Carole Lander - Interview (July 2017)
Why do you want to be a published author/illustrator?
In 2011 I sent my first ever children's story to Ziptales – an educational website used by schools across Australia and the UK. To my amazement it was accepted and it's still live online today (Mimi's Gift). Since then I've had several short stories accepted for publication so I think I have something to offer young readers. I have also self-published one chapter book but I would love to have my work accepted by a publisher because they are able to reach a much wider readership than I can. That's why I continue to attend writers' workshops, SCWBI events, KidLitVic Meet the Publisher days and other conferences. I subscribe to various blogs and newsletters for aspiring children's writers and I keep reading children's books. There's so much to learn and it's never too late to start!
How long have you been writing?
I completed the RMIT Melbourne Professional Writing and Editing diploma in 2012. That's when I got the bug for writing children's fiction. As a drama teacher, I had written plays for young performers and created many stories and plays with my own children. I have always written for adults as part of my jobs but I never before saw myself as a professional fiction writer, particularly for children. However, Judith Rossell who taught me at RMIT opened a whole new world of possibilities and I entered it willingly.
How will/did you celebrate your first publication?
I self-published my first children's book last year (In My World). To celebrate this, the illustrator and I raised our glasses of champagne with friends and family. Every time I show a copy to a bookshop owner or potential buyer I feel a buzz of pride. The production values are good and even though it isn't ever going to be a 'best seller', it's a major milestone for me.
How would you describe your writing style?
My brand of writing for children is putting diversity front and centre. Perhaps this is because I was involved in education for so many years, and also I have an inbuilt desire for social justice. I tend to write fiction that features children who live with a disability or face a challenge. However, the narrative is paramount and the diversity is not overdone. I love the comments made by 10-year-old Henry about one of the chapter book stories in In My World – 'Wheels of Fire is the best school based book ever. My favourite part was when they chased the thief. I like the concept of elements in the play. I think it’s great that Bec got to dance on stage.'