26 August 2011

COOL Awards Shortlisted Author Belinda Murrell

The COOL Awards are the Children's Choice Book Awards in the ACT.

Belinda's book Locket of Dreams has made it onto this year’s shortlist in the older readers category. Read on to find out more about Belinda, what inspired her to be a writer and more.

As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
When I was young I wanted to be a vet like my dad, so I could have lots of animals to heal and look after. The only problem was I was really good at English but completely hopeless at maths and chemistry so I became a writer instead – and what a good move that was!

Are you inspired by any particular books or authors? What’s on your bookshelf?
My bookshelves have literally thousands of books on them so it’s hard to choose! Some of the books I like are the Narnia series, the Chrestomanci series by Diana Wynne-Jones, Rangers Apprentice by John Flanagan, the Harry Potter series, nineteenth century literature by Jane Austen and the Brontes, and books by my sister Kate Forsyth.

If you could work with any author who would it be?
Lots of kids ask me if I would ever write a book with my sister Kate because we both love to write exciting, adventure stories for children and we spend lots of time together visiting schools and talking about books. But then when I think about it, I worry that we’d just end up arguing over what should happen next! So perhaps it’s safer if we just write our own books. However when the Governor-General of Australia was looking children’s authors to design and run a series of writing workshops at Government House of course we jumped at the chance to do it together with the lovely Deborah Abela.

What is your favourite word and why?
Travel! To me this word conjures up exotic images of excitement and adventure. Bring it on!!

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
Travel! I love holidays with my family – we always manage to have lots of fun and adventures whether it’s skiing in Switzerland, horse riding on my brother’s farm, sailing in the Whitsundays or surfing up the north coast. My family recently went travelling for two years all through Europe and around Australia while we home schooled my three kids. Every day was a joy and an adventure.

What does your family think of your writing?
My three children are probably my greatest fans. They love to read my books while I am trying to write them and are always giving me suggestions, ideas and encouragement. They have also had the chance to meet lots of famous authors and get copies of their books before they come out in the shops which they think is great.

Anything new being worked on at the moment?
I am writing a new historical adventure book called The Forgotten Pearl which is due at the publishers in four weeks! Eeek! It is nearly finished and it is about a heroine called Poppy and her friends Maude and Jack, and the adventures they have during the war.

How can fans get updates for your upcoming books?
Check out my website http://www.belindamurrell.com.au/  My latest book is called The Ivory Rose which came out a couple of months ago. I have had so many emails from kids telling me how much they love it which is such a thrill.

Do you have any special aspirations for the future? Would you ever consider being anything other than a writer?
I want to keep writing books that kids love. One of the things I love about being a writer is that it involves so many fascinating experiences, which people are often surprised about. I might have to explore ruined Scottish castles or ride a horse across the moors as I did when researching The Locket of Dreams; or for The Ruby Talisman take a sword fighting lesson or discover the catacombs under Paris. Once the book is published I go on tour, travelling all around the country visiting schools and talking at festivals and events. For the launch of The Ivory Rose, I even dressed up in nineteenth century clothes and was interviewed as a ghost on ABC 3 TV for kids. I can’t imagine another job could ever be so much fun!

Stay tuned for more blog posts by COOL Award shortlised authors!

For more information on the COOL Awards click here

To see what other books are on the shortlist click here