Every week I like to feature an Australian writer and illustrator in PASS IT ON.
Now with the illustrators, once they have been featured in the ezine, I upload their interview onto a blog. This takes time and I’m often running behind but from now on I’m hoping to keep this up to date.
The writers that I’ve interviewed don’t have a blog of their own so I thought I might upload their interviews here. I won’t be able to go back to the beginning but I hope to fill this space with interesting insights into some of our wonderful writers.
So here we go please meet….
This interview first appeared in PASS IN ON on Monday 11th January 2016 – issue 568
When did you know that you were a writer?
Back in Primary School I won several writing competitions and remember thinking ‘If only I could do this every day.’ I think then I knew I was a writer; however, it took me another thirty years before I finally had the courage to send my work to a publisher.
What and when was your first acceptance? How did you feel?
I was fortunate enough to have my first piece of work accepted for publication. It was a picture book called Dog on Log and was published by Omnibus / Scholastic in 2013. I remember being thrilled and thinking ‘Wow! That was easy.’ Little did I know that it would be another three years before another of my manuscripts would be picked up for publication. I laugh now at how naïve I was.
What is your favourite genre to write? Why?
I’ve only written children’s books at this stage, although I’d like to try an adult novel one day. My mind seems to gravitate more towards the child genre, I’d like to think it’s because I’ve yet to grow up!
How long have you been writing? And what have you written?
I seriously started writing in 2011 and have one picture book currently published. I have four books coming out with Penguin in 2016 (a series called Jinny and Cooper) and an Aussie Mates chapter book also coming out next year with Scholastic called The Great Barbie Disaster.
Of your own work – do you have a favourite? Why is it your favourite?
I’ve really enjoyed writing the Jinny and Cooper series. I’m currently writing book 4 and I’m delving deeper into the characters and exploring what makes them tick. Sometimes they do things that surprise even me.
What is your favourite genre to read? Why?
I read a lot of children’s books because I have a daughter who loves reading and being read to. It’s such a joy to share different adventures and worlds with her. I do try to slip in a YA or adult book when I can as well, for a change of pace.
Do you have a favourite author?
I have so many favourite authors that I’d have a hard time narrowing it down to just one. I’ve recently read several of Neil Gaiman’s books and I love his writing style. He has a wonderful way of providing a lot of information in just a few words, which is a skill I’d like to learn.
Did/do you have any writing heroes or mentors?
I am very lucky in that I have several author and illustrator friends who I also consider mentors. We are fortunate in Australia to have such a strong, talented and supportive writing community.
Katrina Germein in particular has been an enormous source of encouragement and assistance to me and has really helped me to step outside my comfort zone.
How do they encourage you?
I’m encouraged via many avenues. I’m inspired when fellow writers share their journey, knowledge and successes. It gets me fired up to keep writing.
I’ve also been given fantastic opportunities to present at conferences, take workshops and join panels, which are things I probably wouldn’t have sought out on my own.
Perhaps most of all though, I’m buoyed by their friendship and support. It’s lovely to be surrounded by people who‘ll give you pep talks when you’re feeling disheartened and cheer for you when you get a book contract.
Do you write full time?
I am lucky enough to be able to write full time at the moment. It does mean occasionally living on noodles though. J
Do you belong to any professional organisations? What are they and how do they help you?
I’m a member of SCBWI, which is a terrific organisation full of supportive and inspiration people. I’m also a member of the ASA and SA Writer’s Centre, both which provide great information and workshops for writers. A couple of years ago I joined a local group called the eKIDnas, which is a great peer network of authors and illustrators here in South Australia.
How might you be contacted in relation to running workshops or for school visits?
I can be contacted though my website: TaniaIngram.com
We all know that would be writers should read and write as much as possible – do you have any other advice?
My number one advice would be to finish that book! It’s easy to have a great idea and begin a book but much harder to persist and finish it. Also, gratefully listen to any feedback you receive from editors and publishers, even if they’ve rejected your manuscript. Editors and publishers will point out your weaknesses, which can sometimes be hard to swallow but will make you a better writer in the long run. Finally, don’t ever give up.
Thanks Tania – and if you are an Australian Children’s Book Writer (published or unpublished) and you’d like to be featured in PASS IT ON – please do get in touch and I’ll send you the questions.