If you’ve read my YA novel, Letters to Leonardo, you’ll have discovered that I have a long-held fascination with the amazing and talented Leonardo da Vinci.

In Letters to Leonardo, my main character Matt writes to the long dead painter as a way of making sense of what’s happening in his own life. He relates events and people to Leonardo’s paintings.

Dear Leonardo,

…they never fooled you with their lies did they, Leo? You just have to look at your paintings to know, “There’s someone who sees right to the heart of everything.”

So, as you can see, my interest in Leonardo da Vinci probably falls under the ‘obsession’ category.

Which is why I was dismayed to hear that ‘they’ are planning to exhume his body so they can study his skull to determine whether the Mona Lisa is based on Leonardo himself or his mother.

Now I’m no scientist, but wouldn’t his mother’s skull be a similar shape to his?

So, what will all this really show us?

That some people will go to any lengths to ‘prove’ something.

As a writer, I can understand this quest for discovery. As a person, I cringe at the thought.

I say,”Leave Leonardo in peace”.



When Letters to Leonardo was released by Walker Books Australia on 1st July this year, it was a fabulous time for me. (Still is – whenever I walk into a bookstore and see my book, I get excited all over again:-).

Two of the most fun bits were the blog tour and cyber launch that happened right here on this blog, just after Letters to Leonardo came out.

I had over 1000 hits for the tour and some direct sales as a result – but more than that; it was such a great experience to get to talk about my work on other great blogs – and cyber meet other authors (I even cyber travelled to the USA).

With today’s technology, getting your book ‘out there’ on the internet is an important part of author promotion. I know how hard this can be which is why I have set up a special page on this blog to share with others how I sent Letters to Leonardo into cyberspace, and the things I learned.

I hope you enjoy reading my tips and experiences, and that they provide some ideas for promoting your own book.

Happy writing and good luck.


P.S. I’ll be talking on this topic at the CBCA NSW Conference next June with my good friend and author of the wonderful Samurai Kid’s books (my boys just love them), Sandy Fussell.


Just had to post this lovely review by Maree Kimberley,  fellow YA writer

letterstoleonardolrgLetters to Leonardo is a heartfelt and real portrait of a young adult trying to come to grips with his mother’s serious mental illness by first-time Australian author Dee White.

On his 15th birthday, Matt receives a birthday card from his mother – the mother he has always been told was dead.

After dealing with the shock, and his anger with his father who told him the lie, Matt looks for and finds his mother. But it’s not the happy-ever-after family reunion he hoped for.

This is a deeply layered book that explores a range of themes with subtlety and empathy. The story moves along at a good pace, the characters are thorougly believable and deftly drawn and the situations are dealt with sympathetically and realistically. It made me cry.

Highly recommended.



Kim, Kat and I launched our books at CYA. Sheryl expertly introduced our session.

Kim, Kat and I launched our books at CYA. Sheryl expertly introduced our session.

Last Saturday, Letters to Leonardo had its Brisbane launch at the CYA conference. What a fantastic day it was.

I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to launch my book along with two other very talented writers, Kathryn Apel (This is the Mud) and Kim Miller (They told me I had to write this).

We had forty-five minutes to share the stories of our road to publication with the enthusiastic and supportive bunch of authors and illustrators at the conference.

"Letters to Leonardo" flew at the Brisbane launch

"Letters to Leonardo" flew at the Brisbane launch

Our session was expertly introduced by Sheryl Gwyther, and although there was a minor technical hitch (due to my ineptitude with large screens and lots of buttons), it was a fabulous experience.

All of us had an anecdote about how entering previous CYA writing competitions had assisted us on our journey.

For me, placing third at the inaugural CYA conference in 2006 in the YA section couldn’t have come at a better time. I was down on confidence as a writer, and the judges were so encouraging about my manuscript that it gave me the impetus to rework it and get it ‘out there’.

It was subsequently published by Walker Books who have been amazingly supportive all along the way.

We were on after Jackie French - a hard act to follow:-)

We were on after Jackie French - a hard act to follow:-)

Full credit to Tina, Ally and all the volunteers for another fabulous CYA conference. Jackie French was inspiring, Brian Falkner was motivating…and there were so many other inspiring speakers.

