The Writers’ Clubhouse: Q&A With Author Tim Harris

Tim Harris

Tim Harris

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!

There’s no better word to sum up Tim Harris than “exciting”. Bringing fun into both his books and his workshops, Tim has taken the world by storm.

Tim has released two book series for primary school ages readers, “Exploding Endings” and “Mr Bambuckle’s Remarkables”. Both are known for making kids laugh out loud while they engage with the characters and develop as confident readers.

Tim’s work has been widely recognised with his book “Painted Dogs & Doom Cakes” awarded Honour Book at the 2017 KOALAs. The lead book in his “Mr Bambuckle’s Remarkables” series was a CBCA Notable in 2018 and shortlisted for the 2018 REAL Awards (as voted by children in NSW, Victoria, and NT).

We spoke to Tim about what inspires him as a writer and asked what advice he would give to emerging creators.

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.

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

A: Before entering the wonderful world of writing, I was a primary school teacher for 15 years, where I taught alliteration amongst other things. (See what I did there?)

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

A: Much of the job involves traveling to schools and talking about the creative process – sharing the stories behind the ideas etc. I enjoy connecting with people in this way, as we all have tales that are waiting to be told. One of the best perks is chatting to readers about the worlds in my books and hearing what they liked, or how they might improve something.

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

A: Humour plays an important role in books for kids. Children love to laugh. Having characters that kids can relate to is also vital. It’s no coincidence that some of the most memorable children’s books star lead characters who are … kids! Pacing, plot and action are also crucial but will vary from book to book depending on genre and what the author is trying to achieve. Sometimes it’s about finding your own little mix of the above ingredients.

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

A: Create what you love. There’s no point undertaking a project if you don’t feel connected to it on an emotional level. Kids see through the superficial. I’m also a big believer in learning for betterment. Listen to podcasts with creators, read interviews, browse book shops, chat to readers, etc. The more knowledge you can acquire, the more you’ll understand your audience, as well as what you’re trying to create.

Q: What is your next big creative project?

A: I’ve just submitted a new manuscript for a series about a boy who inherits a rundown hotel. The series is titled Toffle Towers and will be released through Penguin Random House in 2019. I’m pretty excited by it – easily the most fun I’ve had writing!

Looking for some great writing to inspire your work? Visit Tim Harris’ website, or look for his many books in stores or at your local library. 

Tim Harris