Author Interviews

* you can find the original interviews and much more on my 'everything writing' blog (http://morgenbailey.wordpress.com), including author spotlights, guest posts, book reviews, flash fiction or poetry - new items posted 6am UK time Monday to Saturday and writing exercises at 6pm very weekday.

Monday, 19 November 2012

Author interview no.417: Helen Ross (revisited)

Back in July 2012, I interviewed author Helen Ross for my WordPress blog. I hope you enjoy it...

Welcome to the four hundred and seventeenth of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, biographers, agents, publishers and more. Today’s is with children’s author, poet, article writer and blogger Helen Ross. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further.
Morgen: Hello, Helen. Please tell us something about yourself, where you’re based, and how you came to be a writer.
Helen: I'm an Australian children's author, poet and writer. I live in Brisbane (Queensland) with my humorous husband and our beloved pets. I have a quirky sense of humour.
My eclectic work history and career includes primary and kindergarten teacher; receptionist / secretary / PA; fitness and aerobics instructor; promotions, sales and marketing; labourer (simple house painting and throwing junk into skip bins); house cleaner; and 17 years teaching and lecturing at Queensland TAFE (8 in the Business Directorate lecturing in Business correspondence writing and marketing; 9 years as an ESL teacher in the ESL /  and Adult Language / Literacy programs). I have recently left teaching to pursue my writing and other creative passions, and to concentrate on book marketing.
So how did I get started as a writer? Many moons ago, as part of a drama assignment, I had to write and ‘perform’ a poem, or piece about an animal, as selected by a ‘lucky dip’. My animal was the gorilla and so I penned my first poem, Lulu, the gorgeous gorilla. At the time I was about 27 years of age. At 29, and being occupied with a new-found romance, I found myself neglecting my drama classes and spending time alone writing ‘heart felt’ poetry while waiting for the phone to ring. Yes, pitiful! But from then on, a poet emerged. A couple of years later, I  decided to do a correspondence ‘Diploma in Writing’ with The Writing School (took me ten years due to life stuff getting in the way). Since then I have undertaken studies in children’s picture book writing and freelance journalism.
Morgen: I know all about life getting in the way. I started writing seven years ago and was hooked but let everything else take priority until I realised a couple of years ago that it was what I wanted to do for a living. I left my job in March and am still working on the ‘do for a living’ part. :) What genre do you generally write and have you considered other genres?
Helen: At the moment, primarily children’s picture book texts, and poetry (children’s rhyming giggle poetry, haiku and other poetic styles). I also write articles generally related to independent publishing (a passion of mine). I also enjoy writing community related articles (‘worked’ for a while for a community magazine).
Like many writers I am also a blogger. So my passion for children's literature, and showcasing talented independently published children’s authors (in particular, Australians) and reputable independent / small press publishers is reflected in many of my blog posts. I like versatility in my posts so sometimes I include poetry, articles, writer and illustrator events, book promotions, promotion of other writers and their blogs, and sometimes just plain silliness.
Morgen: I love ‘just plain silliness’ and writing allsorts clearly agrees with you. I can’t imagine sticking with one genre or format but it suits some people (like staying in the same job for years, I temped more years than had permanent jobs so am clearly a flitter). :) What have you had published to-date? Do you write under a pseudonym?
Helen: My children’s books include:
10 Yellow Bananas Published by Little Steps Publishing (Division of New Frontier) lllustrations by Dee Texidor. Published December 2009 – officially released March 2010.
Bubble Gum Trouble and Other Giggle Poems Published by Little Steps Publishing (Division of New Frontier) 2009. Bright bubbly illustrations by Dee Texidor
Two of my children’s poems published by Jelli-Beanz Publishing in their Packed Lunch SeriesVolume 1: Hopscotch. Released November 2011. This book is a collection of poems and short stories for children written by some well-known Australian children’s writers.
Ten Yellow Bananas (original version that I self published in 2006). Please note slight name change to the new version published by Little Steps Publishing. The new version is a revised version.
