Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how long you’ve been in the industry?
My first book was published in 1995 and I’d been writing (or trying to) 5 or so years before that, learning how to write from reading. My 30th book has just been published and I’ve had the joy of rewriting earlier titles. I was an aid worker in Pakistan and the UAE (United Arab Emirates) for 10 years which had a huge impact on my life and creativity. That, and my daughter’s influence, catapulted me into writing.
Describe your typical work desk.
I have a 100-year-old desk that was owned by a late icon of our country town. I like it because it has writing slopes that pull out on each side where I can rest research, the pages I’ve done when editing, or my lunch. There’s a cup of herbal tea and a flask of hot water to keep topping it up. My last few day books are lined up in case I need to know what I said I’d talk about. A glass of sharpened pencils just because I like using them. A pretty stubby holder my daughter made filled with pens. A box of important notes.
What do you think is the most important aspect of a manuscript?
The characterisation and the voice, which of course has to be conveyed on the first page. If the character is genuine and interesting and the voice distinctive it’s probable the writing will be good as well.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given as a writer?
Write whether you feel like it or not. Once you have the draft in your hands, you won’t be able to tell by the writing which days you had to push yourself and which days you were on a roll. This came from author and academic Eleanor Nilsson, a huge influence on my early career.
Has your writing process changed or stayed the same over the years?
It has changed remarkably, from me just writing to see where the story took me to getting to know my characters so well that they write it for me. Over the years I have developed a process that works for me, but it is always growing and transforming.
If you weren’t a writer, what job would you love to be doing?
Probably a teacher-librarian. At one point I wanted to be an archaeologist or a historian and work in a library and research things. Or dig them up. As a child I used to write sentences and put them in tins, so I could dig them up again. I like finding things and exploring, which is a lot like writing.
Describe your workshop for the Wombat Books conference.
I have been in the industry now for 25 years writing and teaching and I will share the ‘big picture’ of what it's as an author writing for YA and children (a bit like riding the wind). I’ll share highlights, what I’ve learned and those tips/advice that I’ve gleaned, and maybe a writing secret or two.
For more workshops like Rosanne's, book for our conference now! Click the link below for more information.