2 of 2003 we spent some time emailing a New Zealand author named
Sharon Whillis. Sharon has written several children's books and
is currently writing some more.
are some of our questions to her and her replies.
As always your reply was
worth waiting for. I checked out the awesome artwork that has
been keeping you so busy - it's fantastic. I especially loved
the dotpainting. Now, to answering your questions:
advice would you give young writers such as ourselves?
Keep you eyes, ears and mind open all the time. Be true to your
characters - find out who they are and how they would behave first,
then worry about your story. And just write - all the time
- emails, letters,
stories, journals, diaries, lists.
Q2. Which of your books has given you the most satisfaction?
'Extraordinary' - phew...I have to think about that. 'To the Dump'
was extraordinary because I couldn't believe something of mine
was going to be published, 'The Boxing Day Test' because it seems
to appeal to so many different people. At the moment though, I
have to say the one that has just been accepted for publication
- 'Old Scores' - because it has lots of twists and turns in the
Q3. Who are your literary heroes?
lots of literary heroes for lots of different reasons - NZ Writers
David Hill and William Taylor because I believe they write great
stories with real kiwi voices (David Hill's "See Ya Simon" and
William Taylors "Spider" are two of my favourite books), Adult
authors Kurt Vonnegut (because he writes books that make me really
think hard) and Jilly Cooper (because she makes her characters
live) - I'm not sure what either of them would make of being on
the same list - K M Peyton because when I read her Pennington
series I knew I wanted to write for teenagers one day, Enid Blyton
because her famous five books made me love reading and because
hers was the only magazine allowed to continue publication during
world war two because it was so popular...and so many more. As
soon as I send this I bet I'll think of heaps more and worry that
I've missed them off the list : )
|Q4. Do you like living in Rotorua and have you been to the Buried Village?
Rotorua is a really amazing place to live. Yes, I've been to the
Buried Village many times with
people that come to stay with us and also a lot on my own because
one of the stories I have half written has a lot to do with the
Mt Tarawera eruption that buried the village. In fact, I
just remembered that I am off there again on Wednesday with Patrick's
class! It is an amazing place. No, I don't worry too much
about being buried - I think in this day and age we would get
a lot of warning before it happened and besides, I don't think
it pays to worry about things too much : )
your questions have made me think so much I had better go and
put the kettle on and make myself another cuppa
group’s questions for Sharon.
What attracted you in writing rather than getting a pair
of headphones and listening to music or the TV when you
Mainly because I wanted to do something with my brain I think.
I'm not a great TV watcher anyway and I don't enjoy listening
to music on earphones - I think music has to be all around you
to be really enjoyed!
What do you do in your spare time?
watch sport - especially my son Patrick play soccer, listen to
music, be with my family and special friends, drink coffee and
eat way too much cake
How long do you think you will continue to write?
for all my life.
What is the main theme you deal with in your writing?
I deal with being a person and all the complications that involves
in my writing
Do you live in the main part of Rotorua or the surrounding area?
in the main part of Rotorua in a very ordinary street in a house
that needs some work done on it definitely this summer!!!
The final two illustrations in our version of 'The Boxing
Day Test' has Uncle Rob falling into the group photo. Was this
your idea or the illustrators? Did you write instructions
John Bennett did that cool drawing all off his own bat and I love
I didn't write any instructions, he just did it and it was
Javi, Tristan, Schuyler, Ayrton and Savanah
are a few questions for you.
How many books do you hope to write before you pass away?
hundreds : )
Do you think you'll stop writing books before you will pass away?
I hope not
Do you like to read in your spare time?
I love to. I mostly read teenage fiction at the moment because
that is what I am working on and also because I really like it.
Do you get ideas for writing books from things that have
happened to you?
Or from things that didn't happen but might have, or things I've
overheard, or seen...all kinds of things
Have you ever been to the Rainbow Springs? What's it like?
I've been to Rainbow Springs several times. It's great. You should
see the size of the trout there! Here in New Zealand you
can not buy trout in the shops or in restaurants. The only
way you can eat them is buycatching them yourself. Is that
the same in Australia? It's connected to Rainbow Farm by an under
road subway so when we take our visitors to one we always go to
the other as well. The subway used to be my son’s favourite
part of the visit when he was a pre-schooler!!
The book that you've written for teenagers, is it appropriate
for kids our age?
still writing the teenage book. I don't know whether it will be
appropriate for your age group or not. A lot of that depends on
what you want to read about. The book that I have just had accepted
for publishing, Old Scores, is for 8 to 13 year olds and if you
liked 'The Boxing Day Test' I think you'll love it.
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