Santa is in Our Chimney (self published in September 2006).
Other published works and further information:
Giggle poetry published in Cherububble (Primary/Early childhood education on-line resource)
Early 2009, five of my giggle rhyming poems for children (Miss Murtle the Turtle, Hugs, Freckles, Tiddles, and Ten Little Men) selected for a book, Books For Fiji, published for the kids at the Namara District School in Fiji. This was a wonderful project put together by Morgan Hayton and Sally Odgers.
Articles in Australia Bookseller and Publisher magazine
Written a number of articles on self-publishing for Australian and international websites. (Article links can be found on my blog – http://misshelenwrites.wordpress.com. Click on ‘Articles’ tab on home page.
Heart-felt poetry published in anthologies.
TAFE telemarketing and course module writing (Medical terminology and Call centre telemarketing).
Assessment writing for OLI (Open Learning Institute) Medical terminology Distance course
Freelance education module writing for Education Resources (Int) P/L
And from July 2010 - end December 2011 I was ‘resident writer’ for South City Bulletin (Logan (Brisbane) community Magazine)
I write under my married name, Helen Ross (I was born Helen McKenzie) but have had to use a pseudonym for some poetry competitions (where required).
Morgen: That’s interesting, that you have had to use a pseudonym. Writers do for a variety of reasons and I think it’s fun being someone else. :) Have you had any rejections? If so, how do you deal with them?
Helen: Yes, but not enough to cover the walls as I have never been sure about handing over my rights. As I have been a little unsure about what publishing path to take (traditional v self publishing), I have only sent a few mss to publishers (wouldn’t be any more than 10-15). My last three rejection letters have been excellent. They were all very complimentary on my writing and loved the stories. But alas, this wasn’t quite enough to tip me onto their publishing lists. I am quite philosophical so I don’t get too dejected. I just keep plodding along and honing my skills.
Morgen: :) Have you won or been shortlisted in any competitions?
Helen: In 1993 I won first prize (Children’s poetry category) in the 1993 OZ waves Award and University of Queensland Press Book Prizes for my humorous poem, Magpie Mania (under pen name, Jean Ross). My prize was a book. I was so chuffed AND it still takes pride of place in my library. Also as a former canoeist I had my poem, Come ‘n Try Canoeing published in the Queensland Canoe Federation Inc. Magazine May / June 1993.
I haven’t entered a lot of competitions but plan to do so. I have however received a couple of arts grants:
In 2007 I was awarded a RADF grant (Regional Arts Development Fund) through the Queensland Government / Arts Queensland and Logan Council, to undertake professional development in the area of illustrating a picture book and writing children’s picture books (mentored by Dr Virginia Lowe) through Dr Virginia Lowe’s invaluable 'Create a Kids’ book e-course.
In June 2010 was awarded a second RADF grant to attend SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators) Sydney Conference.
Morgen: Britain’s a great place to be a writer (speaking English definitely helps) but Australia has always struck me as being so supportive of the industry. Do you have an agent? Do you think they’re vital to an author’s success?
Helen: No, I don’t have an agent and I have never tried to find one. I have read many articles looking at both sides of the coin. I wouldn’t say that they’re vital to an author’s success, but am sure, with the right one, that it certainly wouldn’t hurt. I have a writer / artist friend who acquired an agent and was able to get into the international market. The Australian publishing industry were a little reluctant to take her on as she was an ‘unknown’. But now she is published here as well.
Morgen: It’s perseverance, isn’t it, trying different avenues until you strike gold (bronze at least). Are your books available as eBooks? Were you involved in that process at all? Do you read eBooks or is it paper all the way?
Helen: My children’s books are not available as eBooks at the moment, though my publisher, Little Steps, has informed me that they are in the process of converting their published books as eBooks. So, my answer would be – in time. I have co-written a children’s Christmas picture book with a Melbourne based author. That goes to publication later this year, so that will also be released as an eBook, as well as POD options, etc. I do read eBooks but only when the material is not available in paper form. I actually don’t really like reading eBooks. I prefer curling up with a good book. Also, I prefer non-fiction and ‘how to’ books to be in paperback or hardback form for easy reference. But I would certainly like to have my books available in all formats so it can be easily accessible and reach a wider market.
