What draws you to writing for children specifically?
I love the world of limitless possibilities that children embrace. Their willingness to engage with the ridiculous as well as the beautiful inspires me. I also love reading to children. I want to show them how much fun reading can be, and I want them to love it as much as I did when I was a child.
How long have you been writing?
I suppose I’ve always been writing, but more seriously creating manuscripts to inspire others, well I’d say, since around 2012.
Which professional writing bodies are you a member of?
I first joined Book Links in 2013 after chatting to a Write Links member at a CYA conference. I joined Book Links and started attending Write Links myself which is the emerging writer’s arm of Book Links. Since 2019, I’ve been on the Book Links committee as Vice-President. I’ve been a SCBWI member since 2015 and have been to many meetings, and conferences including a few streamed online from the States. In 2016, I joined the 12×12 Picture Book Challenge, a supportive online community of Kidlit writers and illustrators. In the last few years, since 2019, I’ve been a member of Rate Your Story.
Who is your dream publisher?
I don’t have a dream publisher. I guess anyone willing to realise the vision I have for my work and help me carry it into the world would be perfect.
What writing resources (online, books or other) do you recommend?
There’s so much online now. I read a lot of articles about the writing process. I own a few books about writing but reading other published children’s books helps. I’m a regular at our local library. I can’t put down one thing as being more inspirational, but critique groups and conferences have probably progressed my writing the most. The personal development sessions at Write Links have also been invaluable. I’ve learned a lot from the 12×12 Picture Book challenge webinars they put up each month. WriteOnCon has also been a great low-cost conference that taps into knowledge sharing from other writers as have SCBWI, CYA, and BSAB which is Book Link’s own conference. Reading in the genres I write in helps me understand voice. Learning is a constant process. I guess I’ll never stop as there is always more room to hone my skills.
Best time of day to write?
I could happily write from sunup to sundown, but the best time to write is undoubtedly when there is absolute silence. Most of the time, well, I field questions, solve problems and run back and forth from the computer.
What are your writing goals?
I want to connect with kids in a way that inspires them to love reading. My hope is that my books stay with my readers long after they’ve turned the last page.
Was there a particular book in your childhood that had a big influence on you?
My mother used to read to me at bedtime. Her love of reading transferred into my lifelong passion for literature. As a younger child, I especially loved listening to my mother read picture books. I used to beg her for ‘just one more’. As I grew, I loved Famous Five, Narnia Chronicles, as well as Winnie the Pooh. Of course, the plots and hooks became more complex. I loved stories with intrigue and a bit of a mystery as well as beautiful language.
Is there a particular theme or underlying subjects that runs through your writing?
I like to layer my books. While I always have a story that drives a book, I hope my readers will look between the lines. I like to hide things in my stories, so look out for those. While some themes repeat a little like having strength when you’re alone, I also lean toward stories of hope and courage. In recent years, I’ve been writing more humorous manuscripts based on my experiences with my own family. I hope my readers enjoy reading those stories as much as I love writing them.
Who / what inspires you?
My biggest inspiration would have to be my family. My husband reads all my drafts, including the revisions. My kids are so proud of what I do. I am also tremendously inspired by the many writers whose work I critique and attend conferences and participate in online groups with me. I’ve met so many encouraging men and women who work very hard and inspire me to keep pushing forward.
Are there any last thoughts you’d like to share?
If writing is your dream, don’t give up. Learn as much as you can and keep going until you make it.