Writing

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.

Picturebooks · Publishing · Writing

Meet the writer – Spider Lee

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….

 

Spider Lee

This interview first appeared in PASS IN ON on Monday 25th January 2016 – issue 570

When did you know that you were a writer?

Most creative people have been creative their whole lives, it’s something that grows inside you so it is hard to define a starting point. I did not come from a bookish environment and really only opened my eyes to reading when I became a parent myself. When I decided to become a writer, I googled myself and found that I already was a successful writer, or at least someone with the same name as me was. So my first task was deciding on a new name. Spider has been my nick name from a very young age, it’s easy to remember and works well with the primary age readers.

When did you first read your writing aloud or give it to someone to read and what was their reaction? How did it impact on you?

Putting yourself ‘out there’ for others to judge & actively calling yourself ‘a writer’ takes a great deal of courage. I have learned that adults will be polite and encouraging regardless of what they really think but children are gut wrenchingly honest, both with their body language and their comments. When I first read Wobbly Boots to a classroom of children, I learned more in 10 minutes than a week of writing workshops … brutal and inspiring all at once!

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

In retrospect, the publication of my first two picture books, Wobbly Boots and The Hair Ball were bitter sweet. The years of rejection letters and the resulting self-doubt most emerging authors experience can make you vulnerable when it comes to signing your first contract. It’s not always easy to judge the integrity of others in the publishing industry or understand the dynamics of the whole process but I guess like most experiences in life, once bitten twice shy … it’s part of the journey.

What is your favourite genre to write? Why?

I absolutely love writing middle grade fiction, particularly contemporary humour which will engage primary aged boys in the delights of getting lost in the adventure of a book. As a teacher I see so many boys disengaged from reading, you know the ones who just think that if they are holding a book you will be fooled into thinking they are reading! There is nothing more rewarding as a teacher than guiding those children to find books and authors that they grow to love.

How long have you been writing? And what have you written?

I have been writing for about 8 years and have published poetry and two picture books so far, Wobbly Boots & The Hair Ball, but I am finding an easy connection to middle grade fiction, possibly because I am one of 12 children and as a teacher I am surrounded by this age group every day.

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

Wobbly Boots is dear to me because it deals with a young child’s emotional journey when the adults they love make poor choices. The concept was born out of witnessing the pain young children find themselves in and if this publication helps even one child make sense of their world and come to a place of healing and forgiveness then it was all worth it.

What is your favourite genre to read? Why?

I would choose a middle grade novel over adult fiction any day. I enjoy the odd well written autobiography but when it comes to fiction, the mindset of a child is so much more fertile and receptive to unpredictable or unconventional plot lines. Maybe I’m just immature!

Do you have a favourite author?

Authors – Tim Winton for his beautifully complex characters, Shaun Tan for his ability to present such a fresh perspective, Julia Donaldson for her delightful rhyme and metre and Andy Griffiths for his wicked humour.

Did/do you have any writing heroes or mentors?

There are few ‘real’ modern day heroes these days but Andy Griffiths is definitely one. He is humble in his success and generous with his advice for fellow writers. An inspiration to so many children, Andy is living proof that a super-man needs neither height, muscles, fake tan or perfect hair to succeed in life and make the world a better place.

How do they encourage you?

By being willing to be accessible to fans and writers regardless of age or where you are on your writing journey.

Do you write full time?

I wish! I don’t believe the industry as a whole supports the concept of a full time writer, it’s just a romantic notion … a myth. Most writers have an alternate paid job, be it inside or outside the industry, for financial support or at the very least, a wage earning spouse.

What are your other jobs?

I teach primary aged children which enables me to be immersed on a daily basis in the language, emotions and interactions of children who are the same age as my characters. It provides me with a rich pool of ideas, a sounding board for plot lines and gives me instant feedback chapter by chapter.

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

The Hair Ball was shortlisted for the Speech Pathology Australia Book of the Year Awards in 2014 and I have several manuscripts which placed very well in the CYA Conference Competition in the last couple of years.

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

The ASA & SCBWI provide me with what I see as a safety net of professional advice and a broad range of opportunities to develop my craft.

Do you participate in writing workshops as a student? Which ones were memorable?

Workshops run by Sally Rippin, Karen Tayleur and Alison Lester were all memorable for the honest way they shared their writing journey as all of them have worked hard for the success they have achieved.

