The spotlight this week is on a delightful new picture book about music and noisy play and it’s my pleasure to welcome author Sonia Bestulic, who stopped in during her celebratory book tour to chat about her writing life.
Sonia was born and grew up in Sydney, Australia, enjoying a childhood filled with wonderful books, a passion for writing, and musically entwined, having played the violin until her late teens, including performances at the
Sydney Opera House. Sonia is founder of Talking Heads Speech Pathology, the well-known, reputable Sydney-based clinics established in 2006. A long-term advocate for children’s learning and literacy, Sonia continues to write and speak when it comes to all things children.
Why do you write? I write to create connection. Books are such a powerful and personal mode of connection, and with children’s picture books there is a beautiful layer of shared experience that occurs with the child and the reader (who is often a parent/ carer or educator). I consider myself and other authors as facilitators of connection, which is both humbling and amazing.
Where do you draw your creative inspiration? Very much from my personal experiences (with my own children and extended family), and professional life experiences working closely with children and families. Generally I enjoy observing life- the people, the places, and nature.
Where do you slot in time to write around your family commitments and career? Whenever I can – this is an ongoing challenge for me! Generally I do enjoy writing during early mornings and evening time when the children are asleep.
Reece Give me some Peace is a wonderful picture book about music and noisy play. It’s a delight and brought a smile to my day. It also reminded me of the precious little peace and quiet parents get to enjoy when children are young. Is the story inspired by personal experience?
Absolutely! I wrote Reece Give Me Some Peace! in the period of my life when my three young children were two, three and four years old at the time. Life was certainly hectic, and there was always activity happening. Having three children so close in age brought with it a strong reminder to live in the moment and be playful. Reece Give Me Some Peace! reflects that, as well as the difficulties parents often experience, in trying to enjoy moments of peace and quiet in a noisy child inhabited household.
How does your knowledge as a speech and language pathologist influence you as a children’s author? My knowledge as a Speech & Language Pathologist has a massive influence on my writing. I work so heavily to support and further develop children’s oral language skills and readiness to read, spell and write; and so I look to incorporate language features and themes that will create a rich and engaging language experience for children.
What was your toughest obstacle to becoming published? Patience and perseverance in having my voice heard in a busy and competitive industry.
How involved have you been in the development of your book? Did you have input into the cover/illustrations?
The development of the book has been a fantastic journey that I have certainly been involved in. I had welcome opportunities to provide feedback and collaborate with regards to the cover and overall illustrations; and initially was able to provide an illustrator’s brief, which allowed me to communicate the strong visual I had in my mind when writing the text.
What’s the best aspect of your writing life? The avenue for creative freedom and expression.
—the worst? Can be a challenge making the time to do as much writing as I would like!
What would you do differently if you were starting out now as a writer? Set more dedicated writing time in my daily routine – this is still a current goal. Step out of my comfort zone sooner and proactively network.
What do you wish you’d been told before you set out to become an author? Get ready to be extremely patient!
What’s the best advice you were ever given? Don’t evaluate your manuscripts based on whether a publisher takes them up or not.
What’s your top tip for aspiring authors? Keep writing, get feedback, keep submitting, network.
How important is social media to you as an author? I have to say, being comfortable using social media has been a bit of a journey for me. I have always preferred a more quiet life on social media; however I quickly realised the importance and relevance of connecting to an audience through social media – it really is an avenue that allows an author to effectively engage others in sharing their author journey, book travels, and just get to know them as a person overall. I certainly had to step out of my comfort zone!
Do you experience ‘writer’s block’ and if so, how do you overcome it? By taking a mind break and doing something different. I try to be very clear on what specific obstacle I am facing/having difficulty with, and then I move on to a different task, as often ideas and solutions flow more easily when I am not overly focused on the task at hand. Taking a walk, sitting quietly observing nature and even doing household tasks allows my mind to wander and work through that block and provide me with at least the very next step to take.
Do you have another book in the pipeline? I sure do; I have another children’s picture book in the making at present; and it is due to be published with Big Sky Publishing mid-2019. Nancy Bevington is once again the illustrator, and it is looking beautifully amazing so far.
In three words, how would you describe your writing? A constant evolution.
If you had the chance to spend an hour with any writer of your choice, living or dead, who would it be and what would you most like them to tell you about living a writing life? It would definitely by Dr Seuss! I would love to know as much as possible – his inspiration, his typical day, his toughest challenges in the industry, his tips and strategies, his way of organising his great ideas.
Written by Sonia Bestulic, illustrated by Nancy Bevington
A fun-loving book about the wonderful world of music and of noisy play!
Reece is a very cheeky, curious young boy who loves making NOISE. Today he’s making music. There are lots of interesting clangs, bangs and thumps coming from his room as his playing gets more and more vigorous. His mother’s requests for him to be quieter only seem to make him louder and louder. As his exuberance for his playing grows, so does his mother’s exasperation! Will she ever get any peace?
The simple rhythmic text combined with delightful illustrations remind us of the power of learning through play and exploration. Kids will love making the lively sounds, and parents and carers will relate to the challenge of being able to enjoy some quiet; especially when there are instruments at play!
The book is available from book retailers and also from the publisher here
You can find out more about Sonia and her book by following the blog tour.
Here are the direct links:
Monday Sep 3 – Sunday Sep 16 www.justkidslit.com/blog
Monday Sep 3 mrsbbookreviews.wordpress.com
Tuesday Sep 4 educateempower.com.au
Wednesday Sep 5 blog.boomerangbooks.com.au
Thursday Sep 6 kelliebyrnes.com
Monday Sep 10 sharingyourstory.com.au
Tuesday Sep 11 telltalestome.wordpress.com
Wednesday Sep 12 missielovesbooks.com
Thursday Sep 13 readingtime.com.au
Friday Sep 14 readilearn.com.au