Thursday, March 22, 2012

"DON'T" - a Picture Book Kids Will LOVE!

I don't often do book promotions on this blog.
Yet I do help fellow writers by daily promo mentions on
Facebook, Twitter and GoogleX!

However,  I will make an exception for:

a children's writer of exceptional talent

Ann is a fellow Aussie.  
But she is legit: unlike me, she still lives Down-under!
Ann is one of the original members of OPUS, the critique group I founded years ago.  All the members are well published now, but we still keep in touch, and cheer each on to ever greater heights.  This time it is our turn to cheer Ann.

Ann Harth, an award winning children’s writer, studied psychology in New York before moving to Australia to travel, build a home and raise children. Before becoming a full time writer and tutor, she waited tables, bar-tended, picked strawberries and punched keys on various tills. She also spent many years working with children with special needs which is where some of the ideas for her stories originated.

As a writer of various genres, Ann has been published internationally. Her fiction and non-fiction children’s books are available in Australia, the USA and the UK. She has also written over 120 short stories for various magazines and educational programs
As a dual citizen of Australia and the US with over 20 years’ residency in each, Ann is comfortable writing for the international community. Her background and education supply her with an endless supply of characters, experiences and settings on which to draw.

When Ann isn’t writing or looking after their land and animals, she and her family are searching for new and remote places to camp, hike and explore. From her home in northern Australia, she works as a freelance writer, ghost writer, manuscript assessor and writing tutor. She lives with her family and an occasional orphaned marsupial.

Ann's new Picture Book. . .

Illustrated by 
Angelita Ramos
Soto Publishing 

Vicki Stanton

Don't is a story that will ring true for young and old alike. Jackson's busy family is always telling him, 'Don't.' But as soon as he hears that word, he is immediately drawn to the forbidden and disaster inevitably follows. However, Jackson's school teacher Miss Connor prefers 'do'. This simple act boosts Jackson's feelings of self worth and even when disaster still ensues he is able to stay calm.

Ann Harth carefully selects her words and the reader is with Jackson all the way as his 'shoulders twitch and ... fingers tremble.' My particular favourite is 'my skin quivers like a horse with flies'. The text is filled with humour and though the story has a powerful message it never comes across as didactic.

Angelita Ramos's bright and colourful illustrations faithfully portray the text. She is particularly good at depicting Jackson's facial expressions. i could almost see his mind ticking away.

With its message of positive reinforcement and the encouragement of children, Don't would be especially useful within pre-schools and in early primary school as well as reminding all of us in contact with children that encouragement wins out every time.

·  ISBN-10: 0982171110
·  ISBN-13: 978-0982171110

Amazon (US and Australia)
Barnes and Noble

Now that I've blown Ann's trumpet a bit, let's get to the good stuff -


Tell us a little about yourself.

Currently, I am juggling my time between writing my own books and stories, tutoring on-line writing courses, and working as an editor for an environmental consultancy group. I am married with two children, and live on a small property in rural northern Australia. I was born and bred on the east coast in the US, but when I finished college, I travelled, met an Australian, married him and have lived in this great country for over 25 years.

Why did you begin writing for children?

I had no choice. The stories were there, my children were there, and they simply had to meet. I started writing picture books when my kids were little and then, as they grew, my target audience seemed to grow older as well.

Who or what helped you most when you first began serious writing.

The person who helped me most at the very beginning of my career was Marg McAlister, my children’s writing tutor. She became more than a teacher, and believed in me and encouraged me when I thought I was finished. We have stayed in touch over the years, and I still feel like an excited child when I can tell her about one of my writing successes. Another group that helped me was my wonderful critique group OPUS. They are a group of talented and generous writers who took the time to give me valuable feedback on many of my children’s novels. I learned more from them than I would have thought possible.

If you had not become an author, what would you have been?

It’s hard to imagine. I worked with kids with disabilities for many years and also with the elderly. I might have found myself working along those lines.

What author, dead or alive would you love to meet – and why?

Stephen King, without a doubt. His books, though very different from mine in content, have always transported me into worlds that I felt were real. His ability to create characters, settings, and make me feel as though I'm a part of their world is inspiring. His memoir on writing is the most concise book on the craft of writing that I’ve ever read.

What advice would you offer someone just beginning a writing career

As many writers say, write every day. This might mean working on a novel or short story, journaling, freewriting or even writing a letter – but write something every day. This is what has always defined me as a writer. I have always felt that no writing is wasted, even if it’s not fit for another human being to read. If I write every day, I am a writer. When I don’t, I feel restless and flounder within my own doubts. One more piece of advise? Persevere. Writing is a never ending learning curve. Learn the rules, write from your heart and enjoy the process.

When is your next book due out, and can you tell us about it?

My next book, The Art of Magic, is a middle grade novel that should be out by the end of the year or early 2013. It will be published by Solstice Publishing, a company that creates printed books but is also moving quickly toward the digital world with ebooks. I’m attaching the cover (which was designed by my husband). The following is the blurb:
Devastated and confused by his father’s death, Andrew abandons his painting and turns his back on those who care. A gift from his dying father sits abandoned in the corner of the kitchen until he meets Max, an aging and eccentric artist who paints only one thing – a specific 19th century cottage.  Through his friendship with Max, Andrew embarks on a quest to discover the importance of his father’s gift and whether Max’s obsession with the cottage is touched with magic – or madness.

 Coming Soon

Awesome cover, Ann.  Your husband is a treasure.
Best of luck with both these books, mate!!


Books for Kids - Manuscript Critiques
BOOKS - a Gift for ALL Occasions! 


1 comment:

  1. Great interview. Enjoyed learning about both of the books. Your husband did a fantastic job on the cover. CONGRATS!