Interviews with people who inspire me #Kerry Malone
Today, I'm excited to be interviewing children's book author, and fellow SCBWI member, Kerry Malone!
Introducing Kerry Malone.
You can find out more about the fantastic Kerry Malone and her work by clicking on the images or through the links at the bottom of this interview but first, let’s ask Kerry some questions!
Thank you for agreeing to this interview. Are you ready to answer lots of questions?
Hi RJ, happy to answer your questions.
Do you like broccoli?
Nooooo! It goes back to my childhood and mum’s overcooked veggies. Cannot eat it now!
Do you have any personal goals that you're especially excited about this year?
At the end of this year, Sophie Makes New Friends, book one in my chapter book series will be launched into the world.
Sophie’s story is special and I would love to share with you my story and where the idea came from.
As a five-year-old I was diagnosed with cataracts and after surgery and for my childhood and young adult years I wore rather thick ‘coke bottle’ glasses.
In the early 1990s I was a privileged recipient of cornea transplants which led to brilliant vision … until 2005 when I noticed my eyesight was deteriorating with some dramatic symptoms. During the next eighteen months I lost most of the vision in both my eyes and was nearly blind.
At a time when I was struggling with the changes in my life my husband said to me. ‘I know there is a lot of stuff you can’t do anymore but what can you do?’
I had one of those Oprah ‘lightbulb’ moments and said. ‘I can write a story about a little girl going to school wearing her new glasses for the first time.’
And I did. I went outside with paper and a thick marker pen, sat in the sunshine with a glass of wine and wrote the story. I was one of the lucky ones and after a lot of surgery in 2007 my vision was restored and is still brilliant. As I reflected and celebrated the ten-year anniversaries of these life-changing events I knew it was time to write this little girl’s story that has now become Sophie’s series.
Please tell us a little bit more about Sophie’s series.
The series tells Sophie’s story after her family move from the country to the city.
Throughout the series we follow Sophie as she makes new friends, joins sporting teams and has challenges when her glasses break and when she is invited to a pool party and sleepover.
Meaghan Thomson, who illustrated You can do it Joey! is creating gorgeous illustrations and designing Sophie’s books and I can’t wait to see the finished book.
What advice do you have for children who want to be authors or librarians or both when they grow up?
The advice new authors like myself are always given is to read a lot. It’s so true for working in a library and writing.
Librarians and library assistants are always asked for recommendations and if your members know you love to read and what you love to read, they will connect with you more. They will also recommend books they love for you to read and that’s a way to find so many more great books.
As an author, reading books in your genre is a fabulous way to learn how to craft a book for the reader you hope will pick up your book. Reading outside your genre gives your brain a chance to have a rest and enjoy stories which are different to the books you normally read and write.
Can you share a little with us about someone or something that has inspired you in the past?
I’ve thought a lot about this and those who inspire me changes all the time.
At the time when I needed a lot of surgery to restore my vision I met a lot of people in hospital who had much worse problems than mine and were not getting good news from their doctors. I was in awe of the grace with which these people led their lives and took the bad news they kept receiving. I don’t know if I would have handled myself so well if my news was not good. I kept in touch with one lady for many years and was so inspired by the way she went about her life after a dreadful accident took away most of her vision.
As a children’s author now, I am lucky to meet authors and illustrators whose books I love. Saying hello to and having a conversation with someone I’m a big fan of is so much fun and I want to be just like them and write lots of books that children will enjoy.
Can you share a fond memory with us from your time working in a rural library?
My library was small and a one-person operation. Two of us covered the six days we were open and we were lucky to have a dedicated children’s room.
As part of a small rural community our library was a meeting space and often it was more important to put down the book scanner and have a chat.
It was my job to organise and present our storytime sessions and I loved choosing the books to read and craft activities. I did have a reputation for not being very good at the craft activities and often received a round of applause from my mums and dads when they saw the prototype I had made! Some of my ‘creations’ were legendary around our library!
As we lived in a small town it was always fun in the supermarket queue or in a cafe to have my ‘library kids’ come up to say hello or tell me what was happening in their lives. Not so much fun when you are at the pool and just want to get into the water and hear the kids yell out, ‘Mum, there’s Kerry from the library!’.
As someone who worked in a library, is there anything you’d love authors to know?
Kids love libraries and books. If you are an Indie author do what you can to get your books into them. There are some dedicated library suppliers. If you don’t have a distributor, contact libraries to ask if they are happy to buy your book. Ask friends and families to request their local library buys your book.
And finally, what is the most exciting thing about being an author?
I love meeting readers. It is so lovely after a book reading or at the markets to have the littlies come up and tell you they love the book and want a hug. Or tell you their life story, which is always gorgeous.
Thank you, very much for your time, Kerry. It’s been an honour to speak with you.
Thanks for having me RJ!