BIANCA C. ROSS
- Guest Author -
Welcome to an interview conducted with an Australian author - Bianca C. Ross. How did I learn about Bianca you may ask? Well, I saw a feature article about her in our local newspaper and here she is.
Welcome, Bianca ...
1. TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOURSELF AND YOUR WRITING JOURNEY.
I was lucky enough to grow up in a house with a backyard veggie patch and fruit trees. Every summer we would pick peaches and stew and freeze the ones that we couldn’t eat for the winter.
I’ve always loved food and I forged a marketing career in multinational food companies across the dairy and juice industries. After almost a decade, I switched to advertising where I worked on marketing strategies for clients.
I’ve always written, and my earliest writing was a travel diary that I kept on a trip with my parents when I was five. It was illustrated as well, and while my drawing skills have not improved, I hope that my writing has!
2. WHEN AND HOW DID YOU BECOME A WRITER?
Part of my job in marketing and advertising was to write copy for presentations. I spent time with professional copywriters and gleaned many insights for how to write. And I hope that some of these rubbed off!
3. WHAT TYPE OF PREPARATION DO YOU DO FOR A MANUSCRIPT? DO YOU PLAN EVERYTHING FIRST OR JUST SHOOT FROM THE HIP?
I start by setting aside a set amount of time – say two hours. I dedicate that time to planning or writing, even if I’m feeling low on inspiration! I find if I am disciplined, the thoughts will come.
For the manuscript preparation, I put together a skeleton plan for where I want the story to begin and end. I let the ideas germinate and I’m not afraid to change up the order. I figure my writing is a liquid document, and as the story unravels, the chronological order of events can change.
And I’m not afraid to cull! This perhaps stems back from my childhood watching my Mum, Dad and Nan pruning fruit trees…!
4. WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT BEING A WRITER?
The privilege of people spending their time reading my writing.
5. WHAT IS THE HARDEST THING ABOUT BEING A WRITER?
Making sure that I write the very best story I can.
6. WHAT WERE YOU IN A PAST LIFE, BEFORE YOU BECAME A WRITER?
7. WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST WRITING ACHIEVEMENT?
Receiving thank you notes from children and their parents who are reading Herbert Peabody and His Extraordinary Vegetable Patch
8. WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON AT THE MOMENT?
Herbie’s second adventure, and various articles about the need for children to understand where their fruit and vegetables come from.
9. WHAT INSPIRES YOU?
Seasonal food, the hope that children will be inspired to grow their own food, and seeing that come to life.
10. WHAT GENRE DO YOU WRITE?
Children’s fiction, and newspaper and magazine articles.
11. DO YOU HAVE ANY TIPS FOR NEW WRITERS?
Set aside a block of time each day to write. Even if it’s twenty minutes, it will become a healthy habit and help to nurture your thoughts that in turn will help your writing.
12. DO YOU SUFFER FROM WRITER’S BLOCK?
Yes, but I find that a disciplined and dedicated approach helps me focus and soon the ideas form and I can start to write them down.
13. DO YOU HAVE A PREFERRED WRITING SCHEDULE?
Early morning is the best time for me. Anywhere from 5am to 7am.
I wrote my first book while I was working full time, so early mornings were my best opportunity to get into the characters’ world, and it is now my favourite time of the day.
14. DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE WRITING PLACE?
I am lucky as I have the ability to focus solely on my writing wherever I am – I am quite good at blocking out distraction! For me, the time of day seems to have more of an influence.
15. WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST JOY IN WRITING?
Putting words together to evoke a feeling.
16. WHO IS YOUR FAVOURITE AUTHOR AND WHY?
Ernest Hemingway. His writing is beautifully simple and you feel as though you are there with him.
17. WHAT’S THE GREATEST COMPLIMENT YOU EVER RECEIVED FROM A READER?
A note from a parent to say that her eight year old daughter skipped her favourite TV show and went to bed early to read two chapters of Herbie’s story!
18. WHAT WAS THE WORST COMMENT FROM A READER?
A parent who told me that they knew all about growing vegetables so didn’t need to buy my book!
19. WRITERS ARE SOMETIMES INFLUENCED BY THINGS THAT HAPPEN IN THEIR OWN LIVES. ARE YOU?
Yes. My experiences greatly influence my writing.
20. OTHER THAN WRITING, WHAT ELSE DO YOU LOVE?
Singing, dancing and eating.
