This is an excerpt of the speech I gave at the launch of "In the Quiet" Thank you, also, to google who was able to inform me that I put the first words of In the Quiet down on paper two years, seven months and three days ago. Which seems like both the shortest and the longest length of time in the world.I started writing In the Quiet in Western Australia. I was there on a writing residency at the Katharine Susannah Prichard Writers' Centre in late November and it was hot. And I was crying a lot because I go a bit weird when I'm left by myself. In between writing, I went for walks and was utterly bedazzled by the purple flowers everywhere.Jacaranda flowers.An image crystalised in my head; an image of a little girl curled tightly in on herself sitting on an old verandah, being showered with the purple of them. A story spun itself suddenly free and onto the faux-paper of a word document.Back at home after the residency, trundling along the same roads as always, I realised that there were jacaranda flowers in full bloom that I'd never noticed. They were everywhere. Over fences and in parks; messing up the asphalt of school playgrounds and the driveways of old houses.And those flowers were like a secret I shared with the little world in my head. Those flowers were the story, solidified. More than anything else that In the Quiet explores, it was those flowers that brought it to life for me.My world was absolutely bursting with purple of them, but it had taken flying across the country to notice that they were there.I wrote around work, around study and around moving house. I wrote around renovating and I wrote around animals, seemingly intent on suffocating me as I typed.Six months later, I had a first draft. A year after that, I signed with HarperCollins Australia, who - beautifully and perfectly - sent me an offer decorated with the purple goodness of jacaranda flowers.Already, I've had people messaging me about what they think about In the Quiet. Which is absolutely incredible. And every single time it has startled me. Time is precious, and it's a gift when someone spends theirs reading something that you've written. In the Quiet is my happy place. For me, it is a breathing place. Even after all this editing, even now that I've read it so many times I hate it a little bit, it still feels breathing. It still feels like a world. For all its grief and trauma and sadness, there's joy in there. It's a world I loved being in and, if there's anything I want readers to take away from it, it's that feeling. Of being somewhere joyful, in amongst all the sadness.