Book People: Samantha Wheeler
Book People: Samantha Wheeler
‘Smooch and Rose’ is one of my favourite middle primary chapter books of the last year, you can read my review here. So I was very excited about getting my hands on Samantha Wheeler’s latest book, ‘Spud and Charli’. When it arrived in the mail I did a little happy dance at the letterbox, ignored my children for most of the afternoon while I read several chapters, served cheese on toast for dinner, put the small children to bed and kept on reading. I knew my grandmother would snitch it off me the next day when she saw it, so I was on a bit of a deadline! Nan steals a few books from me each time she comes up and then passes them onto her sisters and neighbours and maybe six months later I get them back. Like ‘Smooch and Rose’, ‘Spud and Charli’ is set around where my nan still owns some land and involves horses… so I knew I only had this one for a limited time.
‘Spud and Charli‘ – an action-packed adventure about horses, bats and getting carried away by your imagination.
‘Smooch and Rose’ – Rose has a voice and wants to make a difference but what can one girl and her koala do?
I keep very, very few ‘older’ books for my daughters as, seriously, where would I stop? But these books have made it to the ‘keep for future years’ shelf…from the beautiful covers to the empowering words – this is a collection of animal stories that I look forward to seeing grow. These are not clichéd stories of cute animals, these are serious works of fiction to empower and inspire young readers.
To add these books to your home, school or library collection click on title or image links.
I am so pleased to have Samantha joining us here today! You may also like to visit her website.
Ten Things You Need to Know About Samantha Wheeler
1. Tell us about your latest book. Spud & Charli is a very horsey adventure story featuring girls, bats, and horses of course. It’s about what happens when your imagination runs wild. I started writing it when the deadly Hendra virus was spreading through Queensland and Northern New South Wales, and rumours and scare tactics were making things worse. So many times we do crazy things because we only know half the story. Spud & Charli is about what happens when we don’t stop to find out the truth. 2. How did you get started as a writer? I have a science background rather than a creative one, and haven’t always known that I wanted to write. I only really started 7 years ago, when I realised my daughter, who was twelve and an avid reader at the time, had run out of appropriate books for her age. So, being a dedicated mum, I decided to write her one. I enrolled in a course called the “Year of the Novel” at the Queensland Writer’s Centre, and that’s when I fell in love with writing. 3. What does a typical day look like for you? My creative brain doesn’t work too well in the morning, so I’m not one for 4am rises, nor does it like late night writing soirees. So on writing days, I usually get stuck in around 9am, write till lunch, take the dogs for a long walk to sort out what I want to write next and then write again till 3. Any extra on top of that is a bonus. I don’t worry about word count, I just keep writing till I’ve said enough. With lots of tea breaks in between. 4. Can you describe your workspace for us? Well, I’d love to say it’s the beautiful book-lined library we created especially for me to write in, but mostly it’s wherever I can plonk my laptop. The kitchen bench, the car, a cosy café. My stories don’t seem to care about a nice library heaving with inspirational books – they just pop out wherever. 5. Any words of advice for young readers and writers? For writers: Don’t think that what you have to say doesn’t matter. Anyone can make a difference, no matter how big or small. Don’t be daunted by that big empty page. Fill it up with what’s inside you. Write from the heart. For readers: Put reading first. Do it every day. Anything else, like TV, computer games, YouTube … will never be half as satisfying. 6. Do you have a favourite book or character (your own or somebody else’s)? I love Harry the Dirty Dog. He reminds me of all the cheeky dogs we’ve owned over the years, (there’ve been a few), and he makes me wish I could be a bit naughtier, like him (I’m too much of a goody-two-shoes.) 7. If you were not a creator of books for young people what would you be? A Snowy Mountains’ brumby, running wild and free, with the wind in my mane and dirt under my hooves. 8. What is your favourite food to eat and/or your favourite music to listen to whilst you are working on your books? If I was marooned on a desert island, I couldn’t survive without a cup of tea and a piece of shortbread. So, I’d have to say Walkers shortbread (…yum). My favourite music to write to is the sound of maggies warbling outside my window, and a dog snoring at my feet. 9. How much of yourself or people you know is in your books? Sneakily, without me or them knowing – a lot. I was recently telling a group of students about how, when my tortoise went missing when I was 8 and lived in Africa, my mum said “he’s probably just gone walkabout”. Someone in the audience piped up and said, “Oh, so that’s why Gran said Smooch (from Smooch & Rose) went walkabout.” Yep, it appears so. 10. If you could have one wish for the world what would it be? I wish we would value our wildlife in our plans to develop the world.