Wombat Books Blog

Wombat Books blog is the place to keep up to date with all the goings-on in the world of Aussie kid's books.

Passionate Pursuits for Author, Illustrator and Characters

foxandmoonbeanmedNew children’s book reminds adults and children alike the importance of pursuing passions and doing what we love.
Set in Victorian England, Fox and Moonbeam explores the striking yet unlikely friendship of dancing star, Mademoiselle Moonbeam Lapin, and Gerard Fox, a servant who winds clocks.

The lavishly illustrated book reminds readers the importance of self-belief and finding the courage to step out of the shadows and into the light.

This is a particularly relevant message today when 1 in 35 young Australians aged 4-17 experience depressive disorders that stem from a lack of self-confidence.

Author, Aleesah Darlison, has created the unconfident character, Gerard Fox, to relate to those children who may be too afraid to pursue their passions.

“Gerard Fox is incredibly talented but his shyness forces him to live a lonely life in the shadows. Hopefully, young readers who feel shyness themselves will connect with Gerard and, like him, find the courage to stand in the light so they can be who they really want to be,” said Aleesah.

“I think it’s important to send positive, encouraging messages to children,” agreed illustrator, Narelda. “Fox and Moonbeam have a wonderful, supportive friendship, both have found a purpose to their life and have followed their passion.”

Just like Fox and Moonbeam, Aleesah and Narelda have followed their own passion: children’s books.

“Being able to dream and be creative, using your imagination and making the magical happen is the best thing about being a children’s author,” Aleesah said.

Fox and Moonbeam is now available from Wombat Books!

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Author Interview: Aleesah Darlison

OUP Darlison Mar15 0291. What prompted you to sit down and write the story of Fox and Moonbeam?

I’d have to say that this story sprang, unbidden, from my imagination. The first line, ‘Gerard Fox wound clocks for the Queen’, simply popped into my head one day. The story and the characters soon followed.

 

2. What was it like to see Narelda Joy bring your story to life with her beautiful illustrations?

It was very exciting seeing Narelda’s artwork come through. Even in those early draft stages I knew that what she was creating with her many and varied layers and the complexity and beauty of her illustrations would result in something special. Each page in Fox and Moonbeam is lavishly illustrated and beautifully detailed. There’s so much for both young and older readers to discover in these pages.

 

3. What’s the best thing about being an author?

Being able to dream and be creative. Using your imagination. Making the magical happen. Bringing a stylish, handsome fox to life and allowing him to have an incredible friendship with a white rabbit who also happens to be a world-famous ballerina.

 

foxandmoonbeanmed

4. Why did you choose a fox as your main character? Most people are pretty afraid of foxes, but we can’t help but love Gerard Fox.

Are people afraid of foxes? I’ve always utterly adored them, but then I do tend to see animals in a different light to others and I try to bring that out in my stories. Every animal is unique. Perhaps foxes are just misunderstood and have been given a bad rap all these years. Of course, Gerard Fox is handsome, kind and humble – maybe that’s why he’s so irresistible. He’s incredibly talented but his shyness forces him to live in the shadows. Moonbeam helps Fox find the courage to step into the light.

 

5. What book are you reading at the moment?

Billionaire Boy by David Walliams. I love him. I mean, I love his sense of humour!

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Illustrator Interview: Narelda Joy

NareldaJoy.jpg1. What three words best describe your illustration style?

Detailed, Textured, Soft colours (sorry that's four!)

2. What excites you about drawing for children’s books?
I love being able to create an imaginary world that draws the reader in to become a real place for them. Illustrating children’s books takes me to my happy place, where I feel like I’m making a difference, and creating a little bit of magic.

3. What made you want to bring to life the story of Fox and Moonbeam?

I think it’s important to send positive, encouraging messages to children. Fox and Moonbeam have a wonderful, supportive friendship, both have found a purpose to their life and have followed their passion. I’m a great believer in following one’s passion. I adore animals so that’s a big factor in choosing it too. I also love historical costuming and did lots of research on the Victorian era from clothing to clocks, gas lamps, and theatre lighting.

4. How will you celebrate your first published book with Wombat Books?

I’ll be launching Fox and Moonbeam at a Children’s Book Council of Australia Sub-Branch event in the Blue Mountains of NSW on Saturday 23rd September. We are having a Forest Forage where children can come on a treasure hunt, following the paw prints, and explore all about animals in Springwood Library. I’ll be running a workshop on the day and signing books. I am very excited!

 

You can get your copy of Fox and Moonbeam here.