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

contactspiderlee@gmail.com

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

I keep a reading journal and write down all my thoughts about a book as soon as I finish reading it. Publishing details, what worked and what didn’t, if I related to the characters and felt emotionally invested in the storyline. I reflected back though this when I am editing manuscripts to help me compare the calibre of my work to texts which publishers obviously felt were marketable.

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

www.spiderlee.net.au
www.facebook.com.artbyspiderlee
https://www.facebook.com/kelly.hunter.1253
http://spiderlee.net.au/blog/

PASS IT ON · Picturebooks · Writing

Meet the Writer – Karen Hendriks

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….

Karen Hendriks

This interview first appeared in PASS IN ON on Monday 18th January 2016 – issue 569

 

When did you know that you were a writer?

This year when I decided to follow my dream and write.  I have always wanted to write but you are not a writer until you commit.

When did you first read your writing aloud or give it to someone to read and what was their reaction? How did it impact on you?

I have been reading my stories each week to children  from Kindergarten to Year six at school which has been extremely rewarding and I have even received author letters from them and some are now wanting to be writer’s themselves.   The snowball effect.

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

None yet just writing getting ready for my first submissions. Yeeks.

What is your favourite genre to write? Why?

Children’s picture books yay

How long have you been writing? And what have you written?

This year .  Some of my stories are called Wombat Cuddles, Happy, A very Clever Plan, Scaredy Pants or It is Only the Night, Clever Sneaky, Mr Brown, my favs are Wombat Cuddles  and It is only the Night.

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

Wombat Cuddles and It is only the Night and the students at school love them and want them as books. They have drawn pictures and written me letters as and author and also about the characters.

What is your favourite genre to read? Why?

Children’s Picture books and self help books

Do you have a favourite author?

Mem Fox, Lynley Dodd, Libby Gleeson, Joy Cowley

Did/do you have any writing heroes or mentors?

No not yet but Mem Fox is my hero and Joy Cowley sent me her book writing for children such a creative, gorgeous lady.

How do they encourage you?

I met Mem and she was amazing and Joy wrote to me.

Do you mentor others? What do you do?

Yes last term I have been teaching Creative Writing to Stage two and Three Students.  I had no idea that my actions would ripple through the school it has really shown me that I am a writer.

Do you write full time?

No

What are your other jobs?

Casual teacher

Have you ever won an award/s or been shortlisted? What was it for?
No

Have you ever been awarded a grant? How did it help you?

No

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

ASA
Do you participate in writing workshops as a student? Which ones were memorable?

Yes I have been to Cathy Tasker’s writing picture books course and one other course in Beecroft.

Do you run writing workshops? What do you include? 

For the school students we have been looking at techniques in picture books and doing fun little activities based on this.

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

Via email, mobile or Facebook.  I would love to do this immensely . I was going to visit local schools to gauge their responses to my stories.

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

Yes writing and reading go hand in hand together.  I am Reading Recovery Trained, L3trained, learning difficult and ESL trained, behavioural difficulty trained and no matter what Reading and writing go together. Reading seems to takeoff first. A world of possibilities is opened through both.

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

Email, Karen Hendriks Facebook

Publishing

Australian Children’s Book Publishers Currently Accepting Unsolicited Mss @ Feb 2015

Aust Publishers Accepting Unsolicited Mss @ Feb 2015

So you’ve written your children’s story. You’ve polished it until it shines and now comes the daunting task of looking for a publisher.

I’ve tried to take the sting out of this step by scouring the internet to find a list of Australian Children’s Book Publishers currently accepting unsolicited manuscripts. Now what do I mean by unsolicited manuscripts (or mss for short)? If a publisher solicits a manuscript what that means is that they approach you and ask you to send it to them. An unsolicited manuscript is one that they haven’t specifically asked for.

There are lots of websites out there with lists and lists of publishers however when you sit down and start clicking through you find that links are broken or wrong, that trade publishers are mixed up with vanity publishers or that they only accept manuscripts from agents. It’s a time consuming job and we all know that time is money.

Inside this PDF is a list, in alphabetical order of 18 Australian Publishers of Children’s Books who are actively looking for your mss. The list comes complete with a short summary of what is being sought and a direct (non-broken) link to their guidelines page. For the small price of $5.00 this compilation will save you much frustration and more importantly, time. Time much better spent writing a new story.

