CKT's Featured Authors

Dee White - Interview (Aug 2014)

Q. What’s the best thing about being a writer?

Getting to share my stories with readers and knowing that in some small way my books can make a difference to people's lives.

For example, my book Letters to Leonardo  is about a boy who has a parent with a mental illness. I received a lot of great feedback from kids who my story resonated with and they said it helped them understand their own situations.

My book Hope for Hannah  inspired a group of kids to raise money for a village in Uganda where the story is set.

Q. Tell us 5 words that best describe you?

Honest, resourceful, determined, friendly, creative.

Q. What tips would you give to an aspiring writer?

I run a writing tips blog at deescribewriting.wordpress.com where I constantly publish new tips for writers, but I'd say my favourite tips would be:

  1. Read a lot.
  2. Write whenever you can.
  3. Start a journal of ideas and happenings.
  4. Carry a notebook with you so you can write down interesting things, ideas and descriptions of people you meet.
  5. Decide what sort of writer you are. If you like reading a certain kind of writing, (for example, sports pieces or vampire novels) then this is probably the sort of writer you will turn out to be.
  6. Never forget your vision for your story. You have to write what's in your heart and although it's important to edit it, don't let your story become someone else's.
  7. Volunteer to write articles and fiction pieces for local community or club newsletters in order to build your writing portfolio.
  8. Join a writer’s group, or start one of your own.
  9. Find a critique buddy who shares your writing goals, wants you to be published as much as they want to see their own work in print - someone you can be honest with, and who will be honest with you.
  10. Try to write regularly, even if it's only for fifteen hours per day.

Q. How many hours do you spend writing each week?

My writing is my job so I write for an average of 35 hours per week, sometimes less, sometimes more depending on family commitments and writing deadlines.

Q. You have many courses for aspiring writers on your website. How important is learning your craft before submitting your work to publishers?

The world of publishing is very competitive so it's important to make your work as strong as possible before you submit it. You need to stand out from the 'crowd' of manuscripts that land on a publisher's desk. So learning your craft is extremely important.

Publishers are looking for great characters that readers can connect with and a strong concept or plot, so it's important to know how to develop these elements in your story.

That's probably why two of my most popular online courses at Writing Classes for Kids and Adults are "What Happens Next" (plotting) and Heroes and Villains (a course that helps you to build great characters).

Q. What tips would you give to a potential author in writing their cover letter to a publisher?

  1. Be professional and polite.
  2. Try to reveal something about you as a writer and show your unique writer's voice.
  3. You only have seconds to hook the reader so you need them to connect with your characters and be inspired by the concept straight away.
  4. Have a strong log line or statement about your story. For example, with my current work in progress, Hating Ric, I have developed the log line, A street race shatters two lives. (tells you about the plot) Ric barely survives, Kate wishes she hadn't. (tells you about the characters.) It's really important to understand what your story is about and be able to sum it up in a short paragraph - that way you can convey this information clearly to the publisher. The cover letter doesn't need a whole lot of detail about your story, just a strong concept that is summed up succinctly.
  5. Don't worry if you haven't been published. If a publisher is asking for submissions, this means they are expecting to hear from unpublished writers. Just make sure you wow them with your characters and story idea.
  6. Publishers are very busy people so make sure you thank them for reading your work.
  7. Don't be pushy.
  8. Don't make untrue claims.
  9. Don't try and tell them how to do their job - for example, "You have to publish this book because it's going to be the next Harry Potter".
  10. Let them know if this is a simultaneous submission if your work is with other publishers as well.

Q. How do you get the creative juices flowing again when you have writers block?

I know this might sound weird but I've never had writer's block. I think that might be because I always plan my writing to some extent so I have a rough idea of where the story is going. It seems to me that writer's block is caused by lack of direction. It's like trying to drive from Melbourne to Sydney without a map or a GPS when you've never done the trip before. You're going to get lost aren't you?

Writing a story is the same. You need to have some idea of where you're heading - which direction to take your characters. Sometimes they go off in a direction of their own, which is challenging but fun, and I don't think it matters as long as you know their final destination.