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Aleesah talks about Yay! It's Library Day!

DSC 6173What made you say yes to being involved in the Illustration Challenge?

It sounded like a really fun project to get involved in and one where I could work closely with young artists, possibly helping to set them on the path of an illustration career. I'm all for engaging kids in writing and the arts and getting them to explore their imaginations and creativity. As we're discovering, there are SO many talented child artists out there, which is just lovely to see. 

What do you like about the Illustration Challenge?

I like the fact that it engages children and their families and gets them excited about creating a book where they can be the stars of the show. When we conducted the launches for Zoo Ball, the result of the first Illustration Challenge, the winning artists were so proud of themselves and rightly so. We had a lot of fun with it, presenting the children their books and showcasing their achievement to classmates, parents and the local media. Getting your work chosen and subsequently published in a hardcover picture book is a huge achievement and it was great to see everyone celebrating that.

What are a few of your special memories out of the Zoo Ball challenge?

Getting that first glimpse at the entries as they rolled in, seeing the book come together with all the beautiful winning illustrations - which allows you to discover something new on every page as you move from one illustration style to the next - and then seeing the looks on the kids' faces at the book launches where the focus was on them. There were lots of smiles, lots of laughs, lots of happy kids.

What hopes do you have for Yay! It's Library Day?

I really hope children, families, schools and libraries get behind the initiative. The story I've created this time allows for children to use their imaginations and create wild and vivid scenes throughout the book. Having the story related to a visit to the library also allows us to focus on two things: the beauty of books and stories and how they can engage children on so many levels, and also those amazing school and community spaces, those much-needed, much-loved but sometimes undervalued libraries and the people who work there.

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Meet Zoo Ball Challenge Winner: Ashley

Meet Zoo Ball Challenge Winner: Ashley

Age: 11
School: Pymble Ladies' College

Tell us a bit about your illustration? I drew my entry with pencils for both outlining and colouring. I read the story, particularly for the page, and stated the animals required for the page. I made sure to put them in my picture. I liked drawing the animals and the amount of space I left for the text.

Why did you enter the Zoo Ball Challenge? I love to draw and I really want to be a book illustrator or a cartoonist/animator. That's why I entered this competition.

What are your interests? My favourite hobby is drawing. I draw on paper, canvas, laptops and tablets. I also like to do crafts such as knitting, sewing and other art projects. I enjoy reading and playing games on consoles and tablets. That is where I get my drawing inspirations from. I do Ballet and Gymnastic and I also play Cello and Euphonium for my school's orchestra and band.

Ashley

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Meet Zoo Ball Challenge Winner: Sarah

Meet Zoo Ball Challenge Winner: Sarah

First name: Sarah
Age: 17
School: Open Training and Education Network (OTEN)

What are your interests? I like drawing, watching movies, cooking, dancing, playing the piano, and bike riding.

Tell us a bit about your illustration? At the time of the Zooball challenge I was experimenting with drawing on the computer so I decided to attempt creating a drawing with it for the challenge. Although it was not quite the quality I wanted I felt it conveyed the essence of that scene in the story. I felt it adequately showed how Ned was feeling as he watched his ball sailing into the lion’s cage, and I also thought it created a sense of anticipation.

Why did you enter? The reason I entered the Zooball challenge was because I was curious to see how well I would do, and the thought of getting a drawing published was exciting.

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Meet Zoo Ball Challenge Winner: Isabelle

Meet Isabelle 

Isabelle

Age: 11
 
School: Maria Regina Catholic Primary School
 
What are your interests? I love to draw or paint whatever comes to mind on any given day; using chalk, charcoal pencils, watercolour pencils and acrylic paints. Listening to pop music and singing are a very big part of my day. I also enjoy playing soccer and tennis. Being part of a team keeps me fit and I get to spend more time with my friends.
 
Tell us a bit about your illustration? I researched each animal included in the page spread and on the back cover to make sure I captured their true expression and personality. Secondly, I figured out where the ball needed to be placed on the page and designed the characters around it. Finally, I carefully drew the animals in the foreground and left the background till last, placing them in their zoo environment and making the ball look as though it was bouncing from animal to animal each in their separate enclosures. I really loved designing the pelican on the back cover because the ball was scooped up in its bill throughout the story. I thought this would be super challenging to illustrate, but I was really happy with the outcome. 
 
