Today we are lucky enough to have children’s author Marianne Musgrove drop by answer my seven questions. Welcome Marianne!
1. Tell us a little about your publication credits. If you have one, tell us about the genres you prefer to write, and your current projects.
The Worry Tree, Random House Australia, 2007
– Winner of the 2008 Australian Family Therapists’ Award for
Children’s Literature (younger readers)
– Short-listed for:
o 2007 National Children’s Peace Literature Award
o 2008 Queensland Premier’s Literary Award
o 2008 SA Festival Award for Children’s Literature.
Also, my mum thinks it’s very good!
Mini blurb (a blurbette, if you will):
Worrywart Juliet finds a old painting of a tree beneath the wallpaper in her new bedroom. It’s a Worry Tree she can hang her worries on at night.
Lucy the Good (written by me, illustrated by Cheryl Orsini), Random House Australia, 2008
Seven year old Lucy spends an inordinate amount of time on the Time Out chair, only she can’t figure out why. Lucy’s stern great aunt from Holland comes to visit, pronouncing her niece, Lucy the Bad.
Lucy is on a mission to prove she really is good, only things don’t quite go to plan.
Current project: Don’t Breathe a Word, about two young carers.
2. How long have you been writing for children?
I was published in 2007 but began writing in 2002.
3. How much time do you spend each week writing and/or revising? And how much time on other writing-related tasks such as promotion, researching markets and so on?
Writing/editing: zero and fifteen hours per week
Angsting about the plot: eighteen and thirty-four hours per week
Promotion: a couple of hours per week.
4. How much time do you spend reading children’s books? And what are you reading right now?
I’m always reading one children’s book or another. I just read Peter Carnavas’ Jessica’s Box, a picture book about a little girl who tries to buy friendship and learns to just be herself.
5. What advice would you give other would-be children’s writers, or share with other professional children’s writers?
a) Self doubt is normal. It will pass. Then it will come back. Then it will pass. Then it will come back …
b) Work out your angle. My books are funny, realistic stories that help children. I market myself as such, eg, to school counsellors, social workers and psychologists.
c) Come up with a quirky fact about yourself that will stick in people’s minds. I happen to be a descendant of King Henry VIII’s librarian. My publisher uses this fact to pitch my books at overseas book fairs.
d) Don’t just market your book, market yourself. Your titles will change but your name will stay the same. I thought about calling my website www.worrytree.com.au but changed it to www.mariannemusgrove.com.au to promote myself as a brand. It still irks me to think about branding myself (ouch!) but books are products that need buyers so it’s a necessary evil.
e) When you receive the first draft of the back cover blurb of your book, ask if you can have a crack at rewriting it. You know it best.
6. What is your favourite online resource for children’s writers?
The e-zine, Pass It On. It makes me feel connected to other children’s writers plus it has such useful information. It’s a bargain.
7. Do you have a website or blog? What else do you do to promote your published works and/or your writing skills?
You can check out my very funny (if I do say so myself) website at www.mariannemusgrove.com.au You can download the first chapter of my novels. Each of my books has something extra to make it stand out from the crowd. Readers can download their very own Worry Tree from the Random House website. Lucy the Good comes with its own sticker and recipe for Dutch spiced biscuits.
Think laterally. My local butcher and shoe shop agreed to display a poster of my book. The sky is the limit!
Thanks for dropping in Marianne. If YOU would like to answer seven questions and be featured here on this blog, drop me a line at sally @ sallymurphy.net (remove the spaces).