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.
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An interview with Lisa Taylor

An interview with Lisa Taylor

Lisa Taylor graduated (eons ago) from Concordia University in Montreal, Canada with a BA in English Literature and History. Shortly after she began a lengthy career in marketing for the 3D graphics and animation software industry. In 2010, she and her family immigrated to New Zealand. They brought with them a family project, a manuscript actually, entitled Motive Games. The story combined one of her teenage sons’ interests (videogames) with one of her own (mystery novels). In 2011 the manuscript won the Caleb Prize in the Young Adult category and was published in 2012 by Wombat Books. The book is now being offered as a bundle: purchase of the print book comes with a free copy of the enhanced ebook.

Lisa is currently working on a sequel to Motive Games, working title: Kiwi Games. Taylor and her family live like pioneers in New Zealand’s Northland, taunting their family back in Canada with photos of exotic locally grown fruits and snowless winters.

Question 1: What is your favourite part about being an author?

Being an author – as opposed to a writer or editor – is awesome because I get to write about the things that interest me. (I admit that 3D graphics and animation… never interested me that much, hey wait… I’m still writing about those… hmmm.) I also get to write in a style of my choosing (though there are boundaries). Then there’s the challenge of writing fiction. I love it. There’s so much more “art” involved as compared to writing non-fiction (though that has its artistic side as well).

Question 2: What is the hardest part about being an author?

It’s the same as being self-employed in anything: it takes discipline. This means disciplining oneself to set aside the time for writing as well as disciplining oneself not to cut corners. In other words, I’ve got to do the research to get the facts right, the technique right, the editing (multiple passes) right…

Question 3: What do you do for fun?

I play the flute (local sinfonia) and sing (local choir). I also read stories to my kids (yes, even the big ones) and go out exploring/travelling. I used to garden for fun but that’s become less fun and more serious since my son started a horticulture business (though, did I tell you I planted banana trees the other day… oh the joy!)

Question 4: How do you test out your stories? Or who do you test them on?

My first audience is my children (ages 10-22) as well as my husband (the technical genius behind my stories). They often get their friends involved as well.

Question 5: What was your favourite children’s book when you were a kid?

It pains me to admit it now (having revisited them as an adult) but it was the Nancy Drew mysteries. The writing is abysmal, but it obviously had an enormous influence on me: I’m now the one writing mystery stories starring teenage heroes.

Question 6: What is your favourite children’s book now?

Wow… there’s SO many children’s books I love. The Chronicle’s of Narnia rank high as does A Wrinkle in Time (and most of the rest of the series). I’ve been listening to an audiobook of Watership Down recently and thoroughly loving it. Part of me would love to write more literary children’s fiction (that’s why I can’t resist sneaking in the literary/historical allusions in my own writing… though I try to hide them).

Question 7: Have you ever travelled overseas as an author?

I officially became an author overseas (Aussie is overseas for me). I’ve certainly travelled a good deal as a “writer/marketer” including the US (no biggie when you’re Canadian), Europe and Japan. I’d love to travel to them as an author some day.

Question 8: Have you met anyone even more famous than you that was exciting?

Being in an adjunct of the film industry you meet lots of famous people… but not authors so much. I was once cc’d on an email to Bill Gates (when I worked for Microsoft) and was jazzed about that for about a month. I’ve met and worked with Academy-Award winning technology makers (including my husband… though we’ve misplaced Oscar at the moment). I’ve been in the same room as starlets (like Kate Hudson) and danced onstage with Smash Mouth (long story… don’t ask). Still, the people who have made the greatest impression on me have been the quiet, faithful men and women of God I’ve met over the years. They’ve got no blog, no books, no podcasts and yet, they have made a more profound impact on the people God has brought into their sphere than most of us.

Question 9: What do you consider your biggest achievement?

Natural child birth. That and keeping my children (especially Sean) alive into adulthood.

Question 10: What book are you reading right now?

The Long Winter (Little House on the Prairies series), Operation Foxtrot Five (deferred until I’ve done the first draft of my current story), Owls in the Family, and Teen Sex by the Book (goes with a workshop my husband and I give to teens). I actually try to stay away from my own genre (YA) when I’m writing because I know that I become very easily influenced by the writing styles I’m reading. Speaking of writing… gotta run.

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An interview with Kirrily Lowe

An interview with Kirrily Lowe

Hi, my name is Kirrily Lowe and I am the author of The Invisible Tree Children’s Books.

Question 1: What was your first book published?

Love and Joy of The Invisible Tree Series.

Question 2: What is your favourite part about being an author?

Capturing truth in a fun and palatable way.

Question 3: What is the hardest part about being an author?

Self promotion.

Question 4: What do you do for fun?

Hang out with my family and with friends.  I love bushwalking, the beach and nature in general.  

