INTERVIEWS

—————————————————————————————————————–

Any authors or illustrators out there daring enough to try our NEW! #InterviewByTheme questions, please get in touch! It’ll be loads of fun! 😝

——————————————————————————————————————–

Penny Morrison – Riding the Wave

by Debra Tidball

November 2016

penny-as-pirateIn this first instalment, I love what Penny has to say about how she starting writing – she really had no idea! This is a fabulous interview for those starting out, to see what things helped Penny develop such a sophisticated and surprising writing style, and how she eventually came to be published. Her whole story is also a lesson in patience 🙂

Penny what got you started writing for kids?

I had no plans to become an author. My writing began when I had young kids and was running a musical playgroup at my church. I was looking for books with a Christian message which were fun to read to a group of adults and toddlers and meaningful to both church members and people from the wider community. I couldn’t find many which worked in that setting.

I didn’t initially think of writing picture books myself, because I assumed I would need to illustrate it or find an illustrator. Plus, even though I enjoyed writing I didn’t think it was something I was particularly good at. But one day I was playing with photos on Photoshop, making my son laugh by editing his face. This gave me the idea for a funny book about ‘that’s not how God made me’. I thought I could illustrate it myself using photos of my son. I made up my dummy book and was surprised when the Australian Christian publishers weren’t interested.

Read more here.

——————————————————————————–

An Interview With Robert Vescio on Balancing Writing Life as a Single Parent

By Megan Higginson

October 2016

imageWriting books is not an easy task. Ask any author who is single, or has the space to just write for hours on end without interruption, it is a tough slog. What happens if you throw work and family into the mix, and then add being a single parent. How would you get any writing done? Recently I put the question to a few authors about balancing writing and family life. I received an insightful, real and honest look into balancing writing and family life as a single parent from Robert Vescio.

Who is Robert Vescio?

Robert started writing children’s stories about eight years ago but he says that he has always enjoyed writing, even way back in high school. After leaving school he worked in the publishing industry for over 12 years and for eight of those years he was a Photo Editor working on several photographic Magazines.

However, it wasn’t until he left full-time work in 2007, to become a stay-at-home dad, that he began to take writing more seriously. Now he had a great excuse to spend hours in the children’s section of bookstores. As he loved reading books, it made it easy to dive into the world of picture book writing. Robert also says that having his own children helped as well. All he had to do ‘was to observe them and the ideas started rolling in.’

Read more here.

——————————————————————————–

Karen Tyrrell Sings like a Song Bird Superhero

by Romi Sharp

September 2016

imageThe Just Write For Kids team love the dedication and passion of resilience and bullying specialist, Karen Tyrrell, who is always so generous with sharing her inspirations, strategies and words of encouragement with the community. So, thank you Karen, for enlightening us with your motivations behind your latest release; a book packed full of positive messages for children – Song Bird Superhero.

Your books; Song Bird Superhero, Bailey Beats the Blah, STOP the Bully and the Jo-Kin series address the issue of bullying, helping readers deal with their own experiences.
What inspired you to write about bullying for children?

At school, I was bullied terribly in Year 6. I empowered myself by joining the choir and singing. Singing boosted my self-confidence and self-esteem.

Read more here.

——————————————————————————–

Deborah Kelly – Star Ascending

by Debra Tidball

July – October 2016

DKellyBWDeborah Kelly’s publishing career is really taking off! Since the publication of her delightful picture book The Bouncing Ball (Random House) in 2013 Deborah has had 7 books published, across a variety of genres. Deborah’s second picture book, Jam for Nana (Random House, Illustrated by Lisa Stewart) was published in 2014, the same time as my When I See Grandma, yet it took a while for Deborah to appear on my radar. She made a strong impression on me when I reviewed her fabulous picture book Dinosaur Disco (Random House, Illustrated by Daron Parton) in 2015 for Reading Time (review here). I then ran into her at a CBCA Big Day Out event at the NSW Writers Centre. She was warm and charming and I discovered another gem – The Bouncing Ball (illustrated by Georgia Perry) (see a wonderful video of the illustration process here). Since then Deb has gone on to publish a book of poetry, Haiku Journey, written during the two years she spent living in Japan. She has also written several educational books for Macmillan Education, and had poems and stories included in various anthologies for both children and adults.

I am very excited about her latest accomplishment – Ruby Wishfingers: Skydancer’s Escape, the first book in a brand new 5 book series for young readers published this year by my publisher, Wombat Books and illustrated by When I See Grandma illustrator, Leigh Hedstrom. The second book in the series Ruby Wishfingers: Toad-ally Magic is due for release in August.

It’s a pleasure to bring this interview with Deborah Kelly to JWFK readers.

Read more in Part 1Part 2 and Part 3 of this wonderful interview.

——————————————————————————–

Not Just a Piece of Cake; Being an Author

Interview with Hazel Edwards

by Romi Sharp

August 2016

imageHazel Edwards, best known for her much-loved and cherished ‘Hippo’ books, is also one of Australia’s leading and most passionate authors with over 200 books to her name. Just incredible! Writing across a range of genres for a diverse population, from picture books to chapter books and adult non-fiction, Hazel brings with her a fortune of experience that she is more than willing to bestow upon an extremely captive audience. We are so lucky that Hazel has agreed to share all her top tips for becoming a successful ‘authorpreneur’ with us here today! Thank you so much!

With your wealth of experience in the book industry, what differences have you found between traditional and self publishing?

There’s been a rise of self publishing by first-timers AND by highly experienced authors who have projects which fit niches or titles which have been orphaned by mergers and take-overs.
Self-publishing varies in quality, cost and purpose. So do the results in terms of satisfaction, income and readers.
Considered author re-publishing is not the same as ‘vanity’ ( poor quality & ripped off).
Self-publishing can be appropriate for unusual subjects, niches or family history. And self publishing can be ethically done by small packagers who are NOT vanity, because they give value and distribute the book. There’s a BIG difference between a known –named author self publishing and a first-timer.

Read Part 1 and Part 2 of Hazel’s incredibly insightful interview.

————————————————————————————–

#InterviewByTheme with Pauline Hosking

August 2016

imageWe are ecstatic to welcome author and presenter Pauline Hosking to answer our Comedy themed questions! Thanks, Pauline! 😄 🎉

What is it about writing for children that makes you happy?

It’s said that children’s writers never totally grow up. They always retain a childlike sense of wonder and excitement about the world. I’m sure that’s true. I had a very happy childhood in New Zealand…

Read more here.

——————————————————————————————————————–

#InterviewByTheme with Jess Black

July 2016

imageWe are just tickled pink to have Jess Black here with us today answering our Comedy questions! Thanks, Jess! 😜 🐲

What is the funniest book you’ve ever read?

The Bum trilogy by Andy Griffiths. Pure genius.

Read more here.

——————————————————————————————————————–

Naomi Hunter Shares her Secrets to her Success

By Romi Sharp

July 2016

imageIt is a pleasure to welcome author Naomi Hunter to Just Write For Kids this week to share her experiences both personally and in the children’s literature industry. Her openness and generosity is highly commended and appreciated in the community, and particularly for those with whom she’s touched deeply with her first book, A Secret Safe to Tell.

 

How did your writing journey begin? How have you developed your skills in the field?

As part of my own healing journey from childhood trauma I sought out any resources I could find to help in that process. Unfortunately, I discovered that there was such a lack of nurturing and empowering books for both kids and adults who are recovering from childhood abuse. I decided to write a children’s book that would help adults, who like me, needing to feel nurtured and empowered that they were not alone and that they did not need to feel shame, but also for children who may be experiencing abuse so that they may feel safe, nurtured and empowered to speak up and share their awful secret with a trusted adult. The other wonderful result has been that parents and teachers have been using A Secret Safe to Tell to encourage meaningful body-safety discussions with their kids.

Read more here.

——————————————————————————————————————–

#InterviewByTheme with Emma Mactaggart

June 2016

Enjoy the wicked sense of humour of Emma Mactaggart in our Comedy themed interview! I’m deliriously happy you could join us, Emma! 😂 🌟

What is the funniest book you’ve ever read?

Would you believe it was a book by Nick Earls “Perfect Skin”…

Read more here.

——————————————————————————————————————–

#InterviewByTheme with Robert Vescio

June 2016

imageIt’s not your imagination… Robert Vescio really is here talking all things Fantasy in today’s interview! Let’s have an adventure! 😛 👑

What is the most imaginative book you’ve ever read?

I grew up reading the Chronicles of Narnia. My absolute all time favourite book is The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe

Read more here.

——————————————————————————————————————–

#InterviewByTheme with Kerry Malone

June 2016

Author-photoIt is with our utmost pleasure to welcome the lovely Kerry Malone to our Romance themed interview today! Thanks for joining us! 😘 💕

If you could receive any gift from any children’s author or illustrator, what would it be and who would it be from?

The chance to sit down over a coffee or glass of something and chat about their story, how it all started and about their writing life now. The list of authors I’d love to talk with is too long to put here though!

Read more here.

——————————————————————————————————————–

#InterviewByTheme with Katrina McKelvey

June 2016

IMG_7521Katrina McKelvey is here today talking all things ‘bottoms’, and other whacky things in our Comedy themed interview! It’s a TOoT! I mean, HOoT! 🙈🙉🙊

What is the funniest book you’ve ever read?

I fell in love with reading when the book, ‘Just Tricking’ by Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton smacked me in the face many years ago…

Read more here.

——————————————————————————————————————–

#InterviewByTheme with Jen Storer

June 2016

imageWe are more than delighted to have the vivacious Jen Storer here today tickling our funny bones with her cracking ‘Comedy’ themed answers! Thanks, Jen! 😜 🎭

What is the funniest book you’ve ever read?

Unreliable Memoirs, by Clive James. Side splitting!

Read more here.

——————————————————————————————————————–

#InterviewByTheme with Megan Higginson

May 2016

imageWe are exploding with excitement to welcome Megan Higginson to our ‘Sci Fi and Fantasy’ themed interview today! You’re a gem! 🔮 🎇

What are the most imaginative books you’ve ever read?

So many books. So little time. Hmmm. Unless I had a time machine. Ok. I’m breaking the rules. I love Sci-Fi and fantasy. Anne McCaffrey is my all time favourite author…

Read more here.

——————————————————————————————————————–

Katrina Roe – author and presenter extraordinaire

By Debra Tidball

May 2016

Katrina-Roe 2Katrina Roe is a radio presenter and author of picture books Marty’s Nut Free Party, Emily Eases her Wheezes and Same, with Wombat Books. I am fortunate to share a book-bond with Katrina, as the illustrator of her first two books is Leigh Hedstrom, who also illustrated my When I See Grandma. Katrina is a dynamo and is incredibly generous, so I feel fortunate to interview her for the JWFK blog.

Katrina, last year was a huge year for you. You launched ‘Emily’ in February 2015 when you were heavily pregnant with your third baby; just over six months later you launched ‘Same’, with that baby on your hip; and in the interim ‘Emily’ had been nominated as a Notable Book for CBCA Awards! So much joy personally and professionally! Congratulations! So let’s begin…

Read Part 1 here, Part 2 here and Part 3 here.

——————————————————————————————————————–

#InterviewByTheme with Kris Sheather

May 2016

DSC_1271-copyWe are ecstatic to have Kris Sheather here to bring a smile to our day with her ‘Comedy’ themed answers! 😄 🙊

What is the funniest book you’ve ever read?

Oh there’s more than one and they are Terry Pratchett books.
‘In the beginning there was nothing, which exploded.’

Read more here.

——————————————————————————————————————–

#InterviewByTheme with Deborah Kelly

April 2016

imageDeborah Kelly is so divine to share a bit about her writing life in this feel-good ‘Romance’ themed interview. Thanks, Deborah! 🌸🍭

If you could receive any gift from any children’s author or illustrator, what would it be and who would it be from?

My kids are huge ‘Weir-Do’ fans and recently met the illustrator of the series, Jules Faber.

Read more here.

——————————————————————————————————————–

#InterviewByTheme with Renee Price

April 2016

imageYou won’t be able to resist the charms of the alluring Renee Price in our ‘Romance’ themed interview! She’s divine! 🌷💝

Finish the sentence… “I’m so in love with…”
Sleep. I never appreciated my relationship with it … then I had children.

Read more here.

——————————————————————————————————————–

#InterviewByTheme with Teena Raffa-Mulligan

April 2016

image-11It is truly lovely to welcome Teena Raffa-Mulligan to our ‘Romance’ themed interview on the blog today! You’re very sweet! 😘 💕

If you could receive any gift from any children’s author or illustrator, what would it be and who would it be from?

I was finding it really tricky to come up with an answer to this one until I realised all the authors and illustrators …

Read more here.

——————————————————————————————————————–

#InterviewByTheme with Julie Anne Grasso

April 2016

image-5It’s no mystery that Julie Anne Grasso is a phenomenon when it comes to transmitting positive vibes through her writing. And it is no different in our ‘Sci-Fi’ themed interview today! Thanks, Julie! 😎🔍

What is the most imaginative book you’ve ever read?

Definitely the Harry Potter Series. I don’t think anything has captured my attention with all its details as much as J.K Rowling’s writing…

Read more here.

——————————————————————————————————————–

#InterviewByTheme with Susan Day

March 2016

imageGet set for a zany, laugh-out-loud experience as Susan Day joins Just Write For Kids for a fun, ‘Comedy’ themed interview! Thanks, Susan! 😂

What is the funniest book you’ve ever read?

Last year, I read “Let’s Pretend this Never Happened” by Jenny Lawson and I laughed so much I snorted and nearly fell out of bed!
However, I just purchased…

Read more here.

——————————————————————————————————————-

#InterviewByTheme with Karen Tyrrell

March 2016

imagePrepare to be taken on an epic adventure because Karen Tyrrell is here to ignite our imaginations as she reveals all in our ‘Sci-Fi’ themed interview! We cannot wait! 👽💫

WHY & HOW I Write Sci-Fi by Karen Tyrrell

Which Science Fiction literary character best represents you? Why?

Jo-Kin, aka Joshua Atkins, Super Space Kid zooming across the galaxy to save Captain Astra and Planet Earth. He battles scary monsters and incredible robots all before Breakfast…

Read more here.

——————————————————————————————————————–

#InterviewByTheme with Adam Wallace

March 2016

imageShut your eyes tight (no don’t, you’ll want to see this!) because Adam Wallace is here to scare us senseless with his answers to our ‘Thriller’ themed interview! Thanks, Adam! 😜

What is the scariest book you’ve ever read?
Ummm, well, this is kind of a tricky one, because I don’t scare easily….

Read more here.

——————————————————————————————————————

#InterviewByTheme with RJ Simon

March 2016

imageJust Write For Kids is pleased to have RJ Simon answering some our ‘Comedy’ themed questions! Looking forward to a good laugh!

What is the funniest book you’ve ever read?
It was probably a book that claimed it could teach me how to cook.

Read more here.

——————————————————————————————————————–

Cream Rising – Marian McGuiness

By Debra Tidball

February – April 2016.

In terms of cream rising to the top Marian McGuinness is certainly someone to watch. Marian has won, placed and shortlisted in many writing competitions and awards, received several prestigious mentorships including the 2014 CBCA Charlotte Waring Barton Award and Mentorship with Random House; the 2014 ASA Emerging Writers and Illustrators Mentorship; and most recently the 2015 ASA Edel Wignell Mentorship as well as publishing fiction and non-fiction in both children’s and travel writing genres.

I first met Marian at a children’s writer’s festival and then found myself sitting next to her at CBCA sub-branch meetings. I have been so inspired and encouraged by her generous wisdom that I joined a writing group that she runs at the NSW Writer’s Centre.

It’s was a pleasure to interview Marian for the JWFK blog. This is part one of the interview.

Read more… Part 1Part 2 and Part 3.

———————————————————————————————————-

Lesley Gibbes – to infinity and beyond

By Debra Tidball

November 2015 – January 2016.

a8aa87f67a5eadecee98fcf1a6300534Last month I attended the launch for Lesley Gibbes’ second published picture book Bring a Duck at the Children’s Bookshop in Beecroft, Sydney. Lesley has had phenomenal success since her launch into the children’s book scene last year with her first ever picture book, Scary Night, illustrated by Stephen Michael King. I am excited that she has agreed to be interviewed for the Just Write For Kids Blog.

Lesley, I hardly know where to start in our interview – so much has happened for you in what seems to be such a short space of time –I’m sure that we only see the tip of the iceberg and a lot had been happening over a long period for you to be where you are today. And where you are today is – two picture books published, one of them illustrated by iconic Stephen Michael King and winning CBCA Honour book this year (and representing Australia at the Bolgna Book Fair), and EIGHT more books on the way!

Read more… Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.

——————————————————————————————————–

A Curious Tale: Interview with Longy Han

By Romi Sharp

October 2015.

imageLongy Han loves a bit of adventure and travel, and with her natural curiosity and imagination, she aptly developed her new book series, ‘The Curious Travels of Gusto & Gecko’. Longy’s personal journey resulted in this wondrous quest between a pair of time-travelling dinosaurs, taking on the world one city at a time. The first book, bravely crowdfunded and self-published by Longy, is ‘Gusto and Gecko Travel to Kenya’.

Read more here.

——————————————————————————————————–

The Rise and Rise of Shelly Unwin

By Debra Tidball

August – October 2015.

shelly unwin jwfkI first met Shelly Unwin at a CBCA event a few years ago, and gradually got to know her as we bumped into each other at regular meetings and events. She is warm, open and encouraging with an English accent I could listen to all day. I’ve heard Shelly talk about a manuscript that came ‘so close’ to being picked up, only to be let down; I’ve thrown around ideas with her about a young adult novel; I’ve chatted with her at book launches celebrating colleagues’ success when it has seemed to allude her. And now here she is having signed the Holy Grail – a contract for 5 picture books, with a major publisher, to be released as a package hopefully next year. It is such a pleasure to be able to now celebrate her achievements and hear her story. There is so much in Shelly’s story to offer wisdom and hope for those of us who write for kids. I’ve highlighted some themes to pick up on at a later date.

Read more… Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.

——————————————————————————————————–