Guests Sally Murphy and Sonia Kretschmar & Book Give-aways!

Today I am so fortunate to have as my guests two of the most creative people in my orbit. Sally Murphy and Sonia Kretschmar are the author and illustrator of a new picture book from Walker Books entitled:


Henri lives in the French village of Villers-Bretonneux. Billy lives in Melbourne, Australia. These two little boys, who live thousands of miles away from each other, share one story that unites Villers-Bretonneux and Melbourne in history. A moving and inspiring story of World War One.

  The battle in the village of Villers-Bretonneux may have occurred almost 100 years ago, but this sensitively handled story will ensure it is a story that is kept alive and relevant for generations to come. And I have to say, this story blew me away.  It’s going to be a brilliant book to have as a family resource and I know teachers are going to fall over themselves to get it. 

Just as exciting is the fact that Walker books have offered two of these beautiful books as prizes to celebrate the launch, and it couldn’t be easier to enter ! Details at the bottom of the blog.

Congratulations Sally and Sonia on such a beautiful book! Both the text and illustrations are sensitive and engaging, and together they offer a book to be treasured. Indeed, ‘Do Not Forget Australia’ is a book that shouldn’t be forgotten and I hope will never be forgotten – and not just because it’s wonderfully crafted. 

Sally, if I may start with you:  Many Australians have a familial connection to France in both world wars, but in particular to Villers-Bretonneux. I lost Great-Uncles there myself. Is this the case with you? Or was there another reason for creating this story? Also, because it fits here,  can you share the moment you knew this story had to be written and in this format?

Sally: My Grandfather fought on the Western Front, though he wasn’t at Villers-Bretonneux.  I must confess that this was a part of my family history I knew little about until my son, Tom, was entering a speaking competition about the Anzac experience. He started asking questions and researching and renewed that connection for me.  Then, a few months later, Tom was chosen (on the basis of his speech) to travel on the Premier’s Anzac Tour to France and Belgium.

It was at a parent briefing for this trip that I saw a photo of the school at Villers-Bretonneux. It was a lightbulb moment. I’d seen photos of the school before, but it was this time that I started to really wonder how a sign, written in English, reminding students in a French school not to forget Australia, came to be. I knew there was a story there.  Because the stimulus – that sign – was so very visual – the decision to write it as a picture book text seemed quite natural.

Sonia, as someone who can’t draw a straight line, I’m always in awe of those with your artistic talent. So, similarly, I wonder if you could describe your reaction to reading the text? Did you visualise immediately how you would proceed?

Sonia: The first thing that really affected me about the text was the heightened emotion of the time – I empathised with the characters a great deal. Contrasting with that was the mundane reality of having to cope with such tragedy and loss, and also the joy of new beginnings. I guess we all have impressions of what life was like during WW1, though it was after I did a  bit of additional research I was able to visualise a version of what things may have been like in a small town n Northern France.

Sally, may I compliment you on your deft touch with this story.  War is scary, and you don’t really shy away from that fact, but your gentle touch ensures children are educated  and can empathise without being traumatised. Was that balance difficult to achieve?

Sally: Thanks, Kerri. It’s a relief to hear you say that. You are right – war IS scary, and as such it’s a scary thing to write about. To get the balance between the horror of the events and the need to not sanitise, but certainly make  accessible for children is difficult. I think the point of telling stories like this one is not to emphasise the war, or who ‘won’ and ‘lost’, but to show how humanity is the winner when people – ordinary people –overcome adversity. This is a war story but is really a story about friendship.

Sonia, we’re getting close to 100 years since this event, and many younger readers will have no knowledge of not only this battle – but of this era. Your illustrations add so much to this story – you bring the society, of the time, to life. Can you tell me something about the method you used in your illustrations to capture the past and still keep the story relevant to young readers of today?

Sonia: I guess I always try to get a sense of connection or feeling coming through the characters, which I hope is timeless. I also try to achieve a balance of simplicity and sophistication, so the pictures are welcoming at first but bring further rewards if you choose to dwell on them a bit longer. I think an approach of stylised realism brings a sense of quirkiness that younger readers may find appealing. Keeping painterly textures and details also adds to the warmth, or at least I hope so!