Question 5: How do you test out your stories? Or who do you test them on?

My husband, my kids and good friends.

Question 6: What is your favourite children’s book now?

I have fallen in love the with book The Little White Horse by Elizabeth Goudge – it is an old book, but stunningly beautiful and poignant with meaning.  

Question 7: What do you consider your biggest achievement?

Giving birth to my children.

 

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An interview with Debra Tidball

An interview with Debra Tidball

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

The first story I ever wrote was in primary school: The Old Grass Hut about a convict who escaped from Fort Denison and out swam two ravenous sharks across Sydney harbour to safety. Obviously not about to be published any time soon! But I still have the story in my keepsakes box – it’s an exercise book lovingly bound in brown paper and plastic, complete with hand drawn illustrations. I can still remember how it felt to write it, sitting on my bed excited as the ideas came and how clever I felt putting them into words for people to replay the story in their own minds.

Question 2: What is your favourite part about being an author?

My favourite part of being an author is that it’s all consuming – I get lost in the act of creating. Giving form to formless fragments of feelings or ideas is hugely exciting and gratifying when you get it just right.

Question 3: What is the hardest part of being an author?

The hours and the mind-space it takes to get it ‘just right’! I find it hard work to set aside the time free of looming distractions and then find the right way to say what’s floating formless around my head. I can’t just write in a spare half hour or so here and there. When I’m writing, it’s an all consuming quest for the story and the words to best convey it. It invades my head and leaves little space for anything else. So when I’m cooking dinner, or waiting in a queue, or driving the car – especially when I’m driving the car – I am constantly distracted by ideas and words and turns of phrase and similes etc. I need a pen and paper handy all the time  - I become hopeful that the traffic lights turn red because it’s not so safe to balance a paper and pen on the steering wheel while driving – although it has been done!

Question 4: What is your favourite way/time to read?

I prefer to read like I write – all or nothing. I find short bursts unsatisfying when all I really want to do is curl up on a comfy lounge or in bed with my book and with the hours of the day spread out before me. Nothing else gets done – cooking, washing, shopping, sleeping, nothing (apart from a mid afternoon doze). When they were little my children would groan when they saw me with a book because they knew it meant that they would be neglected for however long it took to finish. Now they are grown up they can cook and wash and shop for me while I sit on the lounge and read! Needless to say, most of my reading is done in the holidays.

Question 5: What’s your favourite genre?

I’m a sucker for good picture book – I’m a bookseller’s dream! I have to buy books that are beautiful, clever or funny and preferably Australian – not to read or give away to children, but to add to my collection. I love them.

I also love reading adult and young adult novels for pleasure and I’m happy to borrow them (although if something is especially memorable I have to own it). I went through a stage of listening to classics on CD in the car - it really made me look forward to the mundane drives to and from school or work.

Question 6: What’s your favourite children’s book?

As I child I loved the Beatrix Potter books and they still are one of my treasured collections. However it’s impossible to say an all time favourite. Of the most recent books I have bought:

The book that made me smile with the warmth of memories was Rudie Nudie by Emma Quay.

The book that made me laugh out loud was Nighty Night by Margaret Wild and Kerry Argent.

The book I thought was brilliant in the way it was written and illustrated and the quintessentially Australian story it told was Flood by Jackie French and Bruce Whatley.

Question 7: What book are you reading right now?

What books am I reading? I have several on the go at the moment.

The God of Small Things, by Arundhati Roy – I haven’t hit my stride with this one yet – there are too many interruptions, I should have waited for the holidays!

Heading Home, by Naomi Reed – easy to read in short bursts while I’m waiting - for a train, or a child, or the doctor etc. Thought provoking and uplifting.

Red, by Libby Gleeson.

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My Sister reminded me about the Beatrix potter soft toys I used to sew as a teenager. Visit my facebook page: debratidabllpage to ... Read More
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What was your favourite book when you were a child?

When my son was born I rummaged through my cupboard and located an old box. I knew I had stored my favourite books from my childhood in it in case my children, one day, enjoyed them too.

Going through them as an adult was a bittersweet experience. Some of them I read again with fondness. With some I looked through their pages and said to myself, ‘What did I ever see in this thing?’. The book of fairy tales was especially scary. I wonder if my parents did some editing when they read us those stories, because they certainly scared me as an adult!

There’s no doubt it hurt me when my son didn’t feel the same way I did about the books I gave him. Being a boy, I probably couldn’t expect him to appreciate Sparkle the Pony or Dot and the Kangaroo as much as I did, but it was difficult to deal with, especially considering how many wonderful memories there were for me in those books.

