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

Saturday 12 June 2010

Author/Illustrator Interview: Trace Moroney

New Zealand author and illustrator Trace Moroney is here at Kids Book Review today. Trace has created several children's books - all designed to be positive and helpful to children.

Tell us a little about you: what’s your background, your story? Okey-dokey . . . to cut a long story short . . . my working career began as a Graphic Designer for an Advertising/Design Studio; then employed by an Educational Children’s Book Publisher designing; art directing; commissioning illustration work; print negotiation & management; etc. It was in this role that I discovered my passion for creating children’s books.

Through the years, I moved quickly up the corporate ladder into management roles. While I thoroughly enjoyed my job (lots of international travel; meeting interesting people; etc) I felt that I was moving further away from the ‘hands-on’ aspect of creating children’s books. I resigned in 1994, and established my own business. Yeeehaaaaa!

I feel hugely passionate about conceptualising; researching; writing; designing and illustrating books for children - particularly those with a subject matter that help children feel good about who they are!

What genre do you write in? Children’s fiction and non-fiction.

What other genres have you written in? Adults non-fiction (ie. notes for parents / caregivers / psychologists / etc).

Why do you write? Writing is a part of or component of what I do. I come up with an idea for a book or series - so the written word is a part of expressing this concept. The illustrations are a visual extension of the text, and the design (if done well!) holds it all together with balance and harmony.

Writing, along with these other components, is also about self-expression and/or sharing a very personal part of myself - ie. my beliefs; my opinions; and describing my relationship with myself and my son; and others - through the characters in my books. And, while I do not like to ‘blab-on’ about myself - the topics I have chosen to write about, while personal, describe how we all feel, have felt, or - can relate to.

What do you love about writing for children? The opportunity to create an ‘ideal’ ( . . . ok . . . fantasy) world where we focus on - and make the most of - the good things in ourselves and our lives . . . and encouraging expansion of awareness in the areas of kindness; love; empathy; and gratitude!

When reading my books, I hope children feel inspired and motivated to discover/identify those things they like about themselves; develop self-respect and self-worth; and become more aware of how their own responses and behaviours affect others.

What are the greatest blocks or obstacles you have experienced on you book-writing journey? Lack of time!!!!!! Sooooo many ideas, sooooo little time! (could someone please create an eighth day in the week?!).

What’s a typical writing day? Up early (sometimes 4am if deadlines are up around my ears!); take son to school; exercise - race-walk with my doggy, then gym for a weights session; into office with strong coffee; work flat-tack for the day; cook dinner while sipping on a fabulous glass of a gusty red vino; or, eat out; share valuable time with my son yaking and laughing about the day; sometimes, head back into my office; crash into bed; read; sleep. Love it!

What advice do you have on writing for kids? Write from your heart; connect with your ‘inner-child-self‘ (oooo, that sounds a bit fru-fru . . . but you know what I mean!); be playful; be happy; love your life; pick up a pen - and let the ideas flow!

If you couldn’t be a writer, what would you be? I consider myself more of a ‘creator’ (rather than a writer) as I come up with an idea, research, write, design and illustrate a book as a complete package. A good picture book has harmony and balance with all of these components. So, for me, this is a question for which I have no answer!

What books did you read as a child? I recall being absolutely fascinated with The Story of Little Black Sambo (first published in 1899!). Although considered politically-incorrect in current times (and, I believe was actually banned for some time) - I have a reprinted 1997 copy on my bookshelf.

What else do you like to do, other than write books? Work on my health and fitness (mind, body and soul!); travel; skiing; great wine; enjoying the company of fun/positive/energetic people (including my son); being a great Mum; laughing lots; renovating property; and always thinking about my next project idea ; and sharing all of the above with those I love!

What would be your perfect day? I am living the life I have designed for myself - and it is ‘perfect‘ for me right now. I choose to live each day without regrets in the choices I make . . . therefore, each day is ‘perfect’ in it’s own way.

What five words best sum you up? Optimistic; considerate; kind; passionate; fun-loving; self-deprecating ( . . . and, clearly, rule-breaker . . . as I have chosen six words . . . oooo, actually, seven!).

Visit Trace Moroney's website