Author: AusYA Bloggers
What inspired you to be a writer and write Sky?
When growing up did you ever dream of being an author?
Did you enjoy reading and writing?
I always loved to read and write and my diaries were full of poems and stories. When I was young I dreamed of working with animals and I considered many different professions, such as becoming a nature writer for National Geographic, veterinarian or wildlife documentary maker. In high school I did my work experience at the RSPCA and later worked in communication roles with several Australian wildlife and nature conservation organisations. I then founded Voiceless, the animal protection institute, with my father Brian and that became (and still is!) my passion. It wasn’t until ten years ago that I started writing seriously and I didn’t want to stop. I hope to continue writing for a long time, conveying a message about animal protection that is essential to my life and beliefs.
Are there any books or movies that had a particular influence on the story and characters you created?
Many books influenced and touched me when I was young – I particularly loved books written from the perspective of animals and brought their experiences, their voices, to life. When I was little, I wanted to transport myself into the British countryside and the world of Beatrix Potter’s Peter Rabbit. Roald Dahl’s Fantastic Mr. Fox was a favourite because the foxes were the heroes of the story. Reading these books inspired me to write the character of Sky’s chicken, Chirp. I was also a big reader of Judy Bloom books because they summed up the teenage girl experience, with all the awkwardness and anxieties. I tried to reflect this experience in Sky and her insecurities and social pressures.
I’m a huge movie fan and there are countless animal-centric movies that have inspired me. I dreamed of talking to animals like in the film Dr. Doolittle. Recently I saw a brilliant film, The Isle of Dogs which is super creative and thought-provoking about how we treat animals we consider unwanted or label as ‘pests’. I was also heavily influenced when I was younger by wildlife films like Gorilla’s in the Mist and Born Free which were true stories about people standing up for animals against huge challenges, just like Sky.
How is your love for animals reflected in Sky?
Like Sky, I have loved animals since I was a young child and believe strongly that they deserve to be respected and live a life free of industrialised cruelty and harm.
What was the process of getting Sky published like?
When I wrote Sky I had no idea if I would find a publisher. It was such a wonderful elated feeling, after a year of searching, to find someone who believed in the story. Publishing can be hard but the key is to not give up! I am very excited that Pantera Press is now my publisher and committed to the Animal Allies Series.
Are you planning on writing more books?
The second book in my series is called Snow and it is coming out this July. I hope readers will love the setting as much as I do – the stunning vast frozen landscapes of winter Alaska. Sky meets her father for the first time, gets to know Jaxon, a local musician, and discovers a spectacular world full of wildlife. I am currently working on the third book, Star, for release next year.
What's your best advice on writing and the best advice you were given?
Ernest Heminway said that ‘the only kind of writing is re-writing’ and that is so true. One imagines from movie scenes that writers type out their book and, bingo, it’s finished. That’s not what really happens. The first draft is only the foundation for tens of re-writes and slowly the book is formed and refined. It’s a slow and patient process but one that I really enjoy. The other advice I would give is not to over-think. Just allow yourself to put words on paper, as much as possible, and mute the naysayers in your head that tell you it’s not good enough. If you are too self-critical at first, it makes creativity impossible. Just let yourself be free to write imperfectly. Later on, you can fix and refine the language and story.
What are some of your favourite animals?
Our house is full of rescue dogs, cats, chickens and rabbits. I love them all. But, like Sky, I am most obsessed with dogs and, if I had my way, I’d have an entire pack! I also love wildlife. If I was forced to choose, I would say wolves, whales, sea turtles, lions, leopards and elephants are my all time favourites. But it’s very hard to choose!
Thank you so much AusYABloggers and Kait from Elysian Words. The article was republished from here.