Today we get to chat with another Chapter Book Challenge Author – Melissa Gijsbers. Another Aussie too, let’s hear what she has to say about writing…
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When did you decide to become an author and what impact has this had on your life?

When I was in high school, I found that writing was something I loved to do, and I was good at it. At the time, I was told that wasn’t a career option and went another way for a while. A few years ago, I rediscovered writing fiction and my dream was rekindled. The biggest impact has been trying to fit writing in around work, kids, and life. I now carry a notebook with me to write down ideas as they come and spend as much of my spare time as possible writing.

It certainly is difficult to fit it all in….

Tell us about your latest work and what motivated you to write it:
I’m currently working on a chapter book that was written during the 2013 Chapter Book Challenge. It’s a story about a girl who just wants to fit in at a new school and is bullied. This is what she does about it. It’s a mix of my experiences and those of my now 10 year old son. The idea came to me when my son had an incident where he was being bullied and fought back by hitting the bully. He was punished and the bully wasn’t. He thought it was unfair. I used this as inspiration for the story and I’m sure it will resonate with kids.

We’ve all been there, I can’t wait to see you get this book published.

What are your future aspirations as an author?
To write books that will be enjoyed by readers – both children and adults. So far, I’ve had eight stories published in three anthologies, and I’m hoping these are the first of many published works.

I’m sure it will be the start of something big.
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Where do your ideas come from? What experiences or aspects of your life influence your writing?
My ideas come from all sorts of places. Some are based on my experiences as a child, some on my kids and the things they do. Others come from writing prompts or things that I’m interested in. Still others seem to come from nowhere! I’ve learned to never ignore an idea, no matter how weird it may be, and I have notebooks full of ideas for future stories.

Gotta love those notebooks.

What do you do to improve yourself and a writer?

I write as often as I can. I take part in challenges and writing exercises to help improve my writing and develop some of the stories that are in my ideas books. I am also collecting and reading a number of craft books as I would love to attend writing conferences, however it’s not practical right now.

There is only so much time in a day and too many other things that need to get done.

What inspires you to write?
With my kids books, a lot of my inspiration come from my kids and the sorts of stories I wish were around for them to read, or that I wish had been around when I was a kid.

Kids are the best inspiration (oh and dogs – sorry Stitch and Chewie!)

Where can people contact you?
My blog is http://www.melissawrites.com.au and my Facebook page is http://www.facebook.com/MelissaWrites.com.au

Wonderful blog – you should all check it out!

What works best for you when writing? Meaning do you outline or write freely when you feel inspired to do so?
I find that having a firm outline doesn’t work for me as I stress over it too much and then get worried if or when the story goes off course. I prefer having a rough outline, knowing how the story starts and where I want the story to end up, and write so the story will get there.

Excellent to have some flexibility when planning a story.

Thanks for joining us Melissa, we look forward to hearing more from you in the future. Remember everyone keep reading, keep writing!