Rhiza Press Blog

Rhiza Press blog is the place to keep up to date with all the goings-on in the world of Australian books for Adult and Young Adult readers.

An interview with Rosanne Hawke

An interview with Rosanne Hawke

Hi, I'm Rosanne Hawke from rural South Australia; I write books for young people from 6 – 18 years, but adults read them too. I tend to use themes of relationships, culture, identity and place, but I also like writing about cats and music. I'm interested in Cornish culture, as I am a fourth-generation Cornish descendant, and also in the culture of the Middle East, especially Pakistan, as I and my family worked there as aid workers for ten years.

Rosanne is the author of Zenna Dare, set for re-release in July 2014.

Question 1: What was the first story you ever wrote and has it been published?
I have loved writing since I was little. It began with reading by the light under the door, or by moonlight, hanging out my window. My mother knew a jotter and pencil would keep me happy for hours. I wrote snippets of stories and buried them in tins. My first published story – in the school magazine – was called 'Bushed' set in the South American jungle.

Question 2: How did you start writing books?
I told my children stories; they gave me characters' names, settings, even a problem and I told the story with lots of their interjections. One night when we lived in Pakistan I told my eldest daughter a story she wanted about a kidnapping in Afghanistan as one of our colleagues had been abducted by freedom fighters. She thought how exciting that would be. She liked the story so much she begged me to write it for her to read, then to type it, then to send it to a publisher. She wanted to be able to buy a book that her mother wrote just for her. This became my second book, Jihad.

Question 3: What was your first book published?
Re-entry: The story of an Australian girl who had grown up in Pakistan and returned to Australia for high school. It explores one's own culture from the outside and culture shock.

Question 4: What is your favourite part about being an author?
Writing the stories and seeing how they affect readers. One mother told me reading one of my books (Zenna Dare) got her daughter off drugs. Another girl said she didn't know a book could change her opinions like Soraya the Storyteller did for her.

Question 5: What was your favourite children's book when you were a kid?
I had many but reread The Prince and the Pauper many times (probably a retelling) and loved all the fairy stories & folktales like The Arabian Nights.

Question 6: What is your favourite children's book now?
There are too many great books to mention just one. I love Glenda Millard's The Naming of Tishkin Silk and Kate DiCamillo's Because of Wynne Dixie. Christine Harris' Audrey of the Outback; Janeen Brian's Where does Thursday Go? Patricia MacLachlan's Sarah, Plain and Tall. The list is never ending.

Question 7: Have you ever travelled overseas as an author?
Yes, I was asked to speak at the Cornish Studies Centre in Redruth, Cornwall about Cornish children's literature in Australia, and also to speak in schools. I have spoken in an American school but that was arranged while I was holidaying with friends.

Question 8: What writing genre do you like to do the most?
I often write realism, but have written historical (Mustara and Taj and the Great Camel Trek), an historical fantasy (Wolfchild), and fantasy (Across the Creek).

Question 9: Where do you see the future of children's books (ebooks/apps/print)?
I think the future is exciting. Stories or books will never die but they will change shape. Print books will become a special event as children gradually lose the art of writing by hand.

Question 10: What books are you reading right now?
The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton and I am Malala by Malala Yousefzai with Christina Lamb.

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Comments 1

Guest - Carol Preston on Tuesday, 01 July 2014 15:22

Great interview Roseanne. I just bought Zenna Dare and I'm really looking forward to reading it. Sounds like my kind of book, though you clearly write a few genres. All the best with future writing.

Great interview Roseanne. I just bought Zenna Dare and I'm really looking forward to reading it. Sounds like my kind of book, though you clearly write a few genres. All the best with future writing.