Author Interview with Melanie Schubert, Children Author of Gregory and the Grimbockle
Introduction from TigerFish Author Hoang Chi Truong
Hello, fellow book lovers,
I've met Melanie Schubert on the Instagram author community and her book grabbed my attention. I thrive to support fellow authors and would like to introduce Gregory and Grimbockle to your children fantasy readers. I love that it has a soundtrack and whimsical illustrations. It's a story of an 'underdog' boy who regularly got picked on, a familiar theme that resonates with many kids during some points in their school careers.
Enjoy our author interview, meet Melanie Schubert, get her book, and connect with her using the links at the end.
What geographical location are you from or where you are living now?
Australia. I'm a Melbourne girl, born and bred!
What food and drink specialty or cultural highlights we should learn about this special place?
Coffee, coffee and MORE COFFEE. Melbournians take their coffee pretty seriously! We are spoiled for choice with excellent restaurants too. It wasn't voted the world's most liveable city 7 years in a row for nothing!
What fonts do you use in your writing? Times New Roman for my novels and usually Charter for my scripts.
What are your favorite writing snacks, drinks, distraction activities to procrastinate from writing?
Ooh! That's hard!
Well drinks: Pretty much any hot drink will keep me happy. Love coffee, herbal tea and chai lattes. Chai lattes are my go to because they have the morishness of coffee but the caffeine doesn't hit my system so hard.
Distractions...my french bulldog Goose. If she hasn't been properly run and taken out to use the grassy facilities and sniff for invisible possums, she will pester me until she has been.
What is/are your writing music playlist/s?
Chilled Cow Lo-fi hip-hop channel. All day, every day. Live on You-tube. I can't listen to music that has lyrics when I write.
About Your Writing
Tell us why you write and when did you start writing.
I think almost from the time I could hold a pen I was writing silly songs and strange tales. When we were kids, we'd stage entire productions for our parents with poetry, plays and songs we had written ourselves.
I think writing was always dancing around in my veins and it came out in every way it could until I finally gave it the attention it needed.
There's a beautiful quote by Elizabeth Reyes which I think describes it perfectly: "
"I write because I must. It's not a choice or a pastime, it's an unyeilding calling and my passion." —Elizabeth Reyes
What is your writing schedule like and how do you split that with marketing and social media engagement with readers?
I did every odd job you can think of over the past decade, but with the support of my wonderful husband Filip, I am now writing full time. So basically my schedule is; write until my head hurts and my eyes blur and then take a break. I try to do social media stuff when I feel inspired to rather than just for the sake of it. But as for marketing things, I leave that for when I don't feel inspired to write at all.
Are you indie or traditional publisher? If you have done both, share the pros and cons.
You know, I'd love to know the answer to that question myself! Last year I won a competition to have my first children's novel, "Gregory and the Grimbockle", published by American indie publisher, New Wrinkle Publishing.
So I'm traditional, in that I do have a publisher, but my publisher is independent, not one of the "big 5". Every article I read puts me in a different category. So yeah. Jury's still out on that one.
Do you have tips or advice for aspiring or new authors on these publishing options?
I think having a publishing house, even a small one behind you, gives you so much more credibility as an author and I know if I had tried to do it all on my own, there is no way Gregory and the Grimbockle would have ended up as polished as it did! Still, if no publishing house had have picked up my work, I imagine I would have self-published in the end. But personally my goal would always be to get a publisher behind my work.
What are your genres, how did you define your ideal audience, and how did you find or engage with them?
Within a year of working for Gobsmacked, my brain began bursting with ideas for children's books and it hasn't stopped. I was fortunate in that Gobsmacked is my friend's company, but I had never written for children officially before writing for her, so I'm not sure who was more surprised when I discovered my voice in children's writing when I began to write for Gobsmacked, a primary performing arts company in New Zealand. I'm now their sole writer and have moved into writing songs as well as scripts for the company.
I write for middle grade and primary (elementary) mostly. I dabbled in many kinds of writing before that, but, I doubt I was ever much good at the whole 'moody poetry' thing. realised I was better at writing for kids than I had been at rewriting everyone's essays back in College.
Did you write your books while courting your readers at the same time or how did you find and market your books to readers?
I paid for several promotions but mostly just lots and lots of hours scrolling through Instagram and slowly making a network who are interested in my work. Now that I have a little network and a greater understanding of the industry, I 100% plan to "court my readers" as the process unfolds for my next novel.
12. What are your biggest successes? Books, blogs, vlogs, online magazines?
I received an amazing review from Kirkus which I was SO relieved about, having heard horror stories about their reviews.
Gregory and the Grimbockle also appeared in National Geographic Kids Magazine (Australia & New Zealand editions). But I am perhaps most proud of getting it into Readings bookstores in Melbourne. They are my favourite chain of bookstores and I have recently learned the copies I gave them on consignment have almost sold out! To be fair, they only took an initial order of 15 books but it warms the cockles of my heart to know that every book except one has found a home and it opens the door to the possibility of a bigger order next time!
What are the toughest challenges in your author's career? How are you looking to overcome these?
Mostly just financial. You definitely shouldn't be a writer if you're only doing it for the money, because your early years won't exactly be hauling in the bacon. But I guess every artist/author has to do a bit of, "struggling". And I kind of just changed my whole thinking about it in the last few years. In that, I see this period as my "student" time, so then I can be happy with less and know that the time I am dedicating to my work is all building towards more.
What are on your TBR list for 2018 and how is your progress?
I've easily read more this year than the last ten years combined, so it would be hard to list them all, but I will say that my favourite read of the year was: The Daughter of Smoke and Bone series by Laini Taylor.
Do you review indie or fellow author's books on Goodreads or Amazon?
For sure! But it has to really grab my attention.
For example, I had been following fellow Australian Authors, Carol Jones, of "The Concubine's Child" and Ali Berg and Michelle Kalus, of "The Book Ninja" on Instagram for quite a while and when I realised they had signed copies of their new books coming out in stores nearby, I went straight out and bought them.
I love supporting fellow authors, but it can be tricky too. I have had people reach out to me and ask for a review where I found it difficult to do because I didn't like the book or it seemed poorly edited or something. Then I find it quite awkward. So I'm pretty picky about what I'll review now. Especially since I want to be spending most of my time writing at the moment.
Do you read or listen to your books? What's the ratio?
Read 100% (physical books only)
Tell us about your best fanmail or author event experience on any of your book. Did these experience help you in writing your work in progress or future books?
Oohh..there's been a couple really beautiful moments, but I think the best is when someone who follows on social media tags me in a post out of the blue to show me copies of Gregory and the Grimbockle they have recently purchased. This actually happened today. A librarian who was one of my ARC readers almost a year ago went ahead and bought 3 copies for her library!
And the other thing that comes to mind, is one of my followers from Spain who is taking the time to translate the entire novel so she can understand it!
Have you always written in high school or college? Have you always dreamt of becoming an author?
What authors resonated with you the most or whose writing styles you've admired the most?
I have always adored C.S.Lewis and must have read the entire Narnia series well over 10 times by now.
My recent author crush is Laini Taylor. She has such a raw, authentic voice that sings to me.
Tell us about your latest book, how to purchase it, and how readers can connect with you.
So, Gregory and the Grimbockle is available for purchase from all major online book retailers - Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Alibris for example. Both Paperback and digital copies are available on Amazon.
For readers who want to connect with me, I'm most active oninstagram @melanie_schubert_writer