Thursday, 28 May 2015

Shining a Light on Wattpad!


Part 2 of my interview with Meredith Rose, author of Chains of Silver. Meredith gives truly excellent advice on getting the most out of  Wattpad.


How long have you been using Wattpad?
Almost a year and a half now. Im really enjoying it. Ive been a bit MIA the last few months because of working on moving house, but Im hoping to become more active again later this year after we get settled.

Is a great cover essential for Wattpad? Who designed your cover?

I did the cover myself. I enjoy dabbling in graphic design, but Im not confident that my work looks as professional as it should for a published book. I would say for Wattpad, a nice cover is very importantbut its most important for the font to be easy to read, especially at thumbnail sizes. But if I wasnt able to create a reasonably decent cover myself, I wouldnt spend money on a professional cover for Wattpad. It seems like there are a lot of very talented graphic artists on Wattpad who are willing to help out other Wattpadders, and thats what I would rely on. I think getting the best cover you can with your current resources is a good idea.

That said, the best cover in the world wont save a story that is poorly written. So I think for writers, the best thing you can do for your story is learn the writing craft and work on telling a great story. If you can get someone to do a nice cover for you, great. But if not, dont let that hold you back or take away your focus from your work.

How have you found Wattpad to be helpful?  Are there any drawbacks?
The thing Ive enjoyed most about Wattpad is meeting the other Wattpadders. They seem like lovely people and its so fun to interact with them. Its especially helpful to me when I get comments on the story. It lets me know what is resonating with readers, or what is confusing them. Wattpad is like having thousands of beta readers, and that is truly a treasure. 

Wattpad:http://www.wattpad.com/user/wildwoodgoddess

What suggestions can you give authors who are starting out on Wattpad for the first time?
Depends on the author. For authors who are more established, or who are significantly older than the primary demographic of Wattpad users, I think they need to ask themselves what their goals are for being on Wattpad. What do they hope to gain? Are they targeting primarily younger readers (like under 40) and aspiring writers? If not, then this might not be the best site for them. Ive heard some authors gripe about the demographics on Wattpad, and in every case, its because they joined without knowing what Wattpad was all about. But thats a failure on their part to research and understand. Wattpad shouldnt be something like Facebook where you join just because its what everyone else is doing. Have a purpose and understand the site and culture before you barge in.

Photo: Damian Gadal, ©2012
For younger writers, or those just starting out, or established authors like myself who are expanding or changing readerships, Wattpad is a wonderful place to network, build relationships, get encouragement, learn, and have fun. I think the key is to respect the Wattpad culture and respect other users and their work. Dont come in with a tude. I have been so encouraged and inspired by other users on Wattpad, whether theyre 13 or 60, whether they just started writing or are already multi-published. I think appreciating other users as unique and valuable people is the best way to approach Wattpad.

On the practical side, it seems like serializing your story works the best. If you do serialize, be consistent and regular with posting your installments. Communicate with your readersif youre going to be late on this weeks chapter, let them know. Respond and interact with commentersnicely, of course. Show that you appreciate the time they took to read and respond to your work. Having readers is a privilege, not a right. Be thankful. Learn to be a good self-editordont put up a rough draft. Dont abandon the story half-way through, or get frustrated and scrap the whole thing or make major changes once you post. It will confuse and frustrate your readers. Minor changes are okay, but be considerate of your readers if you want to keep them.

How can new users best engage the Wattpad community? ie What should and shouldnt they do?  (This will be particularly useful as some people whine a lot about a lack of engagement, but theyre not doing the right things on Wattpad!)
I guess this ties in with my answer to the above question about how to get started on Wattpad. My best advice is to treat others the way you want to be treated. Do you want to be constantly told read my book, read my book? Likely not. So dont do it to everyone else.
Dont message people asking them to read your work or to critique it for you. Theres a critique forum where you can do that.

If you want to build relationships, then the best thing you can do is take a genuine interest in other people. Leave comments on their stories. Follow them. Ask them how they are doing. Get to know them. You knowdo all the things you do when you want to be friends with someone.

So basically, DONT USE PEOPLE. Dont be selfish. Help others before you ask for their help. Encourage other people. If you want to have engagement, you have to engage with others. Dont wait for them to come to you.

