I recently met Kerry Brown for coffee at Zarraffa’s in Nerang on the Gold Coast.
Kerry had two children’s picture books published last year (Can I Cuddle the Moon? and Poppywash); has a short story, The Dust Bowl, in the AusLit charity antholgy; and a short story, Five Degrees From Happiness, in the AusLit Australian literature anthology. You can read an interview with her here.
We discussed the AusLit charity anthology, due for release on Feb 28th, and the benefits it will have for children learning to read in Africa. The Dust Bowl is also one of four stories from the charity anthology which will also be published as Kindle singles (a Kindle ebook of a short story) and used by Worldreader.org in schools in Ghana (and other countries as they expand their work, with Kenya next). Kindle singles will allow school aged readers to have flexibility and variety in their reading with the convenience of being able to mix and match their favourite short stories and store them all on their Kindle in a similar way that tapes made listening to music much much more flexible in comparison to records containing whole albums of songs. Kids in Ghana will be able to make each other Kindle mixes, like mix tapes – and probably look back on their choices with the combination of fondness and embarassment that just about anyone who spent their youth making mix tapes can relate to – except they’ll also build literacy skills and learn from what they read.
Kerry described her writing process for a work in progress as one of telling her children a new part of the story in the car to school each morning then writing that part down when she gets home. I think this can be a great storytelling method, which is likely to help keep a story clear, coherent, entertaining. Most children tend to be honest about what they like and dislike, or understand or don’t, and will speak their mind about the direction the story is taking.
She currently is working on a young adult psychological thriller. You can read her first try at adult fiction, a story called Last Chance, on The Australian Literature Review.
Kerry discussed the upcoming release of a Korean translation of her picture book Poppywash. We also discussed the large range of children’s/young adult authors in the Gold Coast/Brisbane area.
Kerry is passionate about helping children learn reading and storytelling skills, and helpig them find enjoyment through storytelling. She even told me that she was pleasantly surprised when she received her first royalty payment because she had forgotten she would also get money out of writing children’s books. She runs regular story workshops for children, including a series with her sister Michelle Pike (a children’s book illustrator) called Gooey Brown Pikelets (a pun on Kerry BROWN and Michelle PIKE).
Kerry Brown (and her sister Michelle Pike) will be at the Somerset Writer’s Festival on the Gold Coast March 16th to 18th. Further details on Kerry Brown and her fiction can be found at www.kerrybrown.com.au.
The Australian Literature Review