At the end of the day's writing, I find it can be helpful to make notes of where the story is going next so even if you don't get back to working on that piece for a while you still have some idea of what's next for your characters.

To get the creative juices flowing, I walk my dog - a lot and play golf. I also find that drawing helps me relax and get into the 'zone'.

Q. If you could be any character from any book for a day who would you be and why?

Anita from 101 Dalmatians  because I love Dalmatians, adventures and rescuing animals of any kind.

Q. What’s next from Dee White?

At the moment I'm working on the second book in a chapter book series, Circus Kids  about the adventures of a group of multi-cultural kids who are growing up in a circus.


 

CKT
Newsletter
  • 'Creative Kids Tales offers new writers the joy of publication on their journey of craft and creativity.'
    'It’s a warm and wonderful home.'
    www.sgervay.com

    Susanne Gervay
  • 'Creative Kids Tales is a unique and valuable online resource for new and established authors. The site provides a wealth of information and insight into the children's writing world.' 'Thanks for all your support, Georgie, and keep up the good work.' - www.aleesahdarlison.com

    Aleesah Darlison
  • "What a wonderful website and wealth of resources. I wish I’d discovered it sooner - but I can still enjoy it now, and have added it to my list of resources for new writers."
    "Keep it up, Georgie!" - www.wendyorr.com

    Wendy Orr
  • 'I wish Creative Kids Tales had been around when I was first starting out! What a brilliant way to connect with other authors and find out about the lovely world of kids books.' 'Go Georgie! I think you're amazing.' - www.deborahabela.com

    Deborah Abela
  • 'Buckets of thanks to Georgie for creating Creative Kids Tales. There’s a wealth of wonderful information and resources for everyone interested in creating books for kids – and a warm sense of community.'
    www.meredithcostain.com

    Meredith Costain
  • 'Creative Kids Tales is a brilliant resource – for established writers and those just starting out. I wish it had been around when I was a new writer. There are lots of invaluable tips and great advice.
    Congratulations Georgie – it’s fabulous.' - jacquelineharvey.com.au

    Jacqueline Harvey
  • 'Creative Kids tales is the perfect place to go for inspiration and to recharge the creative batteries.'

    - www.franelessac.com

    Frané Lessac

  • 'Creative Kids Tales is a treasure trove of resources and insights, compiled with dedication and enthusiasm. A wonderful resource for anyone who is interested in picture books and children's literature.' - sarah-davis.org

    Sarah Davis
  • What a terrific, enthusiastic, informative and creative resource - of value and interest to so many people.
    I'm delighted to be a part of it.
    ursuladubosarsky.squarespace.com

    Ursula Dubosarsky
  • Writing can be a lonely profession. By necessity, you need to work alone much of the time. But it is wonderful to have a website which eases that by connecting creators with each other and with a wealth of information and resources.
    Bravo! - sallymurphy.com.au

    Sally Murphy
  • 'Creative Kids Tales is great. You can pick the brains of people who make stuff without having to stalk them or do anything illegal.' - www.aaronblabeybooks.com

    Aaron Blabey
  • 'Emerging from one's chrysalis of anonymity into the prodigious world of creative children's writing and publishing is a daunting prospect. Georgie Donaghey's Creative Kids Tales is a superlative source of inspiration and information for the bourgeoning writer and illustrator. She has created an invaluable platform from which writers, both developing and established, can view, promote and share each other's work, and most importantly aspirations. A fun, friendly, and informative forum that everyone in the kids' lit industry can benefit from.' Keep it up Georgie! - dimswritestuff.blogspot.com.au

    Dimity Powell
  • 'Creative Kids Tales is such a great website for navigating this industry – not just for authors and illustrators, but for parents and teachers and librarians and publishers and kids and storytellers of all sorts. It’s awesome!' - www.julesfaber.com

    Jules Faber
  • 'Creative Kids Tales will jump-start adults seeking to become writers!' - www.wimpykid.com

    Jeff Kinney
  • 'Creative Kids Tales is a fantastic resource for aspiring writers that showcases emerging and published authors and illustrators and provides links to publishers' websites, helpful hints and competitions.'