If you find a writer you really like, tell them. Ask them if theres anything you can do to help THEM. Do they need a cover designed? Could they use a beta reader? Would they like some research help? Do they need some encouragement? (Hint: YESeveryone pretty much needs encouragement all the time.) When you give to others, without strings attached, you open the door to friendship. And when you have real friends, they usually like to help you out in return. But it has to be real and unselfish. You cant demand.
It takes time and effort. And sometimes, youll reach out to someone and they wont reach back. Thats okay. Probably not personal. Its just the way it goes. Keep at it, and youll build your circle of friends.

https://www.flickr.com/people/jdbaskin/
Have you found that to utilise it properly takes a huge amount of time?
Yes and no. I think it can take as little or as much effort as a person wants to put into it. I go through phases where I have more time to spend on Wattpad, so I do. Ive led a writing workshop, Ive done some private mentoring and critiquing, and Ive had some great conversations both on public forums and in private messages.

But other times, I barely had time to post my installment for the week and reply to comments. Right now, I havent been active on the site at all because of the move and everything going into that.

I think its important to not put too much pressure on yourself. Do your best, and if its feeling like a burden, then back off. Do what is fun. When it becomes a chore, take a break. Try to keep your posting commitments if youre in the middle of a story, but otherwise, be gentle with yourself. Wattpad is only one small part of your writing or reading life, so keep it in perspective.

Writing is a solitary endeavour and many writers are often beset by self-doubt.  Does this affect you? How do you deal with this?  Does Wattpad reduce some of this isolation?  Does the feedback from Wattpad help with those moments of self-doubt?
Absolutely! Actually, when I started on Wattpad, it was after my agent had tried for nearly a year to sell Chains of Silver to a publisher, and we came up totally empty every time. For any author, that is terribly discouraging, but it was especially for me because Ive had four previous books published. So theres always the question of am I losing my touch or did I miss my opportunity. My mind automatically goes straight to What is WRONG WITH MEEEEE?

I think thats pretty typical of most writers. Writing is in so many ways intensely personal, and so when the work is rejected or theres a career setback, it can feel like a personal rejection. Plus, as you say, its a very solitary kind of work in so many ways.
Wattpad has definitely helped me so much with this. Every time I get an excited comment from a reader, its beyond encouraging. Id say its healing. That sting of rejection gets a bit less. It makes me think that maybe Im on the right track after all, and its encouraged me to publish the series myself.

Do you get much feedback from your readers? (Do you have stats on the number of comments?) Has the feedback from Wattpad readers altered your writing?
I have been very blessed to get a pretty steady stream of comments. There are a few chapters where I dont think anyone commented, but most chapters have at least a few.
It has influenced my writing. I used the reading and commenting stats on Wattpad to try to analyze which chapters were resonating with readers more than others, and then to adjust the ones that seemed to be falling flat. I ended up making some changes to the first three chapters that seem to have helped keep readers engaged with the story and draw them in. That wouldnt have happened without Wattpad.

Has your exposure to Wattpad taught you anything new in regard to the business of writing? (Here Im thinking more of marketing, networking etc)
I dont think theres been anything new for me, particularly. But Ive had the benefit of a lot of marketing workshops and training over the years. Not sure how good I am at implementing it, but I know a lot of theory!

For me, the biggest help Wattpad has given me in terms of the business side of writing is simply further insight into my target readership. I think the more you understand your readers, the more you know what to give them in your work. Businesses spend billions of dollars trying to define, understand, and then market to their target audience. Wattpad gives me the opportunity to engage with and build relationships with my target readership for free, and thats invaluable.

Would you recommend Wattpad to new authors?
Definitely. With all the caveats above, but yes for sure. Wattpad users have managed to keep a very positive, encouraging culture for the most part, and its a great place to grow and learn and build relationships. 



Monday, 25 May 2015

Shining a Light on Wattpad!


Part 1 of my interview with Meredith Rose, author of Chains of Silver. Here we discuss her books and writing process.  Part 2 will discuss her Wattpad tips!


Meredith Rose is the author of Chains of Silver, an Alchemy Empire Novel.  Chains of Silver is a fabulous NA novel on Wattpad which has achieved over 61,000 reads and more than 2,300 votes!

Tell us a little bit about yourself please?
I never know how to answer this one! I got bored with my gunmetal blond hair so I started coloring it redLove. It. I drink too much chai tea, and as a result am addicted to coffee shops. My favorite TV show by far is BBCs Sherlock, and Ive recently become a Whovian as well, so basically I bow at the shrine of Moffatt and Gatiss. Im a terrible blogger, but constantly intend to become better. Im thoroughly besotted with my husband, and we have two teen daughters I adore. I give literary names to all my petscurrently have a cat named DArtagnon. I have never cosplayed but fervently hope to do so. And I am learning to speak WelshShw mai! Sut wyt ti, heddiw? (Hello! How are you today?)