Why did you enter? I entered the “Zoo Ball” challenge following Aleesah Darlison’s visit to our primary school at the beginning of 2014. She wasisabellewise really passionate about her writing and I am really passionate about my drawing. I thought immediately that this was the challenge for me! I entered 5 illustrations which took me three months to complete, and then kept my fingers crossed. I wished and thought how cool it would be to see one of my drawings in print for my family and I to enjoy forever.
 
Any wise words? I would like to say that if you find something that you really love, go ahead and do it. You never know when opportunities like this might come your way. Take them with both hands, be brave, and do your best!
 
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Meet Zoo Ball Challenge Winner: Meredith

Meet Zoo Ball Challenge Winner: Meredith

Meet Meredith

Age: 14

School: William Carey Christian School

What do you like best about your illustration? I drew, first, the outline of the major shapes in my picture, and then used water colour pencils to fill in the picture. I liked the lighter colours where the glass fence appears.

Why did you enter the Zoo Ball Challenge? Because I enjoy drawing and something different to draw.

Tell us a bit about yourself? I really love drawing and painting and anything crafty! I play piano and love it.

Meredith

 

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Meet Zoo Ball Challenge Winner: Brendan

Meet Brendan

brendanAge: 11

School: Camberwell Grammar School

Tell us a little bit about your illustration? At the start, I read the whole story a few times. While I was reading, the animal that particularly interested me was the penguins. So I decided to work on the two pages with penguins. I went on the internet to look at many different penguins photos and cartoon penguins which gave me inspiration to draw my penguins in a more funny and vivid way. I did many drafts to create each of my penguins with different actions and facial expressions in order to make them all unique. My illustration depicts the penguins trying really hard to catch the ball, so much that they do not notice that the pelican has scooped it up and flown away. I tried to make my drawing more interesting to match closely in line with the text.

 Why did you enter? Thank you very much to my school for letting me know about this illustration competition. I wanted to enter because it was in the holidays and it would give me something fun to do. Moreover, it meant that I might have a chance to have my illustration published. I felt so excited about it and I like drawing which made me want to brendanparticipate even more.

What are your interests? I enjoy drawing and playing Minecraft in my spare time. I also like footy and soccer. My favourite thing to do during holidays is going away. Reading, writing stories and sleeping are also my favourite activities.

Any final words? Finally, I want to say a big thank you for choosing my illustration and I can't wait for the book Zoo Ball to come out.

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Join Our Spider Iggy Colouring In Competition

Join Our Spider Iggy Colouring In Competition
From dusk til dawn, Spider Iggy spun his thread in the most intricate, amazing and unusual patterns.
Spider Iggy is the latest picture book from award-winning author, Aleesah Darlison, and UK illustrator, Sarah Jane Hinder.
 
For your chance to win a great Spider Iggy book prize pack, including several of Aleesah’s other titles for you and your school, complete our colouring in sheet, scan and email it to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
 
Get the colouring in sheet here!
 
 
The competition closes 30 November 2015, so get your entries in before then!
Please note that winning entries may be used on Wombat websites and social media.
Good luck!
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Book Week with popular children's author, Aleesah Darlison

Book Week with popular children's author, Aleesah Darlison
Celebrate Book Week 2015 with award-winning children’s author, Aleesah Darlison, at Mosman Library!
 
Aleesah will talk about the inspiration behind her brand new picture book, Spider Iggy, and will discuss some of her other popular books. She will talk about the amazing animal characters in her stories and use puppets, soft toys and crowd involvement as she reads Spider Iggy and other stories. Colouring-in pages and giveaways will be included.
When: Monday 24 August, 4 – 5pm. 
Where: Mosman Library, 605 Military Rd, Mosman NSW 2088
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Meet Zoo Ball Challenge Winner: Sophie

Meet Zoo Ball Challenge Winner: Sophie

Meet Sophie

 Age: 16

School: Tooleybuc Central School

Tell us a little bit about your illustration? The process of creating my illustration was quite long as I experimented a lot with how I wanted the main character to look before I began the drafts for the final drawing. I think I did two or three drafts before drawing the final illustration, experimenting with composition and colours. My favourite part of creating my entry was discovering how to illustrate the motion of the ball bouncing.

 Why did you enter? When I saw the Zoo Ball challenge advertised I was very excited about the possibility of having one of my illustrations published. I’ve always thought being an illustrator would be a really fun and rewarding job and I though this challenge might give me a taste of what being an illustrator is like - as well as being a lot of fun!

 What are your interests? I have had a massive passion for horses ever since I was really little and am very lucky to own two horses as well as two very naughty ponies. I particularly love working with and training young horses. I also have a love for graphic design, writing and drawing. I’ve kind of tied all of my passions together by making a horse magazine for friends and family twice a year - which is just a lot of fun!

