August 18, 2011

Interview with Author Kerry Brown

Kerry is a qualified primary teacher with a Masters Degree in Education.  She has had the privilege to work along side some of the best imaginations in the country - the children she has taught!

When did you first know that you wanted to be an author? 

About three years ago. I started writing stories for my children. Although I have always enjoyed writing poems and short stories for as long as I can remember.

Where do your ideas come from?

Sometimes I really don't know! I can be having a shower or driving the car and something will come flying at me from out of left field. I love those moments. I also gain a lot of inspiration from my husband and my children. I love children's innocence and fresh outlook on life. 

What is your educational and working background?

I am a primary teacher with my Masters in Education. I have a passion for developing oral language skills in early childhood education. This involves immersing children in books - so the progression for me into the publishing felt very natural to me.

Can you tell us about your books?

Currently I have two picture books titled 'Poppy Wash' and 'Can I Cuddle the Moon?' published. I also have two adult short stories published through Kindle and Amazon. Another project aimed at infants is due to be released any day now (Can't open the lid on that one just yet :) I have also recently signed my third picture book contract with ABC. This is due out February 2013.

What were your favourite books growing up?

I LOVED Roald Dahl. His imagination and use of nonsense words really appealed to me. I also loved Enid Blyton. 

What makes you passionate about writing?

I have always enjoyed playing with words. It amazes me that there are still new ways to express ideas. Children are the perfect example of this - they often say things that make us look at something from a different angle. Words can make us smile, make us cry, unite us, depart us. They are powerful and integral to helping children make sense of the world around them. I love trying to create something new, something that makes people sit back and 'think'.

What are you doing for book week this year?

Chasing my tail over South East Queensland! I am very fortunate to be visiting a number of schools in Brisbane, Toowoomba and the Gold Coast. I am looking forward to sharing this week with inspiring children and passionate teachers!

What's the best part about presenting and conducting workshops?
I can never get sick of presenting workshops. The children always bring their own unique reactions, questions and enthusiasm. It is a great way to gain feedback about your written work - but also to research new ideas!

What advice would you give aspiring writers?
Don't give up and don't think too hard. We are always being told to develop our own 'voice' when writing. This is very hard to do if you are busy 'over thinking' what you 'should' write. Forget all the should do's and must do's. Open your imagination and go with it. You can tighten your work during the editing process. Also - don't leave any idea unturned, you never know where it may lead you.

What has been your greatest moment as an author?

Personally -  My son and I went into Peter Alexander (Pyjama shop) one day and my son saw copies of 'Can I Cuddle the Moon?' for sale on their shelves. He was so excited, he screamed and ran over to the shelf , grabbed a few copies and then ran over to the cash register and started screaming "My Mummy wrote this book!" He was bursting with pride... and so was I.

Professionally - Awards are wonderful - there is no doubt. However, having my books reach as many  minds of children as possible  is the biggest compliment I can receive.

'Can I Cuddle the Moon?' has been picked up by the Qld State Education Department as part of their language curriculum for Year Two. This is wonderful as reaching the kids on an educational level is paramount to helping children develop a love of books and learning. 'Cuddle' is also due to go on Playschool soon which reaches children through a different media. It is very exciting.


Dimity said...

Hi Renee

Your line up of interviewees looks fantastic. I enjoyed Kerry's too. Love the new look blog btw. Look forward to more. Cheers Dimity

Renee Taprell said...

Hi Dimity,
Thank you. It's going to be an exciting week. I can't wait! It was great to run into you (literally) today at the library. Have an awesome week and I look forward to catching up at CYA in September :)

Unknown said...

Kerry is so lovely and such an inspiration! Thanks Kerry for this interview and sharing your love of writing picture books.