Emerging Author Interviews

Elizabeth Macintosh - Interview (August 2018)

Why do you want to be a published author/illustrator?

I write for the pleasure that comes from sharing stories and manipulating language. Some years ago I published numerous articles in local newspapers and national women’s magazines. However, I have always wanted to write for children. My aim is to be a published author of children’s books for the satisfaction and joy that will bring. I certainly don’t write for the money!

How long have you been writing?

I have been writing on and off all my life. When I was thirteen I started writing a novel in an exercise book as I travelled on the school bus. Needless to say, I never actually finished it and that’s probably a good thing since it drew heavily on the British books I was reading at the time.

For many years I was busy with family and full time teaching. However, after the birth of my younger son I enjoyed more time to create articles and short stories. Several of my articles were published in national magazines such as The Australian Women’s Weekly, Mother and Baby and Sunshine Baby. My stories were often humorous and reflected my stage of life. At this time I also won an adult short story competition.

After a break, I began writing more seriously about five years ago. I have since completed courses with the Australian Writers’ Centre (AWC) on Writing for Children and Young Adults (Sue Whiting) and Writing Picture Books (Cathie Tasker). Additionally, I attended a Writing NSW workshop with Tristan Bancks and participated in an online feedback course with Aleesa Darlison. Attending a regional workshop on picture books with Michelle Worthington and Trish Donald was also very beneficial.

How will/did you celebrate your first publication?

I will celebrate the publication of my first book with a gathering of family and friends.

How would you describe your writing style?

My style varies depending on whether I’m creating a picture book or a novel.

For picture book texts, I write in the third person and use as much imagery, alliteration and repetition as the plot will reasonably allow. There’s also an element of humour woven throughout.

With novels and short stories, I tend to use flowing, descriptive language which engages all the senses. I usually write in first person and present tense to relay tales of adventure.

Other writers who critique my work often comment on my use of figurative language, humour, authenticity and their engagement with the story. The most memorable comment was “Not many writers have the talent, or the experience, to depict landscape so successfully. Australia needs you.”

How has Creative Kids Tales assisted you on your journey to publication?

CKT has assisted me on my journey to publication in a variety of ways.

I first heard about CKT when Georgie and I both attended a workshop at Writing NSW in August 2017.

The CKT website is a terrific resource with helpful information on just about everything new children’s writers need to know and I look at it on a regular basis.

I attended the CKT Festival in March and was blown away by how warm, welcoming and inclusive the writing community is. The speakers were all inspirational and so generous in sharing their knowledge of the children’s book industry. I found that the manuscript assessments with Clare Hallifax were really valuable and she was able to steer me in the right direction. Although my manuscripts had been critiqued by about ten other writers, Clare’s insight and publisher’s perspective noted issues that no one else had thought of.

I plan to submit stories for the CKT Story Collection Vol 2 and will also use the CKT Manuscript Assessment Service.