Rising Australian Children’s Book Author Lisa Van Der Wielen: The Interview

It’s with pleasure to present another in The Interview Series; today with rising Australian children’s book author, Lisa Van Der Wielen. Listen to the introduction below:

(My apologise for a wonky video. I was too excited to get to the interview)

Discover more about this inspiring author here:

How many books have you written? In what format are they published?

Well I have written about ten stories and some of those are still in the process of being published, so I have 6 published picture books so far:

Vegetarian Polony

Luna Lucy

Aqua Dog

The Life of Gus

Luna Lucy and the Planets

Aqua Dog Flames

These books are available in ebook, paperback, hardback and audiobook.

I also write poetry, and some of my writing has been published in anthologies.

How do you define success for an author? Are you successful?

I don’t think success for an author can be completely defined on their high amount of sales or prestigious book awards, even though these are things all authors would aspire to in some way.

For me, success as an author is publishing work that I am proud of and having a positive impact on the reader.  So success for me is the positive feedback I receive from children and families after reading my books.

How do you do research for your books? 

I am a primary school teacher and a mother of two, so working with children and having children of my own provide me with lots of inspiration to write fun stories for children.

There is an element of research to my work, looking for and understanding what the children of today’s world are interested in and what teaching and learning resources educators are seeking.

Do you have a favourite/s from the books you’ve written? 

It is difficult to pick one favourite, so I will have to choose two.  Aqua Dog is a story that I am very proud of as the moral and main character is close to my heart.

The message of the story is to follow your passions and to appreciate the uniqueness of all of us and what we bring to the world, and I think that is an important message for children to understand.  Dogs are my favourite animals, so I love writing about them in my books.

Aqua Dog is about a border collie that loves to swim and I was a swimmer growing up so I guess this dog character is in many ways a reflection of myself.

The other book that is a favourite of mine is about another special dog called Gus.  I am so proud of this book because all of the proceeds go to Ronald McDonald Charities here in Western Australia.

The Life of Gus is a book about a very caring black Labrador that is the Director of Hugs and Pats in the Ronald McDonald House.  It is his job to make the house a home.

This book was a wonderful project to be a part of and a worthy charity to support.

What’s your writing schedule/habits? 

I do most of my writing late at night once the kids have gone to bed. Unfortunately, it is often 2am when the best ideas pop into your head!  So I usually pop ideas and thoughts down straight away so I remember them.

Do you believe in writer’s block?

I think writer’s block definitely exists and that as a writer you need to be in the zone to write well.  If I can’t seem to write, I take a break and do things I enjoy and come back to the writing when my mind is clearer.

Do your fans influence future works?

As children are my fans and I work with children as a teacher, I would have to say that they definitely influence my work.  My students often make suggestions of what I could write about and give great feedback about my work.

How do you come up with new ideas that haven’t been written before?

Well I think it is hard to know what has and hasn’t been written about before, as it is impossible to read all of the books out there, so I think it is important to just focus on your own writing and what you want to say.

The same story can be told in many different ways so as a Children’s Author I think there are lots of topics that have been covered before, so it is important to tell stories in your own way.

I get my inspiration for new ideas by working with and raising children of my own.  The world is constantly changing so I think what children want to read today is very different to when I was a child.

Technology has certainly changed our world and the way in which children learn these days, so I think as a writer it is important that our new ideas reflect that.

What are your tips for aspiring authors in terms of character development?

I think my biggest tip for aspiring writers to develop characters in stories is to always write with a little reflection of themselves within their characters.

I think with anything in life, if we are passionate about what we do then that is when we achieve our very best.  So as a writer, it is important that your writing reflects who you are and what you are passionate about as it always shines through.

So if you are able to develop characters that you can personally relate to, then the reader will sense that.

What’s your background, how did you become a children’s book author? 

I have been a primary school teacher for 20 years now and I love my job.  I love working with children and in my time as an educator I have read a lot of children’s books.

I have always loved writing since I was very young and always wanted to write my own books one day.  When I went through some really difficult times in my personal life several years ago with divorce and complex heart health issues, I found it imperative to go back to doing things I enjoyed doing, and writing was one of those things.

So I started writing my own children’s books!

What are you working on now?

So far as a writer I have only published rhyming picture books aimed at young children, however I am currently working on a young adult fiction novel and some middle grade fiction novels.  The novel writing process is a lot longer than a 500 word picture book, so it is certainly testing my patience and writing ability.

What does the future look like for Lisa Van Der Wielen? 

I think the future for Lisa Van Der Wielen; Children’s Author is likely to move towards Lisa Van Der Wielen; Author as I delve into writing novels for older children and young adults.

I would like to create books for children of all ages and not be completely boxed into picture books.  

Author Contact details:

Website: https://www.lisavanderwielen.com/

Amazon author page: https://www.amazon.com/Lisa-van-der-Wielen/e/B07DBCC53L
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lisavdwielen/

Did Lisa’s story inspire you to become a writer? Maybe even delve in children’s book writing. Let me know. I love to read your comments!