Book People: Kate Ritchie
Kate Ritchie is probably much better known to all of you as 1/3 of the nations number one drive show. Or perhaps you remember her fondly as Sally Fletcher, who Ritchie played on Home and Away between 1987 and 2007. She’s also acted in Underbelly: A Tale of Two Cities in 2009, Cops: LAC, Mr & Mrs Murder and It’s A Date. And now? She’s added ‘children’s book author’ to her extensive CV with, ‘I Just Couldn’t Wait to Meet You’.
To purchase ‘I Just Couldn’t Wait to Meet You’ from Australian owned Booktopia, click on title links or cover image. You can also compare prices on Fishpond and Bookworld for Australian purchases. If you live in the US or would prefer to use Amazon click here. If you live in the UK or would prefer to use Book Depository click here.
Like celebrities turned authors before her, Kate Ritchie has the beautiful and oh so important opportunity to reach a wide audience, some of whom, let’s be honest, may purchase this book purely due to the name on the cover. And that’s okay – because my greatest wish is that all children will have access to stunning books of the highest quality, and ‘I Just Couldn’t Wait to Meet You’ falls into this category. Kate’s joy, anticipation and utter love for her baby shines and sparkles through her love-letter style text, and Hannah Sommerville’s illustrations are sublime; supporting and extending the text in all the right ways. Sommerville is an illustrator to watch; ‘I Just Couldn’t Wait to Meet You’ is her fourth book now, and in each, her immense talent is evident.
‘I Just Couldn’t Wait to Meet You’ is the perfect gift for expectant parents, to make them weep for all the right reasons, and the perfect gift for a newborn baby, that the important messages of total and utter love may be read to them over and over and over again.
When you were still a treasured bump, tucked safe away inside, I thought about you night and day and in my sleep – it’s true. My heart was full of hope and love. I just couldn’t wait to meet you.
I’ve very honoured to have Kate Ritchie here with us today, as part of my ‘Book People’ series; you are amongst good literary company here Kate – with well over 100 children’s book creators represented. Welcome to the wonderful world of children’s books – I look forward to seeing your next literary work, and seeing you use your considerable influence to ensure our young people have the opportunity to hear, and be surrounded by, beautiful words and images.
1. Tell us about your first book and the inspiration behind it.
Simply, the inspiration for ‘I Just Couldn’t Wait To Meet You’ is my daughter Mae and all the wonderful anticipation I felt waiting for her to arrive. We didn’t find out the sex of our baby and as a result I think I was consumed with thoughts of who this new little human might be. I honestly could not wait to meet them. I began writing notes which I thought one day I would transfer to a more traditional book of keepsakes but slowly throughout my pregnancy and maternity leave those notes took shape and became the book it is today. FYI The said ‘baby book’ remains unfinished but I’d like to think my daughter will one day thank me for actually having a book published in her honour instead!
2. Your beautiful book was written for your daughter Mae- now that she is here, what would be the one piece of advice you would give to new mums?
Everything you are feeling is okay and ‘normal’. Don’t fight it, relax and just be with your baby. In all your unwashed and unglamorous glory.
3. This book started as a letter to Mae when you were expecting, did it change much throughout the editing and publishing process?
Not much at all to be honest. Of course, there was some tweaking by the real experts of the literature world and I learnt a great deal throughout that process but it is nice to think that my letter to Mae has remained quite pure and unaffected.
4. Illustrator Hannah Sommerville is a favourite of mine, did you work with her or were the illustrations and text done separately?
Isn’t her work beautiful? I have to say that my appreciation for illustrators generally has developed during this entire process. In our case, text and illustrations happened separately but I was lucky to have Hannah generously include me and my thoughts as her work progressed. She was happy to hear any ideas I had and I even sent her a collection of my favourite baby pics of Mae so that she could incorporate them into her illustrations. My book would merely be scribbled notes on loose pages if it wasn’t for Hannah and I am so grateful.
5. How does it feel adding ‘author’ to your already extensive CV?
I feel incredibly proud. Not only because I can add ‘author’ to my CV but because it represents a very precious time in my life. I was only in a store today that had my book front and centre and it brought a tear to my eye. Sad but true! I also feel proud that a little idea I had and decided to work hard on has come to fruition.
6. Do you have any plans to write more children’s books?
Yes! Now all it comes down to is time management.
7. What does a typical day look like for you?
I am currently one third of Australia’s #1 national drive show Kate, Tim & Marty and what that really means is that I have a job which sees me work from home in the mornings and head into the Nova studio in the afternoons to broadcast live between 4 – 6pm. This gig has been an absolute blessing because I have been able to spend a lot of time with my daughter but also continue my career. On an average day I will be up around 6.30am to start planning our show for the afternoon. I find the time before Mae wakes is my most productive and I try to make the most of it. Apart from the top and tail of my days there is nothing average about them. Some days I can be at home working/doing puzzles/reading books/watching some Play School right up until I leave for the studio whereas others I will be out all day working on other projects. I suppose that is what is nice about life at the moment – no two days are ever the same.
8. Can you describe your writing space to us?
For this book it was my bed or the floor of Mae’s nursery by her nightlight. I would like to think that for my next writing venture I actually work from a desk.. I will keep you posted!
9. Do you have a favourite book or character from your own childhood?
Hands down my favourite book of all time is The Magic Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton. To this day it is able to ignite some kind of childlike excitement in me. I have read it many times over the years and look forward to the day when I am reading it to my own children.
10. If you could have one wish for the world what would it be?
Wow. Big question. One wish? I think my wish would be for all children to feel safe and loved, the world over. Since becoming a parent I have to say this desire has been incredibly heightened, scarily so. And I know that children’s books may not change the world into the place we would like it to be but I do feel that when you are cuddled up to the little person in your life, reading them a story that is exactly how they feel. Safe and loved and full of wild imagination.