Teena, welcome to the blog!
Thanks for inviting me, Robert. It’s great to be here.
You Can Be A Writer is your recently release picture book; a handy and motivational guide encouraging children on their own imaginative, and well-structured, writing journey.
What can you tell us about this title?
You Can Be a Writer is one of my author visit sessions presented in picture book format to reach children I don’t meet in person. Of course it’s been adapted and simplified. When I present it in schools there’s lots of interaction and detours according to the audience on the day.
Why was producing this book for children important to you?
As a child in school I never had any problem writing stories. My pencil or pen could never keep up with the ideas racing through my mind. When my own children arrived, they grew up surrounded by book lovers and story tellers, so they didn’t struggle with writing stories either. However, as a classroom parent helper during their primary school years and later while presenting author talks, I realised this wasn’t the case for so many children. I wanted to do what I could to shift that perspective of story writing being difficult and encourage them to look at it as an adventure. I believe our expectations have a significant bearing on our experience of life, so if we can change our mindset, we change our lives.
What was the most rewarding part of creating You Can Be A Writer?
Knowing that even if I couldn’t visit a school or library and share my excitement about books and writing directly with children, this little book offers them a pathway to exploring where their own ideas can take them.
Favourite part of your new book?
The simplicity. There is nothing complicated about the text or the process, so it’s easy for young readers to follow the step-by-step guide and create their own story to share.
Tell us about the path to publication for ‘You Can Be A Writer’.
I wrote the first version of a picture book on story writing about 20 years ago and sent it to a few publishers. No one was particularly interested so I filed it away and went on with other projects. Fast forward to the COVID-19 lockdown in March last year. I came to a standstill on a couple of novels I’d been working on and had no inclination to continue them or to write anything new. Due to so many events and activities being cancelled, I had unexpected space in my life. I love the process of publishing books, so I went through my computer looking for something to release under my own imprint, Sea Song Publications, and decided it might be a good time to revise and publish You Can Be a Writer.
Which authors have inspired you to become a better writer yourself?
So many! I am inspired by every beautifully crafted book I read that leaves me wishing I’d written it. I do love Meg McKinlay’s and Glenda Millard’s books, and Jen Storer is an extraordinary inspirationalist through her kidlit videos, FB groups and courses.
What are your top tips for all aspiring writers, young and old?
Learn as much as you can about your craft. Write regularly. Musicians and athletes practise. If we want to improve our skills, we need to practise them.
Read eclectically, critically and for enjoyment. We can learn so much about writing by reading what other writers have written.
Connect with other writers. Attend author talks, workshops, seminars and book launches. Join a critique group and a writing organisation. Other writers understand the creative process. Family and friends often do not.
Write in the way that works best for you. Try to avoid measuring your productivity and achievements as a writer against anyone else’s. Explore where your writing takes you and enjoy the journey.
Most importantly, don’t give up on your dream. Persistence pays off.
What’s next for you?
I have a new picture book called Looking After Grandma coming out soon with Serenity Press. Amy Calautti has done a wonderful job with the illustrations and I’m looking forward to seeing a print copy. This book is special to me as it was inspired by my mother, who had Alzheimer’s Disease. It’s been a long time coming but the wait will be worth it.
I’m also working on a book called Just Write, which expands on the message of You Can Be a Writer and goes into more depth for mid to upper primary children.
Do you have an online presence?
I have a website at www.teenawriter.com and a Facebook author page at https://www.facebook.com/TeenaRaffaMulligan
I also have a blog called In Their Own Write, where I chat with writers and illustrators about their creative process. Here’s the link: https://intheirownwrite.wordpress.com
Thank you for joining me on the blog, Teena!
It’s been a pleasure, Robert.
Welcome to my blog page!
Here you will find the latest news and updates on my writing and published books.