The books we read as a child can provide us with memories we will treasure forever. I remember how often I asked my father to read The Wheedle on the Needle and The Mole Family Christmas. These are books that few people apart from me will have heard of, but I will never forget them. I wonder which books my son will remember most? Will it be a common classic like The Cat in the Hat or The Gruffalo? Will it be some others that we found in some obscure place that will only be special to him? Will it be some of Wombat’s own titles, like Little Good Wolf or The Anything Shop? 

I will watch with interest to see which books he keeps to pass on to his children.

Lynne Stringer

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Reading aloud to your child

When I (Lynne Stringer) was about seven years old the teacher in my class started to read aloud from Charlotte’s Web by EB White. It was my first encounter with this classic, and I fell in love with it instantly. I’m not sure if that was just because of White’s brilliant prose, either. I think my teacher also played a part in it.

When she read the book, she really read it. It was clear she was familiar with it. The ‘voice’ of each character in the story had a different sound. She would change the way she spoke when reading the dialogue of different characters and was expressive in the way she read it. It felt like we were seeing the story unfold in front of us, rather than hearing someone read aloud.

Unfortunately, before she finished the book, this teacher left the school. A substitute teacher took her place. She read aloud the next chapter of Charlotte’s Web. I remember it as well as if it was yesterday. It was an appalling change! It was clear this new woman wasn’t much of a reader. The book went from being something magical to being something dull simply because of the lack of expression and interest she put into reading it. I could tell that she took no joy in what she was doing and that feeling was passed onto the class.

If you are reading to children I commiserate with you if reading is not something that you are fond of doing. That makes it difficult for you. I’m fortunate that I enjoy it and am enthusiastic about it. But I know it can be a chore for some, but the more effort you put into it, the more your child will get out of it.

Try reading the book before you sit down with your child so you know what happens and where it goes. Then try and think about how you would say the lines of dialogue if you were in that conversation yourself. We all speak differently depending on what we are saying and who we are talking to, and it will help keep your child engaged if you try and put that in your voice.

Does a character in the book seem old and crotchety? Try and make them sound that way. Does one seem prim and proper? Is there some way you can express that? Try and imagine it as a movie and how it might play out. This may help you as you try to express it to your child.

As many children’s books are now being made into movies you may wonder if it serves any purpose to do this, but nothing will beat the pleasure your child gets from experiencing the book with you, especially if you try and bring the characters to life for them. It may be something that stays with them forever.

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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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The Moral Dilemma

By Lynne Stringer

Most books have some kind of moral in them. Even the Brothers Grimm’s fairy tales (I didn’t realise just how grim some of their stories were until I was an adult trying to read them to my son!) so it’s not like it’s a modern thing. Stories with morals have been around for a long time. Jesus told parables to demonstrate a moral and I’m sure it wasn’t new then, either.

But can books go too far? Can a story have too much moral in it?

I’ve also noticed, in recent days, that some stories are being toned down. As a child, I remember hearing the story of The Little Red Hen. She tries to get the other animals on the farm to help her make some bread, but they’re all too lazy to help. Then, once the bread is made, they all come to join her in eating it, but she refuses to give them any because they refused to help. I recently heard this story retold on Play School and they’d softened it up, so that the other animals were simply busy, but did come to help at the last minute, so the hen shared the bread with them and they all agreed to help more next time.

I’m not sure if this is a good thing or a bad thing.  Was the moral in the original version demonstrated too harshly? Were they right to water it down? Or is the new version a wishy-washy, politically correct tale? Which version is better?

I think the answer to that will vary for each one of us. Personally, I like a story with a bit of a moral, even if it’s so subtle it’s difficult to see. Sometimes they are the better stories, as you’re not even aware you’re picking up a moral, and sometimes, you never will be. Perhaps it is another reason we should be careful what we read, in case something slips in, unbeknownst to us.

I think we should always try to be aware of what the stories we read are trying to teach, whether they are doing it subtly or brazenly. But enjoy each story for its own sake as well.

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It's Not Easy Being Green

It's Not Easy Being Green

The third book in the Australian Girl series, Annabelle and the Missing Turtles has just been released and you can win a copy!

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The third novel in the Australian Girl series, Annabelle and the Missing Turtles by multi-published children’s author, Rose Inserra, is set for release on 1 November 2013. The series follows the adventures of five main characters racing against time to save the already endangered green sea turtles on Queensland’s coast.

“As a teacher, I wanted to write about stories that empower young girls to strive for real changes and ‘be’ the changes in the world. My favourite quote from Mahatma Ghandi is – ‘Be the change you wish to see in the world.’ I was inspired to write this Australian Girl book because of my commitment to animal welfare and to raise awareness of habitat loss and endangered species in Australia. I hope to encourage young readers to be passionate about protecting our unique and precious Australian environment,” said Rose.

