Dimity Powell has just released her debut children's book, PS: Who Stole Santa's Mail. She has been a vibrant and supportive member of the writing community for some time and it is a real thrill to see her launch her first children's book.
We are delighted that Dimity agreed to answer a few questions about her Christmas book and the lead up to its publication.
What was the inspiration for PS: Who Stole Santa’s Mail?
The original draft was a result of an assignment required for the completion of my Writing for Children Course back in 2008. The initial idea stimulus came from a newspaper article about how local council was rumoured to take away post boxes on the Gold Coast thereby decreasing their numbers dramatically or perhaps entirely. I thought this would make a good, light-hearted mystery children’s story based on the ‘what if’ premise: what if all the post boxes in a small boy’s town suddenly and inexplicably disappeared just two weeks before Christmas?
This is your debut children’s book. Exciting or terrifying?
Both! From the very start, I’ve tried to embrace the whole publishing process, keen to enjoy it, and to deepen my understanding of what it takes to get a book into the hands of my reading audience. It doesn’t really feel like the first time because this moment has been something I’ve been tenaciously studying and working towards for many years. It feels more like a tremendous wish come true. It’s definitely been more exciting than terrifying, and more pleasure than pain!
The children’s writing community in Queensland is very strong. Did you feel supported by fellow authors on your journey to publication?
Absolutely. This is a sentiment I adamantly agree with. I have not come across any other industry where this this level of support occurs with such frequency or genuine sincerity. It’s one of the best serendipitous side effects I have encountered since embarking on this crazy quest as a children’s author. That so many fellow writers, and established and esteemed authors and illustrators came to my launches is a marvellous testimony to their belief in me as a writer and proof positive of this support.
Do you feel motherhood and writing are compatible?
Yes, although not in ways you might at first imagine. I have it relatively easy. Having only one child means my day is less of a juggling act than that of some others. My child was an easy baby too – I actually wrote the bulk of this story during her frequent sleep times. In fact, I seemed to have much more writing time in those days compared with the multitude of school and chauffeuring duties I have now have to deal with. I think it’s a question of impeccable time management (at which I’m fairly mediocre!), like anything else. My organisational secret and key to gaining writing time: menu planning.
What is your fondest memory of Christmas?
I don’t have just one. Christmas is my all-time favourite season. Having grown up in the searing summer heat of South Australian, means memories of devouring buckets of fresh home-grown stone fruits around the pool are burnt deep in my psyche. In spite of the heat, mum also produced three roasts and a ham each year for Christmas lunch! Food is an inescapable Christmas memory! Perhaps my fondest overseas memory was experiencing my first white Christmas in London with my sister. Mum and Dad flew over to visit us. It was an indescribably magic time of celebration – and food! These days, I just can’t go past listening to as much Christmas music as I can and scouring the neighbourhood with my family for the brightest, most light festooned house we can find.
What is next for you in 2013?
Sleep! Plus finding the time to actually complete the countless number of writing projects I have tucked away, both in my mind and hard drive. I’m half way through my next children’s chapter book. Plus, it’s my long standing desire to find a home for one of my picture book manuscripts. Fingers crossed – Santa may have one or two Christmas miracles left yet…
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