The food was great…and the enthusiasm and talent at the conference was palpable.

Can’t wait for next year.




letterstoleonardolrgI was lucky enough to be invited to launch “Letters to Leonardo” at the Byron Bay Writer’s Festival on the weekend.

And writers from all over Australia were there to help me celebrate.

Byron Bay Writer's festival launch
Byron Bay Writer’s festival launch

It struck me all over again how wonderfully supportive children’s writers are. Even though Thomas Keneally was in conversation in a distant marquee, a good crowd gathered to help Matt and I make our way in the world.

I was thrilled to have Anna Fienberg launching my book

I was thrilled to have Anna Fienberg launching "Letters to Leonardo".


I was thrilled to have Letters to Leonardo launched by hugely popular children’s author and lovely person, Anna Fienberg, who talked at length about all the things she loved about Letters to Leonardo. (And happened to mention that she thought that the ending was ‘perfect’) *grin*.

Anna’s signing queue at the festival was massive and it truly made me appreciate the time she took out from her busy schedule to read and launch my book.




Local author Tristan Bancks, who was also in great demand at the festival, took time out from his writing, workshops, author presentations, deadlines and his gorgeous young family to give me his support.

Local author Tristan Bancks took time out from his busy schedule to be at my launch.

Local author Tristan Bancks took time out from his busy schedule to be at my launch.

Dee and Jules Nickerson

Jules Nickerson and her lovely family came all the way from Brisbane for the day.

It was great to see two of my Queensland writing buddies, Julie Nickerson and Angela Sunde and their families who travelled all the way to Byron just for my launch. So easy to do my presentation with their smiling faces beaming at me from the crowd.

And what a thrill it was to meet other writers from around Australia who I had never met, but had followed my blog tour and cyber launch.

 The Byron Bay Festival organisers were wonderfully supportive in helping me arrange my launch, and I’d like to thank Jeni Caffin and Sarah Ma for all their hard work.

 Thanks also to my wonderful friend Julie (we’ve been friends since we were 12), and her husband Richard who made me so welcome in their Byron Bay home.

The Byron Bay festival was attended by thousands of people and was a very casual friendly affair; with around 100 great writers and presenters. What an amazing experience to wander from marquee to marquee, listening to these people talk.

Dee on stageMy other excitement for the day occurred in the book marquee, when one of the sales people yelled to another, “Do you know where Dee White’s book is?” To which I piped up, “I’m Dee White, and my book is over there.” *grin*.

My launch was on kid’s day, and it was fantastic to see all the young readers and aspiring writers around. (And they seemed to enjoy the ‘thank you for coming to my launch’ Crunchie bars at my launch).


 The Crunchie bars were very popular at my launch.

The Crunchie bars were very popular at my launch. 


Thanks to everyone involved for making my Byron Bay Letters to Leonardo launch an unforgettable experience.

Byron Bay locals

  Some Byron Bay locals:-)


letterstoleonardolrgLetters to Leonardo 

Letters to Leonardo came out on 1st July and unfortunately, the Productivity Commission released its report recommending the removal of Parallel Import Restrictions on books just two weeks later.

So, instead of reporting the wonderful amazing, happy times since Letters to Leonardo was released, I’ve been a bit bogged down with campaigning politicians, writing articles and letters, and blogging about this very important issue.

But today, I’m taking time out to celebrate the emergence into the world of Letters to Leonardo, my very first YA novel.

After the cyber launch was over, I had a couple of days to take a breather, and then it was time for the ‘actual’ launch on 4th July and what a fantastic day that was.

Sherryl Clark and Dee

Over 110 family, friends, writing buddies and former teachers gathered at Sunbury library to help me celebrate. As I looked out at all the people who had come to support me, it was like seeing my whole life laid out before me. There were people who had known me all my life, friends from school and people who had known me just a short time.

English teachers and friends from my high school days
English teachers and friends from my high school days

I was a bit nervous about doing my speech, but as I looked across at all the proud smiling faces, I knew that it didn’t matter what I said.

And as my writing buddy from Brisbane, Sheryl Gwyther commented, “You could have said ‘blah blah blah’ and there would have been thunderous applause.”