Following on from the second book in the series, Amy and the Wilpena Flood by Claudia Bouma, Annabelle and her four friends go on another exciting adventure with the help of the rainbow necklace. Whilst on a trip to Queensland, the five friends try to solve the mystery of the disappearing turtle population. Nobody seems to know the answer – not even the marine biologists at Marine World. Thanks to their rainbow necklace, the girls are taken back in time and given some very important information about loss of habitats and the changing environment since the last century. 

But will the girls be able to get back in time to save the hatchlings and help organise a rescue operation? The five friends face challenging circumstances, as their commitment to their cause requires teamwork and co-operation from everyone involved. They learn that compassion and bravery are two qualities that can bring about real change in the world.

The Australian Girl series is based on the Australian Girl dolls, inspired by Helen Schofield’s search for quality dolls for her granddaughters.

Selena Ewing, Senior Research Officer at Southern Cross Bioethics Institute, a Founding Director of Women's Forum Australia and the author of Faking It, says of the Australian Girl range, “Our girls are growing up in a world where young girls are pressured to pursue glamour, excessive thinness, and the attention of boys. Research shows this can have devastating consequences for girls' health and development. I find the focus on age-appropriate fun, friendship and diversity in the Australian Girl product range to be very refreshing and in fact desperately needed."

The book’s illustrator, renowned Ginger Meggs cartoonist and stand up comic, Jason Chatfield, has brought the Australian Girl characters to life with his humorous and lively cartoons that serves to enhance the reading experience.

Rose Inserra is an internationally published author of over 60 children’s books on a range of topics – from library resource books to fiction and picture books.  Her olive grove, on the edge of the Victorian High Country, is home to wombats, echidnas, kangaroos, many types of birds, amphibians and reptiles. Rose has been listed in ‘Notable Australian Children’s Books’ and the ‘Environment Award for Children’s Literature in Australia’.

When she is not writing books, Rose runs writing workshops, travels to writing conferences and inspires people to write their books as a writing coach and editor.

Available from all good bookstores or buy online now. Australian Girl Series 2 Book set also available: includes The Rainbow Necklace, Amy and the Wilpena Flood and Annabelle and the Missing Turtles.

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An interview with Lynne Stringer

An interview with Lynne Stringer

Lynne Stringer has been passionate about writing all her life, beginning with short stories in her primary school days. She began writing professionally as a journalist and was the editor of a small newspaper (later magazine) for seven years, before turning her hand to screenplay writing and novels. Lynne currently works as a professional editor and proofreader. She lives in Brisbane, Australia, with her husband and young son. 

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

The first story I ever wrote was called Goldie the Pony. I was about eight years old at the time. It was written out by hand, with drawings, and I stapled it together to make a book. I don’t really think it was suitable for publication! :-)

Question 2: What was your first book published?

The first book I had published was The Heir, book one of the Verindon trilogy. It was published on 1st June 2013. Book two, The Crown, is due out in November 2013.

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

I like seeing people react positively to my story. There’s nothing more exciting than to have someone contact me and say, ‘I loved your book! It was amazing! When’s the next one coming out?’

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

Trying to promote myself. Like most writers, I’m an introvert, and it’s difficult to try and sell. But I have to remember that I have a product worth promoting.

Question 5: How do you test out your stories? Or who do you test them on?

When I wrote The Heir I had a group of friends online who read it chapter by chapter. They have become my most ardent supporters, and they were the ones who encouraged me to try and get it published. I dedicate The Heir to them as a ‘thank you’.

Question 6: What writing genre do you like to do the most?

I enjoyed science fiction, but also historical books. And anything I read (or write) must have a hint of romance in it.

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How important is reading with your preschool child?

It’s easy to underestimate how important reading is. As adults, we forget how much we read every day. Whether it’s a text message or the shelf at the supermarket, reading is an essential tool for living in this world of ours.

But surely reading is something that our child will learn in school. Do we really need to tackle it beforehand?

The answer is yes.

If you introduce your child to reading before they start school, you will be giving them a headstart on the other students. If they have the opportunity to look over your shoulder while you are reading it will help them recognise words before they start school. Believe me, they are not just looking at the pictures. They will look at the words too. Think of the extra confidence they will have when they know that they can recognise words that are meaningless to some of their peers.

Many books for children also contain useful morals and can educate your children in how to behave in social situations and give appropriate responses to conflict. Again, this can be a useful tool to learn before they start school, as then they will have strategies for dealing with children outside the family from their first day. Reading is also a fun way to learn about these social and moral issues, and the child stands a better chance of remembering these things than he or she would if you simply talked to them about it.

Also, reading with your child will nurture a bond between the two of you. Children enjoy the chance to sit next to Mum or Dad and listen to the soothing tone of their voice as they read to them.

Reading can also be helpful with other things. When I (Lynne Stringer) was toilet training my son, I bought a number of books with stickers of cars, trucks and other vehicles to place on each page. The books also contained a lot of information on the vehicles themselves.

