CREATING KIDS’ AND YA BOOKS

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Annaleise Byrd

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Annaleise Byrd

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Genres: Picture books and middle grade
Publications:

The School Magazine, Youkie, Library For All, Anthology Angels

Member Bio

Annaleise Byrd grew up on a farm in Queensland, ignoring most farm-related pursuits in favour of reading books. She then spent nine years in England and Canada, neglecting a variety of jobs in favour of reading books. Eventually, she realised the best way to get away with this was to become an author.

Annaleise now writes funny books for kids and lives in Brisbane with her husband, two young sons and rescue greyhound. Her debut middle grade novel, Losing the Plot, will be published by Walker Books Australia in March 2024. It will be followed by a sequel, Down the Plot Hole, in 2025, as well as her debut picture book with Hardie Grant Children’s Publishing.

 

  • Which author(s) or illustrator(s) inspire you?

I admire Jasper Fforde for his clever imagination, JK Rowling for creating a generation of readers and Mary Pope Osborne for the longevity of her series.

 

  • What draws you to writing for children specifically?

Kids are such voracious and enthusiastic readers. They love to laugh and learn new things, and they wholeheartedly enter into the experiences of fictional characters. If that’s not a description of an ideal readership, I don’t know what is! I’m really looking forward to (hopefully) receiving letters from kids who’ve read my book(s)!

 

  • How long have you been writing?

I’ve been doing some form of writing ever since my primary school years. When I was a child, it was short stories and poems. As an older teen and young adult, it was cringe-worthy songs (I also play the guitar). When I moved overseas, it was an extremely wordy travel blog and 3000-word emails to friends back home. In 2017, a few years after becoming a mother, I decided to start writing fiction for kids!

 

  • What writing resources (online, books or other) do you recommend?

I own quite a few writing-related books that I’ve never gotten around to reading so sadly can’t recommend (yet), but an online resource I really like is Reedsy. They offer free email courses and regular free webinars. One video series I particularly enjoy is First Line Frenzy, where an editor gives live, on-camera critiques of opening sentences submitted by writers. It’s both educational and entertaining!

 

  • Best time of day to write?

During school hours, when I have the house to myself!

 

  • How do you extend on your writing skills? (e.g. which course, writing groups, or conferences etc.)

Apart from reading as many books as possible, the thing that has helped me the most is joining Write Links. I’ve learnt so much from regularly reading and critiquing others’ stories, as well as reading their critiques of my own – and others’ – work. I also recommend the Australian Writers’ Centre and the CYA Conference.

 

  • What are your writing goals?

 I want to write books that help kids fall madly in love with reading. I want to make them laugh, and gasp, and beg for just one more chapter. A lifelong love of reading is an incredible gift, and it’s exciting to think that we, as creators of children’s literature, can contribute to that.

 

  • Was there a particular book in your childhood that had a big influence on you?

I loved all the usual suspects: The Famous Five, The Baby-sitters Club, Sweet Valley High… but I think my love of Tintin probably provided the biggest clues about my future adult life and/or dream career. He’s a writer who travels the world… say no more!

 

  • Is there a particular theme or underlying subjects that run through your writing?

Humour, definitely, but also friendship, courage and adventure. I also seem to like weaving elements of the business world (eg. bureaucracy, unionisation, marketing) into my middle grade stories. No doubt that’s due to my educational background and employment history in that realm!

 

  • Have you got any inspirational writing quotes you would like to share?

“You have to write the book that wants to be written. And if the book will be too difficult for grown-ups, then you write it for children.” ―Madeleine L’Engle

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1942 Amsterdam Ave NY (212) 862-3680 chapterone@qodeinteractive.com

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