Uncategorized

Meet the Writer – John Tyrrell

Every week I like to feature an Australian writer and illustrator in PASS IT ON.

The illustrators’ interviews, once they have been featured in the ezine, are uploaded onto this blog.

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….

John Tyrrell

This interview first appeared in PASS IN ON on Monday 2nd May 2016 – issue 583

 

When did you know that you were a writer?
I had always harboured a desire to write and to be creative. I had my share of Corinella triumphs and I was quite successful at competitions in my youth (“In 25 words, describe why you’d like to win this bicycle trip to the Moon” etc). My early career was in advertising/PR admin but included copywriting for ads, brochures and drafting news releases. When I took a golden handshake at the age of 40, I figured ‘This is it, writing’s my new career!’ Oh, so naïve. Becoming a famous writer actually took real work and tenacity. I realised I had some publish-ability when the Melbourne Age accepted one of my features – 1000 words, mind you– and they wanted more of a series! I figured I’d made the big time – until my sympathetic editor moved on and there was a change of direction.

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 once wrote a whimsical article about “Shrink-wrapped Newspapers” and after I got no takers I rewrote it as a monologue. The piece was performed at a theatrical performance by an up-and-coming actor. I sat in my seat feeling uplifted that my words were floating around the audience as the performer brought them to life.

What is your favourite genre to write? Why?
Like a lot of writers, I’ve tried to be a generalist (‘Being versatile’ is the phrase for it!). When I undertook the Diploma of PWR, I enjoyed the challenge of having a go at all the genres. I’ve written for corporate and community applications, but I most enjoy children’s writing, in particular middle grade and picture books, and that is my focus.

How long have you been writing? And what have you written?
I’ve been at it for seventy nine and a half years which is hard to believe when you look at my photo. I believe that slow learners can get the cherries and I have enjoyed dabbling at a few things. I’ve had articles and puzzles published here and in the US. One of my picture book ideas was adapted for a web application (bragging rights but no $). Some years ago I wrote and edited a monthly children’s page for a local suburban magazine During 2014, I created ‘Jubilee Gems’, a series of community bulletins focussing on the works and deeds and triumphs of the people and their activities at a church parish.

Of your own work – do you have a favourite? Why is it your favourite?
Recently, I developed a non-fiction concept for School Magazine exploring people’s occupations. Two of these “Day in the life…” interview features have been accepted for Orbit – the most recent to appear soon. I have another two coagulating in the pipeline.

What is your favourite genre to read? Why?
I have a fascination for kids’ books. (I’m not sure if it’s because the fines are cheaper but the local librarian has given me an express queue.) I’m staunchly attracted to the quirky side of life and the humour associated with children’s material. I feel that I’ve come to a point in my life where I can get away with being juvenile.

Do you have a favourite author?
I often say that when I grow up I want to be Morris Gleitzman. I admire the amazing spell Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton have put on us all and their immense following, and I enjoy Wimpy Kid’s Jeff Kinney and the Timmy Failure books by Stephan Pastis.

Did/do you have any writing heroes or mentors?
In a world where rejections go unexplained, early on I was on the receiving end of acts of heroism (encouragement) from Doug McLeod and Sally Rippin, whose letters spurred me on. Also, as writers we rely on constructive feedback. I am part of a wonderful writing group in Blackburn which has met once a month for many years and, last year, when SCBWI promoted its On-line critique groups, I joined a JF and a PB group. All these groups have wonderfully creative, inspiring people who provide valuable, honest insight to one another’s work.

Do you write full time?
I get to write more having left full-time work, but having more time is a trap without the discipline. We always say: If I had more time I could write heaps. It’s a fallacy. It’s easy to fiddle around with emails, file renaming and googling (research, of course) but there’s no substitute for hitting the keyboard and churning out new words.

What are your other jobs?
My background is in adult learning and career development, which is a stretch from children’s writing! I conduct training and facilitation and short courses for a variety of organisations, including a Presentation and Public Speaking Skills course for Holmesglen TAFE. I also pretend to do communications consulting but don’t tell my clients that.

Have you ever won an award/s or been shortlisted? What was it for?
Apart from the Corinella certificates and a super-looking bear stamp in Grade three, I did win a nice set of drinking glasses in an ASA member competition last year.

Do you belong to any professional organisations? 
I am a member of SCBWI, ASA and Writers Victoria.

