BIANCA’S TOP WRITING TIP: Allocate a two-hour block every day to writing, and stay with your schedule. All writers need discipline, and setting aside regular time slots ensures this happens. Spontaneous creativity may not always come along, but routine helps to foster it.
Bianca. C. Ross is a writer and a small-time farmer. One day when she was sitting in the garden at her farm, she decided she would write about Herbert Peabody, the farmer who digs food. She’d always enjoyed being read to when she was little, especially books with pictures. And she’d grown up in a house that had a big vegetable patch in the backyard.
The idea to write about Herbie had been brewing for a while. Bianca had always liked healthy food and this led her to work at some big food companies in Australia including dairy and fruit juice companies. She had always enjoyed communicating, and this saw her working in different ad agencies in France, Singapore and Australia.
Herbert Peabody and His Extraordinary Vegetable Patch is Herbie’s first adventure.
For more information about Bianca and Herbie, visit www.herbertpeabody.com
Why do you write? I write because I love to. I enjoyed story writing in primary school, and wrote short stories and poems throughout secondary school and university. Writing copy evolved to be part of my career, and with the ‘Herbert Peabody’ book series, I write to entertain children, and hopefully their parents. Herbie shares important messages in a fun way through characters children can easily relate to, and I think it’s important for young readers to have positive and fun role models.
What would you be doing if you weren’t a writer? My passions are advertising and marketing, because both disciplines seek to communicate and engage people. It’s important to share an affinity with your audience and establish a connection with them, and understanding people has been fundamental to my career. This inspired me to write Herbert Peabody. My other dream would be to sing and perform.
What was your toughest obstacle to becoming published? Producing the book to the specs I wanted to best bring the story to life – colour and line illustrations, hard back, A5, with a map at the front so children could orientate themselves with where the stories are set. So, because I’m impatient (!) I self-published.
What’s the best aspect of your writing life? People telling me how much their child loves Herbert Peabody, and that he’s inspired them as a family to start growing their own herb pots or veggie patch. There are many wonderful stories to read, and I am both delighted and humbled when someone chooses mine.
—the worst? Having twenty four hours in one day. Inspiration comes along often, and there is not enough time in one day to record it!
What would you do differently if you were starting out now as a writer? I would take time to enjoy the writing process – the suspense, tension and inspiration – rather than worry about the result. Knowing readers enjoy my work is encouraging, and I now appreciate planning, writing and editing to produce the best work I can.
What do you wish you’d been told before you set out to become an author? To find a writing mentor. I’m lucky to have met writer, Les Zig, and designer, Luke Harris, who welcomed me to the world of writing. Their patience and encouragement compelled me to stay.
What’s the best advice you were ever given? To unfold a story slowly, and deliver the ending in a compelling way that gets to the point. Good writing is like going to a great party and leaving while it’s still swinging. It’s the mystery and the tease that entices the reader, and the wrap should leave them wanting more.
Herbert Peabody is a farmer who grows fruit and vegetables in his big, big vegetable patch at Mulberry Tree Farm. When his niece Clementine and nephew Digby come to stay for the school holidays, Herbie can’t understand why they know so little about vegetables. But there’s a bigger problem: a local bakery is under threat and needs Herbie’s help. Can Herbie teach Clementine and Digby the importance of vegetables? And with some hard work and a little bit of magic, can they make something extraordinary happen?”
You can buy the book here.