The Writers’ Clubhouse: Q & A With Authors Kate and Jol Temple

Kate and Jol Temple

Kate and Jo Temple

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! 

Kate and Jol Temple have many children’s books to their names including Captain Jimmy Cook Discovers Third Grade and their picture books Parrot Carrot, Mike I Don’t Like and I Got This Hat which was selected for National Simultaneous Storytime in 2016. These books have managed to find themselves on short lists and New South Wales Premier’s Reading Lists. They have also created two digital adaptations of their picture books for which they have received international awards for creativity. Kate and Jol have recently released Room On Our Rock, a book about sharing that can be read front-to-back or back-to-front for a very different perspective on the same story.

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 create amazing books for children, but what was your professional background before you became authors?

A. We both always loved writing stories, even at primary school we were writing and drawing our stories. We both wanted to be writers in some form and first found a paying job that let us do that as staff writers in advertising agencies. That’s where we met. From there we started collaborating on children’s book ideas and we haven’t stopped!

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

A. Seeing your ideas come to life in print is a very exciting thing. Even more exciting than that is seeing kids reading and enjoying our stories and connecting with the characters. I never get tired of visiting schools and sharing our work and love of writing. We also love to talk to kids about their ideas and hear about the stories that they’re creating.

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

A. The secret to a great kids’ book is a one-eyed cat… or maybe a bucket of radio active slime! Okay not really, but sort of. We love to surprise with unexpected characters and plot twist. Because we write both picture books and junior fiction we need different things for different books but what they have in common is a playfulness and sense of fun.

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

A. My advice for writers starting out is to keep going. If you’re serious you just can’t stop. Also don’t be afraid to start again. It’s easy when you’re starting out to think the think you’ve written is perfect as it is. We’ve learnt a lot about writing and also the kids we write for as we’ve continued on this path and we’ll never stop learning or throwing out our work and starting again. In the end, it’s not the idea that matters… it’s what you do with it!

Q. What is your next big creative project?

A. We’ve just launched a very different book for us. It’s a customised book that allows a kid to become the star of the book and their family become the characters in the story. You go online ( select all the people in your family and we print the book and send it to you. We came up with the idea when we realised that every family is different but not every can find themselves in the pages of a picture book. Our book celebrates the modern family so if you have two mums, a single parent, a blended family, etc. you can find yourself in the pages of a book. Children’s books play such and important role in helping kids explore the world around them and build confidence. We hope this book makes more children feel that acceptance.

Looking for some great writing to inspire your work? Visit Kate and Jol Temple’s website, or look for her books in stores or at your local library.