- Guest Author -
Welcome to an interview conducted with an enthusiastic Australian author.
Welcome, Sharyn ...
- TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOURSELF AND YOUR WRITING JOURNEY.
As a young girl I’ve always had a love for books. It wasn’t until later in life I decided to have a go at writing my first children’s book. I felt encouraged to continuing writing after entering competitions many years later and receiving awards for my children’s short stories.
- WHEN AND HOW DID YOU BECOME A WRITER?
Even before my kids could talk, I was reading to them. Then one day, I decided it can’t be that hard to write a story for young children. Looking back at the first story I wrote twenty years ago, I now realise I have come a long way. It isn’t as easy as it looks to capture the imagination of young children and write something they can get excited about reading.
- DO YOU PLAN EVERYTHING FIRST OR JUST SHOOT FROM THE HIP?
My inspiration for my stories usually come from a news article I’ve read, an advertisement on TV or just one sentence that someone has said to me. The key is to write it down straight away as not to forget it. The ideas take shape and I think the idea might just be ridiculous enough to intrigue children. I typically start with one line and shoot from the hip from there.
- WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT BEING A WRITER?
My favourite part to a story is adding a twist at the end. It will create the surprise factor and I like to think it will get a good response from the children. After all, those were the stories my children and I enjoyed when I read to them.
- WHAT IS THE HARDEST THING ABOUT BEING A WRITER?
By far the most difficult thing about being a writer is when to know if the story is complete or good enough for others to read. If I am not happy with the story, it can take months to tweak the idea and get it just right.
- WHAT WERE YOU IN A PAST LIFE, BEFORE YOU BECAME A WRITER?
Before I entered into the fantasy world of children’s stories I was a Bank Clerk and full time mum. It was becoming a parent to four children and reading to them that pushed me to think writing for them and other children could be something I’d enjoy.
- WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST WRITING ACHIEVEMENT?
My greatest achievement is being published! I have had two manuscripts published in the NSW Curriculum and Learning Innovation Centre, School Magazine.
- WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON AT THE MOMENT?
After getting my first e-book “An Elephant living in the house and other pet stories” for young readers, I am excited to get my second collection up and I am in the process of compiling it.
- WHAT GENRE DO YOU WRITE?
The genre that I choose to write are books for children- mostly picture and early readers. I have also written a few junior novels.
- DO YOU HAVE ANY TIPS FOR NEW WRITERS?
My three tips for new writers are simple: Read! Practice, practice and practice, and never give up.
- DO YOU SUFFER FROM WRITER’S BLOCK?
Every writer would get writer’s block in some form. Sure, I experience it too, but there is always tomorrow.
- DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE WRITING PLACE?
I don’t have a favourite corner or room but one thing is for sure, if the place is quiet and I’ve got my laptop, then I can get lost in my writing for hours.
- WHO IS YOUR FAVOURITE AUTHOR AND WHY?
Every few months I find a new exciting author on the shelves of my library, and if I like a book of theirs, I keep with their books for a while. I don’t really have a favourite author, I just enjoy reading a book that tells a great story.
- WHAT’S THE GREATEST COMPLIMENT YOU EVER RECEIVED FROM A READER?
I used to belong to a writing group before it folded. One session we all wrote down what we thought of each other and our writing on paper and passed it on. Some of the comments were very touching. I still keep those pieces of paper to help keep my spirits up when I am trying to get a story just right.
- OTHER THAN WRITING, WHAT ELSE DO YOU LOVE?
In my spare time I like to indulge in reading a new book, travelling, walking in nature and spending time with my family.
- DID YOU HAVE YOUR BOOK / BOOKS PROFESSIONALLY EDITED BEFORE PUBLICATION?
Before publication, I send my manuscripts to Sally Odgers for critiquing and a final edit. I think I’m addicted to her comments, they really helped me.
- WHAT WOULD YOU SAY IF YOU HAD THE CHANCE TO SPEAK TO WORLD LEADERS?
Across the world, world leaders seem not care about the little people, it has all become a race to make money and become powerful. It would be great to see them stop wasting money and put it into projects that benefit mankind.
- DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN ANY OF YOUR CHARACTERS?
I did not portray myself in any of my stories, but I feel like some of my characters are based on my children and people I know. Some of my ideas came from some of the things my children use to do or say when they were younger. My eldest son enjoyed the water so much that I wrote a story about a boy who could breathe under water.
- DID YOU EVER THINK OF QUITTING?
I’ve never considered quitting writing, it is something I started out of passion and I never thought of publishing back then. To me it doesn’t matter if you are never published. I once did a story and added pictures from ‘clip art’ (because I can’t draw to save my life) and my daughter’s teacher added questions and made it into class books. I never got paid for it but I thoroughly enjoyed seeing the children benefit from my writing.
- WHAT WAS YOUR FAVOURITE MANUSCRIPT TO WRITE? WHY?
My favourite piece of writing would have to be my story “Lee” which is about a boy who finds a stray greyhound and needs to find a way to keep him. I sat down one afternoon and wrote the story from beginning to end. It was a story just itching to be written.
- HOW WOULD YOU DEFINE ‘SUCCESS’ AS A WRITER?
The most fulfilling part to being a writer than makes me think “Yes I’ve done it” is to type the words “The End” at the end of a story. I would see it as a success not to leave a story unfinished.
- WHAT’S YOUR ULTIMATE DREAM?
Apart from travelling the world, I wish I had the artistic skills to illustrate my own books.
- ARE YOUR BOOKS SELF-PUBLISHED?
My son-in-law encouraged me to put some stories together and helped me to self-publish the collection as an e-book. Without his help it never would have happened.
- WHAT WOULD BE THE VERY LAST SENTENCE YOU’D WRITE?
Everybody should have the opportunity to read.
- ANYTHING YOU’D LIKE TO ADD?
I think your photo’s are amazing Clancy! They capture the moment.
Clancy's Comment: There ya go, folks. Another Aussie author is up and running. Well done, Sharyn.