Welcome to the Writers' Clubhouse. Join us behind the scenes in the book industry as we talk to prominent authors and illustrators about the process of creating great books for kids. Have you ever wanted to be a writer? Get inspired here!
Nat Amoore is a Sydney-based writer who is passionate about encouraging kids to read and write and explore their imagination without boundaries. Her 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 have a short story in Total Quack Up Again!, the follow up to Total Quack Up due out in October 2019.
Nat (along with fellow writers Kate Simpson and Liz Ledden) hosts kid lit podcast One More Page which has had over 30,000 downloads and was a finalist in the ‘Best Newcomer’ category in the 2018 Australian Podcast Awards.
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Q. You have written some amazing books for children, but what was your professional background before you became an author?
A. Okay, that's not going to be a short answer for me. I have had more careers than you can throw a stick at! I worked as a fairy hosting kids birthday parties, a trapeze artist performing a hotel resorts, an entertainment manager, backstage at rock concerts, a travel agent, a film producer, video editor, been on a reality TV show and finally, the greatest job of all (yep, even better than a trapeze artist) A KIDS AUTHOR!
Q. What is the best thing for you about being a published author?
A. Face time with kids. Whether it's talking about my book, answering questions, getting them excited about reading or books or writing, running workshops, entertaining them, hanging out with them, hearing their ideas, stealing their ideas for my next book, getting advice from them, learning from them, laughing with them, I love it all. Kids are so much more fun than adults and since becoming a kids author I've been able to spend heaps more time with them.
Q. What are some of the key ingredients that make a great book for kids?
A. When the author has written FOR the kids. Creating a book for kids needs to be about them. Don't write for yourself. Don't try to teach something. Don't try to be something or the next someone. Just think about your audience. I'm lucky, I never really grew up. I've always read kids books even as an adult (or so-called adult) so I don't have to 'remember what it was like', nothing for me has changed. I still love the same kind of stuff I did when I was 10. So I just write that. I see kids as my peers and I have a great deal of respect for them. Kids can see right through you so if you try to do anything that's not sincere, they will spot it a mile away. Just do YOU!
Q. What advice would you give someone who is just starting out as a writer?
A. It's a tightrope you have to walk. You have to listen to advice and pay attention to what others are saying about your work (especially experienced others) but you also have to be true to yourself and what you believe in. Be really open. Don't think just because you wrote a book (which is a HUGE achievement) that you wrote a great book. If it's your first, there's a good chance it's not. My first book never went anywhere but I shopped it around and listened to all the feedback and advice and then wrote my second book. And it was SOOOOOO much better. And it is now published. But I also knew what I was trying to do with my story and I stood my ground when people tried to tell me what should and shouldn't be in my book. I give kids a lot of credit. They know everything is not black and white and you have to trust them to navigate the grey area between right and wrong and good and bad.
Q. What is your next big creative project?
A. I signed a two book deal with Penguin Random House. 'Secrets Of A Schoolyard Millionaire' is my first book and I JUST handed in the first draft of my second book to PRH. It's currently untitled but it's a similar length and age group to the first, another funny crazy adventure story with heart. I'm also going to have a short story in the follow up to Total Quack Up in which I really get my gross on, so that will be heaps of fun. Plus working on the schedule for the second half of the year of our Kidlit podcast 'One More Page'...so I'm a busy little beaver that's for sure! Just the way I like it.