Monday, December 16, 2013

Interview with Goldie Alexander Part Two

Goldie Alexander has authored 75+ books for adult and young readers of all ages. This month, Goldie celebrates the release of her latest novels for readers aged 9 to 12 Neptunia and Cybertricks 2043, and the junior novel Gallipoli Medals. In part two of this interview, Goldie shares her experiences with the publishing industry.
Q. You write a weekly Blog for Emerging Creators ( Your blog covers Board Books and goes right through to Young Adult and Non Fiction. How long has this blog been running, and what major points do you cover in your advice? Have you had positive feedback to your blog? 

Thankfully I have lots of feedback, or I wouldn’t bother keeping up. I also enjoy interviewing other creators. Some weeks turn into fortnights because I run out of time. I have taught creative writing in one form or other for 18 years and have mentored through the ASA, some excellent emerging authors. I love teaching almost as much as I adore writing and am happy to continue doing this until everyone gets tired of me. I also add comments on my blog about books I have recently read. Sometimes feedback comes in Chinese, or another language, and is badly computer translated. I do enjoy reading these. My blogs try to cover all the rules a writer should know before they throw them out the window. Right now I am running some fascinating interviews with other authors. 

Q. Often creators who use small publishers have little chance of winning literary prizes. How does an author continue a creative flow with this knowledge hovering in the background? 

Yes, it is discouraging as so much emphasis is also placed on the quality of the actual hard copy, the editing, paper, illustrations, the typeface, the thickness of the cover and whether the author and the company are well known.

Small companies have to invest a lot of cash and mostly this doesn’t come off. For example, a book may cost a small company anything up to $10 for each copy. To enter the CBCA awards, they must post 10 copies and a cheque for $99.00 – a further four copies and another $99.00 to enter the information award. Let’s say a company has put out half a dozen books. The costs become astronomical and the gamble akin to playing the pokies. Also, as committees must agree, it is always easier to pick a company and a name no one will disagree with, so the same people tend to pick up the same prizes. This is not meant as sour grapes, merely an observation.

The invention of the ebook has set the cat amongst the pigeons. Few awards so far permit ebooks to enter apart from perhaps the Aurealis Science Fiction. Their argument is that not every school has computers, but I think this is no longer valid. Perhaps judges find it hard to read online. Many adults do. Then how do you judge the presentation of a book when there’s nothing to hold apart from your iPad or Kindle?  

Q. How do you see the future of children’s books, and your own adaptability, in light of the current publishing climate? 

If I haven’t already created an army of enemies by my above comments, I think all books will gradually ease into ebooks as young readers continue to use computers. I come across toddlers reading and playing on their mothers’ iPads. Imagine what this generation will do when they are old enough? Hopefully, there will still be a place for beautifully presented literary and coffee table hard copies. However, there is surely room for both, certainly in the story picture book area which is undergoing a splendid revival. 

Q. Editors play a huge role in a writer’s success story. Have they played a specific role in your writing career? 

Some have and some haven’t. However, a good editor is worth his/her weight in gold. Too many have lost their jobs or are underpaid. Also, it seems the better known an author becomes, the more s/he refuses to accept criticism. I wish I could edit some of the books I come across. Can we introduce the pinch test? More is not always better, though I am talking more about adult rather than books for kids. Thank God the novella is returning. There is one lesson every children’s author knows - once your audience loses interest, they will never return. 

Q. You have covered many genres in your writing. What other areas of writing have you covered in your career? 

I have tried everything apart from film scripts, adult plays and graphic novels.  I co-wrote with Hazel Edwards numerous plays and non fictions including The Business of Writing for Young People. Lots of my adult short stories and non-fiction pieces have won prizes and appeared in print and on the web. Some of my adult work has been heard on radio and some recorded on CD’s. My monologues have been performed on stage. 

Q. Is there anything more you would like to add that I haven’t touched upon? 

Only in that I would love readers to look up my website and blog, both newly created by Jin Wang. And please write to me via my blog or email address which you will find on my website If you are a teacher I would love to be invited to talk to your students. There are lots of potential topics and workshops on my website. If you know an adult club that might be interested, please do the same.

Gallipoli Medals:

     Thank you for the interview, Goldie. All the best with your new books and future projects.

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