To celebrate the release of her extraordinary new book, Always Jack, Susanne Gervay is visiting Kids’ Book Capers this week to talk about her writing journey and the inspiration behind Jack and his story.


When Susanne was 8 years-old she thought everyone her age wrote stories and was working on their great novel.

Becoming a published writer is a different journey. When my beloved father died of cancer, it burst the dam. I wrote and wrote. I wrote for my dad, for my 2 children, myself and sort publication.

Susanne has written ten books and she says that the thing she enjoys most about writing is

The privilege of sharing ideas with readers, impacting on some, traveling with young people on their search for identity, and being part of a special community of writers and illustrators.

But she says it can be hard to find time to write among the responsibilities of life.

Equally hard is putting  myself out there and facing criticism. I write so honestly that if feels personal and makes me vulnerable.

Susanne writes from the heart and from her own experiences as a daughter, a mother, a friend and educational consultant and the creator of a heritage hotel.

She’s had many writing achievements, but says that her greatest one was

Being flown to New York last year to speak at the World Burn Congress about the power of my young adult novel Butterflies to give hope and inspire those who have been through the fire – burn survivors, families, supporters, medical teams. I was privileged to be on the same faculty as Kim Phuc, who set up the Kim Foundation for child survivors of war . She is the 9 year old girl burning from napalm in the Nick Ut 1972 iconic photo.

Susanne is a multiple breast cancer survivor and says that her new book, Always Jack is “a book of my heart”.

I wrote ‘Always Jack’ for kids, parents, community. It’s funny, warmth, loving and reaches into those deep feelings of kids and mothers. I am moved that ‘Always Jack’ is endorsed and will be used by the Cancer Council to open communication for kids, parents & community. It’s the first time the Cancer Council and the National Breast & Ovarian Cancer Council have endorsed youth fiction.


  1. Publication is a difficult and rocky road for most. Write because it makes you laugh, cry, feel and is important.
  2. Make networks – meet other creators, join associations like the Writers Centres.
  3. Open you mind to editorial comment – take what you need from the advice and make your writing even better.
  4. Stop sending emails before your work is ready. Take your time.
  5. Have fun!!!!!!

Susanne has consistent themes of search for identity, meeting challenges and hope in her books. She writes to give a voice to young people and adults meeting life’s challenges – bullying, cancer, burns, independence, multi culturalism, divorce.

Susanne is back at Kids’ Book Capers tomorrow to talk about her own experiences with cancer and how they inspired Always Jack. Hope you can join us then.

In the meantime, you can find out more about Susanne and her fabulous books at:

Published by

Dee White

Dee White lives with her husband and two sons in a small rural country town which has more kangaroos than people. She has worked as an advertising copywriter and journalist and has had numerous career changes because until recently, writing wasn’t considered to be a proper job. Letters to Leonardo, her first novel with Walker Books Australia, was published in 2009 to great critical acclaim.


  1. My mum had breat cancer a few years ago and I really struggled with the idea of losing her as we are very close. I am so happy to see that Susanne is putting something out there to help kids like I was, let them know they are not alone, and help them deal with their feelings.

    Its just mum and me, so I felt really alone, and I wish that I had a book like this to help me and give me support. So thank you 🙂

  2. Hi Sammie,

    Thanks so much for sharing your story.

    I passed your comment onto Susanne and she was so touched by your words.

    It must have been so hard for you facing this experience without the kind of support that books like Always Jack can give. They are so important in helping people realise their experience is shared by others and that they are not alone.


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