Picture Books: Parmesan, the Reluctant Racehorse (Little Pink Dog Books) July 2017
Memoir: A Long Way from Misery (Crown Mountain Press) 2016
- The Quest (Creative Kids’ Tales anthology, Deep Within the Forest) 2015
- Detention (Writer’s Web anthology) 2014
- Shortcut (Stringybark Publishing) 2103
- Just Friends (Stringybark Publishing) 2012
Jacqui Halpin’s passion for children’s literature started when reading bedtime stories to her children. They outgrew their childhood books but Jacqui never did. Jacqui writes junior fiction, picture books, and short stories (for adults and children). Her first picture book, Parmesan, the Reluctant Racehorse, illustrated by John Phillips, will be published by Little Pink Dog Books in July 2017.
She has also co-written her father’s memoir, A Long Way from Misery, as she believes it’s important to record the tales of Australia’s older generations before they are lost. And because he had a story worth telling! Combining her love of children’s books and her desire to preserve Australia’s social history, Jacqui is writing a series of historical boys’ own adventure stories for middle grade readers, inspired by her father’s childhood escapades on a farm called Misery.
While writing and editing, Jacqui loves to sip tea from fine china and eat copious amounts of chocolate. She also has a love of bookshops, and should never be allowed to enter the children’s book section with a credit card in her possession.
Which writer(s) inspire you?
I love books by Mem Fox, Lynley Dodd, Jackie French, Emily Rodda, Joseph Delaney, J K Rowling, Judith Kerr, Nick Bland, Margaret Wild, Frances Watts, Cassandra Clare, and loads more—too many to mention here. Their stories inspire me to create.
What draws you to writing for children specifically?
I first wanted to write for children when I had the pleasure of reading beautiful picture books to my own children when they were small. I still remember the joy and satisfaction that I and my children felt at the close of a well-crafted, gorgeously illustrated picture book. I wanted to be one of those special people that could generate such feelings in others.
How long have you been writing?
The year 2000 was when I decided to delve into the world of children’s writing. A world I never want to leave.
Which professional writing bodies are you a member of?
I am a member of Queensland Writers Centre, SCWBI, Write Links and Book Links.
What writing resources do you recommend?
I was recently given a copy of The Essential Guide to Getting Your Book Published by Arielle Eckstut and David Sterry and can highly recommend it. I also find The Australian Writer’s Marketplace a valuable tool. Famous authors’ websites often have very helpful information for aspiring writers.
Best time of day to write
I prefer to write first thing in the morning but more often than not it is usually afternoon or after dinner that I get the time to write.
What do you do to assist you in writing?
I often attend writers’ workshops and seminars and am currently completing an online course in children’s writing. I read books on writing, and attend as many writers’ festivals as I can. I also go to as many Write Links meetings as possible and strongly believe in the importance of the support network a writers group provides.
Was there a particular book in your childhood that had a big influence on you?
When I was a child my father used to read me stories from Enid Blyton’s Brer Rabbit which I always enjoyed. I found out later that because Dad never went to school and therefore wasn’t a very good reader, he made up half the story. This in no way diminished their appeal. I also remember a picture book called A Home for Whiskers, a story about a kitten finding a home with a woodcutter and his young daughter. I loved that story.
Who/ what inspires you?
Inspiration to write can be found anywhere and at any time. I’m inspired to write by rainy mornings, walking (especially at dusk), riding on trains, waiting at airports, sitting in traffic, looking out my back door, and sometimes in the middle of the night for no reason whatsoever. That’s why I have a notebook and pencil with me at all times.
Have you got any inspirational writing quotes you would like to share?
My favourite inspirational writing quote is- writers write. So simple yet not always easy to do in our busy lives. And one of my own quotes that is not so much inspirational but factual- writing is an apprenticeship that never ends.