Write Links was formed in 2013 to encourage and assist children’s writers as identified by both SCBWI Queensland (a Chapter of the international Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) and Book Links. The group is administered by Book Links Queensland Inc. and meets at State Library Qld. Write Links is a writers’ group for beginning and emerging children’s writers and/or illustrators living in Brisbane and the surrounding area. Members network, share information, critique each other’s work, motivate and cheer each other on in working towards achieving personal writing goals. A variety of professional development sessions from ‘social media for authors’ to ‘how to write the perfect pitch’ take place each month. Write Links also has an active online Facebook group. There are several critique groups: picture book, junior fiction and young adult.
I play in active role in Write Links, helping with administration as well as conducting Professional Development sessions on topics such as Social Media for Aspiring Authors & Illustrators. It has been an absolute pleasure watching this group grow in the past year.
Part of that growth has been the development of our very own website, skilfully put together by Yvonne Mes. Part of the website is dedicated to Member Profiles, and I had a load of fun answering some of the questions put to us. Check out the website HERE. And check out my ‘new’ profile below:
Write Links Profile
Name: Sam Sochacka
Sam Sochacka is an aspiring children’s author and children’s literature advocate with a background in English as a Second Language Teaching and children’s entertainment. Sam has a particular interest in writing picture books and ertainment junior fiction novels full of adventure, inspired by her childhood on farms, and endless days spent exploring beaches and rock pools. She works hard to advocate for Australian Children’s Literature and Literacy. Sam also goes by the names of Sam-I-Am and Samwich, the latter inspired by a picnic lunch shared with a 4 year old.
Age group you write for/ genre: Picture Books – younger and older readers, junior fiction
Social Media information:
web/blog – www.samsochacka.com
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/pages/Sam-Sochacka-Aspiring-Author-ESL-Educator/244055978996715?ref=hl
Twitter – @SamSochacka
LinkedIn – au.linkedin.com/pub/sam-sochacka/45/629/43/
Do you illustrate? (If so please add some illustrations)
I’ve always said that I am to illustrating as a BBQ skewer is to a blow-up castle at a school fete. Yes, I really am that bad. In previous stick-figure challenges with those under 6, I have been the undisputed loser. I really look forward to working with those who truly are gifted, of whom there seems to be many in the Australian children’s literature industry.
Which writer(s) inspire you?
From my own childhood, the stand out writers are Roald Dahl, Dr Seuss and May Gibbs. As to current writers, there are too many to mention. I’m very blessed to have met a number of Australia’s top children’s writers including Mem Fox, Alison Lester and Jackie French. I would also have to say that any writer who has pursued their dream to a point of being published is very much an inspiration to me, as I appreciate how much work goes into getting a manuscript ready for publishing.
What draws you to writing for children specifically?
Though she’s as tall as an adult,
and the age of one too
She often acts childish,
doing things that kids do.
The above is the first half of a poem that is on my website, and it is an accurate reflection of how I operate. Kids seem to have much more fun compared to adults. I feel I have the best of both worlds as an adult who thoroughly enjoys being with children, and sharing the joy in what they do.
How long have you been writing?
I have been writing for as long as I can remember. I have copies of short (very short) stories that I wrote in my early primary years that were subsequently published in annual school magazines. In my final year at primary school I was the editor of our school magazine.
As an adult, I only truly dedicated my time to full time writing at the beginning of 2011.
Which professional writing bodies are you a member of?
SCBWI – The Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators
QWC – Queensland Writers Centre
I would also recommend the following to aspiring authors and illustrators. They are not professional writing bodies, but I believe being a member of them is invaluable.
Book Links (QLD) Inc. – The Centre for Children’s Literature
The Children’s Book Council of Australia
IBBY – International Board on Books for Young People
Best time of day to write
I find early morning and late in the evening are the best times for me to write. They are the times with least distractions, and few phone calls. I have learned though, that anytime my modem and phone are turned off are in fact the best times.
What do you do to assist you in writing (e.g. take courses, writing groups etc.)
Structured writing time suits me best, and as above, an electronics-free environment. Taking courses and attending workshops are essential as it keeps me up-to-date and they also make for great networking with industry professionals as well as other aspiring authors. Being a part of writing groups, especially online groups, seems to obliterate the feeling of isolation that plagues so many writers. I also try to spend as much time either with kids, or doing what they do, to stay in touch with my audience. Reading picture books and junior fiction novels is also incredibly inspiring, and keeps my mind in the mind of my readers, as well as my fellow writers.
What are your writing goals?
To be published, many times of course! I would like to contribute to the amazing body of children’s literature here in Australia. I would like to give children great books that they would enjoy, and that would increase their passion for reading. I also really look forward to working with other writers and illustrators.
What does your ideal Sunday look like?
Well, my ideal Sunday would require Hermione’s Time Turner from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. You know the hourglass on her necklace that allows her to attend far more classes than normal time would allow? I would multiply my 16 waking hours by 4 (just let me get the calculator, maths is not my forte……) and end up with 64 in total. 20 hours would go to completely uninterrupted writing time. 10 would go to reading, and 10 would go to researching writing techniques such as character and world creation. 10 would go to meeting with friends in writing and critique groups. The final 16 would go to being with other friends and family, enjoying the good things such as cooking; going to the beach; computer game battles and photography adventures.
If you could meet/invite any 3 children’s writer/illustrator who would they be?
I’m going to break the rules on this question, I’m going to name four, and the other three would make it the best little meeting ever! Roald Dahl, Astrid Lindgren, Dr Seuss and May Gibbs are the first four. Mem Fox, Jackie French & Alison Lester would be the others, but I’ve already met them and look forward to meeting them again!