Wendy Blaxland's blog

Wendy Blaxland's blog

Here are the details of my Next Big Thing!


27 December 2012


The Next Big Thing is a game of tag for authors.

That great author Felicity Pulman wrote about her exciting new book A Ring Through Time, to be published in March 2013, at www.felicitypulman.com.au/blog . Then she tagged me!

I’m answering ten questions today about my own Next Big Thing, and have tagged two other authors for next week:

Then they'll tag other authors. Follow the game around the world…Where will it end?

Now, to the questions about my own Next Big Thing!


What is the working title of your next book?

Crossing! – but it’s a play, not a book. It performs next year from May onwards,  through Sydney’s  Blue Mountains and beyond…

Where did the idea come from for the project?

My own history and that of early Australia. Gregory Blaxland, my great-great-great-great grandfather, was one of three explorers named as the first to cross the Blue  Mountains in 1813 and open up the fragile young colony to the west.  2013 is the bicentenary of this crossing – and my play is part of the celebrations.

What genre does your project fall under?

An interactive play for families based imaginatively on history.

What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

Oooh - Geoffrey Rush, Tim Minchin, Ian McKellen, Rowan Atkinson,  Viggo Mortensen, Johnny Depp, Jeremy Sims, Jake Gyllenhaal, Helen Mirren,  Cate Blanchett,  Leah Purcell,  Helena Bonham-Carter,  Eleanor, Jessica and Thomas Blaxland Ashby and a whole team of Australian actors of Aboriginal and European descent.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your project?

We push through uncharted bush, teeter atop sheer cliffs, marvel at the chime of bellbirds and stories in the firelight until, as our bellies rebel and our feet bleed, we glimpse land far below – and it smells like home.

Will your project be self-funded or is the risk shared by others?

Both! The Crossing! play has a professional, paid creative team, supported by sponsors such as Nova Employment,  local Councils, schools and Chambers of Commerce, far-sighted donors inspired by the project - and yes, our own savings.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

The genesis of the Crossing! play lay in a solo performance in 1998, but full-time research and writing has taken ten months this year – so far.

What other projects would you compare this story to within your genre?

  • Peter Brook’s 1970s genre-breaking site-specific work  ‘Orghast in Persepolis’
  • Sydney Festival’s 2012 Aboriginal version of Australian history ‘The Eora Project’
  • the long-running  family historical show ‘The Ship That Never Was’, in Strahan (Tasmania).

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

  • Gregory Blaxland and all those who like him have had the courage to leave home to explore new spaces, and persist against what looks like defeat
  • my mother and father Audrey and Gregory Blaxland who inspired me about theatre
  • my husband and children who inspire me about life and the future,
  • our high school teacher Julie Morris who led us to think about history
  • all the nameless people and beasts whom history leaves without a voice.

What else about the project might pique the reader's interest?

  • Forty fascinating characters played by three actors
  • the most amazing secrets and funniest adventures from 200 years ago
  • a taste of fresh damper!

Find out more at www.blaxlandanddaughter.com.

And don't forget that next week, on 2nd January, two other wonderful authors will tell you about their Next Big Event:

  • Jacqueline Harvey,  author of the international hit Alice-Miranda series. Her new book Clementine Rose and the Pet Day Disaster will be published on 1st January! See her blog at http://jacquelineharvey.blogspot.com.au/
  • Sally Odgers, from Tasmania. Sally has written so many books I simply couldn’t count them all, including the great Jack Russell, Dog Detective series.  Visit her blog at http://spinningpearls.blogspot.com next week to find out what her next book will be.

Look out for more news about Crossing!, and enjoy this precious time between Christmas and New Year.

Peace to all






We had real fun dressing up for a photo shoot a couple of days ago about the Bicentenary activities, which will include a re-enactment of the 1813 crossing of the Blue Mountains. That's my son Tom at the left in the background. Couldn't fit the newly fringed parasol in this shot, though. Thanks to Margaret Edwards of iMag for the great photo!


Horse and writer meet! I really needed that parasol (authentic shape for between 1810 and 1820, designer Deirdre Burges tells me), on a sweltering hot mid-summer afternoon at the Hartley Saddlery, and the horse was intrigued - or was she about to have a nibble at the flowers on my hat? Hmmm...And doesn't Tom look authentic?

And finally, here you have all four Blaxland Ashbys in Australia (minus Jess, is enjoying yet another English Christmas, but will be back to work on the Crossing! project in mid-February as co-producer): Allan Ashby, Thomas Blaxland Ashby, Wendy Blaxland and Eleanor Blaxland Ashby. Thanks for the support last Sunday, troops!


Wendy Blaxland



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