Kellie Nissen - Interview (February 2020)
Why do you want to be a published author?
I think it’s just the thrill of being able to hold a book in my hands and point to my name on the front cover. Also, the idea that children might read my words, and then want to read them again…and again. It’s not so much for the kudos, but just knowing that something I’ve created makes people happy (or curious, or more understanding).
How long have you been writing?
I’ve always loved writing. I used to write incredibly long, rambling stories in Primary School and my teachers would let me stand up in our weekly school assembly and read them out. I didn’t keep these stories — I wish I had, or maybe not (*cringe*). Then I stopped. Essays and assignments in secondary school and Uni took over and I think I ‘forgot’ I could write creatively. I took it up again in 2015, just by chance. I’d moved to part-time work and was looking for something else to do. I enrolled in a ‘children’s writing’ evening course. From there, I did a professional writing and editing course along with umpteen courses through the ACT Writers Centre. I’ve had a wonderful mentor, and now write with a writing buddy who keeps me motivated and accountable. It’s been like finding a new lease on life. I love it.
In 2019, I was the recipient of the Anne Edgeworth Fellowship. Through this, in 2020, I’ll be able to focus on the development of my memoir/narrative non-fiction about my Asperger’s journey with my son. I have a blog for this ( www.inmyaspergersworld.wordpress.com ), and have always wanted to develop it into a book — hopefully I’ll be able to get a great start on making that dream a reality.
How will you celebrate your first publication?
My first ‘success’ was coming 2nd in CKT’s 2015 Deep within the Forest Anthology Competition. This caused much internal jumping and skipping, and severe eye-widening — plus considerable excitement and back-slapping from family and friends. Since then, I’ve had a few wins here and there, Sally Odgers has published four of my stories in her Prints Charming anthologies and, of course, the Fellowship win.
However, I’m still working on getting that elusive publishing contract that will see my name on the front cover of a book — and when that happens, I guarantee everyone will know about it! My first point of call, though, will be to take out my husband and kids and a couple of my friends (all of whom have been my biggest supporters and motivators).
How would you describe your writing style?
To be honest, it’s a bit of this and a bit of that at the moment while I’m still trying to find a bit of a niche that makes me bubble. What I really LOVE writing are those kick-butt, soapbox pieces that make people sit up and take notice. This is why I enjoy writing YA, because I can be a bit more direct. However, I also like writing quirky and imaginative, but with a bit of a message (which is where I want to go with my picture books / junior fiction). Basically though, if you tell me I can’t write something—then you can bet I’m going to give it a red-hot crack, just to prove you wrong. (Like when the teacher running a course I did said second-person POV was hard to do well … nailed that one.)
How has Creative Kids Tales assisted you on your journey to publication?
Much to my disgust (with myself) I’ve been one of those long-time lurkers with CKT and only just joined properly last year! Why on earth I didn’t join earlier, I don’t know. I think what finally kicked me into gear was seeing what was going on with all the members at the CKT conferences and on the Facebook page — they were getting so much done and having so much fun doing it!
The minute I joined, I also joined the CKT Critique group. It’s been amazing. The support and brilliant, positive and constructive feedback from this group has been nothing short of phenomenal. Then there was the email from Georgie asking if I’d like to be a featured emerging artist — OMG! Yes!
I fully intend to make the most of the opportunities CKT has on offer — it’s time to make my dream into a reality.