Very very excited to welcome a super lovely and successful Aussie author to the blog today to help celebrate the release of her latest book!
Check it out...
Dee White decided to be a writer when she was seven years-old and has been hunting down stories ever since. She is the published author of more than 20 books, plays and short pieces.
Dee has always been an animal lover, and dogs, cats, rabbits and other creatures appear randomly in her work. She presents writing workshops all over Australia and internationally including the 2015 SCBWI Europolitan Conference in Amsterdam and the 2018 Sharjah International Book Fair. She was the recipient of a May Gibbs Fellowship, and was awarded a Writers Victoria Mentorship which led to publication of her first young adult novel, Letters to Leonardo, by Walker Books in 2009.
Dee has a Diploma in Professional Writing and Editing from Victoria University and is a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, and the Australian Society of Authors. She was recently the recipient of Creative Learning Partnerships funding and will spend a month as writer-in-residence at a regional school later this year.
published by Scholastic Australia
1 April 2020 for readers aged 9+
Eleven year-old Ruben is hiding from the Nazis. Already thousands of Jewish children have disappeared after the Vel D’hiv round up of July 1942, and Ruben’s parents are desperately trying to find his sister.
Ruben must learn how to pass himself off as a Muslim, while he waits for the infamous Fox to help him get to Spain to be reunited with his family. One hint of Ruben’s true identity and he’ll be killed. So will the people trying to save him. But when the mosque is raided and the Fox doesn’t come, Ruben is forced to flee. Finding himself in the south of France, he discovers that he must adjust to a new reality, and to the startling revelation of the Fox’s true identity.
Eddy Popcorn’s Guide to Parent Training
published by Scholastic Australia
1 May 2020 for readers aged 8+
The school holidays have started and EDDY POPCORN is about to turn twelve. Then disaster strikes-Eddy is GROUNDED for not doing his homework. Parents suck! Faced with not seeing the beach, or his mates, for the WHOLE holidays, Eddy puts all of his frustration into a helpful book for kids: EDDY POPCORN'S GUIDE TO PARENT TRAINING. Chock FULL of laughs and mushrooms, this guide is sure to be a HIT!
Who are you and what do you write?
I’m the published author of more than 20 books for children and young adults. I’ve also written short pieces, poems and plays.
Where and when and how did the writing life begin for you?
When I was seven, I wrote my first poem and my teacher loved it and asked me to read it at school assembly (which was terrifying but amazing) and I realised the power of words and how they can connect us with other people and make them respond in a certain way.
How has the journey to this point been? Can you give us a basic rundown?
Being a writer is a rollercoaster. One day you can be crushed by a disappointing rejection, and the next day, all that can change when a different publisher offers a contract for the very same manuscript.
Most of the time I love my job though. There’s something kind of magical when you think up a new idea for a book, and you get to create your characters and their story. It’s like going outside when everything is new and fresh after the rain. The fun of a new story can wane a bit as you work through revision after revision with no guarantee of publication, but you have to just keep going. I wrote 30 drafts of my YA novel, Letters to Leonardo, and it took ten years. But it was worth the blood, sweat and many tears when it was published and a young reader came up to me at a school visit and said it was the best book she’d ever read … and then another reader wrote and said that it had changed her life. I was fortunate to experience the joy all over again when Letters to Leonardo was published in USA and UK last year.
Having my first YA novel published was followed by many years of rejections but I kept writing and working to improve my craft. I wrote a lot of educational books during that time, undertook professional development courses and completed a mentorship with New York Times bestseller, Ellen Hopkins through SCBWI Nevada. I’m still revising the book I worked with on with Ellen, Street Racer, and hoping to send it out on submission soon.
My first picture book, Reena’s Rainbow (about a deaf girl and a homeless dog) was published in 2017, and I was thrilled when an Auslan version of the book was created last year, making it even more accessible to deaf and hearing readers.
In 2017 I was awarded a VicArts grant to spend a month in Paris researching Beyond Belief, inspired by the true story of Muslims at a Paris mosque who saved Jewish children during WW2. Being paid to spend a month in Paris! It was seriously, a dream come true.
Writing Beyond Belief about 11 year-old French boy, Ruben took me on an amazing journey into mosques and synagogues, a tour of the Paris sewers (just as smelly as it sounds) and other amazing places of historical significance. My grandparents were married in a synagogue and the Holocaust is part of the fabric of our family history. My father and his parents were forced to flee Nazi occupied Austria, and other family members died at Auschwitz. So writing Ruben’s Holocaust story has also been a very personal journey for me.
I was lucky to work with a really amazing editor, Kristy Bushnell on this book. Every time I work with a great editor I learn so much and become a better writer.
I have two other new releases coming with Scholastic Australia. Eddy Popcorn’s Guide to Parent Training (which I wrote and had rejected multiple times about 7 years ago) is an MG fiction coming out in May (illustrated by the amazing Ben Johnston). The sequel, Eddy Popcorn’s Guide to Teacher Taming will be out next year.
What's been the hardest part of your writing/publishing experience so far?
The hardest part is dealing with rejection but I’ve learnt to develop strategies to help me cope.
1. I try not to compare myself to other writers, or their successes to my ‘failures’. In fact I’m happy for every other writer’s success because getting published is hard, and I know they have worked as hard or sometimes harder than I have for their achievements.
2. For every manuscript I send out, I have a ‘plan of hope’. So if the manuscript is rejected, I know exactly where I’m going to submit it next, and I send it out straight away. Unless of course, a publisher or agent has provided constructive feedback in their rejection, in which case I may do further rewrites before re-submitting. Publishers are so time poor that they rarely send out rejections now so if I do get one, I know that they have an interest in the manuscript or my writing and I take notice of any suggestions.
3. I try to have multiple manuscripts out on submission so that I always have hope that there could be an acceptance on the way.
And the most enjoyable?
The most enjoyable aspect of writing is having my books read. I love getting feedback from readers that my work has resonated with them, helped them in some way, or opened their mind to new ideas or possibilities.
Would you go back and change anything?
No. Everything I’ve experienced has helped shaped me both as a person and a writer. Every writer’s journey is hard, and personal and different – but hopefully, rewarding.
Where would you like to be in 5 years time? And 10? Or, what are your plans for the future?
I’d love to see more Eddy Popcorn books out in the wild and overseas. I also have two more historical middle grade fiction in progress … and I’m working on an adult novel and a paranormal screen play.
What's one piece of advice you'd give to new writers just starting out?
I don’t think I can pick just one.
In no particular order
1. Read and write as much as you can.
2. Never compare yourself to anyone else or their writing journey.
3. Be open to constructive feedback, but don’t lose sight of your vision for your story and change it to suit someone else’s idea of what it should be.
And most importantly...
Ketchup or Mayo? - Mayo
Night or Day? - Day
Inside or Outside? - Outside
Dogs or Cats? - Rabbits – sorry I’m not good at following rules.
Twitter or Facebook? - Facebook
e-Ebook or Paperback? - Paperback
Sun or Rain? - Rain
Keyboard or Pencil & Notebook? - Pencil and Notebook
Comedy or Drama? - Umm … both … depends on my mood.
Chips or Chocolate? - Chocolate. Definitely chocolate.
Want to guest blog or be interviewed? Got a cover reveal or book coming out?
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