 Sally, obviously this is a story close to your heart? Does that means it was an easy write – or were there some heart-wrenching moments?

Sally: Yes, it was close to my heart. This story really got under my skin and it was really important to get it right. It was difficult to write because I so much wanted it to work. I probably didn’t get as intensely emotional as I wrote this as perhaps with Pearl and Toppling – perhaps because I knew that this story had such a positive ending, whereas with the verse novels I didn’t know quite how they would resolve. That doesn’t mean Do Not Forget Australia was less important to me – just different. This story really excited me, because I couldn’t wait to share the story with children.

I wonder if I could ask you both about the collaborative process? Was there much communication? Had you worked together before?

Sally: Almost no communication – although we are friends on Facebook! After Walker had accepted the manuscript, they sent me some samples of Sonia’s work. They suggested she might be a god match for this story and asked if I agreed. I was just amazed by the beauty of her artwork (the samples were from Song of the Dove) and said a very emphatic yes.  During the illustration process I was shown sketches and drafts, which came through the editor. This is a very common way of working – it allows both sides to give honest feedback. Of course all my feedback was positive!

Sonia: I hadn’t worked with Sally before, nor have we met – Sally is in Perth and I’m in Melbourne. Walker Books sent through the manuscript to me and asked if I was interested, which I was – I thought it was a story worth telling and remembering during current times, in which Australians seem to be increasingly xenophobic. Helping each other, across borders, and indeed across the other side of the world, and showing thanks for that help and rememberence of these events gives another perspective to children who can’t quite understand events like Anzac Day. There wasn’t any direct communication between us – it was all through the publisher, though I think there was a bit of collaboration, at a distance – as I uncovered more historical details through my picture research , some text changes had to be made, for example.  

Finally – as an author I’m a sucker for having to know how other creators work. I.e. – your processes… So, may I ask you both: Do you have any rituals?  Roald Dahl had to sharpen all his pencils and no one was ever allowed to clean his office other than empty an overflowing waste basket.   Is there anything you each have to do?

Sally: Rituals? Hah! I live in a messy, disorganised house with many kids, a dog, a day job… so ritual is not very possible. And yet, maybe my ritual is that I continue to make myself write, even in the midst of that. On the days when the house is quiet and I have no other obligations, I also make sure I set a time when I will start writing:”‘At 10 o’clock, no matter what else needs to be done, I am going to write”. And I try to stick to it. I sit at my desk before that time  and try to clear away the distractions – facebook, twitter, bills, emails, whatever – so  that at writing time I can write. It works. Sometimes.

Sonia: Definitely starting the day with a coffee – I wish I had the discipline to do things I’m supposed to do – such as clean my desk before starting, or indeed cleaning it at the end of the day. I to tend to be a bit cluttered. Because I work alone, my “water cooler moments” usually involve occasionally keeping an eye out on Facebook, but I’m not sure if you could call that a ritual or a habit. Other rituals may be called “obligations”, such as walking my dog Ernie – he has ways of making his presence known if he doesn’t have his way – and then I’d never get any work done!

Blog Tour dates

And how do you approach each work? Dive in? Ruminate? Do you work for set hours per day? Certain time of day when you’re most creative?

Sally: I don’t have set hours, simply because of the stuff I mentioned above (kids, job etc) but on the days I am at home, I try to be at my desk for about 4 hours, plus breaks.  As for a new project – each one is quite different. Sometimes I have an idea, make some notes, do a little research then do nothing about it for months – even years. Then one day the story starts to talk to me, telling me it’s ready, and I start writing.  Other times I have an idea and start writing to see where it will take me. With Do Not Forget Australia, I started with research and thinking a lot about how I could craft it into a story. It was several months before I wrote the first draft and that draft needed a lot of work before itw as anywhere near publishable. It was the story – the characters of Henri and Billy especially – which needed to be shaped out of the facts, making them credible and people readers will care about.

