'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Thursday 6 August 2009

Surfing with Author Laurine Croasdale

Who is this talented person? Laurine Croasdale

What does she do?

Where can you see all her stuff? http://www.laurinecroasdale.com/

What is her story? I live on the northern beaches in Sydney, Australia and aside from a number of years living in Perth, Paris and London, have lived here most of my life. Until recently, I reviewed books for ABC Radio as well as producing audio books, but have now stopped all that and the billboard is temporarily set on Watch This Space.

How long has she been an author? I had my first fiction book published twelve years ago and did non-fiction stuff before that.

Does she remember the first story she ever wrote? I remember writing a lot of stories that I never finished!

What inspired her to write books for young people? I have always liked children’s books; they have a lot of creative scope and children are always happy to suspend belief and go along for the ride if they’re having fun.

How did she get her first book published? I contacted an agent with a book idea and she sold it to a publisher. The books I started out doing were non-fiction for kids – board games, activity books – that kind of thing. My agent encouraged me to write fiction which was always my dream.

What other genres has she written in? Only fiction and non-fiction for children and YA (young adults).

Does she think Australian children’s literature changed in the past decade? Yes! There are a lot more people writing for a start – and a lot more books being published. Our industry is flourishing and it is great to see so many stories available for children and teenagers that are set in Australia, about Australian issues and in Australian voices.

Other big changes are the way books are marketed and the growth of the internet and online blogs about reading and books.

Why does she write? Because I find it endlessly fascinating and a process that continues to give me new skills – as well as discovering new things about myself (not always good!) with each book. There’s nothing more exciting than getting a new idea and working out how to get it onto the page.

What are the greatest obstacles she has experienced on her writing journey? Self doubt and time.

What does she love most about writing for young people?
Writing a story that touches a child in some way or enables them to understand something that is outside their own experience is a great reward. Children are also very generous and positive towards writers and it’s hard not to want to be a part of that.

What are her top five children’s books of all time?
Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame
Hatchet by Gary Paulsen
Magic Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton
The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien
The Illustrated Mum by Jaqueline Wilson

What books did she read as a child?
Ash Road by Ivan Southall
What Katy Did by Susan Coolidge
The Water Babies by Charles Kingsley
Little Women Louisa May Alcott
Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
Famous Five by Enid Blyton

What was her favourite game as a child? Playing the pinball machines.

If she couldn’t be a writer, what would she be? A clown doctor.

What does she love to do other than write? I love reading, photography, walking (preferably on a beach or in a national park), movies and travelling.

What would comprise her perfect day? Rich blue sky, lots of sun, cool breeze, walk and swim at the beach, breakfast, reading in the hammock in a shady spot, game of scrabble, late afternoon walk along the beach, yummy dinner, campfire (this is my holiday routine!)

What five words best describe who she is? Lucky, grateful, happy, motivated, healthy.

What advice would she have for kids (or adults) on writing children’s stories? Read constantly; write the story that is in your heart; rewrite, rewrite, rewrite.

Any last words? Yes! Please continue to support Australian writers and independent book sellers as it is vital that we continue to tell stories about our culture and country in our unique Australian voice.

Laurine's latest novel - Surf Sisters - is published by Pan Macmillan Australia, $14.99 RRP. The book can be bought online at the following sites:

Booktopia $13.12
Seek Books $13.49
Fishpond $14.99

For more on Laurine, check out her website. Teachers notes for Surf Sisters are available here. Check back next month for my review on Surf Sisters.