Meet the Author: JR Poulter

JR’s top tip for aspiring authors: Read what you write aloud to yourself or to another person whose opinion you respect and who respects you.  You’ll pick up breaks in flow, narrative gaps or inconsistencies better, and see more clearly where to build on or delete, character development  points, mood builders, scene setters etc that way more effectively.

Muza Ulasowski and JR Poulter with a selection of Word Wings picture books.

JR Poulter once worked in a circus. This definitely qualifies her to write for children! She has been published in Australia, UK and USA, having more than 30 children’s and education books with mainstream publishers, has won major awards, including Children’s Choice, New Zealand, as well as digital editions in UK, Europe and USA. More books are due for release shortly. J.R. loves teaching children the fun to be had with words whether in poetry or prose and doing  dramatised book readings.  She created a picture book in collaboration with Craig Smith, for an enthusiastic, participatory  audience for the Lockyer Festival. She writes novels [including YA], award-winning literary poetry, short stories  and creates photography and artwork under JR McRae. Her greatest adventure, under both writing names, consists of global collaborations with more than 50 illustrators, book designers and translators across 22 countries.




Why do you write? It’s a lifelong habit – too late to break now, besides I wouldn’t know what to do with myself if I didn’t. The girl can’t help it! Poetry and prose have always fascinated me. I read anything I could get my hands on. If there were no books, I read the dictionary!

What would you be doing if you weren’t a writer? Mmmmm – a full-time artist/photographer perhaps; maybe an actress, jeweller, sculptor – something creative.

What was your toughest obstacle to becoming published? The cost of posting off manuscripts when we had a literal handful of kids to feed, clothe etc etc.  This dates me…. I started writing in the days before  publishers would let you email submissions!

What’s the best aspect of your writing life? The joy of putting pen to paper or fingers to keyboard and seeing what emerges – I love discovering the tale as it happens, discovering what’s next for this character, this situation… and collaborating, I love collaborating with illustrators and book designers because this adds another whole world of creativity to a plain text – it adds a universe to it!

An illustrator takes a hold of your story and they see the story’s universe. If the story family is sitting at the kitchen table, the illustrator will be the unseen guest, wandering round the kitchen, looking out the back window to see what’s there – paddock, distant mountains, back alley, neighbour’s fence – they’ll amble upstairs and look out the bedroom window to see what’s up the street; they’ll go downstairs and explore the yard, get to know the pets etc etc etc

—the worst? The editing, the databases to be filled in, the whole marketing and promo thing…

What would you do differently if you were starting out now as a writer? I’m not sure … if you have the time and money, you can hobnob at all the international conferences, launches and social goings on but then that robs you of the essential ‘stand and stare’ precursor to writing time doesn’t it.

What do you wish you’d been told before you set out to become an author? I can’t say I ever set out to be an author, it was as unavoidable as growing up is inevitable. Writing from as early as I can remember, I didn’t have family support. Their focus was on sport. My mother didn’t like what I wrote but her discouraging comments didn’t work. It had the opposite effect, so I’m kind of glad I had that ‘reverse’ motivation!

What to beware of: The fine print!

What’s the best advice you were ever given? Write, write, write then write some more – never let a day slip by without writing!


Word Wings Publishing consists of the creative energies of more than 50 amazingly talented folk in more than 20 countries doing what they do best – creating beautiful illustrated books! Word Wings believes words are the wings that give imagination flight, that allow us to soar into the realms where dreams become possibilities, and possibilities become realities. This, essentially, is education – the opening of eyes to see and seize opportunities. Words entertain, liberate and educate and images give to words vivid visual impetus. As head of Word Wings, J.R. brings years of experience as a senior educator, reviewer, librarian and associate lecturer in English expression. She writes all the teacher notes and activity sheets to accompany the books.


Publishing website: under construction




Meet the Author: Patrick Holland

Patrick’s top tip for aspiring authors: Write about the first time you really hurt someone. That will knock the conviction that you’re a wonderful misunderstood genius out of you. Then you’ll be on your way.


patrick-holland300-image-581x445Patrick Holland is the award-winning author of The Source of the Sound, The Mary Smokes Boys, Riding the Trains in Japan and The Darkest Little Room. He lives in Brisbane, Australia.

Find out more at:



Why do you write? I think if you boiled it back to its essence, the answer would be because there is something healing – restorative – about the creative act. With luck and discipline, you can discover beauty and order in chaos.

What would you be doing if you weren’t a writer? I would be a farmer and a composer. I still aim to become a composer one day. I’ve composed a few little pieces. And I’d have land and run cattle. Or else I’d be a hairdresser. All the girls at my hairdresser’s seem to have a wonderful, carefree life day to day.

What was your toughest obstacle to becoming published? To be honest I never had any difficulty. The first few things I sent out were recognised by prizes and were published by default. The difficulty isn’t getting published, it’s making your work really worthwhile. Emerging authors being so focused as they are on publication baffles me – with that focus you’re almost certain to become a creature of the market. And the novelty of seeing your name in print will quickly wear off. Write what you most want to read. Then try to shape it even more to your own desires. None of us are all that unique, you’ll still find an audience, and you’ll have your authenticity intact.

What’s the best aspect of your writing life? That I get to use my imagination daily, always trying to discover something more strange and beautiful and true than yesterday.

—the worst? The many years of watching your friends buy new cars, houses etc, while you, in the world’s terms, languish.

What would you do differently if you were starting out now as a writer? Pay less attention to what other people thought I was doing, and more about what I thought.

What do you wish you’d been told before you set out to become an author? I’m glad I was never told the truth. If a writer truly knew how hard it was going to be at the outset, I doubt they’d start.

What’s the best advice you were ever given? Hemingway’s from the intro the The First Forty-Nine Stories

In going where you have to go, and doing what you have to do, and seeing what you have to see, you’ll dull and blunt the instrument you write with. But I would rather have it bent and dull and know I had to put it to the grindstone again and hammer it into shape and put a whetstone to it, and know that I had something to write about, than to have it bright and shining and nothing to say, or smooth and well-oiled in the closet, but unused.

Writing isn’t violin playing or calculus. You can’t just practice and study and get good at it. You need first hand experiences of life, and the more, and more varied, the better for a writer.



Patrick Holland

The last bushrangers in Australian history, James and Patrick Kenniff, were at the height at their horse thieving operation at the turn of the 20th century. In One, troops cannot pull the Kenniff Gang out of the ranges and plains of Western Queensland – the brothers know the
terrain too well, and the locals are sympathetic to their escapades. When a policeman and a station manager go out on patrol from tiny Upper Warrego Station and disappear, Sergeant Nixon makes it his mission to pursue the gang, especially, Jim Kenniff, who becomes for him
an emblem of the violence that resides in the heart of the country.

It asks what right one man has to impose his will on another, and whether the written law can ever answer the law of the heart.

One is available here.