And when am I most creative?  Funnily enough, usually when I’m not trying to write. Walking on the beach, lying in bed, driving the car, etc. these are the times when new ideas, new sentences, new plot points, come to me. Luckily I have lots of notebooks.

Sonia: I do like to dive in, but I feel like I’m most productive from about 3pm onwards, unfortunately, which means I sometimes work well into the night when a deadline is looming. The good thing is that I’m able to juggle time around for other commitments, so I feel like I’m very flexible. But that also means I usually have no idea what a public holiday is.

Thank you both for sharing these insights – as well as some of your busy time with myself and fellow bloggers. The blog schedule (above)  is pretty hectic alone – and  makes me even ‘more’ appreciative of your time, so even bigger thanks for hanging around to chat.

As we get the ball rolling, I wish you the greatest success with this book – though I suspect it’s not going to need a lot!

And don’t forget, if you’re reading this blog – all you have to do to go into the draw for one of those gorgeous books, is leave a message! Too, too easy!

I’ll be popping in and out, but we’re going to leave this open until Sunday – and we’ll announce the winners then!

So, ask away!!

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Guests Sally Murphy and Sonia Kretschmar! Prizes!


Two chances to win!

Meet author, Sally Murphy and illustrator, Sonia Kretschmar here on Saturday March 3rd!

This is an all-day event, and just by being here and leaving a comment YOU go in the draw of one of TWO copies of this gorgeous, gorgeous picture book:


Walker Books

See you here on Saturday!

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Winner announced

All the news seems to be over at Kaz  – and with good reason. Dead, Actually is released today – so we’re in full party mode. If you get a chance – pop on over and say hi. We’ve got prizes going all week.

So, while we’re in prize mode – it’s timely to announce that my Magic Top Hat picked out Michael’s name as the winner of the marshmallow filled Boxing Glove! Congratulations Michael. If you send me your deets I can post that little beast out to you. Gotta say, I’ll be sorry to see it go! It’s fabulous!

A final plug for Dead, Actually?  Check out the book trailer! Too much fun!

And also check out this month’s (March) issue of Girlfriend magazine. Dead, Actually scored a full page ad.  I have the best publishers ever. Go Team A&U.


Thank you everyone – I hope you all have a great week!

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Six Books Sold!

Last blog I said I had some news to share? Well, I wanted to wait till I’d returned the contracts – because you just never know when someone is going to pop up and say, ‘Oh, sorry – we thought you were someone else! You didn’t really think those contracts were for you? (Insert raucus laughter) As if…”

But it turns out they really were meant for me. So, yep – this summer has been busy. I’ve been glued to the keyboard while others played and languished – but it all paid off and I couldn’t be happier.

Latish last year I had  two commissions offered for the new Springboard Sprints series at Macmillan. And because they’re such fun – I offered a few more titles to see if they also fitted the bill. And they did! All six of them. Picture me doing the VERY happy dance!

(BTW if you have kids at school you should really get them to check them out in their school libraries. They’re a hoot!) And given that I have the sense of humour of an annoying ten-year old, they’re kind of right up my alley.   

So, look out for the new covers and titles – I’ll share them as soon as they become available.

It was a nice start to the year and I want to thank the incredible team at Macmillan for being brilliant and my amazing family for letting me work, and even more for letting me bounce a trillion ideas off them. I’m sure some of them were so horrid that they really hurt when they hit them.   Bandaids anyone?

 Um – and just so I’m really clear… Are we really all on the same page about the football playing cockroach? So, that’s a definite ‘no’?


(The cover piccies here are of my titles released  in the last Sprints series, June, July & August 2011)

Don’t forget the prize on offer! I gotta say, that Boxing Glove is very cute and I’m fighting to keep it for you! Everyone who walks into my house wants it!  To be in the draw, you just have to leave a comment!

News over at Kaz is that I’m headed straight for a padded cell and I have the pics to prove it! Days till Dead, Actually is released? 27!!!