How might you be contacted in relation to running workshops or for school visits?
I’ve been dilly-dallying over a website/blog but am probably suffering information overload. I can be found on LinkedIn and Facebook and I have a Twitter handle somewhere. Cash advances and autograph requests can be submitted to my email address jtcons@yahoo.com 🙂

We all know that would be writers should read and write as much as possible – do you have any other advice?
I think perseverance is a key. It’s too easy to give up after a few – or even a lot of – disappointments, but the literary world is littered with famous and successful writers who have wall-papered their rooms with rejection slips. Taking feedback on board, having belief and a practical optimism about succeeding are also deliriously important qualities.

PASS IT ON · Writing

Meet the writer – Deborah Kelly

Every week I like to feature an Australian writer and illustrator in PASS IT ON.

The illustrators’ interviews, once they have been featured in the ezine, are uploaded onto this blog.

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….

Deborah Kelly

This interview first appeared in PASS IN ON on Tuesday 15th March 2016 – issue 577

 

Tell us a bit about yourself

I grew up on a farm in New Zealand where my family grew green beans and garlic. I moved to Australia when I was sixteen but have also lived in Scotland and Japan. I have a degree in Marine Biology. I love to swim and I practice yoga every day.
I live in NSW with my husband, two children and a very mischievous dog.

When did you know that you were a writer?

I can’t recall ever not being a writer! I remember writing poems, stories and letters from a very young age. And I always kept diaries-when I was at school, while I travelled and when I became a mother for the first time. I’ve done all sorts of jobs but whatever I have done and wherever I have been, writing has always been there in the background-like a reliable friend.

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?

When I was seven I wrote my first series of ‘picture books’ about a prince called Puku (I grew up in New Zealand and the word ‘puku’ is Maori for belly!). On the back of each book I drew two columns: Name and Comment. Friends and family were allowed to read each story and write a comment but I insisted it be in pencil ONLY (just in case someone wrote a bad review)! Just as well the comments were all nice-otherwise I might not have kept writing!

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

In 2012 I participated in a ‘pitch to the publishers’ session at the NSW Writers’ Centre. I had precisely two minutes (they had a timer!) to pitch my story to a panel of publishers. I pitched a story I’d written about my Nana, who was a Hungarian refugee. An editor from Random House contacted me a day or two later wanting to meet in Sydney to discuss the manuscript. Random House decided to publish Jam for Nana. They also took another picture book text I had written which became The Bouncing Ball. I was on cloud nine for weeks!

You write stories in a range of formats-which do you prefer and why?

I have written short stories, picture books, chapter books and educational readers for kids.
I love all of these forms and enjoy switching back and forth between them as each offer their own challenges and rewards.
I am enjoying writing the Ruby Wishfingers series because the longer format has enabled me to explore my characters in more depth-both within each book and across the series.

 

What have you written?

My picture books include The Bouncing Ball (Random House 2013), Jam for Nana (Random House 2014) Dinosaur Disco(Random House 2015). I have two more picture books due out next year; Me and You (Penguin 2017) and an untitled picture book with EK Books (2017).

 

 

 

I have written short stories for Random House’s Stories for Boys and Stories for Girls collections. I also have a story in Hunter Anthologies’ Sproutlings collection which is released in April this year.

I have also written books for the educational market: Sam’s Great Invention (Macmillan Education 2013) and Don’t Sweat It (Macmillan Education 2013)

I recently completed the first three books in a junior fiction series called Ruby Wishfingers for Wombat Books.  Ruby Wishfingers: Skydancer’s Escape was released on March 1st this year. Ruby Wishfingers 2: Toad-ally Magic and the third book in the Ruby Wishfingers series will both come out this year.

In addition to writing for children, I write Haiku poetry which has been published in various forms from magazines to anthologies to interactive maps. My own collection Haiku Journey was published in 2015. I wrote it during the two years I spent living and working in Japan.

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

All of them are special to me but my favourite tends to be the one I’m currently working on because that is where my heart is at that time.

What are you currently working on?      

I have almost finished writing the third book in the Ruby Wishfingers series for Wombat Books. I plan to work on a couple of picture book texts next and after that I would like to explore an idea I have for a middle grade novel.

Do you have a favourite children’s book?

There are so many fantastic children’s books out there that I find it impossible to pick just one favourite.

My favourite chapter book as a child was Maurice Gee’s ‘The World Around the Corner’. I loved the idea that a whole other world existed right in the middle of suburban New Zealand.

More recently, Morris Gleitzman’s Once, Then, Now, After series left a lasting impact on me.

Who are some of your favourite authors?

Jeanette Winterson, Jhumpa Lahiri, Khaled Hosseini and Markus Zsusak are some of my favourite authors of books for adults.

My favourite children’s authors include Morris Gleitzman, Aaron Blabey, Margaret Wild, Jackie French, Maurice Gee and of course Roald Dahl.

Who has helped you along your writing journey?