    Rachel Keyes
  • 'Creative Kids Tales is a great forum for people who spend most of their working time alone. It is interesting and inspiring to see and hear what other authors and illustrators have to say.' - www.maisyfun.com

    Lucy Cousins
  • 'Thanks for having me on Creative Kids Tales. It's a great resource for emerging writers and illustrators and I hope it will have a long future.'
    www.sallyrippin.com

    Sally Rippin
  • 'The long-distance marathon of writing, illustrating and publishing usually begins along a very foggy road, in the dark, shoeless. But wait! What's that light on the horizon? A glowing little cafe, full of a bunch other runners plotting out mud-maps on napkins and exchanging anecdotes, warning about ditches and praising short-cuts. Stop for a while, have a cup of tea, maybe even a shoe-fitting, then get yourself back on the road for the long slog to sunrise.' - www.shauntan.net

    Shaun Tan
  • 'CKT is informative, relevant, recent and fun! It’s an exceptional resource for anyone involved in children’s literature.'

    - www.timharrisbooks.com

    Tim Harris

  • 'Thanks for being such a strong advocate for children’s literature, the power of stories, and reading.
    Keep fighting the good fight and call on me anytime.'
    www.tristanbancks.com

    Tristan Bancks
  • 'Creative Kids Tales deserves all its accolades. Thanks to its creator, the site provides brilliant support, inspiration and encouragement for anyone who loves creating children's books. I have no hesitation in passing on your link.'
    Well done, Georgie! - www.sherylgwyther.net

    Sheryl Gwyther
  • Creative Kids Tales offers a brilliant platform for established and emerging creators to keep in touch and learn from each other. That is a great thing for this most isolated of all professions (apart from On-site Antarctic Penguin Imitators). - www.terrydenton.com

    Terry Denton
  • 'I love the grumpy cat videos, hahaha it's so grumpy ... oh, wait, wrong website. Ah yes, Creative Kids Tales. Brilliant! Getting published is an amazing, frustrating, brilliant, lonely, creative journey, and www.creativekidstales.com.au is awesome in that it helps both published and pre-published authors by providing support, inspiration, a community, and by allowing authors to learn from other authors, and who better is there to learn from .. .except maybe that grumpy cat, hahaha, hilarious.' - www.adam-wallace-books.com

    Adam Wallace
  • 'What a wonderful website Creative Kids Tales is, supporting and helping Australian authors in their quest through the dark thorny forest of the publishing world. Georgie should be congratulated for all her hard work and fearless leadership!' - www.kateforsyth.com.au

    Kate Forsyth
  • 'The details available on this site, for emerging writers (or those emerged) is incredibly helpful. From creating stories- plotting, dialogue and character building- to the support writers can seek for their work, be it mentoring or seeking a publisher, it’s all there. An excellent easy-to-access writers’ site!'

    - libbyhathorn.com

    Libby Hathorn

  • 'I’m thrilled to be Creative Kids Tales author of the month.' 'I hope in some small way by me taking part, I might help and inspire young authors and artists to follow their own artistic path.' 'The key I believe is to seek to enjoy what you do. Even though doing your best is a constant challenge I find it is a worthwhile one. So, get drawing and / or writing.' Good luck ! - www.leighhobbs.com.au

    Leigh Hobbs
  • 'If there's anything emerging authors struggle with (beyond the dreaded writer's block), it's receiving recognition or even acknowledgment of their work – battling for a slice of that incredibly elusive publishing pie. Georgie Donaghey has created a priceless promotional and networking station that allows new authors to not only share their work, but gain the courage and nous to take their work to a whole new level. Creative Kids Tales is a valuable addition to Australia's burgeoning children's book market.' - www.taniamccartney.com

    Tania McCartney
  • 'Creative Kids Tales contributes a wonderful sense of community to the Australian kids’ book scene, from sharing insightful interviews, to writing competitions and now a conference. It’s a great organisation to follow online and be a part of!'

