Tanya Southey is a Melbourne based author.
She grew up in South Africa before moving to Australia in 1997. Tanya has always loved reading, writing and telling stories, however, up until recently she spent most of her life in corporations. Her favourite time of the week as a child, was when the library bus would rumble into her sleepy suburb. Rain or shine, she needed to be first in line to get on the bus and borrow as many Enid Blyton books as possible!
Tanya has always loved dogs and her current pack feature as characters in her book, Ollie and the Starchaser. Tanya is married to Wayne and has a daughter, Jessica, who is illustrating her book. Jess’ work can be viewed at www.jesssouthey.com.
SIX MINUTES WITH TANYA SOUTHEY
Joining LitPick today for Six Minutes with an Author is Australian author Tanya Southey. Her book, Ollie and the Starchaser, has received a five-star review from one of our students (https://litpick.com/review/ollie-and-starchaser-review-jonny).
***How did you get started writing?
I started writing when I was six; it was a corny poem for my grandad's birthday. As a teenager, I mainly wrote poetry and short stories. I spent many years working, so my writing was pushed aside as an adult. Then about ten years ago I did a short course on writing, and it got me excited about playing with words again.
Like most writers, I am an avid reader. Right from being a kid, I have swallowed books whole - just like a dog with a juicy piece of steak. My mother couldn’t keep up with buying books for me, so the library bus was my angel on wheels. As a child, I would rush to be first in line when the bus came to our sleepy suburb on a Monday afternoon. I had to be on time so that I could get the best books.
***Who influenced you?
My favorite as a child was Enid Blyton, who wrote books like the Magic Faraway Tree and The Wishing Chair. I loved the fantasy and the colourful, funny characters. As an adult, JK Rowling, with her amazing characters in the Harry Potter series is one of my favourites.
***Do you have a favorite book/subject/character/setting?
My favorite recent children’s book is Emily Rodda’s - The Shop at Hooper’s Bend. The main character, Jonquil, is a feisty girl who solves a family mystery. I won’t say any more. I would hate to spoil the story. Read it. It’s fantastic.
***What advice do you have for someone who wants to be an author?
Read a lot. The more you read, the more you learn how to create a story. When you write, I think it’s better to not ask people for their opinion until you are confident and happy with your work. If someone says your story isn’t good, you might end up giving up, but if you had spent a bit more time working on it and you feel confident that it is ready to be read, you will end less hurt by feedback.
***Where is your favorite place to write?
Funnily enough I love writing in strange places like on trains and in cars while listening to music (not while I am driving, of course). I also love a desk with the sun on my back and the dogs at my feet.
***What else would you like to tell us?
I have three crazy dogs and they keep me on my toes. They all have such different personalities and I have enjoyed using them in Ollie and the Starchaser as characters and they really are just like the dogs on the book.
Tanya, thank you for joining us to share more about how you started writing and your advice for others. We love that your dogs have found their way into Ollie and the Starchaser.