Any final words? I really love the opportunity this challenge is giving budding illustrators around Australia and I want to say congrats to all the talented artists whose entries were chosen. To all of the talented artists whose illustrations unfortunately didn’t get chosen - great effort, don’t be scared to keep practising and make sure you try all the different ways you can draw and make art, it’s so worth it and definitely a lot of fun!

 

 

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Interview with award-winning Aleesah Darlison

Interview with award-winning Aleesah Darlison

Aleesah Darlison is a multi-published, award-winning Australian author. She has written over twenty picture books and novels for boys and girls of all ages. Her story themes promote the concepts of courage, understanding, anti-bullying, love, self-belief, friendship and teamwork. Her books include Spider Iggy, Little Meerkat, Puggle’s Problem, Warambi, Little Good Wolf, Ash Rover and the Unicorn Riders Series. Most recently, Aleesah won the 2015 Environment Award for Children’s Literature in the nonfiction category for her book, Our Class Tiger and the inaugural Puggle Award (Children's Choice Award). When Aleesah isn’t creating entertaining and enchanting stories for children, she’s usually looking after her four energetic children or taking her frisky dog, Floyd, for long walks on the beach. Her website is www.aleesahdarlison.com

1. What was the first story you ever wrote and has it been published?

I’ve been writing since I was a child and many of those stories will never be published. At least I hope they never are! Since taking writing seriously as an adult and starting my journey to publication, I’ve also written many stories that won’t ever get published. It takes a while to ‘perfect the craft’ of writing so those failed attempts should be expected from everyone.

2. What is your favourite part about being an author?

Being able to escape into other worlds, dream up characters and adventures, put it all down onto paper and share that with people – and then wait for their reactions.

3. What was your favourite children’s book when you were a kid?

The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis

4. What is your favourite children’s book now?

That’s a very good question. Besides my books, of course(!), I love the Diary of A Wimpy Kid series. They always make me laugh. But, then, I love lots of children’s books. Too many to list here!

5. Have you ever travelled overseas as an author?

I’ve been a guest author presenter at the Hong Kong International Literary Festival and I’ve toured schools in Hong Kong at other times. At the end of September, I’m about to head off to the WORD Vancouver Literary Festival in Canada where I’ll be presenting and to the Young Child Expo and Conference in Spokane, Washington State in the US. It’s going to be an exciting trip not only because I’ll be a guest presenter at both events, but because I’ll be able to use my travels as inspiration for new stories.

6. Have you met anyone even more famous than you that was exciting?

I’ve met lots of famous authors like Wendy Orr, Isobel Carmody, Kate Forsyth, Leigh Hobbs and others, many of whom I’ve become good friends with. The children’s book industry is very friendly and supportive. I’ve also met John Howard and Clive Palmer.

7. What do you like writing about the most?

Stories that are highly imaginative and magical are the best. I love to write fantasy adventure stories and fractured fairytales. I also love writing animal stories and comedies. Making kids laugh sure is better than making them cry…

8. What do you consider your biggest achievement?

Gaining and maintaining publication in a highly competitive industry. Raising four beautiful, respectful children (a work in progress) and trying my best at all times to create stories that kids will love.

9. Where do you see the future of children’s books (ebooks/apps/print)?

There’s no fighting the march towards digital platforms, but hopefully paper books will still survive – especially picture books for bedtime reading and group enjoyment in the classroom or library. There’s something about the atmosphere of turning the page that no digital platform will ever be able to beat.

10. What is your favourite way/time to read?

Anywhere. Any time. Books are completely portable and so is your imagination. Just bring both along for a fun time.

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Meet Zoo Ball Challenge Winner: Hari

Meet Zoo Ball Challenge Winner: Hari

Meet Hari

Age: 9

School: Camberwell Grammar School

What are your interests? I have been interested in drawing from a very young age. I like to draw cartoons, landscapes and characters from books I enjoyed reading.  Drawing the scene from Zoo ball interested me because of this. Apart from drawing, I also like reading and playing the Violin. I love travelling and enjoy learning about different cultures.

Tell us a little bit about your illustration? I chose to draw the illustration on page 10 which shows the Kangaroo kicking the ball over the fence. I tried to make the ball look distinctive and bright as the ball is an important part of the story book. I enjoyed entering this competition and drawing the picture, as I like drawing animals and cartoons. I wanted the picture to grab the attention of young readers.