Morgen: Although they take up more room and are heavier to hold, I prefer hardbacks because I hate damaging the spine on a paperback. Battered books generally show they’ve been loved but I try and keep them nice. In some cases I have two versions of a book – a new one and second-hand (reading copy). How much of the marketing do you do for your published works or indeed for yourself as a ‘brand’?
Helen: A lot. Unfortunately due to unexpected curve balls being thrown at me during the last 18 months, I have not put in this time. My commitments and priorities have been with my family. But as things improve, my intention is to plan a marketing guerrilla attack in the later half of 2012. Prior to this, my marketing strategies were working well. I was working hard but I was also making great sales.
Morgen: Congratulations. :) Do you have a favourite of your books or characters? If any of your books were made into films, who would you have as the leading actor/s?
Helen: The children’s Christmas picture book that I have mentioned above is a funny story about a mouse family whose Christmas festivities take on an unexpected turn of events. We are working on another couple of stories about this family. I think this Christmas story would definitely work well as an app and as an animated film. So actors with cute voices would suit.
Morgen: :) Did you have any say in the titles / covers of your books? How important do you think they are?
Helen: Yes, for all. I have heard of authors who didn’t see the book cover design till the printed book landed on their doorstep, or was squished into their letter box. And some of these authors remarked that they were very disappointed. Of course some have been delighted. I think it is great to have a say. Not everything is doable but having some input allows the author to feel that they still have some control over their ‘baby.’ I had already thought of the title 10 Yellow Bananas as the story is based on a poem that I first wrote when I was a secretary (I wrote the verses in between answering the company’s phone calls).
But when I submitted my manuscript of my children’s poetry collection to my publisher, it didn’t have a title. So when we started considering title names, I asked my illustrator if she had any ideas. Dee came up with ‘Bubble Gum Trouble’ which is the name of one of the poems that features in this book. She thought that it represented what the book was about – fun. And the publishers agreed. From memory I think I added the end bit, but the publishers probably contributed to that as well. So the book’s title became: Bubble Gum Trouble and other giggle poems. The Christmas picture book I am working on with co-author, Donna Smith is being produced under our own imprint, ‘Spider Ink Press’. So we have had full control every step of the way. However we also have relied on the expertise of our editor (Sally Odgers), graphic designer, our illustrator and our printer. Getting the cover right is so important, especially with children’s books. It is what children and parents see first, so your cover has to stand out – and for the right reason.
Morgen: I used to be a secretary which now comes in really handy with being organised (vital when you’re posting 5-6 blog posts a day – three or four here and two on my blogspot site) and I can type really quickly which is really handy with the likes of NaNoWriMo (my 2009 novel was 117,540 words in 29 days!). What are you working on at the moment /next?
Helen: My picture book with Donna Smith (via Spider Ink Press, mentioned above). The talented Aaron Pocock is the illustrator for our Christmas story. Once this book reaches final production stage (then off to the printers), we will be busy working on a trailer, and looking at creating the story into an app. As well as book marketing. I have also completed two other children’s manuscripts and am working on another poetry collection. But am at a bit of a cross roads as to whether to send out to publishers or publish independently. I plan to also create a book trailer for my books published with Little Steps and would love to see 10 Yellow Bananas as an app. I am investigating this at the moment.
Morgen: Since I became aware of book trailers I’ve always fancied creating one, although I think I’ll wait until my novels come out. That could really be fun. :) Do you manage to write every day? Do you ever suffer from writer’s block?
