Secrets Of A Schoolyard Millionaire - Q&A with Nat Amoore
Nat Amoore is a Sydney-based writer whose first middle grade novel 'Secrets Of A Schoolyard Millionaire' is out now with Penguin Random House, with a second novel expected in 2020. She will also appear in Total Quack Up Again!, due out in October 2019.
Nat co-hosts kid lit podcast One More Page, which has had over 30k downloads and was a finalist in the 'Best Newcomer' category in the 2018 Australian Podcast Awards.
She was a recipient of the CBCA Maurice Saxby Creative Development Program for 2018, is a proud Role Model for Books In Homes and a member of Writing NSW, SCBWI & the CBCA.
But most importantly, she used to be a trapeze artist, had a pet kangaroo when she was little and her secret super power is making stuff up (not lying, that's totally different!).
What is 'Secrets Of A Schoolyard Millionaire' about?
'Secrets Of A Schoolyard Millionaire' is a funny and action-packed adventure about two best friends, Tess & Toby, who find a million dollars in their backyard. What follows is a crazy tale full of twists and turns that shows that a million dollars is not that easy to spend when you're ten. It's about friendship, family and a whole lot of other things money can't buy…and a little bit about the things it can! Is there a particular theme in your story?
It has a strong focus on friendship and family. But I also wanted to explore how people can make bad decisions and still be good people. That you aren't defined by the mistakes you make. And how everything is not black or white, there is a lot of grey in between and it's ok to not be sure about what is right and wrong. I really wanted this book to make it's readers think about what they would do in these situations and start discussions about many of the things and 'tips' the book brings up, whilst not pretending to have the answers. Was there an inspiration for your story?
I read a very small newspaper article about a girl who was busted with $20k in her locker at school. There was no explanation about where the money came from; just that she had been shouting all the kids in her school stuff at the tuck shop. Then I saw a news report about a kid who found a bag of money in a garbage bin at a service station that had been dumped by bank robbers. Both those got me thinking and were the initial inspiration for the story.
What is the story behind the story?
I've always wanted to find a millions dollars. Or win a million dollars. Or make a million dollars. I spend A LOT of time thinking about what I would do if I won Tattslotto. So my book was pretty much just me living vicariously through my character, Tess.
What kind of research did you do to write this story?
Most of it came from my imagination. A lot of the school stuff came from things I did at school (I always had some kind of scheme going on). But I do have an uncle who is a Senior Constable, so he helped me with all the stuff to do with Scotty and how bail and house arrest and ankle bracelets work. I also had a wonderful lady called Carolien who is a juvenile diabetes expert help me with the details about Liv's diabetes.
Do you have any tips for people wanting to write for children?
Don't try too hard to impress the reader. Don't try and write 'the next (insert successful kids book here)'. Kids will see through that in the first two pages. Be true to the story and the characters. Kids are really sophisticated and can handle a lot. Don't simplify or shy away from things. Respect kids as the human beings they are with big thoughts, big ideas and a deep emotional intelligence. Also have fun…because despite all that, kids LOVE fun.To find out more about Nat Amoore visit her website or visit her social media sites.