Katrina is the author of Marty's Nut Free Party, shortlisted for the 2013 Speech Pathology Award and the upcoming Emily Eases her Wheezes.
I am Katrina Roe, a radio announcer at Hope 103.2 in Sydney, a children's picture book author, a mum of 2 and a wife of 1!!!
Question 1: What was the first story you ever wrote and has it been published?
The first stories I ever had published were in the Carrathool Public School newsletter, but before I had started school. I used to dictate them to my mum and she would send them in! One of the earliest stories that I still have a copy of was called My Trip in a Pink Bubble. It was an adventurous story with a journey to a strange land, a wicked witch, a narrow escape and of course, a happy ending. I still have a copy of that book, including my illustrations. I also had a poem called Summer is Here! that was published in The Land newspaper when I was about six years old. My mum was continually sending my poems and stories in to anyone that would publish them!
Question 2: What was your first book published?
The first book I had published was Marty's Nut-Free Party in 2012 with Wombat Books. Before that I had contributed to a couple of anthologies and I wrote a novel that was shortlisted for an award, but sadly, is still sitting in my bottom drawer.
Question 3: What is your favourite part about being an author?
I love every aspect of it. I love those first moments when the seed of an idea germinates in your head. I love reading out the early drafts to my writers' group and hearing all their suggestions. I love the moment when I pop it in the post box with all the excitement and anticipation and possibility that goes along with that. I even don't mind rejection letters as they make me feel that I am one step closer to success! I still tremble when a new contract appears and I love seeing those very first storyboards or roughs when the book starts to take shape. The moment the first copy of the book arrives on your doorstep is exhilarating and I love the fun and excitement of a book launch. But the very best moment is when you look up from a reading and see 20, 30, 40, 50 or 60 little pairs of eyes all glued to the page, hanging on every word you're saying and waiting expectantly to see what happens next!
Question 4: What is the hardest part about being an author?
I find it hard to work alone and even more difficult to work at home, where there are so many distractions and always lots of mess! It's also hard to make it financially viable. One day I would really love to have my own studio or office to write in, where the walls would be filled with my favourite books, there would be just a kettle and a stash of tea, and preferably a beautiful view of ocean, rivers or bush! Sigh! Even just a laptop would be a bonus!
Question 5: What do you do for fun?
I love travelling and outdoorsy adventures like bushwalking and kayaking although I don't get much time for any of those things at the moment! I also just really appreciate spending time with close friends, preferably somewhere scenic. Right now I am on the 40th birthday party circuit, which has meant lots of silliness with old friends. Yay!
Question 6: How do you test out your stories? Or who do you test them on?
I usually read them to my kids and husband first, then I take them to my writers' group. Once I've got them to an acceptable level, then I ask a few trusted friends what they think.
Question 7: What was your favourite children's book when you were a kid?
If I'm really honest, my favourite was a Golden Book called Hunkydory. I also loved The Magic Faraway Tree stories, The Wishing Chair series and the Famous Five. When I got into later primary I devoured Gordon Korman books and my favourite was I Want to Go Home. It was about a smarty-pants loner who spends his entire holiday trying to escape from summer camp.
Question 8: What is your favourite children's book now?
It's really hard to narrow it down to just one. My favourite picture books are Herman and Rosie by Gus Gordon and Pearl Barley and Charlie Parsley by Aaron Blabey, which both celebrate the absolute blessing and miracle it is to find a true friend.
Question 9: What writing genre do you like to do the most?
I like to write picture books the most, but I would also love to write a novel one day.
Question 10: What is your favourite way/time to read?
My favourite way to read grown-up books is on holidays, either at my parents' place in the country or at a beach house. It's the only time I get a chance to really demolish a book in a couple of days. However, my eight year old is a voracious reader now and we are tackling some really interesting stuff together, so I thoroughly enjoy the time we spend reading together each night. Sometimes I find myself sneakily skipping ahead to see what happens while she's cleaning her teeth.
Question 11: What book are you reading right now?
I most recently finished The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak, The Importance of Being Seven by Alexander McCall Smith and am now starting on a new re-write of Jane Austen's Emma also by Alexander McCall Smith. With my eight year old, I'm reading Morris Gleitzman's Blabber Mouth and Sticky Beak, which we are loving! My 3 year old only reads Nick Bland's The Wrong Book (over and over and over again!) so I also read that most nights.