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Welcome to 2012

Latest release: “Welcome to My Life of Doom”. Pearson, January, 2012.

Happy 2012!  In a bizarre twist of thought it seems like no time since I was here – and yet it seems like forever.

In fact it has been forever, and for that I apologise  – again!

Last year ended up crazy busy and this month has been no different. In all that business has been some great news though, (more on that next post), which has given me a great mental boost to shoot me into 2012. 

So far, I’m really happy with 2012.  I feel determined and strong and focussed. I have great SMART goals in place and I also have monthly, weekly and daily goals that are keeping me on track. If it sounds very structured, then I guess maybe it is – but as I examine my processes and my needs more closely, I realise I need structure. I’m someone who works well to deadlines, for example. I work well to lists. They become a challenge and I always need to meet a challenge.

I KNOW I’ll get to the end end of this year and say, ‘where has this year gone?‘ But for once, when I ask myself if I accomplished everything I wanted to in that year, I want to be able to say ‘yes’. Or at least be happy that I accomplished MOST of it.

 On that note, I’m saying here quite publicly, that for me, this is the Year of Organisation. For the Chinese it’s the Year of the Dragon – for me – it’s organisation.

Of course, that will ensure that I am sensible about my goals; hopefully having some that will both challenge me, but yet be attainable if I work hard. (And if everything else in my life doesn’t turn upside down!!!)

I’ll be literally keeping you posted as the year continues, but for now please help me celebrate a surprise I came across just yesterday, that has added even more glitter to my lovely January. And that is the relase of my latest book, Welcome to My Life of Doom.

 I have to say this is one my fave kids books, but as yet, I haven’t even seen a copy! I actually found this on the net by accident and the listed release date of January 9th, which also happens to be a special family birthday. 

It’s a silly romp, of course -LOL –  and I hope the kids who read it will have as much fun as I did writing it. And as bizarre as it sounds, even though I didn’t realise it had already been released, just the day before I was shopping, and found something (again by accident) that I just had to buy to celebrate the release of this book!

There’s a funny scene in the book that refers to the Tuff’n’Up Boxing Studio, and when I saw this plastic boxing glove filled with marshmallows – I knew I had to have it.

Well, let me clarify by saying I knew I had to have it for one of you!

It’s the giveaway that accompanies the release, and anyone who drops by to comment in the next few weeks will go in the draw!

So, whether you just stop by to say ‘hi’ or whether you want to share how you feel about the upcoming year, I’d still love for you to drop in. And don’t forget, you get to go in the draw for this rather Kookie prize of a boxing glove filled with marshmallows! I love it – I hope you do as well!

Till then, have a Happy Australia Day, and happy Writing!

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November Giveaways: What’s Your fave Christmas Recipe?

 It’s giveaway announcement time – one of the few times, I offer the same blog on both this site and the Kaz site. But don’t forget there are TWO sets of giveaways! One for each site!  

I warned you last time I blogged that it was beginning to look a lot like Christmas! And if I was a truly horrible person I’d also warn you how many shopping days there are left till Christmas. Yes, I suppose there is a possibility that, to do that, might be construed as  a Public Service Announcement – but honestly? I’m not that noble.

Why? I sooo don’t need that stress…

But – stress aside, it IS my fave time of the year. I love the music, the spirituality, the smells, the shops, the traditions – and yes the food. Each year we have traditional fare that we always bake or make.

We usually have a tree trimming party – and scattered in with everything else that may change from year to year – there are always my mini sausage rolls, prawns wrapped in bacon, onion tarts and arrancini.    After there’d be the yummy moist fruitcake that my mother and grandmother have also been making for probably a hundred years.  (Don’t try to do the math – I’m very bad at it. Just take my word and we’ll all be happy. Okay?) And of course yummy sweets and fruit and nuts.  

On Christmas Day, we usually have seafood followed by a traditional roast pork, turkey and chicken hot lunch with masses of roast vegies. Afterward we always have my mum’s mini Christmas puds with custard and cream, pavlova and  great, ice-cream and lolly Christmas pudd for those who don’t like traditional pudding.

