration is the perspectives and insights another person provides. The downside to this project is the ‘no spoilers’ clause – Adam

Click to read the rest of the interview here.

Blog Tour: Day 7 with Victoria Boulton

As launch day approaches, we have a few more stops along the way. Today we drop in on Victoria Boulton (@Vicorva) and have a chat about why we wrote a story in letters. We also chat about the origin of our characters and how the narrative is affected by letters.

A letter is intimate and personal. It is a private, shared moment between two people – Adam

There is a sense of freedom and danger in pursuing a non-traditional form of story telling – Jodi

Ella-Louise is broken and burned out, living a sea change to try and reclaim her life. This is the most intimate connection I have ever had with a character. I’m drawn to the first person POV, but this is something altogether different – Jodi

Jude is the essential every man. But at the same time he’s vulnerable, he’s loyal and has a deep centred sense of place and purpose – Adam

To read the rest of the interview click here.

Blog Tour: Day 6 with Nicole Murphy

On the 6th day of the Post Marked: Piper’s Reach blog tour, we have the extraordinary privilege to be hosted by Australian fantasy, science fiction and romance writer Nicole Murphy.

When first brainstorming a project you find the most convenient format to establish the parameters. We used text messaging and Nicole asks “Why?”

Creating a fictional town as the setting for the project has its own challenges and we explore how we developed the town and its impact on the characters.

Location is important because where you live shapes who you are, what you do, the opportunities available (especially during adolescence) and the way people see and treat you – Jodi

We created the fictional town of Piper’s Reach before we even had characters. Location puts the characters into a frame of reference… it became the framework for understanding the relationship between the characters – Adam

To read the full interview click here.

Blog Tour: Day 4 with Tuesday Serial

Tuesday Serial is the place to read a wide range of weekly serial fiction. It is also the place where Post Marked: Piper’s Reach will be linked.

Today we are sipping virtual cups of tea, making ourselves comfortable and talking about the process of composing a serial, dividing up the work and our aims for the project.

It was Adam’s idea for the characters to be two long-lost friends getting back in touch with each other and Adam later sent me a text message asking if I thought perhaps these two had harboured crushes but they’d never synced up to let them hook up… and hey presto… my character appeared – Jodi

With no real idea who our characters were, we continued to toss ideas back and forth. This is how we settled on the name of the town and its origins, the characters’ names and a little bit about their back story. We had no endpoint in mind when the first letter was written, a bit like a shot in the dark, a character hoping, trying, wanting to reconnect with the past, but not sure if there will be reciprocation. In this way, it felt “real” for the characters – Adam

To read the full interview, click here.