Today I welcome Aussie Children's author Penny Reeve to my blog. Please join me in welcoming her.
1. Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I am a wife, the mother of three childen, owner of two hyperactive dogs and a writer/dreamer combined. Although I currently live in Sydney, I'm not sure I'd call it my home. I grew up in a variety of locations and countries while my parents did missionary work. I then spent five years of my married life living in Nepal and I think a part of my heart is still there looking at the mountains, eating momos and speaking Nepali.
2. When you were a child did you have a favourite book or books?
I loved Enid Blyton when I first started reading -The Faraway Tree and Wishing Chair etc. Later I enjoyed Christian children's fiction, series by Hilda Stahl, the Mandie books etc. But I basically read everything I could, as fast as I could, so sometimes missed details in the pursuit of story! (Jenny here I loved Enid Blyton and the Faraway Tree series was one of my favourite. I like Hilda Stahl also in fact we just had 4 of her books donated to the church library also)
3. Do you have a favourite Genre to both read and right write?
I love a good book, with language that flows and a story that has strength and subtlty at the same time - that can be in any genre really, but I also love reading well crafted fantasy for children. This could possibly be because that's what I wish I could write. D.M Cornish's books are my current favourites in that genre.
4. Did you have favourite authors growing up who have influenced you?
Patricia St John was a major influence in my life. It was through her Treasures of the Snow that I initially sought forgiveness and a realationship with God. I admire the way she was both author and missionary, that she saw her writing as a gift to the children in her life, a way of sharing her faith.
5. When did you know you wanted to be an author?
When I was in primary school a teacher asked our class to create picture books. I remember being fascinated by the idea that what I wrote (and illustrated) would have a wider audience. I think that was when I first thought the idea of being an author was a good one, but I didn't think it would ever be a reality until after my first child was born.
6. How did you go about becoming an author?
I decided to try and write for publication when I was in my early 20s. I sent off several submissions and got the appropriate rejections. Finally I prepared a submission of three ideas for Christian Focus Publications in the UK. (I had to look overseas for a publisher because at that time I couldn't find an Australian Christian publisher willing to tackle children's material)CFP chose one of the ideas and that became the popular Find the Animal series.
7. If you were not a writer what would you like to be?
I'd probably be involved with children's work of some kind as I love the energy and honesty of children. I'd probably end up writing for them though, I wouldn't be able to help it! I'd write stories to tell them, or material to help them learn, or activity sheets or... hmm. I think maybe I'm a writer at heart, regardless of whether what I write will be publishable or not.
8. Outside reading and writing what do you like to do?
I like to pretend I'm a gardener, eat the crispy chocolate off an ice cream, pull weeds from my front lawn (I know that's weird but it is my current addictive habit!), sew hand-bags, dance in the kitchen with my kids, chat with good friends and watch the stars not worried about anything else.
9. Do you have a place you love to visit or would love to visit?
Give me a lot of money and I'd go to England to find the place where Keira Knightley stood on the hill and stared out over the valley, then I'd visit Nepal to join the rice harvest and drink tea with my friends there and after that I'd wander through some of the gorges and rivers of Australia's centre.
10. If you could have a meal with 3 living people who would you choose and why?
I'd probably choose two of my old high school friends, one works with street kids in Asia, the other's teaching English in South America. They are inspiring and encouraging people I'd love to sit and chat and listen to for a while.
The third person would have to be Rosanne Hawke, the Australian children's writer. I'd just like to hear her talk about the stories behind the stories she writes.
Finally can you tell us about your current books and/or any that will
be coming out soon. Also where we can find you on the web.
I have seven children's books currently available. They are: The Find the Animal series (4 picture books looking at creation), Himalayan Adventures (true stories of the flora and fauna in the Himalayan region) and the Tania Abbey novels (junior novels for 7-10 year olds dealing with issues of faith and social justice). In July this year a second series of Find the Animal books will be released. More information can be found at my website www.pennyreeve.com