Helen: I don’t suffer from writer’s block (not with poetry anyway). However I do tumble into the ‘self-doubt’ hole at times, but I always dig myself out. Though I sometimes still have a foot in the hole. I write most days and I always have ideas tumbling around in my head. I am trying to get myself into a better writing routine though once I start on writing poetry, the ideas tend to catapult into my brain at any time (shopping, driving, sleeping). It can drive me insane as I can’t turn it off once I am on a roll. I have a number of poems that I wish to rework and some that I would like to transform into prose. So my plan is to start getting up early (which I have been doing lately) to work on them as I like the quiet of the mornings. But there have been lots of times when I haven’t written much. I try not to be too hard on myself if I wish to take a break. I have many creative passions and I like to also absorb myself in these when I can. Some of my best poetry has been formed from just tossing ideas around in my head whilst gardening, running or painting. However, with that said, I have a lot of unfinished stories that I need to knuckle down and work on. So I think getting myself into a writing routine will help me.
Morgen: I take my lodger to work at 5am six days a week and sometimes go back to bed but unless I’ve had a late night before I prefer to crack on with the day, spurred on by 100+ emails in my inbox at any one time). :) Do you plot your stories or do you just get an idea and run with it?
Helen: A little bit of both. Many of my writing jottings are giggle poems. So I tend to run with the ideas as they bounce into my head. I have a couple of story ideas which I really want to work on. I think having a plot and working on the characters, their likes and dislikes, and the ins and outs of the environment and setting of the story helps to drive the story better. But I also think it great to be a little flexible and sometimes let the characters take you on your journey. Sometimes going with the flow of the moment can unearth some plot gems.
A couple of years ago I undertook the craziness of NaNoWriMo and the plan of writing 50,000 words in a month. Yikes! I loved being in this writing zone. Even though no one will read this manuscript – yes it is that bad – I discovered that just going with the flow and letting the characters take you on a journey, without planning plots and characters studies, helps to unleash a freedom to explore. I found it a fascinating process.
Morgen: I’ve finding more people who have done NaNoWriMo and am so pleased. I’ve done it four times (three novels and then I ‘cheated’ last year with 50,000+ words of short stories) and will keep doing them for as long as I can. Do you have a method for creating your characters, their names and what do you think makes them believable?
Helen: Even though most of my stories are short picture books stories or poems it is still important to consider the setting, the characters and their names, the plot (does it make sense and does it flow), and all aspects of the story. I like to put myself in the setting of my picture story. I make lots of notes but I do a lot of thinking first. If I get a little stumped I like to watch movies with the types of characters I am working on (particularly if there is an animated movie that features similar animal or human attributes). I also go to the library and bookstores and browse through other children’s books for inspiration and ideas. My characters need to be believable so children need to be able to relate to them. I also research the internet or other books for information on settings and style. Where possible, I like to work closely with my picture book illustrators to convey particular characters and quirks. It was great working with Donna on our collaborative project as we were able to bounce ideas off each other, and look at all our characters’ quirks and mannerisms.
In relation to naming characters, I was once sent an article “10 Really Unique Ways to Name Your Baby”, with the view of passing the link onto my blog readers.
However, when I read the article’s title, I immediately translated this to: “10 Really Unique Ways to Name Your Character.” I found it a fascinating read so I blogged about how it could help in creating book character names.
Morgen: I think characters need to be believable for any reader – not so good that they’re implausible. Regardless of how good the plot is the character has to be the mainstay. If you don’t warm to your character (whoever good or evil), and there some I haven’t, then you lose interest in the story. Going back to your poetry, why do you think it’s such a difficult market to break into? Are there any tips you could give to someone wishing to write poetry?
Helen: I looove writing poetry – pretty much all styles. Yes, poetry is considered a difficult market to break into, particularly children’s poetry. A lot of publishers don’t (and won’t) publish children’s poetry but I believe there has been a resurgence especially with Beatrix Potter movie (Miss Potter) that was released in 2006.  Dr Seuss books are always a favourite with children and parents. And I grew up with A.A. Milne and Dr Seuss so have always loved quirky rhyming poetry.  Children love poetry though some teachers do tremble at the thought of teaching it.  Poetry is quite difficult – especially rhyming poetry – as you need to get the rhyme and metre right, which is one reason that publishers won’t publish this style.  But it is an art form that can be learnt. And if you scout around, you will find some publishers that will consider children’s poetry.  Again, through research, you will discover magazines that publish poetry and produce regular anthologies. My recommendation is to read lots and lots of different poetry styles, and purchase (or borrow) books that teach rhyme. Writing Metrical Verse by Sally Odgers is a good start and writer/poet Jackie Hosking offers an excellent rhyming manuscript editing service at http://jackiehoskingpio.wordpress.com/rhyme-rhythm. Sally Odgers also offers her wonderful services at: http://www.affordablemanuscriptassessments.com
I have had manuscripts assessed by Sally and Jackie and their advice is invaluable.
Once you start writing, enter poetry competitions.  It is a great motivator to keep writing, and meet deadlines. Join writer’s groups. Their newsletters generally include competitions, and similar. Also, subscribe to any online poetry writing tips newsletters.
When I teach giggle poetry in schools I don’t worry about the rules too much. Children should have fun with words, and let their creative spirits soar.
Morgen: Absolutely. The whole point of writing fiction is to be entertained (to whatever level) and if we have a laugh (however grim something might be there’s often some underlying humour) it makes us forget our day-to-day concerns. It takes more facial muscles to frown than laugh apparently. :) Do you write any non-fiction or short stories?
Helen: I have written some short stories and actually enjoy being in this zone. And have also dabbled a little in script writing whilst undertaking the ‘Diploma in Writing’ with The Writing School (formerly NSW writing school). I would like to do more script writing. I have written (well, half written) a couple of ‘how to’ books, so I need to knuckle down and finish those.
Morgen: I would have recommended doing http://ScriptFrenzy.org next April but they’ve just announced that they’re stopping it which is a real shame. I did it in 2010 (two pages over the 100 minimum) and whilst I didn’t enjoy the format it got me writing and I had it to turn into the beginning of a novel. Do you do a lot of editing or do you find that as time goes on your writing is more fully-formed?
Helen: In terms of my poetry, I like to get the gist of the verses down. Then I tend to edit each verse at a time (or at least the verses that seem a little easy to complete). Then I work on the verses that pose the most difficulty.  When I get it to where I think I can’t do anymore, I will then send off to be edited by a professional such as Jackie Hosking, Sally Odgers or Dr Virginia Lowe http://www.createakidsbook.com.au But I try to do the best I can first.  But as time goes by some of my haiku poetry tends to be (pretty much) fully-formed within a short period of time. I only send off poems or stories that I want to enter into competitions or for possible publishing. Donna and I worked on our Christmas story to the best edit that we could muster, before we sent it off to a professional (in this case, Sally Odgers). I would never send off any stories to publishers before they were professionally edited. But I edit and re-edit and try to do the best I can before the manuscript is sent to my editor.
Morgen: I’d always recommend a second opinion. It’s my only expenses and worth every penny. Do you have to do much research?
Helen: With my two unfinished ‘how to’ books, yes a lot of research is required. I actually enjoy research but it is sometimes a matter of getting up and doing it. So when I am ready to tackle these ‘books’ again (hopefully one at a time) I will get myself into a routine. Then I will need to look at what areas still need to be researched and discover if any of my ‘past’ findings are now obsolete or need updating. Then put a plan into action. Imposing a deadline on myself also helps. When it came to our Christmas story, Donna and I did some internet research in terms of attic windows and cottages to make sure they fitted our modern setting.
Morgen: I think we all need deadlines. Apart from writing for my writing groups’ critique sessions and NaNoWriMo etc., I wasn’t doing any writing but then came along Story a Day May (I started 2011 and repeated this year) and I carried on writing a short story a day on June 1st (this year) and it’s amazing how I find the time usually when I’m walking the dog, so they end up being flash fiction more often than not but they’re there to expand on if I wanted to. Knowing they have to go on my blog for the 5pm-fiction slot every day is real motivation. What point of view do you find most to your liking: first person or third person? Have you ever tried second person?
Helen: From memory, all of my short stories have always been in third person, except for one. When writing in third person you are not restricted to just looking at the main character’s point of view. But I did enjoy the short story written in first person (one of my ‘Diploma in Writing’ assignments).  On and off, I have been fine-tuning this story as it is a light-hearted romance which I think might suit a woman’s magazine.
Also some of my giggle poetry is in first person.  I haven’t tried second person – could be interesting. I might try this in my poetry and see what transpires.  I think it is beneficial to try different styles to find one that suits. It is all about developing your skills and style/s.
Morgen: Second person is probably my favourite but I only use it for short pieces because it can become tiring. Id imagine it could be fun for reading to children though… I remember reading the adventure books of Ian Livingstone and Steve Jackson when I was younger so perhaps that’s why I love it now. Do you have pieces of work that you think will never see light of day?
Helen: Yes, my NaNaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) 2009 novel but would like to revisit it. There are a couple of ideas that I would like to explore.
Morgen: What’s your favourite / least favourite aspect of your writing life? Has anything surprised you?
Helen: Answering all the emails can be a real chore and just so time consuming. Like many writers, I sometimes feel like an imposter.  So am always pleasantly surprised when people ask for my advice. I feel like I still have so much to learn but I have to remember that I have come a long way and should be proud of my achievements.
Morgen: I hear you on the emails – I get about 100 a day, many just read and file (or read, forward on, if guest-relevant, like blog post ‘like’s and retweets) and try to answer them within a week but invariably it’s more like a month so get people chasing me which is understandable but frustrating when it’s already a full-time job. :) What advice would you give aspiring writers?
Helen: Believe in yourself, and improve all the time. And filter through all the information that is thrown at you. The bottom line to me is: If you enjoy writing, just do it.
Morgen: I do. :) If you could invite three people from any era to dinner, who would you choose and what would you cook (or hide the takeaway containers)?
Helen: I have recently seen the movie ‘Midnight in Paris’ where Gil (Owen Wilson) embarks on an enchanted journey back in time where he meet the writing greats: Ernest Hemingway, Gertrude Stein, Mark Twain, and co.  A dinner with any of these writers would be fascinating. I wouldn’t really want to pick their brains – I would just love to hear their stories and get an insight into their outlook on life. And just watch them interact. If I had to pick three other people I would choose Johnny Depp (for his quirkiness and outlook on life, and his pirate voice), Edith Piaf (just love her voice but not sure if she spoke much English) and Woody Allen (also for his quirkiness and outlook on life). Again, I would be just happy to watch the interaction. If I gave this question a lot more further thought, I know I would want to include lots more people. So I would have to have endless dinner parties.
In relation to food. Hmmm.  Good question. If I am inviting them I know it would be rude to ask them to bring a plate to share. I would probably ask them beforehand what they like to eat.  Then cross my eyes, toes and fingers and do the best I can. Though I don’t think Edith (the sparrow) would eat much.
Morgen: I’ve not seen (or heard of) ‘Midnight in Paris’ but I love films about writers (‘Stranger than Fiction’ is my all-time favourite) so will look out for it. Is there a word, phrase or quote you like?
Helen: Just do it!
Morgen: Yes! No wasting hours on social media (note to self). :) Are you involved in anything else writing-related other than actual writing or marketing of your writing?
Helen: Yes, assisting in Brisbane (Queensland) event planning for ASA (Australian Society of Authors). I have recently been given the title: QLD Professional Development Coordinator (Honorary). In September 2009 I was appointed on the RADF (Regional Arts Development Fund) committee for Logan representing the portfolio of writing (4 year appointment).
Morgen: It sounds like you live and breathe writing as much as I do. What do you do when you’re not writing? Any hobbies or party tricks? :)
Helen: Loooooove reading. Also painting, arts and crafts, jogging, gardening, French movies and quirky movies, visiting friends, photography, and the list does go on and on and on. Sorry, don't know any party tricks. Also not very good at remembering jokes.
Morgen: Me neither. I only remember two (both clean) – one literary, one silly. Are there any writing-related websites and/or books that you find useful?
Helen: We are not alone, The Writer’s Guide to Social Media by Kristen Lamb
Eats Shoots & Leaves. The zero tolerance approach to punctuation by Lynne Truss
On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King
Create a kids book http://createakidsbook.com.auThis is an excellent e- course, but the website also includes invaluable information related to children’s picture book writing.
PASS IT ON is an excellent weekly, on-line, interactive, networking newsletter for those involved with or interested in the children’s writing & illustration industry.
More information at:  http://jackiehoskingpio.wordpress.com
Morgen: Are you on any forums or networking sites? If so, how valuable do you find them?
Helen: Yes, quite a number. Some very valuable information can be exchanged.  But I have had to stop following quite a few of them due to being inundated with email messages announcing new discussion comments. But if you just follow a couple related to the industry you primarily write for (eg. children’s publishing) you will connect to likeminded people. And everyone is very helpful.
My professional memberships include:
ASA (Australian Society of Authors) http://asauthors.org
SCBWI  Queensland (Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators) http://scbwiaustralia.org
and SCBWI (international) – Head Office in USA) http://scbwi.org
BCC (Book Creators Circle) http://www.bookcreatorscircle.com.au
Linked In Groups: Childrens-BooksBooksconnect-Authors-Agents-Rights-Publishinghttp://www.linkedin.com/groupsIndie-AuthorsPublished-Authors-Network,
Morgen: LinkedIn is brilliant at problem-solving and ongoing specific discussions, and supplies most of my interviewees. :) What do you think the future holds for a writer?
Helen: I think I am entering a very exciting time. I think it is still hard to acquire a traditional publishing contract (unless you have a name) and a lot of publishing houses have cut back in their budget. But there are also many different reputable publishing opportunities out there for writers to research.
Morgen: Absolutely. Where can we find out about you and your work?
Helen: http://www.helenross.com.au (my children’s books), http://misshelenwrites.wordpress.com (my blog), http://twitter.com/HelenRossAuthor (@HelenRossAuthor) and you can also find me on FaceBook and LinkedIn (Helen Ross Author). Other blogs:
http://10yellowbananas.wordpress.com (cyber launch 2009)
http://helenrossnanowrimodiary.wordpress.com (2010 entry)
http://misshelenspoetrycorner.wordpress.com (work in progress)
Book reviews at: http://helenross.com.au/misshelenbooks_reviews_11.html
Book excerpts: http://helenross.com.au/misshelenbooks_poems_to_read_7.html
Morgen: My goodness, and there was I thinking I was busy enough with just my two blogs. :) Is there anything else you’d like to mention?
Helen: Just thank you so much Morgen for inviting me on your blog. And all the best with your writing endeavours.
Morgen: You’re very welcome, thank you for joining me and I hope to ‘host’ you again in the future.
***
If you are reading this and you write, in whatever genre, and are thinking “ooh, I’d like to do this” then you can… just email me and I’ll send you the questions. You complete them, I tweak them where appropriate (if necessary to reflect the blog ‘clean and light’ rating) and then they get posted. When that’s done, I email you with the link so you can share it with your corner of the literary world. And if you have a writing-related blog / podcast and would like to interview me… let me know.
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Unfortunately, as I post an interview a day (amongst other things) I can’t review books but I have a feature called ‘Short Story Saturdays’ where I review stories of up to 2,500 words. Alternatively if you have a short story or self-contained novel extract / short chapter (ideally up to 1000 words) that you’d like critiqued and don’t mind me reading it / talking about and critiquing it (I send you the transcription afterwards so you can use the comments or ignore them) :) on my ‘Bailey’s Writing Tips’ podcast, then do email me. They are weekly episodes, usually released Monday mornings UK time, interweaving the recordings between the red pen sessions with the hints & tips episodes. I am now also looking for flash fiction (<1000 words) for Flash Fiction Fridays and poetry for Post-weekend Poetry.

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Thank you for taking the time to read this interview and leaving a comment - we are all very grateful.