Today we invite Robyn Osborne to the draft table. Robyn has a penchant for pooches and writing for kids. Fortunately when she combines the two, magic happens.
Her latest picture book release, My Dog Socks is a winning combination of pure doggy delight. Robyn’s lyrical prose works in perfect harmony with Sadami Konchi’s animated illustrations. Together they gambol and scarper through the book filling every page with barely suppressed energy and exuberant colour. Pleasing alliteration, satisfying rhythm and an enticing parallel visual narrative invite readers into Sock’s secret world, where he is anything and everything in the eyes (and imagination) of his young owner. Konchi’s representation of Socks suggests an Australian Shepard type breed, however Sock’s irrepressible benevolent doggy nature could be any little person’s best four-legged friend. My Dog Socks is a winsome celebration of young people, dogs, the ineffable attachments they make and the incredible joie de vivre they both possess.
Grab yourself a copy, soon – here (paperback available next week). Now grab a cuppa and settle back with Robyn.
I have always loved writing and been an obsessive reader. My first published work was a poem in the Nambour High School Yearbook, many years ago. No payment, but I got the excitement of seeing my writing in print. My teenage years were spent penning angst ridden poetry and dreaming of becoming a famous author. Unfortunately, life got in the way and I found myself in the public service. For 18 long years I filled in countless forms, but wrote nothing creative.
A new career as an early childhood teacher coincided with a rekindling of my love affair with writing. My first paid piece was a heartfelt story on being a vegetarian. While I briefly considered framing the cheque, greed won out and it went into the bank instead. In 2005, I was offered my first book contract with Macmillan Education. This gave me a huge confidence boost and the impetus to keep writing and submitting my manuscripts. Winning short story competitions and getting articles published in national journals, newspapers and magazines also helped me see myself as a serious writer. In 2011, I was one of only eight participants chosen nationally to attend the prestigious Allen & Unwin/Qld Writers Centre mentorship in Brisbane.
I have recently returned from Melbourne, where my latest picture book – My Dog Socks – was launched. Published by Ford Street, the picture book is a heart-warming story which explores friendship, loyalty and belonging. It features, unsurprisingly, a dog called Socks! As a self-confessed animal obsessive, much of my writing has been inspired by my canine companions. Dog Logic: a pooch’s guide to dogs behaving badly (BSP, 2011) was a dog training book with a twist – it was co-pawthored by my real dog Socks. Not to be outdone, my other dog Snowy put paw to paper (or is that claw to computer?) and recorded her memoirs in the quirky Midget Bones’ Diary (Puppycare Education, 2014).
Although both Socks and Snowy have moved onto The Rainbow Bridge; Socks at 14 and Snowy aged 17, it is lovely that my dogs are living posthumously through my books. Both Socks and Snowy were from the RSPCA, and we are great supporters of the ‘adopt, don’t shop’ message, so we were keen to get another rescue dog. Enter Jack, a 10-year-old fox terrier cross, which we adopted in 2014. While Jack spends his days curled up next to me as the perfect writer’s muse, I’m not discounting literary aspirations. He’s a clever little fellow and they do say every dog has a book in them, so watch this space.
Robyn Osborne is a Queensland author, teacher and animal fanatic based on the Fraser Coast. To date she has had six books trade published and has just signed a contract for her seventh. D.O.G. is a junior novel, while Dog Logic and Midget Bones’ Diary are quirky books written from a dog’s perspective. Her picture books, Going Fishing and Going Camping have proved extremely popular with young readers. My Dog Socks, also a picture book, has just been released by Ford Street Publishing.