Julie Edwards, author of the wonderful children's book 'The Secret of the Great White Waterfall,' has kindly answered questions about her book and passed on some tips to get budding authors writing. Click here to check out Julie’s book.
Can you tell us a bit about your children's book, 'The Secret of the Great White Waterfall'?
'The Secret of the Great White Waterfall' is a story about a group of peace-loving unicorns that gain their strength from the waterfall they regularly visit. Unfortunately though, on one occasion, a troll spies on them and discovers their secret. He returns to tell The King of The Trolls what he has seen and the king decides that he would like some of that power too. So he evicts the unicorns and takes up residence beneath the healing, white water. The tale goes on to tell how the unicorns, with the help of a wise old owl, manage to regain control of the magical waterfall.
Where did you get the idea for your book?
The idea for my book came to me when I was walking with a friend around The Ingleton Waterfall Trail. The waterfalls and trees were so beautiful that I imagined all sorts of mythical creatures might live there.
How long did it take you to write?
The initial draft took a few weeks to write. After that, it took a bit longer to refine and add any new ideas.
When did you realise that you wanted to write a children's book?
I first decided that I wanted to write a children's book in 2015. I was looking through our massive collection in nursery and thought I might like to try. Some books are so good and children want to read them again and again. Others are forgettable! I have tried to unpick what makes a good book.
What do you think makes a good story?
I think a good story should be of an appropriate length for its audience and have 'good' and 'bad' characters. I like to work around a struggle that is then resolved.
What do you think makes an interesting character?
I enjoy creating characters that don't exist in real life. I love to write about witches, unicorns and fairies. I think that they fire up young imaginations and I like to think back to the characters that inspired me in the books I read as a child.
What is your favourite children's book?
The book that gave me the most pleasure as a child has got to be, 'The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe'!
What do you think captures children's imagination?
I think that the author C.S. Lewis certainly captured my imagination with beautiful descriptions of sleigh rides in the snow and delicious Turkish Delight; so a mixture of mythical characters as well as detailed and colourful settings.
Do you have any suggestions or tips to help others become better writers?
I think that to be a better writer, you should look at the writing style of others and take note of what works. Younger children love repetition whereas older children like to be transported to another place. Brainstorm all your ideas and choose a handful of characters. Always think to yourself, 'What could I make happen now?' Really think outside of the box and you'll be amazed at where your imagination can take you!
How do you suggest parents encourage their children to get writing?
As always, read, read, read with your children! During a recent workshop, I gave all the children a story starting point, then suggested lots of different things that could happen next. The children were so inspired, they wrote and wrote! Some used my ideas, but most came up with some amazing twists and turns as they produced some original storylines!