Confessions of a 'mature' Children's Book Author
Okay, I'm definitely a mature author. I've always made my living through writing, mostly on topics others might find dull. Literally millions of well-researched and informative words have poured out from me over the years for government departments, newspapers, voluntary organisations, training groups and more - you get the picture. This writing has kept food on my table and clothes on my back and I've never regretted it - but no one has ever really noticed it.
Last year, purely for pleasure, I wrote my first children's book, 20,000 words of fact-based adventure for 7-12 year olds. It was launched in December: 'An Unexpected Hero,' published by CreateBooks Publishing, Hamilton, New Zealand.
Suddenly, I'm a WRITER! Readers are noticing my work! My book is getting reviewed! People feel compelled to express their opinions on my storytelling - all good so far, thankfully.
Family and friends go out of their way to tell me, 'Hey, I really like your book - I bought it for my son/daughter/school/grandchildren but thought I'd read it first and couldn't put it down.' They use words like page-turner, riveting.
I'm stunned! It's embarrassing! Almost half a century of painstaking research and writing on politics and other demanding topics has brought me a mere fraction of this attention.
Some soul-searching is needed here - am I deceiving myself? Have I been masquerading as an adult all this time? My children's adventure story was a delight to write, felt like no trouble at all. The characters were familiar to me. I knew just what they'd say and how they'd act. It's alarming.
Yes, the book has some interesting topics - a boy inspired to respond to hardship differently after learning about New Zealand's most famous conscientious objector from World War One, Archie Baxter (father of famous Kiwi poet James K. Baxter).
It's set in a remote rural area with a two-teacher school, some clued-up cows, a scrabble-playing cat and a curmudgeonly old soldier.
But I still feel like a fraud when people interview me and ask me searching questions. 'What inspires you... Where do you get your ideas... How do you discipline yourself to write...?'
The truth is, I have to discipline myself to STOP writing. I would happily scribble right through the night if I didn't have to sleep. I suspect I'm simply indulging myself and having fun with this storytelling for children, but think I'd better keep that from my Publisher and potential reviewers.
I'm deeply into writing my next book, you see.