Glenda Millard is an award-winning Australian author of twelve picture books, seven fiction titles for younger readers and three young adult novels. All titles in the Kingdom of Silk series have won or been shortlisted for every major book prize in Australia: the Queensland Premier's Literary Awards, Children's Book Council of Australia Awards, NSW Premier's Literary Awards and WA Premier's Literary Awards.
Phoenix Yard Books are delighted to have acquired such a remarkable series and to be working with Glenda on the UK publication of these books. We gave Glenda a questionnaire to find out a bit more about her story...
A week before Christmas, I was born in the heart of the Goldfields of Victoria, Australia. I was the first child of Nancy and named Glenda after my father, Glen, and Margaret after a Princess.
I lived in a miner’s cottage with white-washed mud-brick walls, an iron roof and detached kitchen and wash-house. At one end of the street where my home stood, my nana lived and at the other end, my granny lived.
Two years later my sister was born. She was named Heather and her second name was Elizabeth, after a Queen.
Did you read?
There was no television in the small white cottage, but there were books. When it was time for bed, we would climb into bed with our mother and she would read to us before we ran across the passage to our own beds.
Did you have a favourite book /character(s)/ story as a child?
My sister and I both loved Enid Blyton’s books; the Famous Five, The Secret Seven and most especially The Magic Faraway Tree. Two of my favourite books were Anna Sewell’s ‘Black Beauty’ and Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women.
Random childhood facts?
I loved climbing trees and dreamt of flying but no matter how many times I jumped off the roof of my nana’s shed, I never did. I was also the second fastest runner in grade six.
Were you always good at writing?
At high school I wrote poems and essays for the school magazine, sometimes winning cash prizes which I always spent at Stoneman’s Bookroom which smelt like pages and covers and words and had a tabby cat that used to sun itself in the window.
In the olden days, when I was growing up, there were no careers advisers at schools and no-one ever told me I might be able to have a job as a writer. So when I was fifteen years old, I left school and went to work in the office of a motor mechanic’s garage. My job was to send out the monthly accounts and I also had to pump petrol.
Then came the day when I met a handsome young man whom I married. We had four beautiful children. Three boys and a girl. It wasn’t until my children grew to be teenagers, that I began to write again. But for all my life I had loved reading and even though I hadn’t gone to university, reading had taught me how stories are made.
What are your favourite books?
I have so many favourites that it would be impossible to fit them all in. But I love all David Almond’s books. My special favourite is Heaven Eyes. My secret ambition is to have David Almond write a cover blurb for one of MY books!
Why do you write for children?
I write for children because they have magic in them that helps them understand things that adults can’t.
Do you write full time? If so, where?
Nowadays I am a full-time writer. I have a small cottage that was built in 1860 and it is filled with books and illustrations from my picture books. It is only ten minutes from the town where I was born.
What else are you up to?
I write picture books, novels for younger readers and novels for teenagers. I do this so I don’t get bored writing the same sorts of stories all the time.
Which character in a book would you be?
I would like to be Nell, the grandma in the Kingdom of Silk Books. Nell is a combination of my nana and grandma and she is very wise and kind and everyone loves her.
What inspires you?
Inspiration comes from all sorts of places. I use all my senses; eavesdrop whilst on public transport and listen to music and talkback radio but visual inspiration is probably most important. I keep scrapbooks of cuttings from magazines and newspapers, visit galleries and watch movies, but one of my favourite sources of inspiration is rummaging through opportunity (charity) shops.
The next chapter:
I hope that I will continue to write until the day I die. I would also like to have some grandchildren to read my stories to because my dog is getting a little deaf and also because he can’t tell me if the stories are any good or not. Also, as mentioned before, I would dearly love to have a cover blurb written by David Almond on one of my books.
What type of book / story would you be?
I would be a book about flying, freedom, acceptance and love.
What would your front cover look like?
My front cover would be decorated with flowers, trees and birds.
The Kindgom of Silk:
Layla Queen of Hearts (June 2013)
Perry Angel’s Suitcase
All the Colours of Paradise
Plum Puddings and Paper Moons
The Tender Moments of Saffron Silk
The Festival of Crisp Winter Glories
My website is: http://glendamillard.com/
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