I’ve had nearly 50 books published–all novels, except for a book of essays
and short stories(and another one of my essay collections will be out next
year.) Most of my novels are for children and young adults, especially YA,
but I’ve also had a number of adult novels published. Many of them have been
published overseas as well as in Australia. I’ve also had many short
stories, articles, essays and reviews published in newspapers, magazines,
anthologies and online.
My latest novel was The Case of the Diamond Shadow(ABC Books, 2008).
Forthcoming is The Madman of Venice(Hodder children’s Books, June 2009. This
book is also appearing in the UK in April 2009, and in the USA in march
2. How long have you been writing for children?
For quite a while! I wrote my first children’s story, a picture book text
called Valerie behind the Bottlebrush(about a rag doll who gets forgotten
when a family moves home), in 1979, when I was 20. My younger sister
Gabrielle, who’s a really good artist, illustrated it with paintings and pen
wash drawings. I still have it! My first children’s story was published in
1987 in the School Magazine, the wonderful NSW children’s magazine that has
launched the career of so many children’s authors. In 1988 a story of mine,
It Only Happens Once, was published in After Dark, an anthology of stories
edited by Gillian Rubinstein for Omnibus Books. And in June 1990, my first
children’s novel, Fire in the Sky, was published by Angus and
Robertson–only three months after my first adult novel, The House in the
Rainforest, had come out with UQP!
much time on other writing-related tasks such as promotion, researching
markets and so on?
Most weeks, I usually spend four days a week writing/revising. The rest of
the time I do sociable and family things but part of that time might well
include research etc. And of course you never really stop the thinking about
it, no matter what! there are times when I do more of the nonwriting stuff,
like talks, workshops etc, more,and there are times too when other things in
life take over, but that’s the general pattern of it.
4. How much time do you spend reading children’s books? And what are you
reading right now?
I read a mixture of both children’s and adult books. For instance, I’ve just
reread Down in the Cellar, by Nicholas Stuart Gray(an author I love but who
is sadly neglected these days)as well as finished Stephenie Meyer’s
Twilight, plus I’ve been reading a Dick Francis racing thriller as well!
5. What advice would you give other would-be children’s writers, or share
with other professional children’s writers?
Be persistent, patient, and polite. Believe in what you’re doing, but don’t
be precious about your work. Be flexible, open-minded and never listen to
lazy cliches like ”kids are different these days”, but equally keep your
ears and eyes open for the reality of children’s lives today.
6. What is your favourite online resource for children’s writers? Why?
I regularly consult two UK children’s literature sites, www.writeaway.org.uk
and www.achuka.co.uk These are excellent resources and very interesting for
what’s going on in the children’s book world there(I publish in UK too) but
also encompass other places and have great links . I also read reviews on
various Australian sites, such as Aussiereviews.com and the YARA
site(http://goldcreek.act.edu.au/yara) , which features reviews written by
kids themselves, and consult the Inside a dog site too
occasionally.(www.insideadog.com.au) and for industry news, views, gen and
gossip, I subscribe to Jackie Hosking’s excellent email newsletter, Pass it
On, of course!
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 a number of different things going: a basic website at
http://users.nsw.chariot.net.au/~smasson , a site about two of my series–a
Shakespearean series and the El Jisal series at
http://sophievmasson.googlepages.com two blogs, one on the Thomas trew
series, www.thomastrew.blogspot.com and one of The case of the Diamond
Shadow, www.caseofthediamondshadow.blogspot.com I also have a You Tube
channel, www.youtube.com/sophievmasson onto which I’ve uploaded author talks
and book trailers. I also blog once a month on the group blog, Writer