So many people have helped me along my writing journey.
Teachers, librarians, friends and family members, my agent, fellow authors and illustrators. The editors and publishers who believed in my work and have taught me so much. Not to mention all the parents, grandparents and kids who come along to my events, buy or borrow my books and take the time to let me know they enjoyed them. It means so much to a writer, especially on days when they are plagued with self-doubt!
Some people say it takes a whole village to raise a child. I believe that it takes a whole community to support an author!

Do you mentor others? What do you do?

I work as a mentor for the Hunter Writers’ Centre in Newcastle. I enjoy meeting other writers and helping where I can. I run Haiku poetry workshops for kids. I love to encourage creativity in children through my workshops- it comes so naturally to them and its such an important thing to hold onto.

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

I am an active member of the Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA) Newcastle Sub-branch. The CBCA provides a wonderful opportunity to mix with other local authors, illustrators, librarians and teachers-or anyone else interested in children’s books. The CBCA also provides plenty of opportunities for authors to promote their work and also to give back to the community. I have found it to be a great source of encouragement and support in what can be quite a tough industry. I have also made some wonderful friends through the CBCA.

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

I have attended many writing workshops and am always on the lookout for more.
The first one I attended was run by Margaret Hamilton at Pinerolo, her picture book cottage in the Blue Mountains. We sat around the fire eating a beautiful Italian lunch Margaret had made, talked about picture books and listened to Dee Huxley give us a fascinating insight into the illustrator’s world. It was a wonderful introduction to the world of picture books!
I have attended many courses at the NSW Writers’ Centre in Rozelle including a wonderful workshop by Jacqueline Harvey who talked about her bestselling Alice Miranda books. I have also attended workshops at the Hunter Writers’ Centre here in Newcastle. Kerri Lane’s workshop ‘Writing for the Educational Market’ introduced me to a completely different part of the publishing industry.

Do you run writing workshops? What do you include? 

I run a fun-filled, hands on Haiku Poetry writing workshop for primary school aged students which includes a Japanese morning or afternoon tea!

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

I frequently visit schools, literary festivals and libraries to talk about writing and to share my books.
Please visit my website http://www.deborahkelly.com.au
Or Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/DeborahKellyChildrensAuthor/
And be sure to check out Ruby Wishfingers’ own website, full of fun activities and resources relating to the books, as well as teachers notes and information for parents.
http://www.rubywishfingers.com.au

 

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

Learn how to take constructive criticism from those in the know. Attend as many writers’ festivals and author run workshops as you can. And join your local CBCA branch-it’s a fabulous source of information and support!

Writing

Meet the writer – Cate Whittle

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.

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….

 

Cate Whittle

This interview first appeared in PASS IN ON on Monday 15th February 2016 – issue 573

 

When did you know that you were a writer?

Um… somebody gave me a pencil?

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 was that precocious kid who insisted on boring my friends with stories I had written… think rainy days (there were a lot of rainy days) with a torch in a blanket cubby, or perched on a branch half way up a tree (on those not so rainy days)… I suspect they actually did like listening to them, though (they were often about us on Famous Five or Swallows and Amazons type adventures, and, eventually, visiting our own version of Narnia).

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

Do you mean the (dreadful, dark and dingy) poem in the local paper when I was 13?  Or the short story in Stephen Matthew’s Danger anthology?  Magazines?  All were fabulous, validating, and exciting, but my two most epic moments were when I received a call from Transworld in UK, which wasn’t exactly an acceptance but was a defining moment (one of my stories was shortlisted in a major competition – the Terry Pratchett First Novel Award, 2013), and when Omnibus rang to let me know they were going to publish Trouble.  Yay!

What is your favourite genre to write? Why?

I love the freedom that Fantasy affords to create a world and characters that step beyond the everyday.  Gosh, that sounds a bit dry, doesn’t it?  Actually, I love reading Fantasy, so writing it is natural.

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

I took up the pen again (or recommissioned my keyboard) seriously about 15 years ago when our third child was born… I took what was supposed to be a year off teaching (but turned into a few more) and spent some time honing the craft and entering competitions. This led to publication of a few short stories in anthologies, which gave me the confidence to start submitting to the lovely, but now gone, Pearson magazines, where I had a few stories and articles see the light of day with Challenge, Comet and Explore – and got paid!  And then, eventually, my first very own book, Trouble at Home, found its way out into the wide, wide world… soon to be followed by three more books in the series.

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

Whatever I’m working on at the time is my favourite!

What is your favourite genre to read? Why?

