Meet Marg Gibbs (M.J. Gibbs)
Marg grew up in Graceville, Brisbane and now resides in the picturesque town of Mapleton on the Blackall Ranges with her husband Bill, a beautiful view, birdsong and a garden to inspire her. Marg loves to write children’s stories, poetry, her blog and other scribblings in the Loft above the garage, her writing space and hideaway.
Who inspired you to start storytelling?
I have been inspired by my 10 grand children in Brisbane ranging from twin toddlers to eight year -old princesses. My love of storytelling came from childhood play with my siblings, my own sense of adventure, creative pursuits and a teaching background. Testing the stories out on my grandchildren is a delightful way to past the time.
What has been your writing journey so far?
At school, I wrote poems, judged competitions, edited a magazine, developed writing groups and organised a book club for children after school hours, ages 4-12 years. Booknook Blue flourished in both rural and urban places with children reading and extending their love of books, crafts and outings. Along the journey I’ve had some successes with publication, my most recent poem and story in an anthology called, It’s Beginning to Look a lot like Christmas, encouraged by Michelle Worthington.
What are you working on now?
Currently I have a few picture books that are ready to go out, a MG novel on loss and hope in a blended family and a YA in the making on the expectations of a fourteen year old girl with her dreams, friendships and family. I write for my blog www.themoderngrandmasmanual.wordpress.com fortnightly.
As a child, what was your relationship with books?
My parents didn’t own many books so my love affair with them came after high school, University and when I had my own children. However, at about ten I wrote poems and did read The Famous Five adventure series, comics, including the Scottish annuals, The Broons and Oor Wullie. I love library spaces and books on shelves, the smell and look of a book.
What is the most important thing about what you do?
Passing on to my family and friends my love of literature is contagious. Stories open the communication line to other possibilities. They have been fantastic in socialising, teaching and learning myself. Whether it’s Edward Lear’s Nonsense poems, Dr Seuss’s wonderful rhymes or the world of Marsh and Me ( Martine Murray) or Tishkin Silk , Layla Queen of Hearts (Glenda Millard) I love being transported to other worlds and settings.
What are your biggest challenges?
There are countless new writers emerging and books in bookshops with a limited number of contracts to go around. I find the publishing world very tricky to navigate.
What advice can you offer to other aspiring authors?
My tips would be to immerse yourself in the genres that you love and relate to. Enjoy the processes of drafting, writing and editing. Be open to new possibilities and potential. Allow positive feedback to grow you as a writer, listen to podcasts, The Happy Book by Tania Mc Cartney and apply for a mentorship with an author – Michelle Worthington, Aleesah Darlinson, or a similar successful author. Organisation, hard work and a belief in one’s mission or goal helps. Pay attention to what is current and relatable to children and adolescents.
Follow Marg on her blog www.themoderngrandmasmanual.wordpress.com