So if you wish to purchase this little gem – look to your right, scroll down a bit and find the PayPal button link in the margin. If you’d prefer not to pay with PayPal you can email me – jackiehosking@bigpond.com for my bank details.

Best of luck and happy hunting 🙂

meter · Poetry · rhyme

And the winners are…

Writing

.

So the entries are read, the coffee is drunk and the judging is done but before I announce the winners I would like to say – firstly, huge  congratulations to all entrants, sending your work out into the world is an incredibly brave thing to do and I appreciate you selecting me to be one of your readers.

And secondly I’d like to encourage all non-winners to keep going, never, never, never give up!

Drum roll please – the winners are…

In the Rhyming Poem Category

1st Place – Cocoon by Jenny Erlanger

2nd Place – A Kite’s Tale by Tricia Simmons

3rd Place – My Dad’s Home! by Rae Barclay

 

In the Rhyming Stories in Verse Category

1st Place – Black Dog, Brown Dog by Spider Lee

2nd Place – Red Riding Hood by Meryl Harris

3rd Place – Goodnight Gorgeousaurus by Ramona Davey

 

Winners I will be in touch soon.

 

Once again I’d like to mention that I am unable to give feedback on your poems and stories however if you would like a manuscript edit I would again  like to offer non-winning entrants a discounted rate.

Please contact me if you would like to take advantage of this offer.

Thanks everyone – it was a real pleasure 🙂

meter · Poetry · rhyme · Writing

Jackie’s NEW Spring Competition – 2 DAYS TO GO!

COMPETITION – Two Categories

1. Rhyming Children’s Poems or

2. Verse Stories for Children told in Rhyme

Entry Fee $5 per poem $10 per verse story

Entries to be received by 30th OCTOBER 2013

Daisy2Conditions of Entry

  • Stories or poems must be unpublished
  • Stories or poems must not have been previously submitted to my Rhyming Ms Editing Service

Submission guidelines

Cover Sheet to include entrants’…

  • Title of Work
  • Category – Poem or Verse Story
  • Name
  • Address
  • Email
  • Method of payment: cheque, money order, direct debit or PayPal

Story or poem to be…

  • Typed in 12 point Arial
  • Double spaced
  • Title of Work on each page (header)
  • Page numbers (footer)
  • No identification (only on cover sheet)

Please send story or poem by

  • Regular mail to

5 Lewis Court

Anglesea Vic 3230

  • Email as word doc attachment to

jackiehosking@bigpond.com with “COMPETITION” in the subject line

Entry fee payment

  • Cheque or money order to Jackie Hosking (see above for address)
  • Direct debit to Jackie Hosking BSB 063144 Acc No 10174208 (ref – your name)
  • PayPal – email Jackie for invoice

Receipt of payment

  • Will be emailed once story/poem and payment have been received.

Prizes

  • 1stprize
    • A Rhyming MS edit to the value of $105
    • A copy of “Rhyme Like the Experts”
    • 12 months subscription to PASS IT ON
    • A set of five (5) picture books
  • 2ndprize
    • A Rhyming MS edit to the value of $70
    • A copy of “Rhyme Like the Experts”
    • 12 months subscription to PASS IT ON
    • Three (3) picture books
  • 3rdprize
    • A Rhyming MS edit to the value of $35
    • A copy of “Rhyme Like the Experts”
    • 12 months subscription to PASS IT ON
    • Two (2) picture book

*NEW*

All entrants will receive a copy of a PDF listing Australian Children’s Publishers currently accepting UNSOLICITED Mss.

meter · Poetry · rhyme · Writing

Jackie’s NEW Spring Competition – 6 DAYS TO GO!

COMPETITION – Two Categories

1. Rhyming Children’s Poems or

2. Verse Stories for Children told in Rhyme

Entry Fee $5 per poem $10 per verse story

Entries to be received by 30th OCTOBER 2013

Daisy2Conditions of Entry

  • Stories or poems must be unpublished
  • Stories or poems must not have been previously submitted to my Rhyming Ms Editing Service

Submission guidelines

Cover Sheet to include entrants’…

  • Title of Work
  • Category – Poem or Verse Story
  • Name
  • Address
  • Email
  • Method of payment: cheque, money order, direct debit or PayPal

Story or poem to be…

  • Typed in 12 point Arial
  • Double spaced
  • Title of Work on each page (header)
  • Page numbers (footer)
  • No identification (only on cover sheet)

Please send story or poem by

  • Regular mail to

5 Lewis Court

Anglesea Vic 3230

  • Email as word doc attachment to

jackiehosking@bigpond.com with “COMPETITION” in the subject line

Entry fee payment

  • Cheque or money order to Jackie Hosking (see above for address)
  • Direct debit to Jackie Hosking BSB 063144 Acc No 10174208 (ref – your name)
  • PayPal – email Jackie for invoice

Receipt of payment

  • Will be emailed once story/poem and payment have been received.