As a result of spending hours with my son reading to him about cars and trucks and putting stickers on a page, by the time he started school his vocabulary and reading skills were far beyond those of his peers. If you try finding books like this on a subject that interests your child they will want to know more and it will encourage them to read just so they can learn.

While it’s hard to find time in our busy lives to read to our children, there are many benefits to doing so. Even if it’s just for ten minutes at bedtime every night, it will provide your child with a firm foundation for the future.

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I waited and waited patiently, for something I wanted desperately

I waited and waited patiently, for something I wanted desperately

The fourth book in the Invisible Tree series, Patience 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!

The Invisible Tree Series is a beautiful series of children’s books articulating timeless values and character qualities for children.

Patience, by Kirrily Lowe and illustrated by Henry Smith is the journey of a little boy waiting for a surprise from his grandmother.  Like any child he doesn’t want to wait, but as he waits and waits and waits something is growing deep inside.  Finally the great surprise arrives, but to the little boys delight he also discovers a change on the inside, he has developed the great and noble fruit of patience.

“Kirrily’s amazing wisdom and intelligence is shown throughout her fourth book Patience by her creative display of what patience really means. It defines and builds strength in young children through simple terms! Patience compliments her high quality of books that express the real fruits of life. Blessed to have the full series for our children,” said Elka Whalan, Olympic Silver Medallist, Media Personality and mother of two.

Author Kirrily Lowe said, “Patience is one of the greatest yet most underrated virtues.  Patience brings a strength of character that only comes from a journey of waiting with expectation.  Patience is the articulation of this journey through the eyes of a child.  It is fun, real and stunningly illustrated by Henry Smith using recycled materials.”

Kirrily Lowe is the author of The Invisible Tree series of children's books - a delightful and fun series seeking to capture great and timeless values for little ones.  Kirrily began her career as a lawyer working with children in Sydney’s Western Suburbs.  Kirrily began writing in 2010 whilst at home with her young children.   Kirrily lives in the northern suburbs of Sydney with Tim and her three young and lively boys.

Available from all good bookstores or buy online now. The Invisible Tree 3 Book set also available: includes Love, Joy, Patience and a free kid's craft pack!

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Subscribed under 'Rebecka'. Thanks
Wednesday, 06 November 2013 16:55
Guest — Stacey Gladman
Yes please, this book looks fantastic!
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An interview with Michelle Worthington

An interview with Michelle Worthington

My name is Michelle Worthington and I am a published Australian author. The stories I write are like the stories I used to read when I was little and they have what may now be seen as an old fashioned feel, but they have a timeless message. My goal is to be a successful Australian author known for classically elegant and compassionate stories for young children.

Question 1: What was your first book published?

The Bedtime Band was published in 2011 by Wombat Books, illustrated by Sandra Temple. It is based on a poem I wrote when I was in Grade 5 about what the animals get up to while we are asleep

Question 2: What is the hardest part about being an author?

Being a busy Mum of two boys and working full time, I don't get a lot of time to sit still. But I write in little pockets of time during the day or at night when the boys have gone to bed. I don't have a very good memory so when I get an idea, I need to write it down straight away.

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

I love Australian authors because I think they write with a unique humour and empathy that is very rare in modern writing. Australian picture books had their golden age in the 1970's when I was growing up. Mem Fox's Possum Magic illustrated by multi award winning artist Julie Vivas, David Cox's Tin Lizzie were the staples of my bookshelves. Who Sank the Boat? by Pamela Allen and Diary of a Wombat by Jackie French.

Question 4: What writing genre do you like to do the most?

Picture Books are my favourite and they always will be because they are the beginning of a child’s reading journey and foster a love of books.

Question 5: What do you consider your biggest achievement?

My two sons and how smart and independent they are. 

Question 6: Where do you see the future of children’s books (ebooks/apps/print)?

It doesn’t really matter if kids are reading paper books, ebooks or book apps, as long as they are reading.  Authors need to learn to adapt if they want to share their stories with modern children.

Question 7: What is your favourite way/time to read?

I always read a book to go to sleep at night and I have taught my boys to do the same.

Question 8: What book are you reading right now?

I am currently reading the Spooks Series by Joseph Delaney with my oldest son. I like reading what he reads so we can talk about it and share ideas.

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Unknown assassins, a new world and forbidden romance = The Verindon Series

Unknown assassins, a new world and forbidden romance = The Verindon Series

The second book in the Verindon fantasy series, The Crown 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!

 

“Getting one book published is exciting. Two is way beyond that. And three is out of this world!”

So says author, Lynne Stringer. Lynne’s debut novel, The Heir, was published on 1st June 2013. The first book in the Verindon Trilogy, The Heir covered many bases, combining the young adult, science fiction and romance genres.

