Shae Millward is the author of The Rabbit’s Magician, Koalas Like To and A Boy and a Dog. Shae is an enthusiastic advocate for literacy. She aims to inspire through a love of books, the joy of reading and writing, and the art of storytelling. Shae enjoys writing picture books, poetry, song lyrics, funny or inspirational quotes, short stories and more. Shae’s creative writing skills once helped her win a trip to Disneyland!
What was your first book published?
There once was a dog who just wanted to play,
But his owner was busy, ‘No! Go away!’
And there was a boy who just wanted to play,
But the kids at school shouted, ‘No! Go away!’
A Boy and A Dog tells the timeless tale of a lonely boy and a lonesome dog who find each other and discover true friendship. A Boy and A Dog celebrates the special bond between children and animals. This book contains the universal themes of trust, joy, compassion and belonging. But at its heart, it's a story about love.
Tell us about your newest book?
The Rabbit’s Magician:
* Is a gentle story of love, loss & comfort.
* Is inspired by a fundamental law of nature: Energy cannot be created or destroyed, but it can change from one form into another.
* Contains references to and representations of the moon and its phases.
* Is a children's picture book, but offers comfort to anyone of any age who has lost a loved one – person or animal.
*Is illustrated by Andy Fackrell and published by Ford Street Publishing.
What is your favourite part about being an author?
The tiny town I grew up in didn’t have a bookstore, but the library was ONLY ONE SMALL BLOCK AWAY FROM MY HOUSE! Convenient for frequent visits and lugging books back and forth. I’ve always loved books and reading, and I have many wonderful authors to thank for that. So, to now be a part of the industry myself is an exquisite type of joy.
As well as being a whole lotta fun, there’s something quite magical about working with – or rather, playing with – imagination and creative energies.
What is the hardest part about being an author?
Being on the Autism spectrum has its positives, like unique perspectives and creative thinking, but it also has its challenges, with social communication being one. Just think awkward, so awkward, haha!
I’m grateful to have a supportive publisher who allows me to play to my strengths. Fortunately, these days there are a good variety of promotional avenues one can partake in.
Books On Tour PR & Marketing has a number of packages, and options within, which you can tailor to your needs. Romi is a superstar – super helpful and brilliant to work with.
Having an illustrator who is also active in promoting – which Andy is – certainly helps and provides team spirit. *enthusiastically does spirit fingers*
What was your favourite children’s book when you were a kid?
As a child, when I asked for Fox in Socks, I could almost hear the adults groan internally and I’m certain I saw beads of dread gather on their foreheads. Watching them get their tongues twisted and tangled and tied up in knots was definitely part of the entertainment value. And by the end, they looked like they’d been through a harrowing ordeal.
Yet every time I asked for this story (which was a lot), they would not only read it (after casually suggesting a range of alternative titles), but read it with all the enthusiasm they could muster. Anyone who has ever read the same book over and over (until you are well and truly over it!) at a child’s request knows that this is an act of real love!
Have you ever travelled overseas as an author?
I once had to step over a puddle on my way to a meeting about authorly business. Does that count?
It was a very large puddle. It carried a dangerously-high sock-wetting threat level.
And the puddle was deep. So deep, just like my answer to this question.
Have you met anyone even more famous than you that was exciting?
Yes, I met you – the inspirational Michelle Worthington! It was at the Teddy Bear’s Picnic in Hervey Bay. I didn’t have any books published at the time, but I did have a contract for my first. I went along to say hi and you were happy to have a chat. I was able to purchase some of your wonderful books from you in person and get them signed – bonus!
Where do you see the future of children’s books (ebooks/apps/print)
I’m all for books being available in different formats to suit people’s needs and preferences. These options make books more accessible, which can only have a positive effect on literacy and developing an early love of reading.
Digital books have their benefits, e.g. they’re more convenient than taking a stack of physical books on holiday, but I see them as a supplement to print books, not a replacement. Never a replacement!
What is your favourite way/time to read?
My favourite way to read is definitely with a physical book. I spend enough time working at a computer, so reading for pleasure on a screen is no pleasure at all! Reading a paper book feels more grounded, more intimate. Regardless of genre, reading a print book has a certain kind of romance to it that does not translate to an electronic device. #PrintBeforePixels
My favourite time to read is any time, however, I am an experienced member of the late-night reading club. Our motto is: One more page, just one more page!
What book are you reading right now?
I’m reading a Marie Kondo book about decluttering. I have successfully cleaned out clothing, kitchen stuff and various homewares that don’t spark joy.
Then it came to my book collection. Well, I acknowledge that Marie is super cute and super sweet, but parting with any of my beloved books is a super hideous and super displeasing notion. Sorry, Marie. No Kan Do.
But I’m grateful to now have space in my home for more books.