August 30, 2011

Interview with 'Award Winning Children's Author' Corinne Fenton

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

I was always a book lover from a very young age and wrote poetry from about 11, but when my daughter had just begun school and my son about to go to kinder, I attended a one day Creative Writing Workshop for Children (quite by accident), which was run by Hazel Edwards. I was hooked and I knew I wanted to write children's books forever.

What was your road to publishing like?

Painful, but I was also lucky. At the end of a 3 year Professional Writing and Editing Course I had a Prep Reader published and a novel for the educational  market accepted for publication.

Tell us about your books.

Picture Books are my passion. I believe the best picture books are the ones where the author makes every word count, then lets the story go so that the illustrator can create the other half of the book. The words and illustrations must wrap themselves about each other and tell the story equally.

'Queenie One Elephant's Story' I knew I had to write, because she needed to be introduced to a new generation of children and remembered forever. 

The Dog on the Tuckerbox is the legend, told for children (and adults) in picture book format, which I also had to write because it is part of my memories, and Flame Stands Waiting is a fictional story, set in a real place, but could be on any carousel anywhere in the world. It's about believing in your dreams.

What do you prefer writing picture books or chapter books?

See above . . . definitely picture books. 
No question.

What skills do you believe every writer should have?

Persistence, patience and a passion to write words that matter. Attending writing courses is also very important both to learn the craft and to network with other creators which makes you grow.

Can you please describe a typical day?

There is no typcial day for me. I like to spend at least a big part of each day writing or doing a writing-related activity like presenting to school children or libraries or to seniors groups and fit the rest of my life in between - although sometimes it's clearly the other way around.

When and where do you write? 

In my study, at the kitchen table (which has a view), on the deck (same view) and I often write in the real i.e.take myself to the setting I'm writing about. I wrote much of Queenie at the Melbourne zoo and sat where she used to walk, much of 'The Dog on the Tuckerbox' in Gundagai and 'Flame Stands Waiting' sitting on the back of the horse I call Flame, on the carousel at Luna Park in Melbourne, (which greatly embarrassed my then teenagers.) I also take my stories and poems for walks with me and edit and alter as I walk along. (Sounds crazy I know, but it works. Keeps my mind open and free to improve my words.)

Who are your favourite authors?

Apart from my author friends, who I treasure and  admire - Margaret Wild, Jan Yolen and Kate DiCamillo.

What has been the biggest highlight of your writing career?

2 things!  Having the channel 9 News come to the launch of Queenie (although I was terrified) and having an old lady, who hadn't uttered a word for 2 years, exclaim loudly in the middle of a presentation I was giving in a retirement village, 'Queenie, I remember Queenie!'

What are you doing over book week?

Working very hard, visiting schools and libraries and for the following two weeks as well. (Very lucky.)

What's the best part about conducting workshops with children and adults? 

Silence when I'm reading my story because it means my words have touched them.

What advice would you give aspiring authors?

Be persistent and keep believing in yourself. Even for published authors, it is often like going up and down on a carousel horse. 

Blog: I blog each Wednesday on and I have both Facebook and Twitter presence - all because we have to, to be a writer of children today.

Corinne has a passion for writing children’s books, especially picture books and enjoys sharing her experiences of the writing/research process with children and adults. She lives on the edge of the city of Melbourne, Australia and has a big, bushy backyard where wallabies, echidnas and even a wombat wander.


1 comment:

Kaye Baillie said...

Thanks Renee and Corinne for this delightful interview. I am inspired by Corinne's words and realise I should follow my writing passion not writing that leaves me feeling flat!