Posted in authors, interviews

Sharon Giltrow on Get Ready, Mama!

Sharon Giltrow grew up in South Australia and now lives in Western Australia with her husband, two children, a tom cat and a miniature dog. She works in Early Childhood Education and Teacher Education Support, working with Young Children with Developmental Language Disorder. Her debut picture book was Bedtime, Daddy!, illustrated by Katrin Dreiling. Today we’re chatting to her about her new picture book, Get Ready, Mama! illustrated by Arielle Li.

From the publisher:

Getting Mama ready for the day can be a challenge… you’d better watch out that she doesn’t sneak back into bed, try to distract you with cuddles, or … wait, is Mama watching TV?! 


Your first picture book was Bedtime, Daddy! Did you have the idea for a series of books about family members when you wrote the first book or did the idea for a companion book come after the first book was out?

Bedtime, Daddy! is a role reversal book where the child (actually a bear) has to put the daddy to bed. The idea came from my own family. Once I signed the contract for Bedtime, Daddy! I thought writing a series of books using the same structure but different family members would be a great idea. I wanted one about a mum and about the other end of the day, getting up, so I wrote Get Ready, Mama! which was recently published 3 ½ years after the first book. I also wrote a story about taking a grandma shopping and a grandpa to the beach. Those two will be published in 2022 and 2023. So, my picture book family series is now complete. (Wait a minute – what about the aunty and uncle?)

Are you a morning person or a night owl? (Do you spring out of bed in the morning yourself?)

I am a morning person or as a like to call myself an early bird, although at times I am also an exhausted pigeon. I don’t spring out as bed as quickly as I use to, it’s more of a slide, but I do like to get up before everyone else in the house. Then I can have a few minutes of ‘me’ time.

Did you work with the illustrator (Arielle Li) during the book’s creation?

Anouska, the editor at EK Books, encouraged Arielle and I to work together from the beginning of the publishing process. She shared Arielle’s initial character sketches with me and as a team we decided whether the characters would be guinea pigs or humans. We chose humans! I’m glad we did after seeing the child and mama’s amazing facial expressions in Get Ready, Mama! Then Arielle started working on the storyboard and again shared it with me. Throughout the whole process I was able to suggest changes. There weren’t many as Arielle did such a fantastic job interpreting my text. Once the changes were made, I put my text onto the storyboard to check how the story flowed. Finally, as a team we decided on a cover.

Do you have a tip for kids about writing illustrated stories or picture books?

After you have your idea, spend some time brainstorming the idea and in particular the characters. I do this for about 20 minutes every day for a week before I start writing. Here are some questions I use when I am brainstorming.

  • What does your character love or hate?
  • What is their nickname?
  • What kind of being are they?
  • What is their age?
  • What is their physical appearance?
  • Who are their family members?
  • Do they have any pets?
  • Who is their best friend/s?
  • What items do they carry in their backpack?
  • What are their hobbies?
  • What does your character want more than anything?
  • What are their fears?
  • What is their favourite food?

Can you tell us something about your next writing project?

I am currently writing my third book in my early middle grade series The Utility Belt. Books one and two release in 2022 and 2023. But I don’t want to give too much away.

I am also enrolled in a graphic novel course; I want to learn how to write (and possibly illustrate) a graphic novel. I already have a great idea, now to develop my characters – stay tuned!

Get Ready, Mama! is out now. Ask for it at your favourite bookstore or local library.


AWESOME EXTRAS

Image shows the cover of a picture book: Get Ready, Mama! by Sharon Giltrow and Arielle Li. The cover illustration shows a mother still in bed, cuddling her teddy. There's a child standing next to her bed in a school uniform and with neatly tied plaits. The child is holding a white button up blouse on a coat hanger. Next to the bed is a white dog with brown patches and a pink tongue lolling out. The mother in bed has tousled hair and doesn't look alert. The dog and the child look enthusiastic and full of energy.

Take a look at some pages inside the book

Make your own Get Ready, Mama! mini colouring book

Download the Teachers’ Notes for this book

Visit the author’s website for more about Sharon Giltrow and her books

Posted in authors, interviews

Meet the author: Sharon Giltrow

Sharon GiltrowMEET THE AUTHOR

Sharon Giltrow writes humorous picture books and adventure-filled chapter books. She lives in Perth, Western Australia with her husband, two children, a tom cat and a miniature dog.

Sharon’s debut picture book is available in May 2020. Today we’re chatting to Sharon about Bedtime, Daddy!, which is illustrated by Katrin Dreiling.

From the publisher:

Bedtime Daddy by Sharon Giltrow and Katrin DreilingHave you ever tried to put Daddy to bed? It can be hard work! Full of heart and humour, Bedtime, Daddy! is for anyone who wants to try putting their grown-up to bed.


You wrote the text for Bedtime, Daddy! and Katrin Dreiling is the illustrator. Do the illustrations match the story you had in your head when you were writing the book?
Katrin Dreiling has done a fantastic job. I was very happy and excited when I saw her first sketches.
EK Books (the publisher) asked her to do sketches of people and bears. When I first wrote Bedtime, Daddy! I pictured the characters as people, so I was very surprised when the publisher suggested bears. However, when Anouska – the editor – explained that bears would make a more universal family, I agreed. The rest of the illustrations match the story perfectly. Placing Daddy Bear in the office for the first page spread was Katrin’s idea. 😊 I only had one illustration note which was for the last page … but I don’t want to spoil the ending.

Favourite pyjamas to wear today vs favourite pyjamas to wear when you were a kid?
My favourite pyjamas as a kid were actually nighties and I used to keep them in a zippered pyjama bag which was a bit like this one. Puppy pyjama caseNow as Mummy Bear (aka: Bedtime Mummy!), my favourite pyjamas are my new dinosaur pyjamas. They are also Daddy Bear’s favourite pyjamas and my children have dinosaur pyjamas too.

Sharon and her two kids in pyjamas
Did you like to try to delay bedtime when you were a kid?
Most definitely! I was the youngest of eight children so my parents were a little more relaxed about bedtime. So, I used to fall asleep on the couch and my dad would carry me to bed. SShhhh!!! Don’t tell my children.

Can you tell us a bit about the book you’re working on next?
Well, my next book, which I hope will be published soon is called … Get Ready, Mummy! A sequel to Bedtime, Daddy! and you guessed it, it’s about how to get a mummy ready for the day. It starts with the line: ‘When you see your mummy roll over and open her eyes, announce, ‘Get Ready, Mummy!’

Do you have a tip for kids who would like to try writing a picture book themselves?
Be open to ideas. Ideas are all around you. Keep a notebook to write your ideas in. Once you have an idea, brainstorm it and then start writing. Don’t try and get it perfect the first time. Writing is like any skill it just takes practice. You can do it! Also, read lots of books!


AWESOME EXTRAS:

Bedtime Daddy a picture book by Sharon Giltrow with illustrations by Katrin Dreiling

Watch the book trailer for Bedtime, Daddy!

Click here for Teachers’ Notes

Click here for a sneak peek inside the book

Visit Sharon Giltrow’s website to learn more about her and her books.

***WIN a copy of Bedtime, Daddy! ***

This competition has now closed and the winner has been contacted by email.