Sian’s top tip: Don’t give up. Listen to and learn from the advice of people in the industry.
Sian Turner spent a happy childhood growing up in Perth alongside her four siblings. Being part of a big family meant there was great company to share in imagination games, freedom to roam streets on bikes, and plenty of time to read books in the branches of a jacaranda tree in the backyard. Sian discovered she loved writing in primary school. She thrived on encouragement from teachers, and success in the CBCA Make Your Own Storybook competition. She carried this love through to her first career of physiotherapy, completing both an Honours degree, and a PhD while working on the busy wards of Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital.
Sian and husband James moved to the coastal town of Albany in 2007, where they have delighted raising their three children and tending a beautiful garden on their property. With this new chapter in her life, Sian has been excited to return to writing fiction – stories which she hopes will inspire and entertain this next generation as great books encouraged her when she was young. Beyond Our Garden Gate is her first published story. She is looking forward to the release of a second book with Wild Eyed Press in 2017. The NSW Education Department’s School Magazine is also publishing a couple of her pieces next year.
Find out more about Sian at her website: http://www.sianturnerbooks.com/
Why do you write? I get great satisfaction playing around with words and ideas and seeing these evolve into stories. It’s addictive. The more I sit down and put pen to paper, the more I crave these opportunities of focus.
What would you be doing if you weren’t a writer? I’m a mother to three young children so I’m very busy in this role. Before the kids, I was a physiotherapist and active in both research and clinical roles at a major teaching hospital. I don’t think I’ll return to physiotherapy as a profession though, I’m enjoying writing too much, and have opportunities to develop our garden and property into bed and breakfast accommodation in the future.
What was your toughest obstacle to becoming published? Time and self-doubt following rejection letters.
How involved have you been in the development of your book? Did you have input into the illustrations? Because the manuscript is written from the children’s imagination, I was able to provide a guide of what I envisaged the children were doing in the real world to accompany the story.
What’s the best aspect of your writing life? Being able to escape into the worlds of my characters and watching them grow as the story twists with time.
—the worst? Having to come up to speed with social media!
What would you do differently if you were starting out now as a writer? Have a more organised filing system … it’s improving.
What do you wish you’d been told before you set out to become an author? Don’t get too over-enthusiastic with your first story drafts. Sit on them for a while before showing anyone.
What’s the best advice you were ever given? As above – file your stories away for a while before sending them off. A fresh glance a few months later can make the world of difference.
Prince Tom and Princess Molly must climb, run and fly to save their friend from a dragon. Sian Turner’s story of an adventurous day in the Australian Bush comes to life with Irene King’s playful illustrations.
The book is available from selected retailers and http://www.wildeyedpress.com.au/