Friday, 1 June 2012

Guest post: Sandy Fussell, children's author

Sandy Fussell

Our guest blogger today is well-loved author and all-round generous spirit, Sandy Fussell. I know you'll enjoy reading Sandy's wise words.... 
There is one word I find myself constantly referencing when I talk about children’s writing and illustrating. The word is community. I discovered the writing community at my first SCBWI Conference in 2008, when I was an unpublished writer, far too shy and over-awed to speak to anyone.

I came to the conference feeling like an interloper gate-crashing the real writing world but I left feeling like part of the family. SCBWI breaks down barriers. Everyone talks to everyone – publishers, editors, presenters, authors, new starters and absolute beginners.

The SCBWI Conference program is a marvellous mine of information. Drill deep and you will find! But for me the most important thing is the camaraderie shared with others who are as passionate about children’s literature as I am.

For most people, including myself, the love of writing is easy – it’s inherent. But the work is really hard. The craft is demanding, it’s a juggle to fit in with a job and family and it can take years of perseverance to reach that first publication goal. Writers have a need to connect with other like minds – for inspiration, for support and for friendship.

At every SCBWI Conference I find a renewed sense of community and belonging.

Sandy Fussell ... Author of the Samurai Kids series, Polar Boy and Jaguar Warrior.

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Guest post: Aleesah Darlison, author

Hi there, I’m Aleesah Darlison and I’m an Australian children’s author. I write picture books and novels for children aged between 3 and 12 years of age. Recently my picture book, Warambi (illustrated by Andrew Plant and published by Working Title Press), was nominated as an Honour Book in the CBCA Awards. Very exciting! 

I’ll be releasing two new books in my Unicorn Riders series (Walker Books) in July, right about the time of the SCBWI Conference. Plus, I have another book in my Totally Twins series (New Frontier) due out in November.

I’ve done most of the writing for those books in the last 6 – 8 months, so it’s been an EXTREMELY busy time. I think that’s one of the reasons why I’m looking forward to the SCBWI Conference: being able to sit down, soak up the atmosphere and chat to others in the industry.
I’m attending the SCBWI Conference because I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else! It’s a fantastic opportunity to meet and talk with people from the children’s publishing industry, not only from here in Australia but also from overseas.

I hope to learn heaps from the conference sessions, get the inside scoop on what’s happening, catch up with some old friends and to make some new friends too.

If you see me there, make sure you come up and say hello!
Best wishes, Aleesah.

Some more tips from Susanne Gervay, SCBWI Regional Advisor

The SCBWI Conference is about connecting with authors and illustrators around Australia and New Zealand, taking away cards with names of new colleagues, becoming an ‘insider’ in this community.

It’s about the next time there is a children’s book industry event, you have people you can connect with, which is part of growing as a writer and illustrator.
Tina Clark, Meredith Costain and Sarah Davis at The Hughenden
You'll learn lots, get leads and tips but the parts you'll remember most will be the friendship and excitement about the creative process.
So much of writing and illustrating is done alone. The community makes it warm and welcoming especially as you face the ups and downs of publication.
Susanne Gervay

Lisa Berryman and Leonie Tyle
Frances Plumpton and Deb Abela