Featured Author: Pat Clarke

November 1st, 2016
Abby sat down with six time author Pat Clarke to talk about her journey in to publishing. Keep ‘em coming, Pat!
Elvira and the Pilliga Mouse (due for release this November) marks your sixth book, which is an amazing achievement! You are the most prolific author at Little Steps, and we’re so happy to have you. As someone who took up writing later in life, do you have any advice for mature-age aspiring authors out there? Is writing more accessible and enjoyable than you had previously thought?
I published my first book The Magic Forest of Goonoo at the age of seventy-one, and at no time did I suspect that five more books would follow in quick succession. The question I am most often asked is whether I have always wanted to be an author – I have to answer no, but then go on to explain that I‘ve always loved books and as a child used to make up stories, but never wanted to write them down or keep a diary.
Your books run deep with themes of caring for the environment and its inhabitants, what personal experiences have inspired this focus?
After moving to the country and purchasing a thousand acre bush retreat in the Goonoo Forest, I became fascinated with the amazing wildlife that abounded in the forest; endangered species such as the barking owl, malleefowl, glossy black cockatoo and giant-sized goannas stirred my imagination and I had a great desire to share this knowledge and love of the Australian bush with children everywhere.
You've worked with the talented Graeme Compton on five of your books. Have you two established a seamless process of working together now, or is there always something different to be learned each book?
The relationship I have with my illustrator Graeme Compton is truly amazing. Once my stories are written I send them to Graeme and he then starts on his preliminary sketches. I mostly leave this all up to him as he is such a talented artist and I only occasionally make some small alteration or suggestion. I believe our next book Elvira and the Pilliga Mouse with its fantastic illustrations will cement Graeme’s growing reputation as an artist and give him the recognition he deserves.
What is the best feedback you've had from a young fan?
The best part of being an author of children’s books is the children I meet along the way. One of my most ardent fans is a little girl who chose me as her “Favourite Australian Author” and said in a letter that her project about me was so good it was now being displayed in the local bookstore. "P.S.," she added. "You are the best author in the world!!!"
Finally, do you have a favourite character you've written? (Or is it too hard to choose!)
Sheila is my favourite character and is so popular that I had to write a sequel as so many of her fans wanted to know what became of her. Sheila is cheerful, brave, loyal and forgiving, and serves as an excellent role model for chooks and children everywhere. My next favourite character is Howie, a truly lovable monster now living happily in the Blue Mountains.
Books by Pat Clarke:
The Magic Forest of Goonoo: Saving the Goonoo (2010)
A One-Eye Chook Called Sheila (2013)
The Flying Lesson (2014)
Howie the Yowie: Adventures of a Lovable Monster (2014)
Reutrn of the Fox: Further Adventures of a One-Eyed Chook (2015)
Elvira and the Pilliga Mouse (2017)
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Comments (1)

Sandra Edmunds - November 16th, 2018 6:48am
I have just read your book about Sheila to a group in aged care, ranging from their career to varying degrees of dementure. They sat and listened through the whole book and loved every minute especially the naming of the eagle, Elvis. I will be going back for more. Thank you.


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