ELAINE’S TOP WRITING TIP: Writing is a profession. Like any other profession, you need to invest time and money to learn how to be the best. Learn the craft by taking lots of workshops and make sure your manuscript is the best it can be before it goes out by paying an editor to find your mistakes. A writer is far too close to their work to see the mistakes they have made.
Elaine Ouston lives in Queensland, Australia. She has a Master of Letters in Creative Writing. She edits for other writers, is managing editor at Morris Publishing Australia, and has set up a writers’ centre, Gondor Writers’ Centre, in Kilcoy, Qld where she teaches writing to adults and children.
Her four published children’s books vary from a picture book to two books in a fantasy series, The Mystery of Nida Valley, for 9–16 year-olds. She is currently working on book three in her series, The Mystery of Nida Valley, the first book in another series, Barben’s Magic Quest, and a young adult novel. You can find more information on Elaine at www.morrispublishingaustralia.com or www.gondorwriterscentre.com or on the series website, www.themysteryofnidavalley.com
Why do you write? I write to escape from the real world into a world of my creation.
What would you be doing if you weren’t a writer? I am also an artist, so painting is high on the list.
What was your toughest obstacle to becoming published? I put my first book out to the publishers and after three rejection letters that told me it was a great story, well written etc, but they couldn’t publish it for various reasons, I decided to self-publish.
What’s the best aspect of your writing life? Being allowed to make up stories and work from home.
—the worst? The pay is not that flash when you first publish.
What would you do differently if you were starting out now as a writer? I would wait a bit longer and send my book to more publishers before I gave up on finding a publisher.
What do you wish you’d been told before you set out to become an author? That writing is only the first step. The editing process, to make it the best it can be, and being patient while you find the right publisher are the most important things.
What’s the best advice you were ever given? Never give up on your dream.
The Mystery of Nida Valley
While saving her best friend Amanda, 14-year-old Meg Sealy and her older cousin Jaiden, stumble upon a secret valley where time stands still. The three friends are thrust into a dangerous world of magic, time travel, and creatures they believed extinct. Here they learn that it is their destiny to use their new magic skills to join the fight to save the valley from an evil break-away order, bent on exploitation. Follow their journey as undercover villains threaten Meg’s life, and they fight to save the animals from extinction.
Book two in the series is a story of mystery, time-travel, and magic. Grundymere is still at large and seems determined to capture Meg. The elders of the Order believe it is to stop her from following in her grandmother’s footsteps and becoming the next Grand Leader of the order that protects the valley, The Guardians of Nida – but he has a much more sinister reason.Follow their journey as Meg strives to control her escalating magic powers, and she and her friends fight to discover the identity of the traitor in the valley, and save the animals from extinction. The elders of the Order gather around her to keep Meg from the clutches of Grundymere. But can they succeed? Only time will tell.