    - www.onemorepagepodcast.com

    One More Page podcast

  • 'What a great asset you are to the children's book industry, Georgie.
    Long may Creative Kids Tales rule!'
    www.paulcollins.com.au

    Paul Collins
  • 'I would have loved to have had access to creativekidstales.com.au when I was starting out! It's an invaluable source of information, inspiration and encouragement for both emerging (and fully-emerged!) writers.' - www.andygriffiths.com.au

    Andy Griffiths
  • 'Wow! Creative Kids Tales is a fantastic resource for writers, no matter what stage of their writing journey they are at. Congratulations, Georgie, on your attractive, easy-to-navigate website, your generosity to your fellow writers and your constantly evolving ideas. Thanks on behalf of all of us.' - wendyblaxland.com

    Wendy Blaxland
  • 'This is a great website. Nowadays, when getting published is so hard and staying published not much easier, everyone needs all the help they can get. And here's Help with a capital H!' 'Go Georgie! Creative Kids Tales is an inspiration for all writers of children's and YA fiction.' - www.richardharland.net

    Richard Harland
  • 'If a website can be described as 'homely' or 'a friendly place for emerging writers to visit' then that's how I would describe Creative Kids Tales. It's probably the only Australian website for children's writers that I visit regularly and actually feel part of. When I need motivation, interesting writers to read about, or just a peek at my own 'baby steps' towards being a published writer, I visit the Creative Kids Tales family.' A big thank you to Georgie and Rod for a great website. - www.patsimmonswriter.com.au

    (Pat) Patricia Simmons
  • 'Congratulations on a brilliant site, and a superb first year!'.
    Jackie French is Australian Children's Laureate for 2014 – 2015
    www.jackiefrench.com

    Jackie French
  • 'Georgie and the team at Creative Kids Tales have a wonderful passion for children’s stories, and this site is a wonderful place to visit to find and share ideas!
    Well done guys!' - www.nick-falk.com

    Nick Falk
  • 'Everything you need is here, on Creative Kids Tales! Oh, how wonderful this would have been for the young Emma Quay, knowing she loved children’s picture books but not knowing a soul in the industry. Down to earth, comprehensive, friendly, realistic and encouraging advice — this is an invaluable resource. Bravo!' - www.emmaquay.com

    Emma Quay
  • 'The Creative Kids Tales site is great fun and full of information about authors and their books!' - www.isobellecarmody.net

    Isobelle Carmody
  • 'Georgie Donaghey’s Creative Kids Tales is deservedly going gangbusters! What a wonderful forum and multi-storeyed resource for shiny new authors, legends of the industry and every writer in between!'
    dcgreenyarns.blogspot.com.au

    DC Green
  • 'It's about time that we had something like Creative Kids Tales. It's a treasure trove for information and news, plus it showcases talent from aspiring writers. It's a wonderful springboard for anyone who wants to dive into the Children books world!'
    Keep up the fabtastic work! - www.oliverwriter.com

    Oliver Phommavanh
  • 'This site is such a wonderful resource for writers and illustrators at every stage of the journey. I've learned more about some of my favourite people in children's literature here, but also had the joy of discovering whole new worlds of talent.' - annabranford.com

    Anna Branford
  • 'Congratulations to Georgie Donaghey for her hard work and enthusiasm in setting up a site that has been sorely needed to promote current Australian children's writing. Not just for the established, but for up and coming, Creative Kids Tales showcases talent and provides information essential for anyone in the industry.' - www.enterprisingwords.com.au

    Dianne (Di) Bates
  • 'The thing I like about the Creative Kids Tales website is that the authors come across as real people who face the same problems that beginning writers do and that there’s plenty of practical advice.' - www.duncanball.com.au

    Duncan Ball
  • 'Creative Kids Tales provides such a valuable service. Writing can be a lonely business at times, and seeking publication can be daunting. So it is especially wonderful for writers to be able to access such a comprehensive site where information, experiences and the ups and downs of writing for kids can be shared.' Well done, Georgie! - www.suewhiting.com

    Sue Whiting
  • 'CKT is like the friendly and helpful colleague I could have done with when I started out. Back then I didn’t know anyone who was a writer or illustrator of books.'

