Monday, August 25, 2014


Tell me about yourself. What got you started in writing?

I grew up in Brisbane, Australia. Reading has always been one of my favourite things to do and, as a child, making up my own stories was a natural progression. I didn't write them down, because they were just for myself.  I was a shy child. Creating characters and worlds for them was my way to be brave. I held story-telling sessions with my stuffed toys all sitting in a circle around me.  Later, my mother encouraged (forced) me to take a speech and drama class to help build my confidence. I will be forever grateful to her for that.

As a primary school teacher, I used stories as a base for the units of work I planned for my students. I think stories are an easy way for children to engage with and form understandings of the world around them.  

When I retired from classroom teaching, I began to write my stories down. It was as though the time was right to be writing. The ideas were there and I had to let them escape from my brain and sort themselves out on paper. 

How and where do you write? Do you prefer a lap top or do you prefer writing freehand?

I plan freehand. I write lots of notes, half-formed ideas, draw maps, print out relevant info from the Internet, make plot diagrams etc. All the loose pieces of paper go into a project folder that I have on the desk beside the computer.  I don’t start typing until I have a fair idea of how the story is going to progress in my head. That being said, once I start typing, things usually change radically and often. My husband is quite used to hearing me conducting conversations with my characters as I try to flesh out a scene or an idea.

I write on a desktop computer. I need to have noise around me as I work, so the television has to be on. I like to have things going on around me as I write. My stories happen in the real world, so I like the real world to be happening around them as they are created. Silence is not my friend. It makes me worry.  I guess that comes from having children and dogs.

Purchase Tayla Bayliss, Dogsitter

What's your favorite part about writing? Your least favorite part about writing?

My favourite part of writing is the beginning of a new story, that initial rush of creative juices when I can feel the adventure unfolding ahead. I am a control freak and through writing I am controlling a whole bunch of characters and events. Oh sure, they try to take over and run themselves at times, but ultimately, I am in control. 

My least favourite part is offering my work up for critique. I need to grow a thicker skin so that I can shrug off less than fantastic reviews.

How do you come up with your characters? Why would readers want to get to know them?

My characters are average kids.  They do not have any special powers. They do not live in any fantasy worlds. They are like the kids I grew up with, the kids I teach, the kids who live in my street. 

My main character, Taya, is the adventurous little girl that I wanted to be. She has the adventures that I dreamed of having. She is a child who wonders about things and likes to figure out puzzles.  She can be a scaredy-cat and she can be amazingly brave.  She has a best friend, Chris, who teases her and occasionally tries to curb her enthusiasm, but who is always there to back her up when things become difficult.
They are like-able kids with whom young readers can easily identify. 

Who wouldn't want to be out and about solving mysteries and having adventures?

I'm with you. I also love a good mystery!

What types of marketing do you do to promote your writing?

I use all the usual Social media, Facebook, Twitter etc.  My target audience, for the most part, does not have access to these things but their parents and grandparents do.

I have an author website and a books website and a blog.

My books are on display at and available from the local cafĂ©/bistro and at a writers’ club bookstore.

My absolute favourite form of marketing is personal appearances. I enjoy visiting schools and conducting author sessions with the classes. These are loads of fun and enable me to talk with the children about writing in general and my books in particular.

How do you schedule your writing time? When do you write?

Physical writing is done in the mornings as I tutor in the afternoons/evenings.  Saturday is my day off.  That is the only day I get to spend time with my husband. Mental writing happens at anytime at all…usually at 2.00 a.m.

What are you currently working on? Do you have a new book out?

I am almost finished the fourth Taya Bayliss mystery.  It is in the editing phase. I am hoping it will be ready for launch by the end of August.  It is called ‘Taya Bayliss – Snake Charmer’.  Taya has to confront one of her biggest fears as she tries to put the clues together in this one. 

Do you have a project on the back burner? Tell me about it.

I have a dog, called Trudy, who is the naughtiest, cleverest, most mischievous dog you can imagine.  She and her sister, Heidi, write a blog called ‘The Big Blonde Dog’ which details all their misadventures.

I would one day like to turn some of the stories into picture book form with titles like
‘Goldidog and the Three Beds’ and ‘Behind the Bamboo Curtain’. 
I have started the project folder but that is as far as I have gone.

Purchase Taya Bayliss, Treasure Hunter

What would you tell a beginning writer who wants to publish but doesn't believe he/she has enough talent?

Publishing is the easy part.  Places like Createspace and Lightning Source have made publishing books a simple and affordable process.

Write...just write.  Writing is part of who you are. So do it. Put your thoughts on paper as often as you can, even if it is only in journal form. 

The hardest part, if you are anything like me, is asking someone other than your friends to read your work and give you their opinion, but that is how you learn and improve. There will always be people out there your work will not suit. That does not mean it is not good.

Find people who will be constructive in their criticism. Avoid the Negative Nellie’s. They are always around. Don’t let them derail you from achieving your dreams.
Be true to yourself and get your message out to the world.


Thank you, Erica!

Learn more about Erica here:

The links are:- My websites 
                   :- My Blog. 

Book links   Treasure Hunter:
                  Dog Sitter:
                  Code Breaker:

1 comment:

  1. Thank you, Kathryn. It was an absolute pleasure to speak with you. I look forward to having you visit my blog.


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