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RACHEL WESTON CHILDREN’S BOOK WRITER

IN SEPTEMBER LAST YEAR, I INDEPENDENTLY PUBLISHED MY FIRST CHILDREN’S BOOK, BUMBLEBEES HAVE SMELLY FEET . I PUBLISHED HELLO! KIA ORA! WELCOME NEW FRIEND! IN FEBRUARY, AND A THIRD BOOK, BOO GOES TUTTI FRUTTI , WILL BE OUT IN SHOPS ON 1 OCTOBER. IT’S BEEN A MAMMOTH 12 MONTHS OF GROWTH, RIDING HIGHS AND LOWS, AND DOING THE HARD YARDS OF INDEPENDENT BOOK PUBLISHING. WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO PRINT YOUR BOOKS? There is something special about the feel of a picture book in your hands. The cover beckons you to read it and little fingers want to explore it. With a child on your lap and maybe one or more cuddled up beside you, touching, turning, talking, you’re all wonderfully caught up in the story together. You can’t be busy with something else when you’re reading a print book. Those moments of undivided attention with children, the closeness and togetherness, can’t be beat! YOU’VE FOCUSED ON WRITING CHILDREN’S BOOKS – WHY THIS PARTICULAR GENRE? Writing for children evolved from writing keepsake stories for my own children, when they were young. I jotted things down – funny things they did and said, and wrote madcap family vignettes – before I even knew what a vignette was! Writing is really enjoyable for me and the words come easily. It wasn’t until much later, when our oldest two children were at high school, that I allocated time to develop my writing skills for children’s stories. WHERE DO YOU GET YOUR IDEAS FROM? Children offer a rich source of material. They have unencumbered imaginations and are inquisitive. Plus, they love humour! Animals also have great energy and children have a natural connection to them. I get ideas from personal

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experience and other times a single word or phrase will catch my attention. I write it down and let the mulling process begin. Story ideas float around everywhere … you have to be ready to catch them! They swell in on the waves, which bubble and froth with whispered words. But, if you’re not paying attention … they’ll wash back out again. WHAT BOOKS ARE ON YOUR BEDSIDE TABLE? I have books on the go all over the house, kind of like a buffet selection to snack on whenever, and wherever, I find myself with 10 minutes spare. Bedside table: Into the Mist by Lee Murray. Dining room nook: A Madness of Sunshine by Nalini Singh. Lounge: Tiny Pieces of Us by Nicky Pellegrino. Writing desk: The Cat from Muzzle by Sally Sutton. WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE, FAIL-SAFE RELAXATION ACTIVITY? Walking on the beach and walking my dogs. Thankfully, my dogs get me out of the office. Breathe in. Breathe out. Look up. It’s also a good start to the day, in my jim-jams and flip-flops, walking around our rural property. Endorphins pop and bop as I watch my four-legged friends sniff and bound under kiwifruit vines. Dogs are always happy – what a quality! Their language is loyalty and love – plus, they think I’m the bees knees! 

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