Now Lynne is looking forward to the release of the second book in the trilogy, The Crown, which is due out on 1st November.

The Crown follows on from The Heir’s story,” said Lynne. “It takes place about five months after the events in the first book.”

Lynne is looking forward to seeing the reaction The Crown will receive, especially considering the positive response that The Heir received.

The Heir has all five star reviews on Amazon,” she said, “And its rating on Goodreads is 4.31 out of five.”

Friends have also been positive about the book, even those who said that they weren’t into science fiction.

“I had a number of friends who read it just because I wrote it. They didn’t like that genre, but they’ve been amongst the most enthusiastic of all the readers.

“One friend who bought a copy of The Heir came up to me the next time I saw her, grabbed me by the shoulders, and said, ‘Where is The Crown?!’ She’s desperate to see what happens next!”

Lynne’s pleased that her fans won’t have to wait long until the third book in the series is out.

“I know that the people who love The Crown will be dying to get their hands on the last book, The Reign. Fortunately, they only have to wait until May next year. I assure everybody it will be worth the wait!”

Check out the book trailer:

Available from all good bookstores or buy online now. Verindon VIP Book pack also available: includes The Heir, The Crown and a free shirt!

For more information on the Verindon Trilogy visit www.verindon.com

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Guest — Gloria Bale
I Love when you don't have to wait too long between books of a trilogy. Especially when the trilogy is as good as this. Looking fo... Read More
Friday, 01 November 2013 16:18
Guest — Deirdre Blackmore
Looks good, Lynne. Like the trailer.
Friday, 01 November 2013 18:01
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Call for Early Reader submissions

Further to our update on submissions last week, we are now calling for submissions for Early Reader titles. Please ensure you have also read our general guidelines if you are interested in submitting your manuscript.

Wombat Books is increasing our publication of Early Reader titles by building a new list for 6-8 year olds. We are open to submissions for Early Reader titles as of the 1st of November 2013.

We are looking for Early Reader manuscripts that consider the following guidelines:

  • between 5,000-10,000 words
  • family friendly
  • features relatable characters or those that children can look up to (good role models)
  • is encouraging, positive and uplifting
  • engages the family and leaves a lasting impression
  • can feature issues (health, allergies, social awareness etc)
  • structured in short, easy-to-read chapters
  • appeals to both boys and girls
  • aspires to our motto of “books you will want to share”

Please refer to our current early reader chapter books to see the types of stories we are looking for:

littlegoodwolfes

         theanythingshopes

These stories engage children with an entertaining story that portrays family friendly values while being adventurous and fun to read. Please refer to the general information above if you wish to submit your manuscript.

For further details on submission requirements visit our submissions page.

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An interview with Lizbeth Klein

An interview with Lizbeth Klein

Hi, I’m Lizbeth Klein and my dream is to hide away from the world in some cave where I can write in relative peace and quiet. I mostly write YA fantasy but I do enjoy mysteries and sci-fi, too. I live in Sydney with my husband, but I would love a forest change. 

Question 1: What is your favourite part about being an author?

Being able to create amazing worlds, incredible characters and great adventures.

Question 2: What is the hardest part about being an author?

The hardest part about being an author is finding the time to write when I’m not falling asleep at the keyboard. Working a split shift 6 days a week is really difficult. Holidays are precious and I seem to achieve a lot then.

Question 3: What do you do for fun?

Sadly, there’s not much time in between for fun at present, but I do like to grab a takeaway lunch and my poor neglected husband and I go and sit beside the sea. Then we might go for a walk or a drive. Watching a good movie is also fun. 

Question 4: What writing genre do you like to do the most?

The genre I prefer above others is YA fantasy.

Question 5: What do you consider your biggest achievement?

Getting published—finally! It always seemed out of reach, a bit like the moon.

Question 6: What is your favourite time to read?

Probably Sundays when I’m all alone.

Question 7: What book are you reading right now?

Trying to get through The Hobbit again. Really enjoy Tolkein.

 

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Jennifer Gress
Have just finished reading Book 1 of the Bethloria Series by Lizbeth Klien and loved the story. Am using the text as an instructio... Read More
Friday, 01 November 2013 07:33
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Submissions update

This blog focuses on our general submission guidelines. Next week we will be providing more information on specific lists that we will be seeking submissions for. So stay tuned!

Wombat Books accepts unsolicited manuscripts for review to be considered for traditional publishing. We have limited spaces for publication. We are looking for entertaining original manuscripts that leave a lasting impression. We are primarily looking at children's picture books at this time. We strongly recommend you have read our recent releases. It is important to demonstrate in your cover letter an understanding of the type of manuscripts we will be interested in.

