Updated: Mar 12, 2019
I am lucky enough to have a beautiful friend in Karen Hendriks who creates the most amazing stories for children. I often sit with her as she reads me her latest idea and we discuss them, so I decided to change places and interview her. Here's her responses.
1. What brought you to writing children's stories? I come from a working class background so I had absolutely no concept that you could be a writer. When you were old enough you went to work. Writing was just something you did at school. My primary school did not have a library and the high school had the bare minimal of anything. My saving grace was the fact my mum valued reading and books. I started full time work at fifteen and five months. I then went on to university to become a teacher in my early twenties.The creative writing was booked out so I did not do anything creative at uni. But for a language assignment the lecturer made a point of telling me I could write and that I should. I was also involved with a local school on a picture book project while attending uni. It stuck with me. My grandmother had a passion for writing and throughout her whole life she wrote and gifted books as birthday presents. This also created an interest in children's books. During my teaching career I loved and adored picture books. The seed of an idea formed that one day I could write one. Embedded inside it has stayed with me and never left. And so now, my children’s author journey has began.
2. Where does your inspiration come from? My inspiration comes from anywhere around me. It can be a person, a thing, an animal, a picture, a random thought, something on the news. Sometimes inspiration is stuck and other times it runs wild. My problem is ordering my ideas. There is so much chaos on my computer.
3. How many stories have you written? I have now lost count of how many stories I have written. My previous computer crashed and I lost heaps of stories. I started fresh with a new computer. I have one picture book story that just sticks with me and it is one of the first stories I wrote. It is 315 words and three years later I am still working on this manuscript.
4. I know you go to schools. Tell us what you do with your stories? When I visit a school what I do is dependent on what a school wants. I teach writing or share and road test manuscripts. We might act out a story or do character talks or something creative in response to the story. I also do well being and share skills that can help you and do activities in relation to them.
5. What are you currently working on? I am currently working on the story I wrote three years ago. A parrot story and a box story. I am focusing on what I already created at the moment. Just to take a moment to slow down this week. I critiqued a manuscript for a friend yesterday and I have just established a children’s writers and illustrators group in Shellharbour. I will be helping the members with their manuscripts and work on developing a community. There has been nothing in this area and it is so needed.
Karen has had three stories published in The Creative Kids Tales Anthology Story Collection book.
Short stories in Short Tales 2, Short Tales 3, Short Tales 4, Christmas Tales, Christmas Tales 2 online with smash words anthologies and her picture book "Feathers" Will be published later this year by Empowering Resources
You can follow Karen a't www.facebook.com/Karen-Hendriks-Childrens-Author