FAQs

Here are my answers to some of the questions fans ask me most often. If you would like to ask me a question of your own, please click the button below to post a message.

Q: Where do you get your ideas?

A: Ideas for stories and poems have come from something I’ve experienced, either as an adult or as a child, from other members of my family or friends, or something I’ve noticed or heard about. I play with ideas on paper until I begin to see a bigger idea start to form and I continue to keep asking questions about those ideas or thoughts. Sometimes publishers will suggest a theme or an idea to me to write about. For example, if the theme deals with ‘creepy crawlies’ I might write a funny poem about a worm or a story about the day a boy’s pet worm escaped at a birthday sleepover.

Q: How long does it take you to write a book?

A: For many years I mainly wrote picture books, short stories, poems, plays and articles, but nowadays my work will include longer pieces, such as the award-winning, information book ‘Hoosh! Camels in Australia’ which too an intense twelve months to research and write. The novel, ‘Cross-Currents took years and involved many rewrites. However, most writers, like me, will me writing several things at the same time.

Q: What’s the process for you?

A: It usually starts with lots of doodling and brainstorming on paper. It’s as if my brain seems to want to see ideas before it gets ready to work on them. I even do little drawings. But mostly I just relax and let my pen write any idea that comes.

After that, I start brainstorming about ideas that seem to connect themselves together or I might remember an incident that happened that I could use as well. I like cooking soup, and writing is a bit like that to start with – putting all sorts of things (ideas) into the pot. But sometimes, like cooking, you put too much of one thing and not enough of another! Then you have to sort out how best to change it.

I like to have a sense of where the story is likely to go and where it may end. I usually rewrite the beginning dozens of times and sometimes I have to wait, until the exact, suitable ending comes to me. I find writing very hard at times, other times it’s like skating with the wind in your hair.

Q: Do you like writing fiction or non-fiction best?

A: Fiction, because when the writing is going well, it gives me a happiness, or a joy that’s rich and exciting. It’s the emotion of creativity, I suppose. I enjoy writing non-fiction or information for different reasons. I like finding out about things that interest me and I think it helps my fiction because the writing has to be clear, simple and informative. Writing poetry is great fun – but it’s not always easy. I love playing with words. I say them out loud, over and over to make the rhythm or rhyme smooth. Then I leave it alone for as long as I can – and then when I return to it, I find I can make it even better! It’s a great reward.

Q: Do you enjoy being a writer?

A: Being a writer is what I want to do, and what I love doing, because I can create. And I can work from home. But there are sad and tough times. Things often don’t work out as well as you’d hoped, or work is sent back to you. But I like to learn and practice and improvement is exciting. There’s no other job I’d rather do.

Q: How can I get you to speak at my school or event?


Interviews

Boomerang Blog – Part 1.
http://blog.boomerangbooks.com.au/doodles-and-drafts-an-interview-with-janeen-brian-part-one/2013/03

Boomerang Blog – Part 2.
http://blog.boomerangbooks.com.au/janeen-brian-part-two/2013/03

Kids’ Book Review – guest post
http://www.kids-bookreview.com/2010/11/guest-post-author-janeen-brian-and-why.html

Kids’ Book Review. 12 Curly Questions
http://www.kids-bookreview.com/2013/06/12-curly-questions-with-author-janeen.html

Five top books
http://sophiawhitfield.blogspot.com.au/2011/08/janeen-brian-selects-five-books-of.html