Kellie Byrnes is a children’s author and full-time freelance writer with her first picture book, Cloud Conductor, being released by Wombat Books May 2018. Kellie's second picture book will be published by Little Pink Dog Books in 2019.
Beautifully illustrated by Ann-Marie Finn, Cloud Conductor, examines the importance and fun of the imagination, and how creativity can be used to help us deal with difficult times. It is perfect for prompting discussions about topics like creativity, illness, the seasons, weather, clouds, music and more.
Welcome to my blog, Kellie. It’s great to have you here.
Tell us about Cloud Conductor.
Cloud Conductor is a picture book about Frankie, a young girl who is busy and active yet, sometimes, in quiet moments, likes to sit and watch the clouds. She pretends she’s a conductor, who moves the clouds around and sees and hears different things. When she gets ill, and is confined to her bed, Frankie can’t do many of the things she used to, but still has her imagination to take her away from her problems.
How did you come up with the idea for Cloud Conductor?
I started thinking about how difficult it must be for children who are used to doing lots of fun, physical activities, but who then can’t keeping doing them when they’re in hospital or otherwise unwell. I wondered how they would cope, and immediately considered that their imagination would have to be one of the greatest tools in their toolbox (as it is for adults, too). When the name ‘Cloud Conductor’ popped into my head, I knew this was a way to take the story forward, and went from there.
What was the process like in getting it published?
Cloud Conductor was the first thing I wrote and, after having done a bunch of courses, and paying for mentoring, joining critique groups, and reading hundreds of picture books, I decided to sign up for a manuscript assessment at a conference (it was CYA in Brisbane). I was just after some feedback from editors to help me grow and improve my work, but ended up actually getting a contract with Wombat Books for Cloud Conductor as a result. I was amazed, very grateful, and shocked, too. My second picture book contract seemed to take much longer to get, though!
What were some of your favourite children’s books as a child?
There were so many I loved! Three of the most memorable picture books were Each Peach Pear Plum, Harry the Very Dirty Dog, and The Monster at the End of This Book. As for books for older readers, I loved everything by Enid Blyton, Roald Dahl and C.S. Lewis, of course, as well as Bridge to Terabithia, and the Nancy Drew, Trixie Belden, and Hardy Boys series. There were thousands of others, but these are the ones that really had an impact and that I remember most.
What’s on the horizon for you next?
My next picture book, called Yes! No., is coming out with Little Pink Dog Books next year. I’m working on many other picture books that I hope to get contracts for as well; plus I’m tweaking a junior fiction novel, and plotting out a few middle grade and young adult story ideas.
Where can people get in touch with you?
Head to my website/blog at www.KellieByrnes.com to get in touch with me, find out about my author visits and other appearances, and read my author interviews, book reviews and more. You will also find Teacher’s Notes and a Media Kit for Cloud Conductor on my website.
As for social media, I’m on Twitter at @KellieJByrnes, and on Facebook at KellieByrnesAuthor.
It was great to hear your inspiration behind the book and I look forward to hearing more about your exciting writing journey soon. Thanks Kellie :-)
Title: Cloud Conductor
Release Date: 1 May 2018
Price: $24.99 Hardback
Written by: Kellie Byrnes
Illustrated by: Ann-Marie Finn