Friday, July 30, 2010

Award-Winning Rosanne Hawke

THIS MONTH'S GIVEAWAYS ARE The Last Virgin in Year Ten, one year's subscription to Footprints magazine, Decadence or Clues to Your Calling. TO BE IN THE DRAW, POST A COMMENT and CLICK FOLLOW at the bottom LH corner. For submissions for author interviews to aussiewriters, do the same and we'll look at your work.

Rosanne Hawke is a well known award-winning Aussie author. Her books are studied in schools and enjoyed by many. Rosanne is also a teacher at Tabor College and a true Cornish delight! Here's Rosanne...

What are you passionate about?

I'm passionate about faith, family, writing, reading, love, peace between people groups, Cornish, music, issues in my books, cats of all sizes...

What do you find is your biggest struggle as an author and how do you overcome it?

Keeping my bottom on that chair. Bryce Courtney says he uses 'glue' but I use music. I choose music that suits the manuscript content and I write to that music. Not only does this help the creative process but it also puts me straight back into the novel's setting if I've been away from home, teaching or visiting schools. A cat on the lap helps too.

Do you ever experience self doubt?

Every time I sit down to start writing a new book I don't think I can do it.

I can’t imagine that!

Do you have any tips for new writers?

1) Read a lot of good fiction and know what's in the market, even if you will not write those
genres, i.e. people who read a lot will be more able to tell when their own writing isn't matching up to market level, and will be more able to correct it. Even though I teach creative writing I know that students will learn even more from reading as a writer.
2) Get to know your character as well as your best friend. Your character will make your story.
3) Have some idea of what your character needs to do or know by the end of your story and you will be able to finish your story.
4) Be very persistent. I feel called to writing and this is what has kept me going through the hard and lean times. Persistence and determination will help us become better writers and to get our work published.

What Australian conferences would you recommend for writers to attend to help get their names out there and learn from mentors?

I enjoyed the AlphaOmega conference in 2006. For children's writers it could be good for inspiration to go to the Children's Book Council conference. John Marsden runs weekend writing conferences but they sound expensive. Varuna House in the Blue Mountains offers fellowships for new writers. I found this very helpful but competition is tough now. There will be a Word Fair run by Wombat Books at Tabor Adelaide on August 21st which is like a mini conference as there will be some workshops and speakers. Tabor Adelaide is opening a Christian Writing Centre in January 2011 to further help Christian Writers in the mechanics of writing e.g. mentorships, assessments, editorial advice, workshops etc. Some pockets of this is happening in other parts of the country already e.g. Alpha to Omega, Wendy Sargeant, Dale Harcombe.

Thanks for the plug, Rosanne. Yes, I offer free tuition on individual books I assess and edit privately as well as at places like the Word Writers Fair.

Are there any other programs you would recommend to budding authors?

Authors do not need study programs to be successful writers but they can certainly help. Tabor is one of the few if not the only tertiary institution in Australia that offers creative writing up to Masters level in an inspirational context. This is available online as well as internally.

What would you say is the most important message to help a new writer gain publication?

1) If this is what God wants you to do, do not give up. Be persistent in honing your craft.
2) Learn to interpret rejection letters. I have heard of people who have had a promising rejection letter but didn't understand that is what it was, and were discouraged. If your work is rejected by the publisher, ask if they will see it again after you've re-written it, then re-write it and send it again.
3) Have a healthy attitude towards re-writing. I have seen manuscripts that authors believe are ready to go to the publisher that are in reality drafts. Re-write, re-write, re-write. Your first draft is only the tip of the iceberg. Seven-eighths of the work remains to be done.

Tell us something about your latest book.

Marrying Ameera is a 14+ novel about a forced marriage in Azad Kashmir. Ameera is sent to her cousin's wedding and it takes her less than a week to realise this is not her cousin'swedding but her own. I got the idea for this when I was on an Asialink Fellowship to Pakistan where I did research. The novel will be released shortly by HarperCollins.

See more info about Rosanne and her books at

Thanks, Rosanne. I'm told your courses are also available at Toowoomba through Eastgate College. Look forward to the launch of Marrying Ameera!


  1. Oh well, if Roseanne is Cornish, she has to be a delight, Wendy, but can she bake genuine Cornish Pasties :-) (my best friend of 35 years is Cornish)

    Marrying Ameera souns very interesting, but I'm not sure I could read it... I think I'd probably get too angry at the concept of a child being forced into a marriage.

    Roseanne, I tried to sign up for your newsletter, but it said my email address wasn't valid.

    Thanks for another great interview Wendy.I'm really enjoying reading them.

  2. Interesting and excellent advice.
    The part about re-writing is something we ought to all be taught from the outset that we'll definitely have to do. And getting to know your character thoroughly makes it so much fun!
    I'm looking forward to reading "Marrying Ameera."
    Paula V.

  3. I've found Rosanne's work to be inspirational. She balances faith and mainstream publishing, her books are honest, edgy and topical. The Australian childrens publishing scene isn't an easy one to break into but she has done it with integrity and purpose. If I can write something like her, I'd be pleased. :)

    Penny Reeve.

  4. Interesting interview, and I love the sound of Rosanne's new book. I can't write with music though ... it distracts me too much!

  5. I'm looking forward to reading it too :-)

  6. Great interview with good advice.

    Rosanne has been my lecturer and mentor over the last 3 years at Tabor - she is truly inspirational and has become a great friend.

    If you read no other book this year - read Marrying Ameera. It will win many awards. The first print run sold out in a week!