Hayley Hunkin - Interview (November 2017)
Why do you want to be a published author/illustrator?
While I love writing and enjoy the process of refining and editing my work, I’m looking forward to the satisfaction of having many others also read my work. Obviously, you don’t become a writer for the money, but like a theatre needs an audience to make it work, authors need readers. I have a lot of stories to tell that touch the heart, such as my picture book story, Loving Grandma, about a young child who lives with his parents and his grandmother who suffers from dementia, and I want to get these stories out there to touch as many hearts as possible. I’ve always dreamt of being a published author and, until I had a child and read so many wonderful children’s books, thought I would write a novel for adults, but now I love children’s literature more. I remember my own childhood was brightened by the books I constantly read, and I want to bring the same enjoyment to other children.
How long have you been writing?
I wrote my first ‘novella’ in Year 9 for a school assignment and ended up scoring 55 out of 50 by my English teacher who gave me bonus points for unique illustration ideas (I couldn’t draw my own illustrations, so I used comic strips and pop out windows for my illustrations). I went to university to become a print journalist to indulge in my love for writing in my career. After working as a journalist for a few years, I became a marketing manager, then a technical writer, a trainer, and finally a freelance writer while I cared for my aging mother in law. I guess the answer is actually I’ve always been a writer in some way. I’ve been working on my writing for children for the past two years, and have been an active member of the CKT critique group for that time. That’s where I have learned most of my best tips for becoming a children’s author and I love the group.
How will/did you celebrate your first publication?
I’m planning a celebration dinner with my family after the launch of the CKT Story Collection where I have two stories being published. Family and friends are already waiting to buy copies and I’ll have lots of fun delivering those orders when the publication comes out. I’ll then be selling other copies as well. When I get my first book published (that I’ve written solely), I might even head to Queensland for a celebration holiday in the sun! I think I will likely spend a couple of hours just marvelling at the book with my name on it when the exciting package arrives from a publisher.
How would you describe your writing style?
My focus is on families, relationships, and dealing with some of the hard issues such as dementia, anxiety, mental illness, bullying, and autism that even children living in today’s world have to deal with. While I try to write about such difficult topics in a positive way, my stories are ones that touch the emotions, hopefully making people laugh, possibly shed a tear, and think along the way. My two stories being published in the CKT Story Collection are Rescuing the Refugees, where a young boy gives a speech about his family saving others (with a cool science fiction twist), and The Most Amazing Place in the World where a child has to give a school presentation and feels like the only one in the class who has never been on a holiday anywhere, let alone somewhere amazing.