Like most of family I grew up in, if there are written words in front of me, I will read them.  I like to read to escape, however, so I don’t like things to get too serious too often.  Thanks to reading CS Lewis’ Narnia books when I was about 8 or 9, however, I have been a confirmed Fantasy fan ever since.  I am still looking for the wardrobe.

I just like reading.

Do you have a favourite author?

I have lots of favourite authors… I can never decide!

Did/do you have any writing heroes or mentors?

I have to thank the lovely Aleesah Darlison for the encouragement she gave me as we walked back from lunch to the ACT Writers Centre, that cold and windy winter day, that led to Omnibus accepting the first four books of what has become the Trouble series.  And I have learned a lot from Kate Forsyth, too.

I don’t think they know they are my mentors, though…  I try not to stalk them.

Do you mentor others? What do you do?

I tentatively put my toe in the water and delivered a presentation at the Australian Writers Centre last year… does that count?

Do you write full time?

I wish!

What are your other jobs?

Teacher, Mum, Other Half, General Help and Bottle Wash…

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

I have a goodly list of competitions that I’ve either won or been placed in for writing short stories… Shadows of Annwn is my only full length novel to reach the heights, but, despite Sir Terry loving it, it still lies in wait for the right publisher (I’m actually rewriting it at the moment… tightening up the plot care of some great advice from Kate Forsyth, and renamed as Shades of Winter to avoid the difficult to pronounce Welsh word)!

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

I’m a member of the ACT Writers Centre, where I attend workshops and conferences to learn new skills and meet other writers, and I joined the ACT branch of SCWBI to be part of a group of like-minded people.   I’m also a member of the ASA, which keeps me up to date with the writing world in Australia, and I’m an author member of the ACT CBCA, which is a lot of fun, too!

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

Gosh, yes.  I always feel that there is a lot to learn.  Memorable?  So many to choose from.  I think my biggest ‘aha’ moment, recently, came from Kate Forsyth’s  Building Castles in the Air workshop… and now I desperately want to head over to the Cotswolds with her to keep on learning.  Not just because I love that part of the world.

Do you run writing workshops? What do you include?

I’m still on my L plates, but last year I ran Characters that Count at the ACT Writers Centre.  It received some great feedback so I’ve also devised a number of other workshops, but they are still in development at the moment: one on descriptive writing, one on different styles of plotting and planning, and one on world building.  Other than that, I have done a couple of workshops over the years as part of Children’s Book Week, and last year I was part of a great panel with other CBCA author members… best fun!  Oh, and I ran a Creative Writing Club at my school which was amazing fun, too.

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

At the moment the best way to contact me is via email at cate@catewhittlewrites.com .

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

Just do it!  And, to quote the song from Bridge to Terabithia, keep your mind wide open.  Read Stephen King’s On Writing.  Find other like minded people: join writer’s groups, get a tribe, read PIO!

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

I’ve got two websites:

www.catewhittlewrites.com which is mostly for other writers and has my blog attached,

then there is Trouble is Coming at www.catewhittlewrites2.com which at the moment is just a launch page for Trouble at Home, but is more for my young readers and will grow as Trouble grows.

and I have both a facebook page https://www.facebook.com/AuthorCateWhittle, and a twitter account (that I will learn to use one day!) at @CateWhittle

Uncategorized

Meet the writer – Robyn Osborne

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.

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….

 

Robyn Osborne

This interview first appeared in PASS IN ON on Monday 1st February 2016 – issue 572

 

When did you know that you were a writer?

From an early age I enjoyed reading, writing and creating fantasy worlds. My parents were both avid readers and encouraged my love of books. At the start of high school, my choice of authors such as Steinbeck, Orwell, Huxley and Tolkien got my creative juices flowing, much to the disbelief of my Grade 9 English teacher. After presenting her with a beautifully crafted story about an orphan wolf, I was accused of copying from a book. She couldn’t believe a 14 year old could have written so well. Although this happened many years ago, this unfair accusation still rankles and made me aware of the damage that unfeeling comments from teachers can do! Luckily, my Grade 12 English teacher was much more supportive and encouraging. Long years in the public service stifled my creative flame, but on my return to university in my thirties, I re-discovered my love of writing. I also made sure my wonderful Grade 12 English teacher received a complimentary copy of my very first published book.

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 hate reading my writing aloud, especially to family and friends. I do recall giving some of my angst ridden teenage poems to the English teacher when I was in Grade 12. He must have seen some merit, as one was published in the Nambour High School Yearbook of 1976! I guess this counts as my very first piece of published writing, albeit unpaid.

