As well as writing, Ngaire runs an awesome blog and is always around to dole out advice and beautiful smiles. Please give her a huge, warm welcome!
Hi Ngaire! Thank you for stopping by! Firstly, can you please tell us a little about yourself?
I am a married mother of four magnificent children, originally from Scotland and now settled in Southern Spain, in a small farmhouse, surrounded by lovely plants and animals of all types. I have written three well received children's books as part of a series called The Adventures of Cecilia Spark and look forward to carrying on with that. I am a voracious reader and am rarely without an on-going book and as part of my work as a children's author, I visit schools in Spain and the UK and read to young children, with the express purpose of encouraging literacy, a love of animals and the great outdoors.
You write the awesome Cecilia Spark series. What inspired you to write them? Was there anyone in particular you wanted to write them for?
Having 4 children I was a major part of their ‘reading-with-mum-to-reading-on-their-own’ transition. The books we read were amazing and I think I was captured by the juvenile fiction category. Furthermore, this age group (roughly 5-8/9 years) is at such a magical stage in their life for discovering books and defining their reading habits and genre that it seemed a natural place to start my writing.
My aim is to encourage children to read and motivate them to explore the great outdoors. I do this by creating a magical world of rivers and forests and mountains, populated with animals big and small. The adventures are bursting with thrills and spills, with a humorous streak running through each chapter. I hope to inspire their imagination and encourage them to get outside and learn more for themselves, or at least, to pick up a book about the natural world in which they live.
They've had an amazing response from pretty much every corner of the globe and I admit that I'm hooked now as well! Your writing is beautiful and flows so easily. How long have you been writing for? When did you decide it was time to publish a book?
Thank you, Rae, for those lovely words of encouragement for my writing. I have been writing since I was a child; I wrote plays! But it wasn’t until about 7 or 8 years ago I managed to find the time to put pen to paper. I wish I had kept those plays, I am sure I would have had a chuckle reading them again.
You're a big advocate for indie authors and we love you for it! What made you decide to go it alone rather than approach a big publisher? If you went to a big publisher, what kind of reactions did you receive?
My time schedule and the fact I cannot work under pressure. I do set myself deadlines, but if I don’t make it I don’t panic because I am not letting anyone down. Compared with, if I was with a BIG publishing house, I dare say if you miss a deadline they wouldn’t be too happy.
I don’t think I could work under that sort of pressure.
And yes, at the start of my writing career I approached a handful of publishers. I received a couple of positive replies but nothing definite, but it didn’t put me off publishing on my own. In fact it made me more determined to succeed!
For you, what are the advantages and disadvantages of being an indie author?
Advantages and disadvantages … let me see. For me the main advantage of being indie is being in control of my work, and keeping all rights to my writing. I have also met some great folks whom I am not afraid to approach and ask for their advice on matters.
The main disadvantage, in my opinion is distribution and not getting the exposure that a traditionally published author does. Some people still stigmatise Indie authors. You have to handle all, or almost all, your own marketing and that can be pretty time consuming.
|The lovely Ngaire!|
We've seen a huge shift in the publishing industry in the past decade. Where do you see it going in the next 10 years?
I think a gatekeeper to check on quality is inevitable. I also think Amazon, with their purchases of small publishing houses, will grow increasingly into a publisher and not just a broker/intermediary. Lots more little publishing houses will sprout up and audio books - an area I am involved in - will become more and more prevalent in the area. Writers who don't create audiobooks may struggle to sell their work. I think it is going to be a battle, Rae, and more and more authors will struggle to sell books. However, I don't think people will stop writing, but the expectations of earning money for the vast majority of authors will have to be lessened.
The children's market is obviously huge so how do you find being a part of it? What kinds of things do you have to do differently as opposed to someone who writes adult books?
Coming up with an original idea and theme for your stories. Not to be afraid of exploring other avenues, say for example audio books, an area I have ventured into and I am pleased with the result. Children’s authors have to be prepared to interact with kids. So school and library visits should be at the top of the list. Having fun things to do on your website is a must. And being a big kid helps!
A lot of people want to write children's books. What would your advice be to anyone who's starting out in the industry? Are there any pitfalls that you'd advise them to keep an eye out for?
Don’t try and do things yourself you cannot carry off. See your vision clearly in your mind’s eye. If you have a vision, the story will flow naturally and you should have no problems. If you are just joining in a trend, this will show in your work and you will struggle. Invest in a decent illustrator. Make lots of friends on the social networks and never, ever put a sock in the toaster!
Pitfalls, if I have come across any they have not impacted upon me greatly …
Finally, tell us about your books and let us know where to find you online!
My children’s series is an action and adventure series called The Adventures of Cecilia Spark. To date there are 3 books in the series: Brimstone Forest, the Mystical Mountains of Terra, and Dragon’s Star.
All books are available as an ebook, paperback and audio book. The series is suitable for boys and girls aged 5-10 years old. The younger children will enjoy hearing the stories being read to them whilst looking at the fabulous illustrations (Peter Maddocks).
Another recent publication is My Nature Friends which is an A-Z picture book and was wonderfully illustrated by my daughter, Fearn. I am so proud of her.
I love the research stage for Cecilia Spark’s adventures and I endeavour to base parts of the story on real places; magical and unique locations in our world. In book 2 – The Adventures of Cecilia Spark: the Mystical Mountains of Terra – one place I was drawn to whilst researching for this adventure was the mangroves in Brazil, in particular the Bahia region, and the lake scene at the Mystical Mountains, was inspired by Lake Baikal in Russia.
Given this I believe every child that reads a Cecilia Spark adventure will not only enjoy the thrills and spills but will also learn about the world we live in and the importance of friendship.
All books are available from Amazon and other online book shops.
Amazon US - http://www.amazon.com/Ngaire-Elder/e/B006VXOUN8
For the audio books in the series:
My website is a great place to explore - http://www.ceciliaspark.com/
My blog where you’ll read the latest news and indie writer/artist spotlights - http://adventuresofceciliaspark.blogspot.co.uk/