Welcome to The Art of an Author with Lorraine Miller!

It’s an absolute delight to have Lorraine Miller on the blog – one half of the incredible sister duo that created the inspiring piece, ‘Our Planet, Our Australia‘ for Our Australian HeART. Lorraine contributed the beautifully vivid and emotive text about the aesthetic beauty of our land; advocating for a bright, clean and healthy planet. To lift these words, illustrator Jessica Miller effervescently captures our attention with stunning rays encapsulating bold ocean and forest scenery – but it is the cassowary’s intensity that steals the limelight! Simply amazing!

Thank you, Lainy and Jess! 🙂

About the Author

Lorraine Miller is a zoologist and children’s book author who loves nothing more than writing about wildlife and nature. She is currently publishing her debut, conservation themed picture book series called ‘The Zookeepers’ Quest’ – the first of which has received a five-star Readers Favourite review and a Purple Dragonfly Book Award. 

Please visit Lorraine Miller at her website: The Zookeepers’ Quest – The Zookeepers’ Quest books (thezookeepersquest.com) and on Instagram and Facebook.

About the Illustrator

Jessica Miller is an illustrator, artist, author and teaching assistant. Her passion for art has always gone hand in hand with her love for nature, which has always been a huge source of inspiration to her. She enjoys expressing natural forms and animal patterns in her work within the wonderful world of children’s book illustration and digital art. Jessica has been published as both an illustrator and author-illustrator, earning a five-star Readers Favourite review and a Purple Dragonfly Book Award.

Please visit Jessica Miller at her website: The Zookeepers’ Quest – The Zookeepers’ Quest books (thezookeepersquest.com).

Our Australian HeART can be purchased via the Just Write For Kids Australia website.

Donations can be made directly to our fundraising page at The Indigenous Literacy Foundation.

Lorraine, thank you for joining me to chat about your amazing work!

How did you come to be a children’s writer?

When I was on maternity leave after having my son, I had a bit of free time on my hands (well as much free time as you can have with a baby, lol). I read to him a lot when he was younger and being a zoologist the stories usually revolved around wildlife. Most of the children’s books I found at that time centred around the usual species you would find in a children’s book – lion, tiger, giraffe, etc, and there were very few about lesser known or endangered species and even less that had information regarding the conservation of those species. So, I thought whilst I wasn’t working, I would try my hand at writing one. I wrote the first in a series of conservation-based picture books called ‘The Zookeepers’ Quest’ and enlisted my sister, an artist and teaching assistant, to illustrate it. It was quickly picked up by a publisher, so we decided to write further books in the series. We are currently working on book four.

What does writing children’s books mean to you?

I love being able to teach and inspire with my writing, whether that’s in the form of children’s books, nature blogs or conservation magazines. I really enjoy knowing that someone who is reading my books may be inspired to make a change to better the world we live in.

Tell us a bit about your published works.

The first book in ‘The Zookeepers’ Quest’ series was published in 2021, followed by a non-fiction picture book called ‘Animal Travels’ and another narrative non-fiction entitled ‘Numbats of the Wheatbelt’; both published in 2023. ‘Our Australian HeART’ was the first anthology I had contributed to, so that was very exciting to be a part of that process.

What drew you to enter the Just Write For Kids’ Picture It! Anthology Competition?

I was immediately drawn to the Just Write For Kids anthology competition due to the theming. There seemed to be an emphasis on the natural world, and describing and depicting the incredible flora and fauna found in Australia, which is very close to my heart. But what convinced me the most to enter the competition was the fact that the anthology is supporting the ‘Indigenous Literacy Foundation’, which is such an amazing cause. I have written six picture books (both published and awaiting publication) that support charitable causes, so I am always interested in using my work to support a worthy cause.

Your entry, Our Planet, Our Australia, was selected as one of our pieces for the anthology. We love it! What does it mean to you to be included?

It’s such a great feeling when you see your work published but it’s even more incredible to be a part of such a talented group of authors and illustrators, working together to create something special. I am so pleased that Jess and I were able to contribute to this fantastic piece of literature.

Why were you inspired to create this piece?

I had always likened the colours I loved in Australia to the vivid colours you would see when you think of planet earth, so the fact that there was also a colour scheme element to the competition, gave me some great ideas right from the start. I have always been personally inspired by the incredible habitats I work in, in Australia, so to be able to write about them and see Jess bring those ideas to life was brilliant.

In what other ways do you spread the joy of art and reading to children?

Since I started writing for children, I have been lucky enough to have been asked to read at several venues for various events including libraries, community events and even at the zoo, which has been a lot of fun. As my books are usually about wildlife, it’s always fun to add something extra by wearing my zoo uniform and bringing zookeeping props to the readings, where I can watch the kids become really engaged when they listen to a koala call, hold an ostrich egg or compare their handprint to a gorilla’s!

Thanks so much, Lainy (and Jess)! It’s been an honour! 🙂

#authorillustratorinterview #ouraustralianheart #ourplanetouraustralia #australianbirds #environment #picturebooks #justkidslit

Our Australian HeART by Just Write For Kids Australia and Friends is published by Daisy Lane Publishing.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: