Date of Success:
I am a full-time working mother with three gorgeous kids, all at various stages of their life. Ever since I can remember I have been writing, even winning an award in the Sunday Telegraph at eight, for a poem about the dentist. As my life progressed my writing changed, and I found myself interested in writing murder mysteries for adults.
Shortly after the birth of my son almost 20 years ago, I started writing for children, and this is where I have settled since.
The joy of watching a child lose themselves in the adventure of the written word is too intoxicating to ever give up.
My home office is littered with old stories; my computer filled with completed and work in progress manuscripts.
I am an emerging author, who like many others dream of being published. Each year I have chipped away at that dream writing until my fingers bleed, regularly hitting my head into the keyboard (as I fall asleep), assisting others on their journey to publication and providing a service via Creative Kids Tales for both published and aspiring authors.
Shortly after my 3-year tenure as President of the CBCA Sutherland Shire Sub branch, I found a need for emerging children's authors in the writing community. Where could an emerging author display their work, network with others, find up to date publisher and competition information and every tool they might need on their journey to publication?
In 2011, as a commitment to fill that void and with the assistance of my supportive husband, Creative Kids Tales was born. I am happy to say; we have become a valuable resource for Australian emerging children’s authors and provide a unique website packed with everything emerging authors and illustrators need on their creative journey.
In 2013, The Author's Shelf hit the airwaves on 2SSR. After a year of chatting with authors like Captain Underpants author; Dav Pilkey, Jackie French, McLeod’s Daughters creator; Posie Graeme-Evans, Andy Griffiths, Susanne Gervay, Kate Forsyth, Belinda Murrell and other extraordinarily talented authors, I decided to put The Author’s Shelf on the shelf (pardon the pun) and focus on my writing career.
In October 2014, my dreams of becoming a published author became a reality. In 2015, my first picture book, Lulu was published with Dragon Tales Publishing. After DT Publishing closed in 2016 Lulu was snapped up by Wombat Books and is now enjoying a wider audience. Every writer’s dream is to have accompanying merchandise with their book and Wombat have done this via a Lulu plush available when you purchase a copy of Lulu through the Wombat Books website. There are a few other exciting things happening for Lulu, but I can’t share them just yet. Watch this space...
My second book, Clover’s BIG Ideas will be released through Little Pink Dog Books in 2017. I’m currently in discussions with a publisher for my third picture book.
I have been fortunate to meet/interview and get to know some wonderful souls of the writing industry, many I now call friends. As my characters take flight from my shelves and into your family's hearts, I will continue to promote and assist those who are taking the same journey.
WHAT CYA CONFERENCE DID FOR ME
In 2013, I attended my first CYA Conference and was the unofficial head tweeter and Facebook reporter. In 2014, that title became official and with over 200 tweets I had not only shared information I had learned, but also had very sore fingers. Seriously though, one of the most important aspects of the CYA Conference for me is the competitions. In 2013, I entered two stories and was awarded top ten listings under the Picture Book Pre-school and Chapter Books for older readers categories. By 2014, I had caught the bug and entered four stories. This time, I received third place under the Picture Books Primary Category and placed in the top ten with my other submissions. In fact, it was one of these other submissions that was contracted to Dragon Tales Publishing and launched in 2015.
The CYA Conference has only fuelled my desire to be a published author. Listening to the success stories, attending talks, workshops and immersing myself in all things writerly has become a yearly ritual. The networking opportunities are plentiful, and the friends I have made are lifelong. To be able to surround myself with likeminded people and learn all I can along this journey is priceless.
I could sing the praises of CYA all day, but you will only ever appreciate it if you attend. If you are serious about achieving your dream of publication, then attend you should.
I have always been confident I would be published; you have to be otherwise you will drown under the criticism and rejection. But would I have achieved publication as quickly without the lessons learned and valuable tools from CYA? I honestly don’t think so.
My advice is to immerse yourself in the writing world totally, network, attend festivals, workshops and soak up as much information as you can. Be seen, be heard and give back. Always give back and help others by offering what you have learned. This together with working hard at your craft will ready you for that day when you finally receive that acceptance letter. And believe me it’s on its way.