Had you always wanted to be a writer? 
I think so! I can remember trying to write words and letters before I could even read. I started writing my first novel when I was sevenit was supposed to be co-written with my 4-year-old little brother, but he lost interest before I finished writing the title! It was two memo pages longin my best printed, pencil letters, every other line skipped, two-finger width between each wordabout best friends Flower and Bee who were doomed to be separated when winter came, and how they overcame Nature to be together.

Even though I was always working on some story or another, I went to college to be a teacher because I didnt believe I could have a writing career. Now that Ive had four books published and more on the way, its important to me to encourage younger writers to follow their publishing dreams, no matter how difficult it might seem to reach them.

What motivates you to write?
This might sound pretentious, but I love to explore human relationships and emotions. I write because it lets me discover more about myself and about the people around me. Love especially fascinates menot just romantic love, but the love of family, of friends, of humanity. I think love is at the root of the best drama, and its what leads to courage and acts of bravery and self-sacrifice. How that happens and the effect of love on a person is something I love (haha!) to explore in story.

Tell us a little bit about Chains of Silver (audience age range too please).  What inspired you to write it? Are you planning to publish Chains of Silver?

Chains of Silver is a older YA or possibly NA steampunk fantasy novel set in a Victorian theater. Its about Minx Mellor, a theater tech apprentice whose painful past has left her with severe phobias of being on stage and of certain kinds of magic, including her own. When the woman who is like a mother to her is targeted by a mysterious serial killer, Minx must face her fears and join forces with her most hated rival and with the young, sexy theater director, who terrifies her, to find a way to stop the killer.

Its mostly romantic fantasy and steampunk fun, not mystery. Its also the first book in a planned series of five called the Alchemy Empire series.
I adore steampunk cultureespecially the cosplay and gadgetry parts of it. If I could ever have a steampunked laptop, I would be in heaven about it! I thought it would be fun to combine my interest in steampunk with my fond memories of college theater.



Can you tell us about your main character?
My darling Minxlove to talk about her! Shes tiny and brainytalented inventor, and user of technomancy (the ability to channel magic into making and powering machines). She also has another type of magic that she tries to hide because its caused her a lot of pain and suffering. Shes quite broken and has a hard time letting people into her life, but she wants very much to be whole and feel normal. She loves to read, but doesnt have much access to books because library memberships arent given out to the lower classes, like theater apprentices.

She and the other apprentices live in a world suspended between the very rich and the very poor. Most of them are from poor families or are street kids who have been given this amazing chance to study at the theater because of their talent. Theyre expected to learn to socialize with the upper classes but will never be accepted as one of them. They can achieve fame and some will even become wealthy, but theyll never be treated with much respect because they exist solely to entertain.

How much research did you have to do for this book?
Its interestingwriting fantasy means I can make up stuff and do a lot more hand waving over complicated or impossible details. But writing steampunk means that I have to have some basis in reality for my gadgets, technology, and general Victorian culture. So Ive been researching Victorian inventions and clothing, etiquette, and other daily Victorian life detailsdid they have restaurants? What games did they play? Transportation? Libraries? Showers?

Then theres all the theater stuff. How did Victorian theater work? What was it like on stage and back stage? What did they use for stage light? When did theaters become electrified? Who did what jobs, and what was it like to work for a theater?

Other topics that Ive researched for this book: Victorian sewer tunnels and underground utility tunnels (actually stunning workthe Victorians made even their drainage tunnels a thing of beauty), the role of theater in social revolutions, how to properly tie a corset. And of course, Ive researched steampunk and the steampunk community. There are a lot of other things Ive researched, but if I mention them here, theyd be spoilers for the story!

The fun thing is taking all this research and then using it in my story world. Since its fantasy, I use the research as a spring board so that theres a feeling of verisimilitude (meaning a sense of plausibility), but then I can put as many twists on it as I want.

Can you tell us about your next project? (Is there a sequel)
Yes! There is a sequel. Actually Im planning 5 books in the series, and I have an idea for a spin-off series after that. I really am enjoying writing in this story world, so as long as I have readers for it, Ill keep spinning stories.

Right now, however, Im trying to squeeze in a stand-alone contemporary novel with magical realism and lots of humor. Im going to be self-publishing the Alchemy Empire series, but in the meantime, Id like my agent to have something to shop around to print publishers.

