August 31, 2011

Interview with 'Award Winning Children's Author' Libby Gleeson

Have you always wanted to be an author?

Yes, but I also wanted to do other things like be a pilot and be a teacher.

What do you enjoy about being a writer?

Creating something. Playing with language. Taking an idea that you think might work and seeing it through to a finished work. I love not having to go to work! I love staying in jeans and ugg boots all day!

Where do you get your ideas from?

Everywhere - sometimes things my kids or other members of the family have done. Sometimes books come from firmly held political or social views but always with a belief that characters, not issues, are the heart of the story.

How long does it take you to write a picture book?

How long is a piece of string? 'Cuddletime' took a few hours. 
'I am Thomas' took nine years! Many take a few months but also all those years of apprenticeship.

Tell us about your latest picture book 'Look A Book'.

Look a book began as a story about how to look after a book. The very minimal text inspired Freya Blackwood to burst forth and create fabulous, fantastic pictures. She's a marvellous illustrator.

Where is your favourite place to write?

At my desk looking over the garden.

What makes you passionate about writing?                                        

I'm hooked on story.

Can you please describe a typical day for you?

It's hard because so many are not typical. If it's a writing day I may sit down after the coffee and the Sydney Morning Herald and write till lunch time. Then I take a break and I sometimes get back to writing but I may end up answering emails or doing my tax or something like that. Often I go to meetings of the different boards or committees that I am on.

What's your secret to making the character's in your books come to life?

Detail. Relevant credible detail that builds reality into the life of the character.
What advice do you give aspiring authors?

Read, read and read some more. And write lots.

Award Winning Australian Author, Libby Gleeson has published over 30 books for children and teenagers.  
Libby's picture books include, Clancy and Millie and The Very Fine Houses, Amy and Louis, The Great Bear, Uncle David, and The Princess and the Perfect Dish

Libby has been shortlisted for the CBCA Awards twelve times; she won the Book of the Year for Younger Readers Award in 1997 with Hannah and the Tomorrow Room, and the Picture Book of the Year Award in 2002 for An Ordinary Day
The Great Bear (with Armin Greder) won the Bologna Ragazzi Award in 2000, the first time an Australian title won this prestigious award. 

Her books for teenagers include Eleanor, Elizabeth, I Am Susannah, Dodger, Love Me, Love Me Not and Refuge. The Hannah series - Skating on Sand, Hannah Plus One and Hannah and the Tomorrow Room - are award-winning junior fiction titles.

Libby has been a teacher and lecturer and is actively involved in writers' organisations. In 1997 she was awarded the Lady Cutler award for services to Children’s Literature and in 2007 she received an AM for services to literature and literacy education.

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