Interview with Jennifer Poulter

What genre do you write and why?

What genres - Three genres, literary poetry, children’s literature/YA literature and writing for education;
Why –
poetry, because I have been in love with the rhythms and music locked in language since a child;
writing for children/YA, because I have children 5 of my own and love the escapism in children’s/YA literature;
educational material, because I want to enthuse others, especially children, with the romance of language, the power of reading and the essential life skill of written communication.
The plays I wrote as a child, I put on with the help of neighborhood friends for our families. I am getting back to that, teaching myself script writing and also teaching myself illustration and formatting for print. Continually learning new skills is something of a lifetime habit.

When did you start your writing career?

I have been writing ever since I could string a sentence together. I had my first poem anthologised whilst still at school. My father and grandfather used to recite poetry and listening to them got me hooked on poetry. Writing for children started when sleep-deprived when my twins were babies. I sat up and wrote children’s stories. I have published two picture books. “Mending Lucille”, which we hope to have released in the USA later this year, won the Crichton Award, CBCA in 2009], two junior novels, six books for education and now this book on iphone.

How do you organise your writing schedule?

Simple answer, as best I can – full time work and five children never made for lots of spare time. Most of my children have left home now, but my husband had to leave work recently because of health issues, so still not loads of time. But your passion for your craft drives you and you never EVER go anywhere without a pen and paper and always have them beside you bed.

Tell us a bit about your latest book?

My latest book, “TOOFS”, comes out for iphone in mid August [it will be out on ipad soon after and a print copy will also be happening]. I am really excited by this, as it is my first full length ‘electronic’ book and something of a family project. I co-wrote it with my youngest daughter, Estelle Poulter, who is a child care professional of nearly 7 years standing.  It was lots of fun to write and to work with wonderful Italian illustrators, Monica Rondino and Andrea Pucci! It is their first children’s book and their first electronic book.

The book was inspired by Estelle’s stories of coping with biting children in childcare centres. We shaped the story, which has a rhyming element, around the experiences of an older sibling trying to cope with a teething younger brother and what strategies he could use to cope with this rather painful period of baby brother’s development. Monica and Andrea’s choice of using a wolf family was inspired – it gave a new and meaningful twist to the fairy story wolf’s image. Remember the Big Bad Wolf in Red Riding Hood [ “What BIG teeth you have!”]?

How did you research for this book?

Estelle had all the theory and the knowledge of its practical outworking in a play group/child care setting/family environment. She had the tragic/funny stories of coping with biting and bitten children, parents asking advice/in denial AND staff strategies. I combined that all together in a humorous story with rhyming elements.
I had met Monica Rondino and her partner Andrea Pucci on JacketFlap and they were keen to branch into illustrating for children [they had already done cover and illustrations for a Young Adult book]. They loved the idea and their illustrations, using the Wolf Family, were inspired! We all did the project in our spare time in between everything else and, finally, had to decide where to submit the finished work. After researching, we decided on PicPocket Books, because they were doing children’s books on iphone for major publishers and were also going to branch out into publishing children’s books on ipad. Lynette Mattke, CEO of PicPocket, LOVED the book. All being well, it will come out mid August!

Any books I do in hardback, I would also submit to Ripple Reader. It is free to upload your book to this innovative site and it pays royalties! Read more about it at .

Do you have any special tips for marketing books both on and off line?

Marketing is a challenge as Monica and Andrea and I are creatives and Estelle is a professional. We are having to learn about marketing as we go along!  JacketFlap helped us find each other, our publisher and find you, Jo. J So I would have to say, if you write for children or Young Adults you need to be a member of [it is free]!

You also need to link up with other enterprising folk who are searching for the best information for authors, editors and artists, like the wonderful author and blogger Carol Denbow.

I also recommend joining [also free]. Your networks will help spread the word and also help you find reviewers and interviewers to promote & market you book. Blogs and Twitter are also helpful – I am still learning to use these two relatively new types of media.

Last but not least – just found this innovative little site for doing you own press release – free –! J

Do you use social networks? If yes, which have worked best for promoting your book?

I recommend and for promoting your books and making great links. I also use and . Writer’ organizations are great for networking and getting professional feedback from your peers. I am a member of SCBWI  and Queensland Writers’ Centre.

Anything else you'd like to add?

My award winning picture book, “Mending Lucille” , has had a wonderful response from teachers and therapists in the USA. We hope to have it released in the USA later this year in print copy and on iphone/ipad and Ripple Reader.

Lots of other projects are in the pipeline, including a picture book, “Fox Shadows”, to be published by Helen Chamberlin’s imprint at Windy Hollows Books, hopefully, next year.

I am eager to embrace the new wave of children’s book publishing on iphone and now, most significantly, on Apple’s ipad! I have another book coming out for iphone with istorytime, later this year, “At the Beach with Bucket and Spade”. The illustrations by Sarah Gleason are in a charming, naive style much like a child’s painting of summer holidays. I don’t think e–book publishing will replace print copies [a book for a bedtime story is a cuddle up institution] but I do think it signals a whole new important additional direction in children’s publishing.


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