Do you set yourself a writing routine and a daily word limit?
Recently, our family is preparing a major move half-way across the country, so my writing time has been a mess! But in general, I try to set aside 2-3 hours a day, with a word count goal of 2,000. If I dont reach it, I dont beat myself up for it (this is supposed to be FUN after all), and if I go past 2k, I just roll with it, unless I absolutely have to go do something else. My family has learned to stay out of the way when Im writing because I do not like to be pulled out of the flow!

Do you outline your books from start to finish or just start writing? Or a bit of both? 
I do pretty extensive outlining, and I find myself appreciating and using outlining more as I become a more experienced writer. I have the overall structure of the book mapped out before I begin, and then I take each major section of the book and break it down into scenes as I get to that section. Then I  map out each scene before I write it. For me, that works better than detailed outline all up front. When I try to do all the outlining up front, I get worn out and lose my excitement for the story. But if I just start writing, I find myself getting too frustrated because the story feels unweildy. So I like to have the broad picture set before I begin, and then fill in the details as I go. 



Website: http://www.meredithrosebooks.com/

Twitter: @WildwoodGoddess

Wattpad: http://www.wattpad.com/user/wildwoodgoddess

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/meredithrosebooks

Instagram: https://instagram.com/wildwoodgoddess/

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/wildwoodgoddess/


Friday, 22 May 2015

Book Review


Ennara and the Fallen Druid by Angela Myron

(Pub: Patchwork Press, 2014)

**I was provided with a copy of this by the publisher for review**

Ennara and the Fallen Druid is a fast paced MG (8-12yo) fantasy adventure.  Myron has a carefully crafted, well-constructed story here with everything children this age bracket will probably want – action, adventure, wizards, dark magicians, magical creatures and dashes of humour.  There is a great balance between description and action so that the world and story are easy to visualise while maintaining pace.  This would be an excellent introduction to the fantasy genre for younger readers. 

Ennara is one of few children to be born with a caul over her face.  This caul is said to occur on babies who become particularly gifted magic wielders.  Though Ennara has commenced her studies in magical lore with her aunt, she has not practiced using magic and has no idea just what her skills are – let alone whether they will be special in anyway.

The wizard Tork requests that Ennara accompany him on his journey to find a way to stop the Shadespawn - evil creatures who were once human.  (Increasing numbers of Shadespawn roam the land infecting those they scratch or bite.)

She gains young companions along the way- Kithe and Gevin. Kithe is her long-time friend who plays the slightly goofy sidekick.  Gevin is a new acquaintance who is quiet and serious. Ennara is initially uncertain in her own abilities and frightened by the dangers that face them.  In fact each of the children has their own vulnerabilities, which is something I enjoyed about their character construction. There are some cool magical creatures good and evil along the way - keep your eye out for Smoos!

There are great messages about self-belief, teamwork, trust and honesty in this story, but above all it is a rollicking adventure.

The book starts dramatically with Ennara running for her life from a Shadespawn and the pace doesn’t let up until the end – there are no dull bits in this story whatsoever.  

Four Stars!



Monday, 18 May 2015

AUTHOR INTERVIEW


Pauline Conolly

Pauline is an Australian author of narrative non fiction. Her novel, The Water Doctor’s Daughters, is "the intriguing story of wealthy 19th century water-cure physician, Dr James Loftus Marsden and his children, who grew up knowing Charles Darwin and Alfred Tennyson. Two girls died in suspicious circumstances resulting in sensational trials." It was longlisted in the prestigious 2013 Waverley Literature Prize.



Tell us a bit about yourself
I was born and brought up  on a farm in Tasmania, but longed to see the world. As soon as I left school I began saving up for an extended  working holiday in the UK. I met my husband Rob in Tassie, but we have lived all our married life (nearly 40 years!) in New South Wales. I happily write and garden at our home in the Blue Mountains, but am often in Sydney visiting friends or working at the State Library.  Rob and I  also spend several months each year in the UK and France.


When did you first know you could be a writer?
 Well, I was always the kid whose essays were read to the class, but I guess it was when I started selling articles to newspapers and magazines from the age of about eighteen.


How did you hone your writing?
You could say that I had some of the best teachers; hard-nosed editors at newspapers such as the Sydney Morning Herald and The Australian. I soon learned that it was necessary to ‘write tight’, no matter whether I was writing humour, travel features, or history articles.


