Michelle Worthington is an award-winning children's author and international guest speaker on the power of storytelling. Michelle is dedicated to encouraging a strong love of reading and writing in young children and supports the vision of empowering youth through education and working on books that are purposeful, innovative and inspirational.
Saturday, 21 September 2013
Cuppa and a Catch Up with Guest Author, Aleesah Darlison
When did you start writing?
I’d always loved books and reading, ever since I was a small child, but I started writing my own short stories and poems when I was about sixteen. Unfortunately, I didn’t pursue a writing career properly at that time but left it until about six years ago when I decided: this is it, it’s make or break. Thankfully, things turned out well!
What is your favourite place and time to write?
I don’t really play favourites on place or time. I write whenever and where ever I can fit it into my busy schedule. I usually work directly onto my laptop, which is obviously portable, and so if I make a mistake I can press delete and quickly correct those errors or rework a particular piece of text. If I can’t take my laptop, I take good old paper and pen with me. In an ideal world, I would spend most of my time in my study dreaming up stories and writing all day, every day.
What writing groups do you belong to?
I used to run two writing/critiquing groups at the NSW Writer’s Centre, but I just couldn’t commit the time anymore. Now I belong to networking and author-illustrator groups such as SCBWI and the CBCA. Any time my work needs to be critiqued now, that usually comes from my agent or editor.
Why did you/do you want to become an author?
It was just an urge inside me, something always telling me that I wanted to be an author, to share stories and have my name on books.
What are you currently reading?
Lots of picture books to my 5 year old daughter! I usually only ever read children’s books because they’re fun and what I love reading most.
Who are your favorite authors?
Kate Forsyth, Belinda Murrell, Libby Gleeson, Margaret Wild.
What is your current project?
Besides editing my new fantasy series for Walker Books called ‘Ash Rover’ (part 1 = Ash Rover: Keeper of the Phoenix) and preparing promotions for my new picture book with Wombat Books called ‘Little Meerkat’, I’m working on a new chapter book series for boys, a few picture book ideas for various publishers AND trying to find time to plan an adventure series for older readers. There’s always a few things on the boil…
Do you write with a visual image of the illustrations for your book?
I usually do write with characters and scenery swirling in my mind while I imagine the story unfolding as I type it onto the computer. Sometimes I have firm ideas of what a setting will look like and I will try to find drawings or photographs online that I can print out and tape up all around me in my study. But sometimes, it is simply the words, the text, the story, pouring out of me so that I have to type as quickly as I can to keep up with the words. That’s on a good day, mind you, when the story is flowing well!
If you could bring a fictional character to life, who would it be?
I think it would have to be one of the unicorns from my Unicorn Riders series, possibly Estrella, because she is so magical and beautiful. Wouldn’t it be amazing to see a real, live unicorn?! I know quite a few of my young readers who would like to see a unicorn too!
Where do you get your inspiration from?
Ideas are all around us, you just have to look and start collecting them ready to use in your next story. People I meet, places I go, stories and articles I read – ideas are everywhere.
Do you/Would you do all the marketing of your books or do you/would you have someone supporting you in that role?
My publishers provide a lot of marketing support to me, however, I firmly believe (and have learned from experience) that an author needs to get out there and promote their books too.
What do you want your legacy to be?
A collection of well-loved stories that have enriched and empowered people’s lives.