13 October 2011

COOL Awards shortlisted author Gabrielle Wang

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

Gabrielle's book The Race for the Chinese Zodiac made it onto this year’s shortlist in the Picture Storybooks category. Read on to find out more about Gabrielle, what she's working on at the moment and more.

As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
I wanted to be an artist, archaeologist or a zoo keeper.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer? And what prompted you to become a writer?
I used to be a graphic designer and illustrator, so naturally I wanted to write and illustrate picture books. But after several rejections I thought I wasn’t good enough and gave up. Then one night in 1999, I had a dream that was different from all my other dreams because it was unusually bright and clear. The next day I wrote it down and as I was writing, a story evolved about a girl and a magic box of pastels. That story later became my first novel, The Garden of Empress Cassia.

Are you inspired by any particular books or authors?
When I was a child my favourite book was The Magic Faraway Tree and my favourite series was The Secret Seven by Enid Blyton so my novels are a blend of magic realism and adventure.
In my teen years, one of my favourite authors was Ray Bradbury. He has since become my writing hero.

What’s on your bookshelf?
At the moment I’m reading The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness, the first in his trilogy. I’m also reading Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami.

If you could work with any author who would it be?
My writing hero, Ray Bradbury.

What’s your writing process like? Do you make an outline or just start writing?
If I’m writing historical fiction, like the Poppy series for Our Australian Girl, I do a lot of research before I begin. Then I create an outline.
If I’m writing a novel that stems purely from my imagination, like A Ghost in My Suitcase, I collect bits and pieces and jot these things down in a notebook. When the notebook is full, it’s time to begin.

What is your work schedule like when you're writing?
I write everyday of the week from 8.30 to 2.30. It’s not easy and I usually have to force myself to sit in front of my laptop, but without this rhythm of work I would never produce a book.

The dreaded writer’s block; Ever have it? How do you beat it?
I have never had writers block and don’t understand it. If I can’t think of what to write, I read, look at magazines, visit new places, go for a walk, put the story I’m writing away for three months then take it out again. I have so many ideas for stories that I wish there were two of me.

What is your favourite word and why?
‘Crunkle’ This is a word I made up but haven’t used in a book yet. The definition of it is a crinkle but with much deeper folds. I like the sound of it.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
I like to walk, read, travel, horse ride, cook, watch movies.

Anything new being worked on at the moment?
I’m writing a ghost short story for an anthology which will be published next year called 13 Ghosts. It’s for 12 -14 year olds. I’m also working on a new novel called The Wish Bird.

How can fans get updates for your upcoming books?
I have a website and a blog http://www.gabriellewang.com/ and I’m also on Twitter @GabrielleWang and Facebook under Gabrielle Wang Author.

Do you have any special aspirations for the future? Would you ever consider being anything other than a writer?
I don’t see myself doing anything else. Being an author is something that happened late in my life and now I love writing for young people. I love creating new worlds and playing around with characters. It’s definitely the best job!

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