The Writers’ Clubhouse: Q & A With Author Zanni Louise
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!
Zanni Louise is a children’s author and illustrator, based in Northern NSW. Her stunning debut picture book Too Busy Sleeping is fast becoming the must-have gift for newborns and a bedtime favourite for families everywhere. Her new series Tiggy And The Magic Paintbrush is aimed at early readers, 4-7 years old, and explores themes of imagination, creativity, friendship and problem-solving.
We spoke to Zanni about what inspires her as a writer and asked what advice she would give to emerging writers.
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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: I studied art history in Melbourne, and worked at Anna Schwartz Gallery for many years. When I moved up to Northern NSW, I started writing education and training material and blogged for fun. One thing led to another until I found myself writing picture book manuscripts. My blog helped me get published.
Q: What is the best thing for you about being a published author?
A: So many things to mention. Working with kids. Hearing kids are reading (and loving) my books. Watching kids enact my books in their games. Reading my books to my kids. Getting to work in my own time, from anywhere. Inspiring creativity.
Q: What are some of the key ingredients that make a great book for kids?
A: Strong, relatable characters, warmth and humour. I love off-beat stories especially, which take readers in unexpected directions, like David Mackintosh’s books, or Jon Klassen’s.
Q: What advice would you give someone who is just starting out as a writer or illustrator?
A: Be persistent. Be curious. Be adventurous. I write most days, and am constantly doing courses, or reading books about writing. I read every day too. Writing and illustrating are fun hobbies, fortunately, so immerse yourself as much as possible, and the rest follows.
Looking for some great examples of kids’ books to inspire your writing? Look for these titles in stores, online or in your local library.