Meet the writer – Stephanie Campisi

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….


Stephanie Campisi

This interview first appeared in PASS IN ON on Monday 1st February 2016 – issue 571


When did you know that you were a writer?

When I was first able to write, I think. That sounds a bit facetious, but I was that kid writing illustrated tomes throughout primary school and handing in novella-length manuscripts as part of English class. A shameless knock-off of a Tin Tin story involving detective dolphins was probably the highlight of my primary school writing efforts. I should probably apologise to Ms Ferguson for that.

What and when was your first acceptance? How did you feel?

I actually sold the first short story I ever submitted, and I still have the (very small) uncashed cheque as a memento. I’ve since balanced out that initial success with hundreds of rejections, so that’s kept my ego in check.

What is your favourite genre to write? Why?

Everything. I have a bit of a Georges Perec bent in that I want to try my hand at every type of writing possible – I’ve written everything from picture books to novels to poetry to interactive fiction. Most things seem to come out with a bit of a fantastic twist and plenty of wordplay, so there’s that. Puns. Can puns be a genre?

Of your own work – do you have a favourite? Why is it your favourite?

On the strength of titles alone, Pebble Without a Cause is probably the winner. A pebble in a family of boulders feigns being a moon rock in order to stand out – with disastrous effects. I think you can do a lot working at the intersection of sad and silly, which is where my books tend to land.

Do you write full time?

In a sense. By day I’m a copywriter specialising in branding and identity projects, and with a particular interest in packaging copy. I’ve also worked on a lot of media tie-ins for big Hollywood properties that I’m not allowed to name, which has been a daunting but exciting experience. (If only the stuff with my name on it could sell so well!) It’s forced me to err on the side of brevity and to consider words as part of a larger whole – and of course to write with a particular impact or outcome in mind.

Have you ever won an award/s or been shortlisted? What was it for?

Early on in my writing career I was focusing mostly on short fiction for adults, and was shortlisted for a couple of awards – Aurealis and Ditmar best short story short-listings, and a Best New Talent shortlisting. I’ve also judged a couple of awards, including the John Marsden Short Story Award, the My Brother Jack Award and the Small Press Most Underrated Novel Award. A challenging but rewarding experience involving huge stacks of paper and marking rubrics!

Do you belong to any professional organisations? What are they and how do they help you?

I’m a member of my local chapter of the SCBWI, and I’ve found it invaluable in keeping on top of industry news and in meeting like-minded authors. It can get lonely being hidden behind a screen all day!

How might you be contacted in relation to running workshops or for school visits?

I’ve recently moved from my native Melbourne to Portland, Oregon (which is basically Melbourne but half the size and on the other side of the world), so any Aussie visits or workshops are most likely to be conducted via Skype. Getting in touch with Sammy Bosch (Sammy@mightymedia.com) is probably the best way to arrange an in-person visit.

We all know that would be writers should read and write as much as possible – do you have any other advice?

Just to be true to yourself as a writer. I think my agent probably cries a little each time I submit a manuscript – each is less marketable than the previous one and unashamedly falls between genres – but a book takes so much time and energy that it doesn’t make sense to work on something that you’re not truly passionate about.

How might people find you? Website, Blog, Facebook etc.

Feel free to stop by my website at www.stephaniecampisi.com; if you like photos of coffee and tweets about etymology and Old English, you can follow me on Twitter at @stephcampisi.

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