As you know, I like supporting debut authors (especially from Queensland) so here’s Dimity Powell. Dimity just launched her Christmas chapter book for children, PS: Who Stole Santa’s Mail?
Q. Dimity, how did you become a writer?
A. Apart from hand written letters to pen friends and family (remember those?) and keeping detailed diaries from the age of 21, I never really committed to writing stories again for a while. Later, after the dizzying pace of travelling around the globe, and the tedious routine of shift work all lost their shine, I settled down to raise a family and discovered that in between baby’s sleep times, I had time to write again. So I did a long distance course in children’s writing, and managed to get a short story accepted by the School Magazine in NSW. I thought this was encouraging, so, gave up all ideas of going back to my marketing position for a house boating company I was working with prior to motherhood, and assumed the title of Children’s Author.
Q: Did you have the manuscript professionally edited before it went to the publisher?
A: I did submit it to Sally Odger’s ‘Paperback in Your Hand Competition’ where it received a substantial assessment.
Q. Is there something that sets this book apart from others?
A. I’m fairly sure the premise of disappearing mail boxes is an original one, even if the question of believing in Santa is not. There is an element of magical fantasy about Sam’s quest (which to me is the essence of Christmas); it’s a little surreal but the situations he finds himself in are real, honest and not overly cute.
Q. Who is your favourite author and why?
A. I don’t have favourites. I have ones I really admire and enjoy reading – Elaine Mitchell, Enid Blyton, (as a kid) Pamela Allen, Peter Carnavas, Bob Graham, (for their sublime picture books) Morris Gleitzmann, Paul Jennings, MGB, (to name a few) Clive Barker, Edward Rutherford, Marcus Zusak (for good meaty adult reads), because in some way, on some level, their writing moves me so much so that it becomes almost impossible to leave the world they have written (for me).
Q. Some writers have a preferred writing schedule. Do you?
A. Not really. I write when I can and when a really strong urge to do so strikes. This might be late at night. But more often, it is during the day, when I’m home alone, in a silent house. I don’t often write on the weekends.
Q. Do you have a favourite place to write?
A. My study nook is not much chop. There are no windows and a noticeable absence of pretty things on the walls. It’s cold in winter and stifling in summer. But it’s where most of the tapping out happens. At least I am not distracted. But I tend to use the spare ‘box’ room, which has comfy couch and book shelves crammed with books and lots of handmade glittery photo frames from my daughter.
A lot of my writing starts with me on the couch (or sometimes outside in the garden) scribbling by hand in pencil before I get anywhere near the computer. Perhaps one day I’ll get a lap-top but writing long hand somehow allows my mind, words and hand to all keep up with each other better. I focus on getting the words out rather than typing a correct sentence.
Thank you, Dimity for your thoughtful and interesting comments. I wish you well on your blog tour and also with your new book.
In conjunction with this blog tour, you can go in the draw to win one of three copies of the book PS: Who Stole Santa’s Mail.
Send the answer to this question: ‘What do you think Santa wants for Christmas?’ to firstname.lastname@example.org In the subject line put, PS: WSSM entry.
The competition will close at midnight on November 30th 2012. All entries will be assigned a number, and that number will be put in a draw. The winners will be notified by email. The book can be purchased at your local bookshop. If it is not in stock, ask them to order it for you. A signed copy can also be purchased from http://morrispublishingaustralia.com.