Why did you enter? I found out about the competition through my school and received encouragement to participate. I was excited by the chance to illustrate a part of this book and share my love of drawing for small children.  

Any other comments? I am grateful to wombat books for the opportunity to be involved in this book.

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Meet Zoo Ball Challenge Winner: Macy

Meet Zoo Ball Challenge Winner: Macy

Meet Macy

Age: 13

School: Adelaide High School

Macy hoto on 05 07 2015 at 202

Tell us a little bit about your illustration? The page I drew was page 4-5 of Zoo Ball. I was given a line which my illustration was to be paired with. Page 4-5 was about an amazing animal, native to Australia… The kangaroo! The way I went about it was to capture the liveliness of the kangaroo and the joy that it brings to children. My cartoon had to be filled with joy and colour so that children reading the book would want to look at it again and again. I used water colours and pen to create this effect. It turned out as vivid and eye-catching. I particularly liked how your eye is drawn to the pops of colour that don’t clash and work well together. 

Why did you enter? As a small child I used to spend long amounts of time in a space our family called “up top.” Every month my parents would supply me with big sheets of drawing paper, and even as a toddler I knew that I loved art. I loved the feel of a pen in my hand and paper under my fingers. As I grew, I read more children’s books and I saw the pages filled with colour and it gave me new ideas for my drawing. Sometimes the only thing I had to occupy myself was my drawing. When I heard there was a chance of being featured as an illustrator I knew that this was a chance I could not miss. A chance to be published in a book that would potentially reach lots of children and inspire them to draw was why this competition was a could-not-miss chance!

What are your interests? As a small child I grew up with art by my side, (obviously), the other thing I enjoyed and found pleasure in was participating in sports, such as running, track, field, badminton, netball, touch rugby and football. I have represented my state three times. I enjoy doing short runs around my neighbourhood, (next to a beautiful river near my house) as it keeps me fit and healthy. My other hobbies include: cycling, reading, dancing, singing, walking and shopping!  All of these things play a big part in my life keeping me happy and that is why I keep them in my life.

What inspires you?My inspiration came from an artist called “Hannakin.” (A local Australian artist.) Whilst searching round a market in Adelaide I saw this amazing little store entitled “Hannakin.”  It was filled with perfect little tokens and hand-drawn cards. The drawings were such a new idea to me. I realized in my little artist brain that I could potentially turn this style into one of my own. As soon as I got home I jumped straight to my desk, my little drawing space, my pen felt so naturally free as I traced a new kind of drawing style. The characters seemed so perfect and my small sketches grew from tiny ideas to a big thought out piece of art and became unique in a quirky way until they were my own designs. And this inspiration came from a little stall in the centre of Adelaide.

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Free book with all orders! One week only.

Free book with all orders! One week only.

Excited by the upcoming Illustration Challenge book - Zoo Ball, by Aleesah Darlison?

Purchase any book from our website this week and recieve a FREE copy of Aleesah's first book published with Wombat Books - Puggle's Problem (paperback).

Puggle's Problem is a gentle, humorous tale emphasising the importance of perseverance and patience. It also showcases some of Australia’s best-loved native animals and their unique characteristics.

ONE copy of the book will be sent every order place online through our website this week. 

Aleesah is also the author of Little Meerkat and Little Good Wolf illustrated by fellow Aussie, Shannon Melville.

 

*Offer valid until 5pm, AEST Friday, 28 November.

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Little Meerkat: Big Ambitions

Little Meerkat: Big Ambitions

Little Meerkat has just been released and you can win a copy!

Subscribe to our blog and leave us a comment with the name you subscribed with below to go into the draw!

Little Meerkat, a picture book by best-selling, award-winning author Aleesah Darlison.

From dedicated documentary series to insurance advertisements, meerkats are familiar and popular animals. Aleesah has used this internationally recognised animal as the main character for her latest picture book, to ensure children from all backgrounds, cultures and countries can connect with and learn from Little Meerkat's story.

Little Meerkat is a humorous, lively and adventurous picture book aimed at 3-7 year olds. The main character, Little Meerkat, craves independence and adventure in his life. His extended family, of Mum, Dad, brother, sister, Aunty and Uncle, are there to guide and protect him.

"This is a story that will resonate with young children who sense within themselves a desire to explore and grow, but who still need family support and a cuddle from Mum (or Dad) at the end of the day to reassure them," Aleesah says.