Prizes

  • 1stprize
    • A Rhyming MS edit to the value of $105
    • A copy of “Rhyme Like the Experts”
    • 12 months subscription to PASS IT ON
    • A set of five (5) picture books
  • 2ndprize
    • A Rhyming MS edit to the value of $70
    • A copy of “Rhyme Like the Experts”
    • 12 months subscription to PASS IT ON
    • Three (3) picture books
  • 3rdprize
    • A Rhyming MS edit to the value of $35
    • A copy of “Rhyme Like the Experts”
    • 12 months subscription to PASS IT ON
    • Two (2) picture book

*NEW*

All entrants will receive a copy of a PDF listing Australian Children’s Publishers currently accepting UNSOLICITED Mss.

meter · Poetry · rhyme · Writing

Jackie’s NEW Spring Competition

COMPETITION – Two Categories

1. Rhyming Children’s Poems or

2. Verse Stories for Children told in Rhyme

Entry Fee $5 per poem $10 per verse story

Entries to be received by 30th OCTOBER 2013

Daisy2Conditions of Entry

  • Stories or poems must be unpublished
  • Stories or poems must not have been previously submitted to my Rhyming Ms Editing Service

Submission guidelines

Cover Sheet to include entrants’…

  • Title of Work
  • Category – Poem or Verse Story
  • Name
  • Address
  • Email
  • Method of payment: cheque, money order, direct debit or PayPal

Story or poem to be…

  • Typed in 12 point Arial
  • Double spaced
  • Title of Work on each page (header)
  • Page numbers (footer)
  • No identification (only on cover sheet)

Please send story or poem by

  • Regular mail to

5 Lewis Court

Anglesea Vic 3230

  • Email as word doc attachment to

jackiehosking@bigpond.com with “COMPETITION” in the subject line

Entry fee payment

  • Cheque or money order to Jackie Hosking (see above for address)
  • Direct debit to Jackie Hosking BSB 063144 Acc No 10174208 (ref – your name)
  • PayPal – email Jackie for invoice

Receipt of payment

  • Will be emailed once story/poem and payment have been received.

Prizes

  • 1stprize
    • A Rhyming MS edit to the value of $105
    • A copy of “Rhyme Like the Experts”
    • 12 months subscription to PASS IT ON
    • A set of five (5) picture books
  • 2ndprize
    • A Rhyming MS edit to the value of $70
    • A copy of “Rhyme Like the Experts”
    • 12 months subscription to PASS IT ON
    • Three (3) picture books
  • 3rdprize
    • A Rhyming MS edit to the value of $35
    • A copy of “Rhyme Like the Experts”
    • 12 months subscription to PASS IT ON
    • Two (2) picture book

*NEW*

All entrants will receive a copy of a PDF listing Australian Children’s Publishers currently accepting UNSOLICITED Mss.

meter · Poetry · rhyme · rhythm · Writing

WINNERS ANNOUNCED!

CompHi everyone!

What a lovely week I’ve had reading your entries to my second Rhyming Poetry or Verse Stories for Children Competition.
Never an easy task but always an enjoyable one, today I am thrilled to be able to announce the winners.

1st place goes to Nicholas Bullough for his entry Bee!

2nd and 3rd places go to Maura Finn for her entries When we go to the Playground and The Babies are on Parade.

Huge congratulations to both Nicholas and Maura and a massive thank you to everyone who entered.

All up there were 83 entries, one more than last time.entries

Unfortunately, as I mentioned before I am unable to give feedback on your poems and stories however if you would like a manuscript edit I would again  like to offer non-winning entrants a discounted rate.

Please contact me if you would like to take advantage of this offer.

I would also like to send all non-winning entrants a copy of this week’s issue of PASS IT ON as a token of my appreciation.

Take care everyone and happy rhyming 🙂