CAROLINE STILLS IS PASSIONATE ABOUT PICTURE BOOKS

L-R: Sarcia and Caroline Stills with their new book

Caroline Stills and her daughter Sarcia are the authors of a gorgeous new picture book, The House of 12 Bunnies due for release on 20th August. Today, Caroline visits Kids’ Book Capers to tell us about her writing journey.

How did you become a writer?

I started to take my writing seriously when my first daughter was born, back in 2000. No longer in the paid workforce, I figured that I would have plenty of time to write – after all, babies spend so much time sleeping – right? The reality of the emotional rollercoaster of being a new parent – and sleep deprivation – soon set in, but I did start putting pen to paper, and joined a writers’ group for added support. My first attempts at writing were for adults, but inspired by my children, I wrote the text for a picture book a few years ago, and was extremely fortunate to have the result “Magic Mummy” published as my first picture book.

What do you enjoy most about being a writer?

I love being a writer – it’s fun creating new characters, stories and worlds. The best part is being able to work from home, so I can combine my writing with being a mum, which is my most important job.

What is the hardest thing about being a writer?

Having a manuscript rejected is never easy. And it’s hard to make a living solely from writing, but I’m working on that!

What were you in a past life (if anything) before you became a writer?

Immediately before I started writing, I was co-running a business designing and selling maternity wear, which my business partner and I started from scratch. Before that I worked as a remuneration analyst at a bank and as a Tafe teacher. And before that I did lots of odd jobs to pay my way through University.

What is your greatest writing achievement?

I can’t name an achievement as my greatest – maybe it’s still to come – but I do feel chuffed each time I walk into a shop and see one of my books on the shelves.

What are you working on at the moment?

I always have a picture-book or two on the go, but I am also trying other types of writing. I have just finished my first novel manuscript for middle school aged children, and have just started my first attempt at a Young Adult novel, which I’m excited about and very much enjoying.

Do you have any tips for new writers?

If writing is your passion, enjoy the journey. I also think a good writers’ group is really invaluable, both for what you can learn from each other, but also for the emotional support from those who know just how you feel.

How many books have you had published?

Three picture books:

Magic Mummy, illustrated by Christina Miesen, published by Black Dog Books in 2009.

An A to Z of Pirates, illustrated by Heath McKenzie, published by Little Hare Books in 2010.

The House of 12 Bunnies, co-written with my daughter, Sarcia, illustrated by Judith Rossell, and published by Little Hare Books, has just been released.

Book number four – An A to Z of Fairies – is due for release in a couple of months.

Anything else of interest you might like to tell our blog readers?

We will be celebrating the release of The House of 12 Bunnies, on August 20, 2011. Please see my website for more details; www.CarolineStills.com

On Wednesday, Caroline is back at Kids’ Book Capers to talk about how she and Sarcia wrote The House of 12 Bunnies. Illustrator, Judith Rossell is visiting on Thursday to talk about how she created the wonderful pics, and on Friday there will be a bunny review here at Kids’ Book Capers. Hope you can join us.