In Part 1 of my interview with Hazel Edwards last week she provided some important pieces of advice on understanding the ins and outs of the publishing industry, as well as tips on developing oneself as an ‘authorpreneur’. In this post Hazel talks more personally on her inspirations, achievements and highlights of some of her latest work.
Your memoir, Not Just a Piece of Cake: Being an Author, is a brilliant insight into managing the lifestyle of a busy writer, parent and mentor, with inspiring tips and experiences that your audience can readily relate to and take forth in their own lives. Who should read it?
Aspiring creators in any field.
Your work is broad, addressing a diverse range of readers and topics of interest. How would you define your work and yourself as a writer and mentor?
As an authorpreneur. My memoir ‘Not Just a Piece of Cake; Being an Author’ tackles the time & energy management of maintaining a creative workstyle, longterm, when you also have a family.
Available from Booktopia,
(Learning tiny urls to make links shorter is another useful digital skill.)
You have collaborated on several of your books including Hijabi Girl with librarian Ozge Alkan, Trail Magic with your son Trevelyan Edwards, and F2M: the boy within with New Zealander Ryan Kennedy. Were there any challenges and what have been the benefits of these projects that you may not have achieved alone?
Collaborations enable you to keep learning new skills and content. If you pair with an ‘expert’ it’s a more authentic story than writing or researching alone. But a bad partnership is worse than a divorce. You need equal but different skills and to respect those.
From Ozge Alkan, I learnt of Islamic culture, and from Ryan, I learnt how to write on Skype as he was NZ based, and about transitioning gender. My son Trevelyan did the physical ‘walk’ and ‘cycling’ and I structured his books.
Hijabi Girl, a story of a gutsy problem-solver, Melek, who finds creative ways to make friends, despite cultural differences. What has been the overall response to this book from the community?
Our ‘Hijabi Girl’ proposal had 41 rejections initially, and then sold out at the launch. Humorous fiction is an effective way to enter other cultures and remove the ‘fear of the unknown’ aspect. Both mainstream and the Islamic community love our 8 year old Melek who starts a Girls’ Aussie Rules team in the next story.
When out conducting author visits, what have been the most rewarding moments when sharing your stories with your readers?
Most rewarding has been while autographing at ‘Hippo Hippo the Musical’ to discover three generations of families who bring pre-loved copies to sign.
Your lovable, ‘Hippo‘ has been making his way nationally on the stage in ‘Hippo Hippo the Musical’ for audiences of every age. How involved were you in the collaboration of this production?
This musical has been the literary highlight for me. Nothing quite like meeting your own character who is bigger and pinker than imagined, nor to have a 6 year old grandson watching a performance of the story inspired by his mum and uncle, 38 years ago when our roof leaked. Director Garry Ginivan wrote the script and I was consulted at all stages.
*Watch a snippet of this fabulous performance below. Touring ends August 25th 2016.
Fun Question! If you could walk a day in Hippo’s shoes, where would you go and what would you eat?
Possibly into a class of Preps who were just starting to read the Hippo story, for themselves.
What inspired you to research in Antarctica on an expedition?
The opportunity arose with the Australian Antarctic Division berth. Writers need to be risk-takers, culturally and physically. I wanted to understand the motivations of the expeditioners.
A longterm author needs to use participant-observation, doing new things in order to write realistically. Writing a novel about a novelist with writers’ block isn’t going to get you far..
Finally, do you have any other comments that you would like to share with fellow authors?
A book belongs to the reader, not the author.
Your role is to arrange the word and illustration clues in a way that the readers can approximate the experience you were creating.
Check out the resources on the Australian Society of Authors and the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.
Networking is not about getting YOUR book out, it’s about mutual help for other creators.
The Hazelnuts are my writers whom I’ve mentored and now they help each other.
As an author, consider yourself a professional.
I love that! It’s been an absolutely uplifting learning experience! Thank you, Hazel! 😊
Find out more about the prolific author, Hazel Edwards at her extraordinary website.
***DON’T FORGET TO ENTER!***
CLOSED – For your chance to WIN an e-copy of Hazel’s ‘Authorpreneurship; The Business of Creativity’ simply comment here or on Facebook with a strategy you have employed to help you further your writing career. Check back on Hazel’s tips and competition details here.
4 thoughts on “Not Just a Piece of Cake; Being an Author: Hazel Edwards Part 2”
Another great interview. I find it interesting that ‘Hijabi Girl’ proposal had 41 rejections initially, and then sold out at the launch. Wow! I’ve read Hazel’s book, ‘Authorpreneurship; The Business of Creativity’. I found it very insightful and helped me wrap my head around as to what it means to be an author in today’s world.
Yes, the persistence and dedication to getting it published, and sold out, is astounding, isn’t it?! Thanks also for the feedback on Hazel’s book. 🙂
Glad you found ‘Authorpreneurship’ so helpful Megan.