Because Little Meerkat is such a brave and inscrutable character, his behaviour, dialogue and mis-adventures bring humour to the story, offering fabulous opportunities for the illustrator, Shannon Melville, to interpret the text and create truly inspiring and unique visual images.

Aleesah Darlison is a multi-published children's book author. Aleesah's picture books include Puggle's Problem (NSW Premier's Reading Challenge), Bearly There (NSW PRC) and Warambi (2012 CBCA Notable Book Eve Pownall Award, 2012 Wilderness Society Award for Children's Literature – Shortlist, NSW PRC). Her chapter books include Fangs and Little Good Wolf. Her novels and popular series are I Dare You, Unicorn Riders, Totally Twins and Ash Rover. Aleesah has won numerous awards for her writing including an Australian Society of Authors (ASA) mentorship. Aleesah's short stories have appeared in the Random House Stories for Boys Anthology, the black dog books Short and Scary Anthology, Chicken Soup for the Soul, Hopscotch: Packed Lunch Anthology, Fight or Flight Anthology, The School Magazine and Little Ears Magazine. Aleesah is currently the Director of the NSW Writers' Centre Kids & YA Festival.

Shannon Melville is a freelance illustrator, graphic designer and community art teacher from Perth. She has illustrated the following books: My Arms Your Legs (Blake Education) by Kim Rackham, Matilda's Morning Adventures and Choose Active Transport: A Teacher's Resource (Physical Activity Taskforce, 2010) by Kim Chute, Little Good Wolf (Wombat Books, 2011) by Aleesah Darlison, Coming Home, by Sharon McGuinness and Boondaburra, by Natalie Londsale.

Available from all good bookstores or buy online now.

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An interview with Aleesah Darlison

An interview with Aleesah Darlison

Hi, I’m Aleesah Darlison. I write picture books and novels for children. Being an author is the best job in the world. I love it!

Question 1: What was the first story you ever wrote and has it been published?

At the start of my career, I wrote lots of stories and many of them will never be published because they missed the mark. However, one of the first stories I did have published was There’s Magic at Pa’s. It appeared in a magazine called Little Ears, which was edited by Di Bates.

Question 2: What was your first book published?

A picture book called Puggle’s Problem, which was published by Wombat Books.

Question 3: What is your favourite part about being an author?

Being able to create characters and stories from ideas that come from inside my imagination then sharing them with other people.

Question 4:What is the hardest part about being an author?

Managing writing time with marketing time and family time. There’s never enough hours in the day.

Question 5: What do you do for fun?

Spend time with my family. Go to restaurants and eat yummy food. Make myself go to the gym for some ‘me’ time and some exercise.

Question 6: How do you test out your stories? Or who do you test them on?

By reading them out aloud, creating dummy books, sometimes reading them to my children, and running them by my agent or editor. Professional, third-party feedback is always the most valuable.

Question 7: What was your favourite children’s book when you were a kid?

The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis.

Question 8: What is your favourite children’s book now?

I’m loving my new picture book, Little Meerkat, at the moment. It’s published by Wombat Books and illustrated by Shannon Melville who is doing an AWESOME job.

Question 9: Have you ever travelled overseas as an author?

Yes, I was a guest speaker at the Hong Kong International Literary Festival in 2011 and in 2012 I returned to Hong Kong to conduct school visits. I’m looking at going back there in 2014 and possibly also Singapore. Of course, I’m always willing to consider invitations from other countries, too…

Question 10: Have you met anyone even more famous than you that was exciting?

When I was first starting out as an author, I always got extremely nervous meeting well-known authors. My palms would get sweaty, my throat would constrict and I’d have trouble talking. I just admired those authors so much and thought I would never, ever be as famous or as successful as they were. Thank goodness my nerves and my confidence have improved and luckily I’ve enjoyed my own small successes so I’m not so bad anymore.

Question 11: What writing genre do you like to do the most?

That’s hard to say. I love writing picture books that feature animals and I love writing fantasy adventure for older children. It’s all good fun.

Question 12: What do you consider your biggest achievement?

Achieving publication and creating a career out of what I love doing most in the world.

Question 13: Where do you see the future of children’s books (ebooks/apps/print)?

I hope paper books are going to stick around for a long time to come, but with the way technology is going and how kids interact with the digital world, I think we will start to view and read more and more books on-screen.

Question 14: What is your favourite time to read?

Anytime is a good time to escape into a book. I’d read all day if I could. When I was a kid I used to get in trouble for reading so much.

Question 15: What book are you reading right now?

The Power of One (children’s version) by Bryce Courtenay.

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