Who or what influenced your writing?
My mother was a great influence. She was not a writer, but a great story teller with a wonderful sense of humour.   Another great influence was the journalist Ross Campbell, who wrote humorous pieces about his family for the Australian Women’s Weekly in the 1960’s . I loved his ability to see the funny side of ordinary life, and to convey this to readers without wasting words.

Why non-fiction?
I suspect my insatiable curiosity leads me to write narrative  non-fiction, plus a love of social history and the complexities of  family life and relationships. I definitely believe in the old saying ‘truth is stranger than fiction’.   

Have you ever wanted to write fiction?
No, never. The closest I come to it is in my (hopefully)  humorous articles, when I employ a fair bit of poetic license.

Please tell us about The Water Doctor’s Daughters. What inspired you to write this? How much research/travel did you have to do?  I believe the trials  regarding the ‘murders’ were quite sensational – how easy was it to find the information you needed and how did you sort ‘sensation’ from fact?  How long did the research alone take?

Hmm, this is certainly a multi-faceted question.  Well, I stumbled upon the story when I was writing about Governor Lachlan Macquarie. A member of his extended family became stepmother to the widowed Dr James Marsden’s   children in 1852.  Just prior to the wedding, the doctor  sent his five daughters to Paris in the care of their French governess. Two of the girls  died the following year and Mlle Doudet was charged.

Sorting sensation from fact was difficult, because the Victorians loved ‘purple prose’  and   the press went overboard in their condemnation of the governess. However, I also had access to French accounts of the trials, and best of all to the unpublished diaries of the girls’ maternal uncle, John Rashdall. He was very close to his nieces and heavily involved in the case.

During my research I spent a lot of time in Great Malvern (Worcestershire), where Dr Marsden had his extensive water-cure establishment. The local library holds all the old  newspapers covering the deaths and  subsequent trials.  I also  read John Rashdall’s  diaries at the Bodleian Library in Oxford. Later I travelled to Paris to visit the location of Mlle Doudet’s private school and Montmartre Cemetery, where one little girl was buried. My research took a couple of years, but I loved every minute of it!

Available from Amazon, Kobo, Book Depository.


Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Well, for the first time I am writing a book  about an Australian subject. My WIP is a biography of a bogus surgeon who rose to become Surgeon Superintendent of a major Australian hospital, and who was still operating there until the 1950’s. He was an extraordinary character. Nothing about him was as it seemed, including his  war service and his high profile career as a racehorse owner.

Every writer has their own idea of what a successful career in writing is. What does success in writing look like to you?
There are many milestones for writers. For me, it was a real break-through to start publishing feature articles in broadsheet newspapers.  Signing a publishing contract and receiving an advance was a big deal, as was seeing both my books (The Water Doctor’s Daughters and All Along the River; Tales From the Thames) in major London bookstores.  However, I have to say that when I recently  received my first  royalty cheque of  eighteen pounds fifty nine pence, I truly felt I could call myself an author. I admit to shedding a tear, and will be framing the cheque….well maybe  a copy of it!









Thursday, 14 May 2015

Book Review



The Singular and Extraordinary Tale of Mirror and Goliath

(The Peculiar Adventures of John Loveheart, Esq. #1)

by Ishbelle Bee

(Publisher: Angry Robot Books, 2015)

I received a free copy of this from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.



A penny dreadful fairy tale - Delightfully dark, wonderfully wicked – highly original!

I am so pleased I chose this book for review.  I enjoyed every page and now I’ve finished it I feel like I could read it all again and enjoy it just as much.

“1888. A little girl called Mirror and her shape-shifting guardian Goliath Honeyflower are washed up on the shores of Victorian England. Something has been wrong with Mirror since the day her grandfather locked her inside a mysterious clock that was painted all over with ladybirds.”

There is a lovely blending of fairy tale and horror with this novel and when I began reading this story I thought, “Ok, is this a child’s way of making up stories and coping with her trauma or not? Or is it real?”  I was delighted to discover when I read there was just so much more going on with this story. 

I think to describe Bee’s novel as a penny dreadful fairy tale might come close to giving you a feel for this book. The writing is wonderful.  The use of imagery, colour (I know it’s a book not a film, but you’ll get this ref when you read it!) is superb and immerses you in this world.  I particularly loved the use of odd fonts and different spacing for some of the text as an excellent way of highlighting the madness of some of the characters.

I had many laugh out loud moments while reading this due to the excellent dialogue and characterisations.  Seriously – Mr Loveheart turns out to be a wonderfully deranged hero and I'm glad this is marked as book 1 in his adventures, because the world needs to see more of Mr Loveheart!

