First up for 2018 is Australian author Dawn Meredith. Dawn's first two books were published in 2000. Since then she has been published in almost every genre. She loves the quirky, the dark, the humorous, but also enjoys biographies and true life stories. fantasy and crime novels. Her ninth book was released in 2017. He work includes fiction and non-fiction books, short stories, short non-fiction pieces, and poetry. She has conducted many writing workshops for children and adults in many states of Australia and she's been a panellist and workshop presenter at Conflux and the Sydney speculative Fiction Convention.
DL: Firstly, since this is a coffee chat, how do you have your coffee? And what is your favourite time of the day to partake?
Dawn: Milky with 2 sugars. I don't tolerate coffee so well but it smells absolutely divine. But I am a mad tea drinker and being English, you'd better not hand me some weak looking dishwater in a cup!
DL: You've recently moved to writing young adult fiction from children's fiction. Are the story ideas flowing in abundance now that you've put on a new hat? And what has been the influence for the change to YA?
Dawn: I've written 5 YA novels but this is the first one to see the public spotlight. I was pretty happy with it. My first agent loved it but never really did anything with it. My second agent, same firm, said I needed to rewrite the entire thing in first person. I compromised. I rewrote in first person omniscient. It is better, I admit. I had the opportunity to tune it up a little too. I love trying new things and I've always wanted to write for the YA market.
DL: You've been successful in winning literary grants. For anyone wanting to apply, what do you think they could do to stand out from the crowd? And are the judges looking for things to do and not to do?
Dawn: I won the May Gibbs Fellowship. I just followed what they asked for and happened to have the right story at the right stage of development. I wouldn't have even known about it if a literary mentor hadn't suggested I apply. I was time poor and ideas mad and needed the 4 weeks break away. Very glad I won it!
DL: Have you found that publishers would prefer that you to stick to children's books from a branding perspective, or do you think they're supportive in seeing an author grow into other areas?
Dawn: No. I've never stuck with the same publisher. I have been writing in fiction and non fiction and different genres. A lot of it had to do with my work with quirky kids. My most successful book, which brings me monthly income 4 years later (and growing) , was self published through Moshpit. I've been looking for my 'voice' as they say. Funny thing is, when I finally said to myself, "stuff it! I'm just going to write how I damn well want to and stop worrying about 'show-not-tell' and 'no narrator voice!' and all that crap." Well, the very first page of that manuscript won the SCBWI Writers award and a scholarship last year, didn't it? That was Letters From the Dead which I just launched yesterday. It's a sort of YA crossover novel, according to Susanne Gervay, who launched it.
"LETTERS FROM THE DEAD" WON THE 2016 SCBWI ANDREA DAVID PINKLEY WRITER AWARD - A SCHOLOARSHIP WITH THE VICE PRESIDENT OF SCHOLASTIC USA.
Well done, Dawn!
DL: "Super Charlotte" is your new book and it's submitted to Inkitt for a publishing deal. What is the motivation behind choosing to launch your book through this avenue as opposed to traditional or self publishing?
Dawn: Part of my new 'stuff it!' philosophy is that I just don't have the time to submit over and over to publishers any more. I am sick of the waiting, keeping diligent records, reading rejection letters, recrafting over and over, courting advice. Although that process did help me grow a lot as a writer, it's now holding me back. I need to keep moving! I have so much inside me screaming to get out, I just can't wait around for someone to say, 'oh, well, its well written, but doesn't quite fit our list right now.' Inkitt looked like an interesting way to go and I love it so far. Interestingly, they are very supportive and this helps enormously, as we're an insecure lot sometimes! I have 10 reviews so far, new ones every day almost, so its going well. I got to choose the accompanying photo illustration, which was cool. I'll keep you posted on how it goes! Meanwhile, I have a sequel to write...
DL: And lastly, are you a biscuit or cake kind of person? And what is your favourite biscuit/cake?
Dawn: I do love cake, but you can't beat chocolate wheatens. YUM! You dip them in your tea and slurp the melted chocolate off the crunchy biscuit... OMG. I'm going to the shop as soon as I've finished typing this.
Check out Dawn Meredith's awards, bio, and books
Speculative Fiction books
A fictional paranormal crime story of Delia Fox, a 19 year old woman who has a dangerous gift - she can read the memories of the recently dead. Working for the police to solve mysterious deaths she herself becomes a target when her evidence helps to send criminals to jail. Delia speaks for the dead but who will protect her from the living?
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