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

After completing my first junior manuscript about a boy who desperately wanted a dog, I sent it off to a number of publishers, who promptly responded with a negative, or didn’t respond at all. The record for the longest response time I received from a publisher was just over five years, which I have to say is pretty impressive. Unfortunately, the decision was still no. I sat down, re-wrote the story as first person, cut out lots of the descriptive guff and re-submitted to Macmillan Education. To my surprise they said yes and D.O.G. was published in 2005.

What is your favourite genre to write? Why?

I would describe myself as a children’s/YA author, however I have also written adult stories. There is certainly a canine theme running through my writing, and while my husband thinks it’s time to ditch the dog (figuratively speaking), my animal obsession is a big part of who I am.

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

My published books are D.O.G., (2005, Macmillan). Next came Dog Logic: a pooch’s guide to dogs behaving badly, (Big Sky Publishing, 2010) which was co-pawthored by my clever canine companion Sox.  Dog Logic is a training manual with a twist – it is written from a dog’s point of view.  Sox continues his literary career as a columnist in the Kids Club section of Dog’s Life magazine and he also has his own Facebook page – which is remarkably clever of him, considering he moved on to the Rainbow Bridge in 2012 at the ripe old age of 14. My other dog, Snowy was not to be outdone and in November 2014 Midget Bones’ Diary was published by Puppy Care Education. Midget Bones’ Diary is a witty, winsome memoir and follows in the paw steps of Bridget Jones, with a touch of ‘Jackie’ Collins and a large dose of Lassie thrown in. 2014 was a big year for me, as my first picture books were also published; Going Fishing & Going Camping (Big Sky Publishing). Can I add that all these books were trade, not self-published, without sounding too elitist? I do get a little tired of people assuming I have gone down the self – publishing route, especially snooty book shop owners. I have also had short stories and articles published in magazines, newspapers and anthologies.

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

Being my first published book, I have a soft spot for D.O.G. I also love the fact that my two beloved dogs, Sox and Snowy continue to live on through their respective books. My current dog Jack is keen to put claws to computer, so who knows what will come out of the Osborne household in the future.

What is your favourite genre to read? Why?

I am happy to read just about anything, as long as it is well written. I do enjoy a good historical fiction.

Do you have a favourite author?

Where do I start? Bill Bryson’s humorous take on life always lifts my spirits. I also love Mary Renault’s Alexandra the Great trilogy, as well as the Arthurian books by Mary Stewart.  Also Hilary Mantel and Salman Rushdie…the list goes on.

Do you write full time?

Oh, what a joy to be a full time writer…and actually be able to afford to feed Jack the dog. No, I haven’t given up my day job (see below). I do recall a moment at one of my schools, when the Principal told me they were ordering a set of my (then) newly published novel, D.OG. I was feeling rather proud and pleased with myself, until I worked out the royalties from this sale would just about pay off my chocolate account at the school. I think it was then I realised that life as a full time writer wasn’t going to happen anytime soon.

What are your other jobs?

I am a primary teacher and have recently gone into Special Education.

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

I was lucky enough to be one of eight participants chosen nationally to attend QWC/Allen & Unwin’s Manuscript Development in 2011. I have also won awards in a number of writing competitions. In 2009 my picture book manuscript, ‘Going Fishing’ received a Highly Commended at the CYA (Children’s and Young Adult Writers And Illustrators Conference) in Brisbane. This is the story that has since been published, so the judges obviously had good taste. Interestingly, my other manuscript, ‘John’s Blanket’ won first place, but is as yet unpublished (but I live in hope).

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

I am a member of The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) and the Qld Writers Centre (QWC).  I also subscribe to two excellent writing e-zines; Pass It On and Buzz Words.

Do you run writing workshops? What do you include? 

I have run workshops at libraries, most recently in Brisbane for children during the Christmas holidays. After reading my two picture books, we got down to the business of unpacking what makes a narrative. The kids were very enthusiastic – right up until they had to put pencil to paper! I do think writing should be a fun activity, rather than a chore, so we continued with lots of oral discussions instead.

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

The best way of contacting me is through my website Robyn Osborne

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

At our house, we are all a bit obsessive with our reading. Once a book is started, everyday life simply gets in the way of reading. Same thing applies for writing. When I’m in the writing zone, the real world seems to disappear.

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

My website is Robyn Osborne

Sox ‘The Philosophical Pooch’ also allows me to use his Facebook page from time to time.

Uncategorized

Meet the Writer – Tania Ingram

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….

Tania Ingram

This interview first appeared in PASS IN ON on Monday 11th January 2016 – issue 568

 

Tania Ingram

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.

How might people find you? Website, Blog, Facebook etc.
You can find me through my website: TaniaIngram.com, on Facebook (TaniaIngramAuthor) and Twitter (@TaniaIngramAuth).

 

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.