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

Wednesday 22 September 2010

Guest Post: Rosemary Mastnak

Rosemary cuts her 70th birthday cake just last week,
with joint-birthday-granddaughter Anya

We are just so happy to have the delightful Rosemary Mastnak guest posting on KBR. Rosemary is a 'late bloomer' in the kids lit world but has more than made up for it with her talent and resultant success. We hope you love this look at Rosemary's journey from artist to published author.

At the age of 36, I discovered I should have been an artist. My children were two and four, and I’d been an Early Childhood Teacher for ten years before they had been born.

I’d always been good at art but my mother wanted me to have a profession, hence University and teaching. Not that I minded, the skills came in handy later in life when I taught watercolour to adults.

At the age of 66, after many years of watercolour landscapes en plein air, I discovered I should have been a writer. I’d always written; letters, diaries, the odd little poem, but I hadn’t always been a grandmother.

Somehow, a combination of all these things has resulted in my books. It’s something I wish I’d always done, but I guess it had to evolve. I needed to have all these experiences first.

Dancing with Grandma came about when I had a bout of pneumonia. I’d been visiting Anya, my first grandchild (she’s now 8) frequently - a 6-hour round trip. I also had tutoring and coordinating a group of watercolourists, organising exhibitions (we have a small gallery), the housework, cooking, gardening, etc, that one does, and I suppose I was a bit run down.

Three months rest - doctor's orders! What to do? Coloured pencils, a sketch pad, sitting by the fire in the dressing gown and an idea!

I wanted to make a little book for my grandchild of what we’d done together. Something for her to remember our times together. One’s imagination took hold!!

A friend saw it and sent it to my Fairy Godmothers, the lovely girls at Hardie Grant.

So here we are, three books later and I’ve just turned 70!

I just love doing it. It’s escapism, really. I wake up bursting with ideas. I have good powers of observation, honed from all those years of looking for paintings in the landscape, and so I think I see things, and think, ‘there’s a book in that!’ I’m just expanding and embroidering what I know.

At present, I’m having a little rest. Three books in four years has been huge, but I have more ideas!

Just doodling away with a trusty 4B and my kneadable eraser. Watch this space!

See more on Rosemary's books here.