Please do not send us query letters, either submit your manuscript using the POST or EMAIL process, as we generally do not respond to query letters. Is it vital you include a cover letter with your submission.

Turn around time for manuscripts is anywhere between 4 and 8 months.

Manuscript Formatting guidelines

Please follow our guidelines carefully in order for us to be able to assess your manuscript. Your manuscript must be:

  • Typed and printed
  • 12 size font
  • Times New Roman 
  • 1.5 to double spaced
  • Pages should be numbered
  • Include your name and address

Cover letter

Please demonstrate your understanding of the industry including any achievements or awards you have received or any events you have presented at. If you have specific ideas on marketing for your book please include some of your plans.

Please investigate other titles similar to your own in the market to ensure your book is unique.

We are happy for you to include editor or assessor comments in the submission.

Posted manuscripts

We request you include a PREPAID envelope that will fit your ENTIRE manuscript for return. Your submission will not be considered if you do not do this with postal submissions.

Post to:

Attention: The Children's Editor
Wombat Books
PO Box 1519
Capalaba QLD 4157

Emailed manuscripts

Manuscripts should be attached to the email. The cover letter and author details must be in the body of the email. No attachments will be opened if details are not given in the email. Email submissions will be invalid if this procedure is not followed. There should only be a single attachment for the manuscript. If you are submitting illustrations this way please enquire first. Attachments larger than 10MB will need prior approval and will be invalid unless an enquiry has been made first.

Email to:

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Please note: Our submissions email address is not monitored daily so ordering enquires or other enquires should not be directed to this email.

 

 

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Jennifer Gress
Looking forward to hearing the exciting news!
Friday, 25 October 2013 17:59
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How do you find hope when lifelong dreams are shattered?

How do you find hope when lifelong dreams are shattered?

The Celtic Stone, by Nick Hawkes is due for release on 1 November 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!

This romantic adventure is centred on the wild, storm-battered islands of the Scottish Hebrides.

“I felt an instant resonance with this story. It reminds me of the adventure romances I devoured growing up. But it’s better, deeper, richer. It’s a lavish homecoming feast for heart, mind and soul. Tick, good clean romance. Tick, adventure. Tick, flawed heroes and even more flawed villains. Tick, mystery and intrigue. Tick, plot nicely tied up. Plus, surprise twists and unexpected connections. I loved it.” said multi-award winning author, Anne Hamilton.

Here’s a little of the story to whet your appetite:

Chris Norman's dreams of being a commercial pilot are shattered when he crashes his light plane in central Australia and is badly wounded. His life hangs in the balance, a balance that is swayed by the intervention of an aboriginal bushman bent on his own murderous mission. The bushman leaves Chris with a mysterious and incongruous legacy, a Celtic cross made of stone.

Partly blinded and in deep grief at no longer being able to fly, Chris finds his way to the inhospitable islands off the west coast of Scotland where he seeks to unravel the secrets of the Celtic stone.

A blind Hebridean woman, shunned by many in the local community, becomes his reluctant ally, along with a seven year old boy who is as wild as the storm tossed seas. Two other allies in the form of a game-keeper with his own dark secret, and an alcoholic writer with a love of sailing, introduce Chris to the culture of the islands.

It becomes apparent that the violence of the island's history has carried on into the present. Chris needs to recover from his grief, discover his identity... and avoid being murdered.

The author, Nick Hawkes, says, “Absolutely nothing beats a good story. The best of stories enrich us and become a strand in the fabric of who we are. I hope this is one of them.”

Nick’s life prepared him well to be a writer. He has lived in several countries and collected many an adventure. Along the way, he has earned degrees in both science and theology and has written books on both. Since then, he has turned his hand to novels, writing romantic thrillers that feed the soul.

 

The Celtic Stone is available in all good bookstores or buy online now.

 

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Jennifer Gress
This resonates with me on many levels. Combines all favourite genres. Celtic (addicted since reading Diana Gabaldon),Koori culture... Read More
Wednesday, 23 October 2013 15:28
Guest — Cathy
Known Nick for years!!! Sounds like a great book, love to win a copy as I am of Scottish descent all my kids wear kilts!! Dancers ... Read More
Wednesday, 23 October 2013 15:47
Jennifer Gress
This ticks the boxes for my favourite books. History, adventure, disaster, growth, life-at-risk... all in one book. It's certainly... Read More
Wednesday, 23 October 2013 16:20
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An interview with Dawn Meredith

An interview with Dawn Meredith

Hi, I’m Dawn! I love robots and gadgets, cartoons and dragons and enjoy hanging out with our animals. I teach kids of all ages, just one at a time, to read & write and have loads of fun doing it! I have lots and lots of goofy ideas banging around in my head, waiting to jump out onto my computer screen. If only I had five pairs of hands! Or had five clones of me…

Question 1: What was your first book published?