    - www.tohby.com

    Tohby Riddle

  • 'It's easy to feel alone when writing, and clueless about what happens next. Creative Kids Tales offers answers and community - invaluable resources.'

    - www.clairesaxby.com

    Claire Saxby

  • 'CKT is such a valuable site for anybody wanting to learn a bit more about making children’s books. When time travelling becomes possible, I’ll steal all the info from this site and deliver it to my younger, aspiring self.'

    - petercarnavas.com

    Peter Carnavas

  • 'What a great site! We all tend to work in isolation in our own little caves. It’s great to see all the other cave dwellers out there and realise we are not alone. What a great resource!'

    - brucewhatley.com

    Bruce Whatley

  • 'Creative Kids Tales is a fabulous community of passionate, hardworking and committed writers. If you're looking for new and exciting talent that's dedicated to the children's book industry - look no further than CKT!'

    - www.waichim.com

    Wai Chim

  • 'Creative Kids Tales is an awesome resource you should totally check it out.' - raspratt.com

    R.A. Spratt
  • "Whether just starting out or with many books under your belt, Creative Kids Tales is the perfect place to go for all things writerly. Sharing the inner world is a wonderful thing for solitary writers, and it's all there on Georgie's website.
    Happy reading!" - tashibooks.com

    Anna Fienberg
  • 'I stumbled on to Creative Kids Tales by accident. I thought it was kid's tails. I'd been doing some research about goats and how their tails were actually a fifth leg, a very long time ago. Or did I just dream that? In any case, I was bitterly disappointed at first to find not tails, but tales. However, while I was at the site I had a wander around, and soon discovered that it was even better than a goat's site - no kidding! This is a brilliant haven for writers, new and not so new; a place to showcase their work and to learn from others.' Well done, Georgie. You've done a fantastic job. - www.enterprisingwords.com.au

    Bill Condon
  • 'What can I say? Well if you have clicked this far and uncovered these words you KNOW that this (Creative Kids Tales) is a terrific resource full of ideas and connections.
    SO dig deeper and get connected!' - www.chrischeng.com

    Christopher Cheng
  • 'Creative Kids Tales is a lovely online meeting space brimming with support and ideas for writers.'

    - katrinagermein.com

    Katrina Germein

  • 'Creative Kids Tales would’ve been mighty handy to know about back when I was sitting about drawing and writing and having no idea what to do with any of it! Go explore and create knowing you have such an amazing resource at your back!'

    - www.heathmck.com

    Heath McKenzie

  • 'Wow! What a wonderful resource.
    Congrats to everyone involved with Creative Kids Tales.'
    georgeivanoff.com.au

    George Ivanoff
  • 'Creative Kids Tales has inspired, encouraged and supported not only the published, but also us hopefuls still learning the ways of the publishing world. Thanks for providing not only an amazing site to scroll and learn through, but also providing friendship and a real sense of chasing our dreams.' - gardenbabyfaeries.webs.com

    Kelly McDonald
  • 'Having been a publisher and an author and now proprietor of Pinerolo, the Children’s Book Cottage, I am passionate about promoting children’s books. Creative Kids Tales is such a welcome part of this network and I salute them for their support and their inspiration to so many. On their seventh birthday I wish them many, many happy returns.'

    - www.pinerolo.com.au

    Margaret Hamilton

  • 'Creative Kids Tales is ambitious, specific and professional - the Top Tips section alone is a must-read for every aspiring children's writer.' - jackheath.com.au

    Jack Heath
  • 'Once you find an easily-accessible, up-to-date and vibrant source of writing help and encouragement, you should value it and use it! Thanks to Creative Kids Tales, that’s all available, just with the tap of your finger: www.creativekidstales.com.au
    Well done, CKT team!' - janeenbrian.com

    Janeen Brian
  • 'CKT is a great resource for both established and emerging authors. I like the way you're always coming up with new and exciting initiatives at your site. And I love reading the fascinating journeys and achievements of the writers you profile here.' - www.deescribe.com.au

    Dee White