My November giveaway is all about that time of getting ready for Christmas – creating edible gifts, and creating treats for your family and friends. There is a box of 30 Illustrated Christmas Recipe Cards  filled wth fun ideas – and a very cute 6-cavity, silicone cake-mould shaped like Chrstmas trees! I’d also use these for chocolate treats – or coconut ice or  fudge as well. What would you use them for?

It’s easy to win – actually super, super easy this month as we only have two weeks left of the month!!! All you have to do to go in the draw is to leave a comment on any blog this month. To make it easy and fun this particular blog – I’d love to know about any tradition/s you have  – and I’d especially love to know which Christmas food is your fave? What food or tradition is your absolute fave? 

Everyone is welcome to join in the fun. If you have young people in your life or house who’d like to offer their fave things, I’d love to hear from the as well.

Posted in For Writers, fun stuff, musings | Tagged | 6 Comments

October Winners!

Status: Working on new book. Yay!

Days till release of Dead, Actually: 119 (Kaz Delaney: Allen & Unwin, March 1st 2012)

Wow – my first competition! And it was such fun!

So without ado – or with ado – whatever you prefer, it is my pleasure to to announce that :-

                                             LORRAINE MARWOOD

                                              is the October winner!

Is it steak knives? Is it choccies? Is it world trip? NO!

It’s girlie stuff! To keep or to share – whatever works best for you.

Enjoy, Lorraine and if you contact me with your addy, I can post this out to you.

And I’m very happy to announce a second prize of some Aleesah Darlison puzzle sheets and postcards – plus a Find A Word book goes to:


Again, if you contact me on, I can send out your prize.  

Thank you both for supporting this blog. It is very much appreciated.

Stay tuned for the November prize announcement. Hint: “It’s beginning to look a bit like Christmas… “ Tra la la. (And no, it’s not a CD of me singing Christmas Carols – so you can all heave a big sigh of relief.)

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Meet Aleesah Darlison!

 It’s my absolute pleasure to welcome author Aleesah Darlison to Running With Pens!  In her first year of being a published author, she sold an amazing fourteen books. With the addition of her latest series, The Unicorn Riders,  that number has even grown higher! My previous blog entry was a summary of Aleesah’s brilliant talk on how to Break into Picture Books, and now we have an idea of how to do it, let’s have a look at what Aleesah has achieved and how she’s done it.   

 Kerri: Hi Aleesah and congratulations! You’ve achieved an enormous amount in a short time, however things are rarely as easy as they seem. How long did it take you make your first sale? Would you like to share something of that journey?

Aleesah: I was writing for children for three years before I had my first picture book manuscript accepted for publication. Sometimes I thought I’d never get published, but grim determination made me hang in there. I’m glad I did. In the last 16 months I’ve released 9 books and have been contracted for 7 more.

Kerri: Wow! That’s an amazing succes rate! So, of those, you’ve sold picture books and series for young readers?

Aleesah: My picture books tend to focus on Australian animals. Puggle’s Problem (Wombat Books) is about a baby echidna and Warambi (Working Title Press) is about a Little Bent-wing bat. I simply LOVE writing picture books and having them illustrated by talented artists/illustrators, it’s a real joy. My series are Totally Twins (New Frontier) and Unicorn Riders (Walker Books). It’s been great fun writing both those series. Totally Twins is written in diary format by the main character, Persephone Pinchgut. She’s a real sweetheart, but a bit of a worrier. She tries so hard to be perfect! Unicorn Riders is a fantasy adventure series. The books are written from four different main character viewpoints. They’re all strong female leads, loyal friends and soooo courageous.

 Kerri: That’s a huge output. Do you write daily? What would a typical writing day entail?

Aleesah: I do try to write every day, but lately I’ve been so busy promoting my new releases, I haven’t always got there. I’m refocusing this month to find more time to write. Once I get the kids off to preschool and school, I come home, sit down at my desk and work pretty much flat out until 3pm when I have to rejoin the world. Some days I get so lost in my stories I almost miss pick-up time! After dinner and a play, the kids go off to bed at night and I usually write for a few more hours. There never seems to be enough time to in the day…

 Kerri: Oh, Amen to that!  The person who invents the 40 hour day will be my forever hero. Aleesah, what’s your favourite thing about being an author?

Aleesah: Having people read and enjoy my stories.

 Kerri: And your least fave thing?

Aleesah: Admin associated with the ‘business’ of being an author. I’d love a PA, but I think that’s just a pipe-dream!

Kerri: What are you working on right now?

Aleesah: I’m editing Book 5 of Unicorn Riders, Quinn’s Truth, and currently planning Book 6, Willow’s Chase, which I will start writing in the next few days.

 Kerri: Hey Snap! The heroine of my latest book is named Willow!  Good choice! But Book 6! Really? That’s amazing and you must be so excited! Again, huge kudos to you. So, the unicorn series has recently been released. How many books do you envisage in this series and are they being released together? Or as staggered individual releases?

Aleesah: So far, there are six books earmarked for the series. Four books were released in one hit on 1 October: Quinn’s Riddles, Willow’s Challenge, Krystal’s Choice and Ellabeth’s Test. I’m writing two more books that will be released in July 2012 and hopefully – fingers and toes crossed that readers like the series – there will be more books to come.

 Kerri: I’ve had a sneak peek and I can tell you that all my fingers and toes are crossed. Painfully! Brilliant. You’ve earned bragging rights, so would you like to tell us about this series? Targeted reader? Your inspiration for the series?

Aleesah: The series is perfect for girls aged seven and over. They’re fun, feisty fantasy adventure stories that are ideal for young girls starting their reading journey and also for older reluctant girl readers. The books are beautifully illustrated throughout by Jill Brailsford, which adds that extra visual impact. They look stunning and are the perfect ‘collectible’. I always wanted the girl characters to be strong and empowered role models. I don’t write down to my readers or pander to them. These books are for smart, savvy, modern girls. Oh, and there are some gorgeous unicorns in Unicorn Ridersof course! – each with their own special magical abilities. There are lots of cliff-hangers and twists and turns. I’m hoping to keep my readers enthralled from start to finish.

 Kerri:  These releases are perfectly timed for Christmas and long, lazy summer holiday reading, so let me put you on the spot for a shameless plug.  It’s a totally selfish question – I mean, I can think of several on my list who are going to find Unicorn Riders under the tree on Christmas morning. So, where can readers get hold of their copies?

 Aleesah: Unicorn Riders can be found at all good bookstores, including independent  booksellers, Myer, David Jones, Dymocks, K-Mart and Newslink.

Kerri: Fabulous – I’ll be there! Aleesah, thank you for being my guest! I’ve loved  chatting with you. And again, congratulations and I hope the series sells zillions.

If you have any questions for Aleesah, please post them here. And don’t forget the October draw! Everyone who posts on any of my blogs during October goes in the draw. Great prizes and we’ll also see if we can find something extra for a lucky commenter on this particular blog!

Thank you so much for dropping by!

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Aleesah Darlison on Picture Books

Time flies when you’re chasing deadlines and cracking revisions – and it’s certainly flown for me. I can’t believe it’s been almost 6 weeks since I flew up to Brisbane to attend the CYA conference. But it’s true…

While there I attended several sessions – and one of those was entitled “Breaking Into Picture Books” with Aleesah Darlison who is defying odds with an amazing run of successes over a very short time. Here’s a point by point rundown on what she had to say. However just before diving in, I just want to remind everyone that Aleesah will be here being interviewed on Friday offering some insights into that success, as well as talking about her new series The Unicorn Riders – and also a reminder that I have some great prizes for October, so anyone who drops by to comment will go into the draw! For now though – enjoy Aleesah’s wisdom!

For someone who has only been published for sixteen months, Aleesah Darlinson is quite literally awesome. Not only has she sold three picture books, two chapter but she has also sold two series, for slightly older readers with a third on the way.

