I’ve written about 50 books over the last 20 years, so it’s probably easier to follow the following links
Book cover pics: http://www.christineharris.com/Books.aspx
Short biog and list of writing associated activities: http://www.christineharris.com/AboutMe/Info.aspx
2. How long have you been writing for children?
My first book ‘Outer Face’ was published 1992, but of course the writing of it took place for several years before this.
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?
I am a full time professional writer – so usual work hours, plus a few sleepless nights and early mornings. And I sometimes wonder if writers are ever truly ‘off duty’. Whatever we see starts thought processes that lead to stories or scenes in books. Most writers, including myself, carry notebooks and jot ideas down on anything that doesn’t move – including serviettes and backs of envelopes.
I try to keep promotions to evenings or weekends, but sometimes I blitz – spend a week or two. When I was revamping my website, I spent a month or more, straight, working on it. A writer must spend some time on promotions if they are serious about being professional. But the balance between promo and writing new material is easily upset. So I think setting limits is important. Each of us works best according to our own personality.
4. How much time do you spend reading children’s books? And what are you reading right now?
Depends. If I am deep into writing a novel or having trouble with a section of it, I won’t read anything that changes my style.
I also blitz read (I sound like a real ‘blitzer’, don’t I?). I go to the library and borrow a bag full and read them all, take notes, if I am after something in particular. I find now, after years of reading young adult and kidlit, that I am often impatient with slow, wordy novels for adults.
Currently, I am reading Stephenie Meyer’s ‘Eclipse’ in the Twilight series. Mostly because kids keep asking me if I have read it or know about it and it helps me to be able to converse with them. While I don’t try to be or act like a child, I work in the world of children, so it does help to be in touch with what they are interested in. But, at the same time I am reading a book for adults by Tony Horwitz about following in the footsteps of Captain Cook, and a book on How to Write Mystery Books. I read all sorts of material. There are books in every room of the house. And I mean EVERY.
5. What advice would you give other would-be children’s writers, or share with other professional children’s writers?
And this is not as silly as it sounds. We spend so much time planning, thinking and talking about writing that we don’t actually start.
I believe we learn by doing.
6. What is your favourite online resource for children’s writers? Why?
All. Any. Lots.
Seriously. I pick up hints on what to do and what not to do in many places. Read all you can and keep a notebook or computer file of the best tips. I don’t usually seek out children’s writing sites, but I do read a lot of online info about writing. No matter who is the target reader, the skills are pretty much the same.
Jurgen Wolff’s Time to Write blog has pithy, helpful entries http://www.timetowrite.blogs.com/
7. Do you have a website or blog? What else do you do to promote your published works and/or your writing skills?
I have three blogs. The most relevent here is Writers Bitz
I try to add articles here of things that might interest, entertain or inform writers, and I add material that reflects what I am currently being asked about.
What else do I do to promote my work?
My goodness, that would require a whole essay. And what I am doing this week will be different to what I choose to do next week. What doesn’t work gets dropped and new ideas are added.
My best advice here would be to constantly add to a personal data base of ideas for promotions. We can only make this sort of thing effective when we are doing things that we are comfortable with. Some writers are shy, others are exhibitionist – so always look out for ideas, choose those that you are comfortable with, then write down your plan and slot in time to actually do it. A promotions plan, to me, is fluid, constantly changing, like the sea.
But generally, the areas I think about are”
online/technological; website, blogs, articles, email signatures …
paper handouts, including a professional looking business card, list of published books etc
competitions and giveaways (usually for young writers)…
When I was a kid I used to write lists then add … to infinity …
So, that’s the best way to continue this list