I am truly grateful to friend and mentor, Sherryl Clark who launched Letters to Leonardo and to all the wonderful people, some of whom travelled great distances to help me celebrate my special day. I am so lucky to have such wonderful family and friends and to have such a great group of writing buddies who support me and help me to hone my craft.

My fantastically supportive author friends My fantastically supportive author friends
I’d had my advance copies of Letters to Leonardo, but it wasn’t till I was signing books at my launch that I felt like a ‘real’ author.


SINCE THE LAUNCH OF Letters to Leonardo ……



Things haven’t really stopped since the launch. My blog tour still had another few days to go, then I had my first book shop signing at Collins Book store in Sunbury, where staff made me feel very welcome and even presented me with a box of chocolates after the event.

I have toured Sunbury and the Macedon Ranges with Letters to Leonardo and been warmly welcomed by all the booksellers and the reading public. So far, I’ve been to Collins Sunbury, Aesop’s Attic Kyneton and Red Door Books in Lancefield. I’m still to visit New Leaves book shop in Woodend and I’m going to be talking about my book on Woodend radio – and I have school visits and a Byron Bay and Brisbane launches planned.

Collins Booksellers Sunbury went to a lot of trouble with their instore and window diplays.                                                 Collins Booksellers Sunbury went to a lot of trouble with their instore and window displays.

It has all been, and continues to be so much fun. I’ve had some great reviews and lots of good feedback from readers of Letters to Leonardo.

So, I hope you’ll forgive me this indulgence – reliving all these wonderful Letters to Leonardo moments. I guess, when it all boils down to it, I’m just  a new author mum, proudly introducing her book baby to the world:-)



letterstoleonardolrgUS blogger, Jennifer Brown has now posted her interview at

In case you’ve missed any part of the tour, here’s where we’ve been already:

24th June 2009           
Dee and Matt talk about promoting Letters to Leonardo online.
25th June 2009        
Author interview
26th June 2009       
How art has been used in Letters to Leonardo – with some teaching activities included.
27th June 2009   
The research process involved in writing Letters to Leonardo           
28th June 2009   
Guest blogger – talking with Vanessa Barneveld – interactive discussion about dreams and writing

29th June 2009               
An author interview on the writing process – covering things like inspiration and perspective
30th June 2009   
Use of mentors in YA fiction, and Leonardo da Vinci’s involvement in the book
1st July 2009                 Cyber launch including cross to Robyn Opie’s blog – hurdles overcome on the way to publication.
2nd July 2009      
How the author’s life paralleled Matt’s – her growing obsession with Leonardo da Vinci
3rd July  2009       
Working with a publisher and the editing process
4th July  2009       
Interview with the elusive Matt Hudson at Sandy Fussell’s blog. Sandy is the author of the Samurai Kids series
5th July 2009         
Class writing activities based on Letters to Leonardo – themes in the book
6th July 2009         
Tips 4 young writers on how Letters to Leonardo was written – how the author turned fact into fiction
7th July 2009          
An overseas stop before heading home – USA blogger Jennifer Brown talks to Dee about bipolar themes in the story and the affect on teenagers of having a family member with a  mental illness.   

Thanks so much for joining the tour and dropping in to say, ‘Hi.’

Bye for now.

Catch you in Cyber Space.

Dee and Matt:-)

LETTERS TO LEONARDO BLOG TOUR – FINAL DAY – Thanks for your patience with the time delay for our overseas host

As you know, we’ve jetsetted off to the USA today and they are ten hours behind Australia, so thanks for your patience.

When Jen posts her blog at you’ll see that it was worth the wait.

See you in the US.

Dee and Matt:-)


letterstoleonardolrgMatt and I are sad to report that today is the final day of our 14 day blog tour.

We’re visiting US blogger Jennifer Brown to talk about bipolar themes in the story and the affect on teenagers of having a family member with a mental illness.

 Hope you can join us on our final day at

Catch you in Cyber Space.

Dee and Matt:-)


Sadly, we’re coming to the end of our  hectic but fabulous Letters to Leonardo blog tour. We have been everywhere (well almost). Tomorrow, we’re off to the USA so it might take a bit longer for the post to appear due to the time difference.

We’re going to be talking about bipolar themes in the story and the affect on teenagers of having a family member with a mental illness.

Hope you can join us at

Dee and Matt:-)