Some of those books are: The Totally Twins Series, The (aforementioned) Unicorn Riders Series, Puggle’s Problem (PB), Warambi (PB) and Bearly There (PB to be released).

 Her advice was specific, supported by lots of personal experience,  and on target for anyone wanting to break into the picture book market, which she described as competitive and hard to crack

Why competitive and hard to crack?

Because Picture Books (PBs)  are very expensive to produce. All publishers gamble on works that they hope to make money on; with picture books that risk is even higher simply because of that initial production outlay  – which is often around $40,000. 

Therefore, one of the first things you must consider when thinking about PB texts, is to ensure you have a strong commercial product to bring to the table.  A product, in other words, that the publishers feel will make them money.

The Puggle Experience: Why did it work?

  • She had something different on offer (At the time there were no other puggle books)
  • There was an issue or problem to be dealt with.
  • There was a subtle lesson woven through the story.
  • It fitted in with the Level One schools curriculum – studying Australian animals. 
  • It was originally entitled ‘Gertie Puggle’ and she doubled her readership by changing him to a boy puggle.

Some PB Facts:

  • Most PBs are 32 pages
  • Board books are 8-16 pages
  • Some PBs are wordless
  • Word count suggestion: 500 – for 5-7 year olds
  •                                        -200-300  for 3 year olds
  • Some are hardcover; some soft. Hardcover more expensive and less common
  • Usually smaller print runs as compared to novels, chapter books etc (1500-2000)
  • Text begins Page 3       
  • Title page  – page 1
  • Imprint page – page 2
  • 14 double page spreads

Advice in a nutshell:

  • Find your niche – hers is animals and nature
  • You do not have to be an illustrator to create the text for a PB
  • If you can link it also to the schools curriculum – even better.
  • Consider making your animal character a male so as not to halve your reading market. Little girls will read about boy animals – little boys not so keen to read about girl animals   
  • Whoever your character is, ensure he or she is unique
  • Characters can be human or animal
  • Animal characters are great as they cross all cultural borders and are all inclusive.
  • Character names are crucial – they tell a lot about the character; choose carefully
  • Every main character must have a problem or issue. It must be:

–          Real

–          Cause tension, drama or humour  

  • Study themes
  • Write something that’s quirky and different so as to attract the attention of the jaded editor.

Possible Themes/Issues  – 5-7 year old 

  • Friends
  • Family
  • School
  • Bullying 
  • Acceptance
  • Pets
  • Moving House
  • Facing Fears

Final Tips

  • Join relevant associations (SCWBI)
  • Attend conferences and festivals
  • Listen to experts
  • Submit works
  • Attend Pitching Sessions

Good information. It was a great session! Don’t forget to pop in and say hi to Aleesah who’s dropping by on her blog tour this Friday. And thank you for hanging around! Good luck with the prizes on offer to celebrate October! You don’t have to anything but leave a comment and you’re in the draw! There’s over $70 value!

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FUN FEATURE: Kids Day. Connundrums Riddles

I love riddles. And I love connundrums.

So, therefore I’m going to do something I’ve wanted to do for ages – and that’s include a connundrum and riddle page! And it’s going to be on Fridays! Spread the word!

The first connundrum is one that I had loads of fun experimenting with – and it’s so easy. And so amazing!

So, Question: Besides looks, how could you tell the difference between an apple and a pear?

I’m not going to give you the answer right here – you’ll have to scroll down past the riddle.  It’s more fun if you think about it for  few minutes. Isn’t it? LOL!

Riddle: Where do British Kings and Queens usually get crowned?

       A: On the head.

Riddle: How can you tell a happy motorcyclist?

       A: By the number of bugs caught in his teeth.

Connundrum answer: if you put the both into pitchers of water, the pear will float and the apple will sink.

I’ve tried it and it works! BUT – you MUST make sure you have a RIPE pear. I tried with with a greenish pear and an apple and the pear sank. Then I tried a ripe pair and a ripe apple. And just as predicted, the pear floated and the apple sank.

Who knew?

Have a great weekend.

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