Introduction of Ashling Kwok – Children’s Author
Name of books: Lola and Grandpa (Little Pink Dog Books) – https://littlepinkdogbooks.com/2020-books-2/lola-and-grandpa/ The Battle (EK Books) – https://ekbooks.org/product/the-battle/
Ashling is a children’s author from Sydney. She currently has five picture books due for release between 2020- 2022. When she is not dreaming up new ideas or working on her latest book, Ashling can be found scouring local bookstores, marvelling at all the wonderful books being created by talented children’s authors.
1) What was your first book published?
My first book is titled Lola and Grandpa – illustrated by Yvonne Low and published by Little Pink Dog Books. It’s the story of a little girl who loves spending time with her grandpa. But one day her grandpa isn’t there anymore. Lola struggles to deal with the loss but eventually she realises that her grandpa is still with her – in her heart and in the memories they made.
2) What is your favourite part about being an author?
I love the fact that I get to write stories that can alter a child’s perception and help them deal with the world around them. I also love the fact that I get to entertain children and open their minds up to a world of possibilities. Being part of the writing community allows me to connect with people from all walks of life and work with the most talented and supportive people on the planet. I am truly grateful for this blessing and I still can’t believe that this is my job!
3) What is the hardest part of being an Author?
I think the hardest part about being an author is getting published. It can take a long time to find the right publisher for your story, but it’s definitely worth the wait. It can also be hard to get out and promote your work if you’re a bit of an introvert and are more comfortable hiding behind your computer screen. But like most things, the more you do it, the easier it all becomes.
4) How do you test out your stories? Or who do you test them on?
I used to test my stories out on my children, but the older they get, the harder it is to hold their attention. Bribes come in handy but it can be a costly exercise if you write as much as I do…ha ha! For the past couple of years, I have been working with an amazing manuscript assessor – Aleesah Darlison from Greenleaf Press – who reviews my stories and provides me with constructive feedback that I can use to refine my work. I think it’s incredibly important to test your stories out on someone who is objective and will give you their honest opinion.
5) What is your favourite children’s book now?
There are so many wonderful books on the market so I couldn’t possibly choose just one. What I choose to read really depends on my mood and the type of book I am trying to write. Some days you’ll find me crying in the corner while I try to read books like The Scar by Charlotte Moundlic, which is the most heart wrenching book I’ve ever come across. Other days you’ll find me laughing out loud while I read Pig the Pug by Aaron Balbey or the Elephant and Piggie series by Mo Willems.
6) What writing genre do you like to do the most?
I love writing children’s books – mostly picture books – but I am also working on a junior fiction series. I’m not sure it will ever see the light of day but I’ll keep plugging along with it for now. It’s a totally different experience to writing a picture book and has been a huge learning curve for me as a writer.
7) Where do you see the future of children’s books (ebooks/apps/print)?
Personally, I think that despite the growing popularity of ebooks and apps, printed picture books will never go out of fashion. I believe that picture books do more than educate and entertain, they connect parents to their children in a way that technology will never be able to do. There is nothing more special than snuggling up with your child at bedtime reading a beautiful picture book. It is the most intimate experience you can have with your child and a computer program will never replace those special moments.
8) What book are you reading right now?
I’m constantly rereading all of the children’s books in my collection. I think the best way to improve as a writer is to read as much as you can in the genre you are trying to write for. I’m also trying to finish the Whatever After series by Sarah Mlynowski and Wolf Girl by Anh Do because I hope to finish my junior fiction series in the near future.