There are many interconnected sub-stories here and the book jumps about in terms of time periods; some readers may not cope with this. However, I loved these extra stories and didn’t mind the jumps in time.  In fact, I think, given the nature of Mirror’s gift and that she is a child, those jumps were highly appropriate.  It does mean though, that you’ve got to concentrate on reading at least until you get into the swing of things. 

This is a five out of five stars rating and I hardly ever say that.  I really didn’t want to put it down or for it to end!  I will be on the lookout for more books by this author.

Bravo Ishbelle Bee!

(Release date 2 June, 2015)

 

Monday, 11 May 2015



ILLUSTRATOR INTERVIEW


Aviva Reed

Illustrator.


I had the good fortune to be at the Castlemaine State Festival next to Aviva Reed.

Her fabulous and intricate illustrations drew me immediately to her table for a closer look at her work. 

Aviva is the Illustrator of Zobi and the Zoox and The Squid, The Vibrio and the Moon. Dr Gillian Dite recently reviewed these children’s science / picture books. (click here for the review)

Aviva’s beautiful illustrations are an enormous part of what makes these books, so unique and wonderful.  So it’s time to shine a light on her talent!




Tell us a little bit about yourself please?
I was raised in Sydney, and have moved around a lot since, from Northern NSW to Tasmania. I landed in Melbourne six years ago. I have an 11 year old daughter, train and teach ninjitsu and am a passionate provoker of thought.

Were you always interested in drawing / art? 
I have always been interested in art. In high school I did as much as I could and spent most lunchtimes and recesses in the art block.

If I recall correctly your back ground is in science?  Did you have any formal art training?
The only formal training in art was high school. I currently have a Bachelor of Science and am about to complete a Master Of Environment. There is a lot of drawing required for the science subjects I completed, such as biology and botany. Drawing from the microscope is a large component of these subjects.


How did you develop your skills as an artist?
I guess you could say I was a compulsive doodler from a child, so I was very comfortable with the pen, as I was always drawing something in my lectures or in my spare time. I certainly explored drawing deeper when I finished my studies and couldn’t wrap my head around what the theory of evolution looked like so I drew it. It was then that I realised I am definitely a visual learner - it allows me to explore the layers and concepts and sit back and reflect on them.

Do you recall how your interest in art / drawing originated?
I guess it was my compulsive doodler behaviour, though perhaps my father being an architect, with the old boards and fancy pens may have been a stimulus.


What motivates you to draw?
I draw from two places. Firstly, I am motivated by nature as muse. This is my science communication type of art. I am currently completing my thesis for my Masters and the subject is “Communicating Science through the Arts”. I think it is a brilliant technique for communicating complex ecology. Secondly, I also have been known to draw from a more poetic and emotional place. I guess that work is my therapy art, I do it to process my experiences.

What advice would you have for young artists seeking to earn their living as artists - either as book illustrators or elsewhere?
Keep drawing, and draw with passion. Find your mind’s eye and go with it.

Regarding your art, do you have a favourite medium to work with?
I do love watercolour and ink and beautiful paper.

How much of your artwork is drawn / painted digitally?  If you use this medium has it changed your work process?
I don’t use a digital layer. I find that my style, which I developed prior to Photoshop, is quite similar to the layering effects of Photoshop, but when I try on computer I get frustrated. I would rather do it by hand.

Do you have a favourite type of art project?
I love art that beckons an emotional response and communicates things otherwise not known or thought about.

Does developing art work for a children’s book necessitate differences in the things you consider when creating your work?
My art for children’s books definitely defines my work, rather than drawing from my own thoughts and heart, but I definitely have a style that surfaces in all my work.

Are you currently working on another project? Can you tell us about it? 
Currently I am illustrating another children’s book called The Sweeper about an old man sweeper of a town who looses his will to sweep and the town slowly is buried in dust.

How do you deal with juggling your career and all your other commitments?
I am not sure I am pulling it off, though I guess its just hard work. I try and make sure my commitments and work are things I feel passionately about.

How much research did you need to do for the illustrations involved in Zobi and the
Zoox and The Squid, The Vibrio and the Moon?
Both these books were the result of a mammoth collaborate team, all with different skills and disciplines. The books draw on the expertise of scientists, writers, artists and educators. For Zobi and the Zoox, the small friends team went to the Great Barrier Reef, met with marine biologists, the Australian Institute of Marine Science, and snorkelled the reef.


Find Aviva on: