The Writers’ Clubhouse: Q & A With Adam Cece

Adam Cece

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! 

Adam Cece is an author, speaker, and South Australian Premier’s Reading Challenge Ambassador. Although he had been writing for more than 30 years he published his debut middle grade novel, Wesley Booth Super Sleuth, in 2015. In 2017 his ‘The Extremely Weird Thing That Happened in Huggabie Falls’ won the 2017 Text Prize. This lead to him signing a three-book deal with Text Publishing for the Huggabie Falls series. This series is now published in countries all over the world and is beloved by many.

Library For All increases literacy globally by bringing a unique digital library to readers without access to books. We work with writers all around the world who want to share their cultural stories and see their words in print. 

Q. You have written some amazing books for children, but what was your professional background before you became an author?

A. I’ve had lots of jobs. I’ve worked as a service station attendant, a pizza delivery driver, a cook in a Chinese restaurant, a shelf stacker at Woolworths, and I even went to university and studied a Bachelor of Science. For many years I have worked as a Business Analyst, which is a very technical and boring job in computers. Sometimes I think the lack of creativity in my day job, leads to my mind bursting to be creative when I get home.

Q. What is the best thing for you about being a published author?

A. Definitely visiting schools, doing presentations and meeting readers. When kids have read your book and loved it, it is the best feeling in the world. I remember when I was visiting a school for Book Week a couple of years ago, a teacher was showing me to the library, and we passed a classroom that must have been reading my book for a class text, because all the kids ran up to the window and pressed copies of my book up to the glass. I remember thinking, it doesn’t get much better than this.

Q. What are some of the key ingredients that make a great book for kids?

A. That’s a really hard question. My books are full of action, adventure, weirdness, and humour—all of which readers love. But also I like my books to have a little bit of heart, and the characters to deal with problems all kids can relate to and empathise with. This helps readers connect to the story and get really invested in the outcomes for the characters. Whether you are an adult or a child, we all want to read stories about characters we really care about.

Q. What advice would you give someone who is just starting out as a writer?

A. It might sound cliched, and that’s because it is, but cliches are cliches for a reason. Make sure you read, and read, and read. And not just read in the genre you want to write in, but read widely. And if I could sneak in a little extra piece of advice, make sure you finish things. Writers often have drawers full of half-finished books, because they moved onto the next new and shiny idea. The writers that are successful, often are successful because they finished things before starting other things. It really is that simple sometimes!

Q. What is your next big creative project?

A. I’ve just finished a story for Total Quack Up Volume 2 (I think it’s called Total Quack Up Again) which is a collection of stories from lots of Australia’s funniest children’s authors. I’ve also just finished writing the first book in a brand new junior detective series, and that’s with my agent while I start work on the second book in the series.