How I Write: Tina Matthews writes for herself, not for the kids

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Tina Matthews’ children’s book Out of the Egg won Best First Book at the 2008 NZ Post Children’s Book Awards and was listed in the CBCA Notable Australian Children’s Books in 2008. The book, about a hen, a seed, a little red chick and a big green whispering tree, has already been published in French and Hebrew and is now coming in two Pacific languages, Te Reo Maori and Samoan!

What book do you read over and over again and why?

The Carrot Seed by Ruth Krauss and Crockett Johnson because it’s so simple, so funny, so true to families, and so tied to a happy childhood where I was read a lot. And the dad smokes a pipe which is good to talk to the children about.

Where are you happiest with a book in your hand?

The bed is good. In the sun it is beautiful too.

READ MORE:
* How I Write: Murdoch Stephens and the soundtracks of his books
* How I Write: NZ Festival author and Ockham runner-up Whiti Hereaka talks about her favorite books and sidenotes
* How I write: Anna Kenna, author of children’s books

Out of the Egg by Tina Matthews has previously been published in French and Hebrew and is now coming to two Pacific languages, Te Reo Maori and Samoan!

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Out of the Egg by Tina Matthews has previously been published in French and Hebrew and is now coming to two Pacific languages, Te Reo Maori and Samoan!

What book did you read as a child or teenager that made a deep impression on you?

All Tintin books. Images and phrases of them come to mind daily.

Can you share a great piece of writing advice you’ve received?

Don’t write for the children, write for yourself. Many of my favorite authors had no children – Herge, Maurice Sendak, Ruth Krauss, Crockett Johnson, Margaret Wise Brown, Tove Jansson, Raymond Briggs – but their books are adored by children and adults alike.

What advice do you give to writers just starting out?

Not really, just trying to be encouraging. It’s good to try to make a book. Some won’t work, most won’t get published, some that maybe shouldn’t have, some will be smash hits. But I hope that even if they are not published, they are a good account of what you thought and what mattered to you. Your family, friends and even strangers could also enjoy it.

What kind of books do you like to read for pleasure?

I love graphic novels and will draw one someday. I mostly read what my friend Sally recommended to me. She has a library in her head.

What “must-read” book haven’t you read? Come on, confess

I’ve never read most of the Narnia books. Nor the Harry Potter books but I will come back to them one day. Maybe in the bath.

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