Melanie Schubert Author Interview

Heyo Bookaholics!

Before I start I would love to thank Melanie for being so wonderful as to answer some questions for me about her first novel Gregory and The Grimbockle. Melanie has been so open, and I feel like I have learnt more about her as not just an author but as a person and what she has been through to get to where she is today (and you will to by reading this Q&A).

I posted a review of Gregory and the Grimbockle, and can be accessed here, if you would like to read it before reading this Q&A.

I would also like to point out that this Q&A is spoiler free, though I would recommend everyone go read Melanie’s first ever novel! It can be purchased at The Book Depository or in-store.

Background

Melanie is an Australian author based in Melbourne. Aside from writing children’s books, she works with the New Zealand performing arts company, Gobsmacked as a scriptwriter and songwriter, this carved her path into story-writing.

I sent Melanie a list of questions in which she voluntarily answered, and told me that answering the questions was enjoyable.

Questions:

What inspired you to write a book, especially a book in the children’s genre?

I don’t know that anything inspired me specifically… From the time I can remember I have just had so many ideas dancing around in my head. I’ve always been writing something. As a kid I used to write plays and songs with my sisters and cousins, and then we would act them out for our family. In college, my friends knew they could come to me for help re-writing their essays.
I used to help my best friend re-write scripts for her performing arts school so it fit what she needed. So when she started her own primary/elementary performing arts company in New Zealand, I became their sole scriptwriter song writer. I guess once I started doing such regular work in the children’s writing genre, other ideas began swirling in my head.
What was the process of editing the book like for you?
Like pulling teeth… Ha ha. No But seriously, editing is often more work than actually writing the book. You have to go over every sentence, every word, change and rearrange until it all feels right. That said, it’s oddly satisfying even though it does my head in sometimes. Kind of like exercise. It hurts so bad but it’s a good hurt.

How did you come across the publisher that eventually lead to the publication of your book?
I just kept searching on google and submitting my manuscript everywhere that would accept it. Eventually, I found New Wrinkle Publishing, a new Indie Publishing house that were running a competition to publish a book. I won their competition and the rest is history.

It’s many months away but I, like many others participate in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). Are there any tips you can provide for writing a novel for a particular audience?

I’m a big believer in “finding your voice” as a writer. For example, I used to write little emo poems in my teens… and I tried to write a non-fiction novel about my journey through the ghettos of India in my 20’s. But truthfully, I wasn’t very good at either of those. Writing for kids comes to me naturally. So I encourage everyone to play around and find what they’re good at, but also what they ENJOY writing about. If you LOVE what you are writing, the words will flow like magic from your fingertips.
On a more practical level, I always find reading books and watching movies in the genre I am writing helps energise and inspire the brain for writing in that genre.

How long did it take you to write Gregory and The Grimbockle?

About a year on and off. I was working other jobs at the start, and then travelling Japan for 6 months living in a van. So writing Gregory and the Grimbockle was more of a side project than a central focus at the time.
Where did you find the inspiration for this book, most specifically the mole story?

Well, I’ve always felt like some invisible strings connect us to our special people, because so often, they have called out of the blue or been there for me at times in my life when I’ve needed them the most. So that’s where the idea for the exoodles came from. As for the mole, I don’t know! It kind of just popped into my head!

How hard was it to write a children’s novel and stay in a child’s mindset?
Like I mentioned before, I feel like this style of writing is what comes to me naturally, my, “writer’s voice”, so I don’t find it hard to stay in that mindset. Also, kids are pretty smart. I rarely dumb down what I am thinking for them. I like this quote by Madeleine L’Engle:
“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. “

Was there anything that had to be cut from the final copy of the novel, due to it being inapropriate for the age group?

A few minor things got cut, but nothing age inappropriate that I can think of.

Were there any characters that didn’t make the final cut?

No. I’m pleased to report that all characters made it safely to the other side of the edit 😊

Where do you see your writing career going from here?
Well, I’m always doing scripts and songs for Gobsmacked Performing Arts whenever they need them, but my focus now is on my personal author career. I’m currently working on my next, upper middle grade novel.
For me, Gregory and the Grimbockle was just the start of everything.

This year, for the first time, I haven’t picked up a second job and am devoting 100% of my work hours into writing now, so I’ve managed to write more than half of the book I’m working on at the moment in less than 2 months.

And the hardest question of all:

What is your favourite novel??

Now that is a hard question… I don’t actually think I can give a single answer. Its a close tie between the Harry Potter and Narnia series. Because I can (and do) read all of them over and over without ever getting bored, and always discovering something new.



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Thank YOU so much for reading!!! I hope to see you all back here on Wednesday πŸ™‚

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Stay Happy and Healthy, and Have a Lovely Week πŸ™‚

BREE XOXO


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