JAQUELYN’S TOP WRITING TIP: Get a clear vision for what sort of author you want to be (which should be mostly driven by what you love to write). This helps to keep you focused on what you need to be doing. It is very easy to get caught running in circles thinking you have to do everything. This will have you exhausted and frustrated within six months.
Jaquelyn Muller experienced a typical 1970s childhood and moved frequently up and down the east coast of Australia in a two-toned Ford Falcon with no air conditioning. While the tape deck continually spat out hits from the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack, Jaquelyn retreated to reading and writing from the back seat of the car. After university Jaquelyn spent the next 20 years in publishing, marketing, and digital consulting.
Now daydreams through the office window are put to better use and weaved into tales she hopes brings moments enjoyed through her children’s books. Inspired by the thousands of fearless authors and illustrators, who at some point were prepared to ‘have a go’, Jaquelyn released her first early childhood picture book, I Love You 5 Lollipops in May 2013 and has reprised the Elizabeth Rose character in the just released follow up book, Elizabeth Rose on Parade.
Why do you write? Because if I don’t my family will send me away! They think I am less nuts when I have a constructive path to channel my energy into.
What would you be doing if you weren’t a writer? I have always been in publishing in some form or another so if I couldn’t write my own books, then publishing the work of others would be the next best thing. I love the creative process and bringing concepts to life. I am also a stationary nerd and I love paper! However if you really must know my deep dark secret, playing electric guitar in a band would have to be one of the wishes I would pick if I ever got three from a genie!
What was your toughest obstacle to becoming published? Learning the process and understanding all the moving parts. There are so many details that you have to get across as well as setting up the business side of things, which will always gate crash any creative party!
What’s the best aspect of your writing life? The reactions of the kids to my books. Hearing that they insist on reading my books over and over or they have memorised them off by heart or that they want to become authors when they grow up is such a wonderful feeling. I still get so overwhelmed by those reactions; I think they are talking about someone else.
—the worst? The admin side of running a business. There is just something very wrong with anyone that enjoys that.
What would you do differently if you were starting out now as a writer? Nothing. I am doing things today that I never thought I would do and success for everyone is different. I love all the production and marketing side of the publishing business as well as the writing, so for me I have found my happy balance and you only get that by trial and error. Other authors may find that if they aren’t writing six hours a day then they aren’t achieving. It’s a very different landscape for everyone. The great thing is that you don’t have to retire from writing so if you look at it as a long term career then you can get it all done, whatever ‘done’ means to you.
What do you wish you’d been told before you set out to become an author? I think a realistic view of the ‘other work’ you need to do other than actually writing would have been helpful. By other work I mean blogging, updating online profiles, running competitions, writing book reviews for other authors, attending literary events, planning and executing book launches and school and library visits – it is endless.
What’s the best advice you were ever given? It’s a marathon not a sprint. Listen to the experiences of other writers both well-known and emerging. Listening to others helps you put your own ups and downs into perspective.
Written by Jaquelyn Muller, Illustrated by Kathryn Zammitt
The excitement is building, and everyone is ready. Another extraordinary performance in the Big Top is about to commence and who better to lead the parade than Elizabeth Rose! More fabulous than fairy lights, Elizabeth Rose may be only small, but she shines, beams and sparkles like no one else!
Available from www.jmullerbooks.com/shop and other outlets including Amazon, Booktopia, The Book Depository.