21. DID YOU HAVE YOUR BOOK / BOOKS PROFESSIONALLY EDITED BEFORE PUBLICATION?
Yes. And my biggest tip for new writers is to find an editor who will become your mentor.
22. DESCRIBE YOUR PERFECT DAY.
5:30am – Wake up
5:40am – Start writing
7am – Coffee and keep writing!
7:45am – power walk
8:45am – brekkie
9:30am – meetings to promote my book or working on strategies to grow the reach through sales channels
4:00pm – finalise any outstanding work
7:00pm – dinner with my husband
9:00pm – watch an episode of a great TV series
10:00pm – bed!
23. IF YOU WERE STUCK ON A DESERT ISLAND WITH ONE PERSON, WHO WOULD IT BE? WHY?
My husband. He’s my best friend… mostly!
24. WHAT WOULD YOU SAY IF YOU HAD THE CHANCE TO SPEAK TO WORLD LEADERS?
That children are the most important people on the planet and we need to make sure they are looked after.
25. WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR THE FUTURE?
Write at least five books in the Herbert Peabody series
26. WHAT FIVE BOOKS WOULD YOU TAKE TO HEAVEN?
“A Moveable Feast,” Ernest Hemingway
“Hop on Pop,” Dr Seuss
The Bible – although there would be a copy there already I suppose!
“Anne of Green Gables,” LM Montgomery
“Wuthering Heights,” Emily Bronte
27. DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN ANY OF YOUR CHARACTERS?
Yes! Herbie’s sister Henrietta is enthusiastic and a bit nutty… like me!
28. DOES THE PUBLISHING INDUSTRY FRUSTRATE YOU?
It seems to be like any industry – there are fabulous aspects as well as tedious ones. After initial interest from publishers, I was lucky enough to self-publish. I wanted a particular look and feel to the book and the best way to achieve this was to do it myself.
29. DID YOU EVER THINK OF QUITTING?
Never. I don’t believe in quitting or giving up, ever!
30. WHAT WAS YOUR FAVOURITE MANUSCRIPT TO WRITE? WHY?
I enjoy writing each manuscript that I work on. Each one is unique and it’s as though they become a friend. When you’re writing, you’re finding out about them. And when you’ve finished and you go back to read through it, it’s like catching up for a coffee with someone you know very well.
31. HOW WOULD YOU DEFINE ‘SUCCESS’ AS A WRITER.
Experiencing the feelings you’ve aimed to create when you read your manuscript.
32. WHAT SHOULD READERS WALK AWAY FROM YOUR BOOKS KNOWING? HOW SHOULD THEY FEEL?
That with some hard work and a little bit of magic, extraordinary things can happen!
33. HOW MUCH THOUGHT GOES INTO DESIGNING A BOOK COVER?
A lot! Always have a professional designer create your cover.
34. WHAT’S YOUR ULTIMATE DREAM?
To have the Herbert Peabody series translated into several languages so that children everywhere can share the magic of growing their own fruit and vegetables.
35. WRITING IS ONE THING. WHAT ABOUT MARKETING YOU, YOUR BOOKS AND YOUR BRAND? ANY THOUGHTS?
I am lucky as I have worked in the marketing and advertising industry. I think completing the manuscript is the very start of an exciting journey. It’s then up to you to tell people everywhere about your book.
36. ARE YOUR BOOKS SELF-PUBLISHED?
37. DESCRIBE YOURSELF IN FIVE WORDS.
Enthusiastic, motivated, passionate, curious… That’s all I can think of!
38. WHAT PISSES YOU OFF MOST?
People telling me that I can’t do things!
39. WHAT IS THE TITLE OF THE LAST BOOK YOU READ? GOOD ONE?
The Woman Who Went To Bed For A Year by Sue Townsend. It was brilliant!
40. WHAT WOULD BE THE VERY LAST SENTENCE YOU’D WRITE?
I hope I never find that out!
41. WHAT WOULD MAKE YOU HAPPIER THAN YOU ARE NOW? CARE TO SHARE?
Writing and travelling simultaneously!
42. ANYTHING YOU’D LIKE TO ADD?
Always set time aside for writing. Being deliberate and disciplined cures any writer’s block!
Be social with Herbie at www.facebook.com/HerbertPeabody
Clancy's comment: Well done, Bianca. Keep going. I have no doubts that you, and Herbert, will produce many books. Give my best wishes to Herbert.