Donald Bradman for the Livewires series in 2000

Question 2: What is your favourite part about being an author?

Hearing kids talk about my books and the characters they love. It still makes me tingle all over!

Question 3: What is the hardest part about being an author?

Working at writing, when you’d rather be watching Ben Ten Alien Force

Question 4: What do you do for fun?

Hang out with our dogs, chooks & cat, watch cartoons, do art, make stuff, go bushwalking with our horse and grow magnificent flowers in our garden.

Question 5: How do you test out your stories? Or who do you test them on?

I have test readers. Some are kids, some are adults. My ‘first’ test readers read the raw stuff, as it comes, and give me feedback pretty much straight away. Other test readers often read a whole manuscript, up to 100,000 words!

Question 6: What was your favourite children’s book when you were a kid?

Enid Blyton’s ‘Famous Five’ series, but I also loved the classics, such as Black Beauty, Robinson Crusoe, Heidi and Alice in Wonderland and Little House on the Prairie.

Question 7: What is your favourite children’s book now?

Probably Cornelia Funke’s Reckless

Question 8: Have you ever travelled overseas as an author?

Yes, I travelled to Cornwall in England, the rough sea coast of pirates and smugglers to write a novel for teens set there.

Question 9: What writing genre do you like to do the most?

I like fiction and non-fiction, but love fantasy and sci-fi the best.

Question 10: What do you consider your biggest achievement?

Finishing four full length novels

Question 11: Where do you see the future of children’s books (ebooks/apps/print)?

I think there will always be people like me who love the smell, feel and look of a real book in their hands, so I’m not worried about e-publishing taking over. One of my books, The Anything Shop, is both print and ebook. So is my new release of my first book, Sir Donald Bradman.

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The YA reading revolution

Reading seems to be an ‘in’ thing for young adults at the moment. It’s easy to see even when I look in a department store. YA books are usually clearly displayed. Many of them are being made into movies. That’s another thing that tells you how big reading is at the moment. Movie moguls don’t waste money on products that don’t sell.

We should rejoice that young adults are enjoying the reading experience so much. It’s great to see that it’s ‘cool’ and I hope it continues.

However, I have noticed a tone of concern with some parents who have approached me about the YA books that we publish. A couple of times lately parents have said, ‘What’s in this book? Is there bad language? Is there any sex?’

I have heard this concern expressed by a number of people in the industry as well. When it comes to YA books, restraint in these areas seems to have gone out the window. There doesn’t seem to be any hesitation in loading these books with all kinds of explicit content and putting them into the eager hands of teenagers.

Some may say that teens already familiar with all these things, so we shouldn’t hesitate to put it in to keep it ‘real’, but does that mean it should be this way? Were teens so educated in these things before we provided them in books? I don’t know, but my conversations with parents have made it clear that some of them, at least, want some restraint shown.

For the record, the books we publish keep a firm moral compass when it comes to these things. Any content that is included in our books will not be explicit. If you would like more information on the content of any of our titles, especially those for young adults, please don’t hesitate to ask.

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Did you ever want to run away from home?

Did you ever want to run away from home?

Without Me?, by Kayleen West 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!

Without Me?, is a light-hearted story about a runaway child, who wants to leave home, but before he can, he worries about those he will leave behind. As he reflects on the impact of his departure, he realises ultimately where he belongs. This new picture book written and illustrated by Kayleen West, has an entertaining approach as it journeys the reader through a common reaction–fight and flight.

"A fun and engaging story that helps children explore how emotions can influence decisions.  Kayleen's playful illustrations bring the story to life...and even add another story of their own!  This is a great resource for both parents and teachers to help prepare children for life's tricky moments," Natasha LeBrocq, Primary Student Welfare Officer.

Children often struggle to navigate their relationships, emotions and reasoning––Without Me is a picture book for ages 5-9 that introduces escapism in a simple story that will make children (and adults) smile. Over the course of 10 minutes, the child reflects and highlights the simplest pleasures of relationship. The lovable but comical plot ends with a sense of belonging and safety that will gratify the reader.

“Arguably, we’ve all thought of running from difficult situations.  Without Me was created for our kids, who live in today’s fast-paced, rash mouse-click decreed internet world. More and more, children struggle with social acceptance and are somewhat virtually socially taught. I created a fun unassuming story that journeys a child through inner dialogue, emphasising healthy reflection with a message of value in reciprocal relationships,” said Kayleen.

“I suggest teachers and councillors use Without Me in conjunction with Edward de Bono’s six thinking hats, to build on effective evaluation skills.”

This is Kayleen’s second published picture book in 2013. She is working on 2 more tiles for 2014 release. Motivated by stories that encourage and equip children, Kayleen writes and illustrates with a child’s future in mind.

Without Me? is available in all good book stores or buy online now.

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