Through blogging and Instagramming, I’ve been introduced to an amazing Virtual Sisterhood of Creative Ladies.
The Oh Creative Lady series is your chance to meet these incredible, kind-hearted, inspiring <insert ALL the happy, positive adjectives HERE> women.
Did you know that I originally started this blog as a part of my dream of becoming a picture book author? ‘Tis true.
I have a few manuscripts gathering dust, and Life seems to have taken my blog and I slightly off-course from these aspirations. I have taken so much inspiration from this interview with Australian children’s author, Zanni Louise.
Even if you aren’t an aspiring picture book author, I can guarantee that you will find beauty, wisdom and inspiration in Zanni’s words. (I’m IN LOVE with her thoughts on Motherhood and Creativity. Talk about a shift in perspective for me!)
Zanni has featured on my blog before. Her gorgeous book Too Busy Sleeping was on high rotation here as we prepared two big siblings for a new baby. (My eldest still describes our newborn as “smelling like butter”- a direct quote from Too Busy Sleeping.)
Zanni’s latest book, Archie and the Bear has just been released. We were lucky enough to be given a copy for review purposes.
I sighed as I flipped through it the very first time. (An audible sigh is my guaranteed sign for “This is one good book.”)
Archie is a boy who believes he is a bear. The bear is a bear who believes he is a boy. This is a story that touches on the big emotions that children encounter when they feel they are not being taken seriously. The genius of this book is that the reader is complicit in the knowledge that the boy is a boy, not a bear, and the bear is a bear and not a boy. However, as readers we can fully empathise with the feeling of being misunderstood. The two characters strike up an unlikely friendship based on this ability to accept each other as they are (or as they think they are.) They are happy to be mutually delusional together.
I’ve followed Zanni on social media for awhile now, and when I first heard that David Mackintosh had been charged with illustrating this book, I knew we were in for a special treat.
His mixed media illustrations are genius. As always.
David’s illustrations amplify the absurdity of the situation, with the bear dwarfing Archie on each page.
And let’s just take a moment to celebrate quality paper stock. This book is printed on thick, luscious paper- and that just adds to the experience. This is an emotional, exquisite and wonderfully wacky book.
Read to the end for your chance to win a copy of Archie and the Bear.
It is such a pleasure to have Zanni on my blog.
I am… Zanni. I live in my little sunshine house in northern NSW with two children, one husband, a cat called Mary Feather Flower and seven chickens. I am a children’s author, but I also write lots of other things, like training manuals, courses, blogs, film treatments, shopping lists…
I find inspiration… everywhere. My children are four and seven, so are little muses. Nearly every conversation they have holds a seed that could potentially be a book. My husband is fun and silly, so often comes out with quips and ideas that make great stories. ARCHIE AND THE BEAR came from a little dad joke in fact. Reading aloud to the children nearly always triggers book ideas. It might be a sentence, or a character, or part of an image. I feel like my mind is constantly chasing after ideas. No wonder it closes down so easily at night. It’s exhausted!
I am excited about … ARCHIE AND THE BEAR! It’s out this May, and I have already had so much lovely feedback about it. It’s been an honour to work with David Mackintosh. He’s so unique and adventurous in his creativity. Most days for me though are exciting. Opening my inbox is always a bit of a thrill, as somewhere, somehow something good is happening.
When I’m in a creative slump, I… Take a step back. You can’t force creativity. You need to be in the right zone. So if you are sleep deprived, go and sleep. If you are feeling slumpy, exercise in the fresh air. If you are feeling isolated, reconnect. There are no perfect conditions for writing, but I think a positive state of mind helps.
I’m really proud of… Having two published books, and another five to come.
Someone once told me… They write because they get to live twice. The first time they live it, and the second time they write about it. Actually, you get to keep living a moment because then you can read about it for the rest of time.
My advice to you is … Keep your creativity at your finger tips. Motherhood can be all consuming, and you probably won’t be creative in the way you used to be. You won’t have stretches of time to work uninterrupted. But motherhood opens new channels of creativity. Kids are creative, so hanging around them is a whole new source of inspiration. And you have to be creative to juggle everything that is going on, so your creative muscles are utilised in a whole new way. I don’t think of writing as just being able to to type. For me, writing is so many things… mulling over ideas, reading to kids, talking about ideas. When I add the time I spend doing these things, it’s many hours a week. That feels good. And then when you do get a stretch of time to be creative, you flex your creative muscles and all those ideas bubble to the surface.
You can find me at …
Clicking on the book links in this post will take you to Amazon. If you purchase books via this link, I will receive a small commission (at no extra cost to you.) This commission is used for the operating costs of Oh Creative Day.