Firstly, thanks so much to the delightful Penny Morrison for sending this tour my way.
What am I working on?
I’m working on a picture book manuscript about Australian native orchids. Unlike popular horticultural orchid varieties, most Australian orchids are very small and hard to see, but when you do find them – WOW! – they are the most incredible colours, shapes and patterns. There are little sparkly, fringed orchid flowers just 1cm tall that lie back on a single leaf. In Western Australia, tall white orchids flowers with long petals that look like spiders can be found. And here in Sydney there are orchids that appear to be dipped in red velvet. How could I not write about such charismatic flowers.
How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I write children’s picture books based on natural history and with strong ecological themes. I’m fascinated by the natural world and the extra-ordinary plants, animals and fungi that exist across the globe. I couldn’t dream up creatures as amazing as those that really exist! I write about how people interact with nature, with the real world. While some of my favourite children’s books include anthropomorphised animals, there are no talking animals in my books!
Why do I write what I do?
I am a biologist. I’m keen to inspire a sense of wonder in nature in children and to encourage budding natural historians and biologists to ask questions, explore and learn about the things they see in their surroundings. I aim to encourage children to value and want to protect the natural world by developing an appreciation for its beauty and an understanding of its worth.
How does my writing process work?
Many of my stories begin with a real event that sticks in my memory, or with a plant, an animal or a special place with a unique suite of species that catches my attention. As I remember an event and think about what made it important to me, or as I learn more about an amazing species or place, a story slowly develops and the facts are woven into fiction. While I’m writing, my stories often develop a rhythm and rhyme and become verse. Not always, but often.
Next week (on May 5), posting about their writing processes will be:
The amazing Nathan Luff at: http://www.nathanluff.com.au/blog
Nathan is the author of the middle grade novels Chicken Stu and Bad Grammar. The German translated edition of Chicken Stu received the LesePeter Prize for outstanding children’s literature.
The sensational Wendy Blaxland: http://www.wendyblaxland.com/apps/blog
Wendy Blaxland writes stories, non-fiction, plays and poetry for children and adults. Her 106 books range from early readers to books about how guitars and paper are made, with publishers including Penguin, Cambridge University Press and Macmillan Education. Her book I Can Cook! Chinese Food, was a CBCA Notable Book in 2012. Wendy has also written 15 plays for Marian Street Theatre for Young People. In 2013 her play CROSSING commemorates the Bicentenary of the crossings of the Blue Mountains by explorers including her own great-great-great-great grandfather. CROSSING has performed to over 7,000 school-children and adults from Sydney to Bathurst, and will visit more lucky schools in 2014 and 2015.