Interview: Sophie Siers talks about her children's book Rosie Joy
Sophie Siers has lived, worked and raised her family on a farm in the Hawke’s Bay. Farming life has provided much inspiration for her books. She is the author of a number of children’s books, including Allis the little tractor which won the Best First Book at the New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults in 2016. She has four new books out recently, and she talks to NZ Booklovers about Rosie Joy: Here, There and Everywhere.
Tell us a little about Rosie Joy: Here, There and Everywhere.
It’s a collection of my children’s favourite things that they did as they grew up on the farm. Living in the country with animals being a big part of your everyday life is such a different world to the city. I wanted to share these stories with children from all backgrounds.
What inspired you to write this book?
I love children’s books that are based on real life experiences, particularly for this age group of children who love to read about the world and how it works. I think stories that share something of nature and the lovely creatures that inhabit it are fulfilling for children and I wanted to write in this genre.
What was your routine or process when writing this book?
I worked on this book while attending the ‘Writing for Children’ course at Victoria University so I was able to get weekly feedback on how the book was coming together. It was inspiring to hear how much this ‘farm’ story resonated with the adults in my group.
How did you collaborate with the illustrator?
At the kitchen table with scissors and sellotape! Judith Trevelyan understood this lovely but tough little girl right from the start. We went through the book together and found places that Judith wanted to create a picture from and they were all superb!
What do you hope children will take from the book when they read it?
Just pleasure. My best dream is that they lie under a shady tree in summer, or on a bean bag by the fire in winter and beg to be able to stay up to finish another chapter!
What did you enjoy the most about writing this delightful book?
Re living my children’s joy at their first chicken hatching.
What did you do to celebrate finishing this book?
Hmmm, actually I think I was just busy with the next one.
What is the favourite book you have read recently and why?
The Ministry of Utmost Happiness by Arundhati Roy (my favourite author who has only ever written two novels...) An extraordinary book that shares the lives of a diverse and intriguing group of people and their country.
What’s next on the agenda for you?
The next Rosie Joy needs to be finished and a very exciting children’s book I’m producing as a co-edition with publishers in Belgium and French Canada. Watch this space!