Told in just a few words, The Voyage, is a story of a family displaced by war and conflict, who set out on a voyage into the unknown. It is a powerful insight into a family fleeing their war-torn country and making a dangerous trip across the ocean to a new life in a new land.

What inspired you to write this book?

As the refugee situation increasingly grows worldwide, The Voyage will help engage children in discussions about what it means to be a refugee, and how people can work and help to make refugees feel welcome and safe.

 

Every day, we see thousands of people risking their lives to escape terrible dangers either by boat or on foot with nothing except what they can carry. Books, like The Voyage, will help children come to understand the reality for many refugees living in their country. Without stories, children will struggle to understand.

 

The Voyage will not only allow children to explore their surroundings but open classroom discussions about what is happening in the story. It will give the reader the ability to expand on the words and tell a story through what they see i.e. that old adage ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’.

 

 

What has been your journey up to this point?

 

My picture books to date include:

 

  1. Window of Hope (Little Pink Dog Books, July, 2019)
  2. The Box Cars (EK Books, February, 2019)
  3. Bigger Than Yesterday, Smaller Than Tomorrow (Little Pink Dog Books, 2018)
  4. Finn and Puss (EK Books, 2017)
  5. Eric Finds A Way (Wombat Books, 2017) listed on the NSW, VIC and QLD Premier’s Reading Challenge for 2018. Also, included in the United Way Australia Dolly Parton’s Imagination library.
  6. Ella Saw The Tree (Big Sky Publishing, 2017)
  7. Jack and Mia (Wombat Books, 2016) listed on the NSW Premier’s Reading Challenge for 2017
  8. Barnaby and the Lost Treasure of Bunnyville (Big Sky Publishing, 2016)
  9. Marlo Can Fly (Wombat Books, 2013) listed on the NSW Premier’s Reading Challenge for 2015
  10. No Matter Who We’re With (IP Kidz, 2013).

 

I have two more picture books due to be released this year :

Under The Same Sky (New Frontier Publishing, September, 2019)

The Voyage (EK Books, October, 2019)

 

 

Two of my picture books, Finn and Puss and Eric Finds A Way were shortlisted in the 2018 CBCA Bilby Awards.

Many of my short stories have been published in anthologies such as Packed Lunch, Short and Twisted, Charms Vol 1, The Toy Chest and The School Magazine NSW.

I’ve won awards for my children’s writing including First Place in the 2012 Marshall Allan Hill Children’s Writing Competition and Highly Commended in the 2011 Marshall Allan Hill Children’s Writing Competition.

And I am a Books in Homes Role Model.

 

What are you working on now?

 

More picture books!

I have 5 more picture books contracted over the next two years. Busy times ahead.

I’m truly grateful and blessed.

 

 

As a child, what was your relationship with books?

I grew up reading Winnie The Pooh and went on many great adventures.

I enjoyed reading The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis. My favourite is The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Opening a book is very similar to opening a wardrobe and being transported to another world.

I’m a BIG kid at heart – a bit like Peter Pan. I don’t think I’ll ever grow up!

 

What is the most important thing about what you do?

For me the most rewarding part about being a picture book author is sharing my stories with children. Not only do I create fans for my books, but it’s great to see how I can make a difference in a child’s life.

I enjoy visiting schools because it connects kids to books and gives them an appreciation of the process involved in creating the books they love. It’s a much more powerful way than simply reading them.

I love picture books because of the way they express emotions and ideas in simple ways.

Picture books invite engagement – a connection. That’s why I enjoy writing picture books because it supports an adult-child conversation. The pictures help to initiate a discussion with young children and express their feelings.

 

 

What are the challenges you face in this industry?

There is always that fear of who you are.

If you want to be a writer, you must call yourself one. Be brave. Believe it. Become it.

Time is another factor. It’s not about finding the time it’s about making the most of the time you have. Find the reason to finish.

I believe if you can conquer these challenges then it will lead to productive writing.

 

What advice can you offer to aspiring authors?

Read. And read some more.

Practice. And keep practicing.

The more you write the better you will be at it. It’s okay to make mistakes as this will show you where you went wrong.

It’s important to write from the heart. This will show your reader that you are passionate about your work and reach out and move them in some way.

Seek out constructive feedback on your work. It’s important to get feedback from people in the industry. I would recommend this to all writers. Before submitting a manuscript, make sure your work is polished. After all, publishers are professionals and we must show respect in how we present our work to them.

If your work is of a high standard, sooner or later it will get published. There are no guarantees, of course. No one likes rejection. Believe me, I’ve received my fair share. I keep all my rejection letters in a folder. Why? Because this is a constant reminder of my commitment to my writing. It’s what keeps me going.

Be determined, and don’t take no for an answer. Persistence is KEY!

 

What is your definition of success?

 

Be kind. Be wise. Be wide-eyed and full of wonder. Be giving and respectful.

These factors will make you a better person and put you on the right path to be truly successful.

 

 

What is your ultimate goal?

 

To continue to do what I love.

My aim is to make my readers think.

When I write, I’m writing for a reader. I want to arouse their imagination. I want to strike a chord and provoke them.

By writing what I really care about, I’m putting my heart into my writing. This is what makes it come alive.

Words are precious. They provide a way into reality. If I write creatively on what I know and believe then I’ve achieved the ultimate goal – writing from the heart.

You can get a copy of the book at https://ekbooks.org/product/the-voyage/