VIC event: Ann James exhibition

Audrey Goes to Town by Christine Harris, ill. Ann James (cover)If you live in Victoria, don’t miss the exhibition of Ann James’s original illustrations.

31 Mar to 15 Apr 2012 (Go on Thursday 12 April and you can meet Ann James and have your books signed!)
Time:   Monday to Saturday from 9am to 5pm
Where: Foyer Gallery, Gasworks
Suitable for all ages.

For more information, visit the Gasworks website.

teachers' resources

Interview with Audrey from Audrey of the Outback

"Audrey of the Outback book cover"Over on the Audrey of the Outback blog, Christine Harris talks about interviewing your characters as one way of getting ideas for your story. She interviews Audrey while she’s at it!

We are sad to hear that there won’t be any more Audrey paperbacks, but on the blog Christine Harris says there will be an Audrey picture book coming out, so stay tuned …

authors, info, teachers' resources

Meet Christine Harris: author of Audrey of the Outback!

Christine Harris The summer ’09 issue of Alphabet Soup includes a Q&A with Christine Harris. We decided to publish the Q&A here too, with a couple of extra sections that didn’t fit onto the pages for the magazine layout!

Christine Harris is the author of 50 books, including Audrey of the Outback. She was nine years old and sitting up a tree when she wrote her first book. (She claims not to sit in trees when she writes these days. Perhaps it’s too hard to lug a computer up there.)

What do you love best about being a writer?
The surprises, in both the writing and the things I learn about the world, myself and my characters.

The readers that I meet in person and through emails, I love their enthusiasm and eccentric ways of viewing life.

Freedom and the ability to make a difference with my words.

Where do you live?
In my head mostly. But my house is in Mt Barker, South Australia

Audrey of the Outback coverWhat made you become a writer?
An impulse that I can only describe as a driving force. Even as a child I was captured by stories, telling them, reading them and then writing some.

Was it easy to get your first book published?
No. But I was determined. I gave myself three years to make something happen. I started with competitions, then went onto articles in magazine and newspapers and, eventually, publishers. I have had books shortlisted for prizes that were rejected previously by other publishers. My first short story was rejected 17 times, before someone said yes.

So? All great things take a lot of effort! The trick is to inform yourself of your best markets, be professional, creative and never give up.

Audrey Goes to Town coverAre there any ‘downsides’ to being a writer?
Starvation, isolation … any ‘ation’ you can probably think of. But, seriously, it is important to get out sometimes, rather than just staring at a computer all day. Talk to another human at least once  a day. And it’s hard waiting for my agent or a publisher to say whether they like my material or not. That’s agony. Some parts of writing are boring, but not many. And if I feel like that I take a break or play music or sounds. I bought some CD which are just natural sounds like birds or rain or the ocean and they have no music or words.

What was your favourite book as a child?
A Wrinkle in Time.  Scared the pants off me. Then there was Midwich Cuckoos, The Chrysalids – oops, looks as though I like being scared.

Do you have any pets?
Just my husband, David. And he’s quite house trained.

Audrey's Big Secret, coverWhere do you get your ideas/inspiration?
Anything I see, hear, feel, smell, read … sparks come from all manner of places. What is important is to let the idea run its full length, allow time to mull over it, ask ‘What If?’ and write notes.

Of your own books, which is your favourite?
I don’t have a favourite because I only write books I like, and it depends on my mood which genre I might choose on any day.

What do you like to do when you are not writing?
Knit, watch movies, work in my garden, hike, read, and scour YouTube for funny videos.

Do you mostly write in a paper journal, or use a computer?
Computer, these days. My handwriting is awful now, and I can type faster. Also typing on the computer allows me to change or save very easily. But I do have a collection of notebooks that I use for ideas and some planning.

Are you working on a book at the moment? Can you tell us something about it?
Maze is a psychological thriller for readers 11+ and I am halfway through, but I can’t talk about it as I am superstitious and think it will disappear if I talk about it too soon.

Do you have any advice for young writers?
Write often, in your own voice, and remember to enjoy it!

You can find out more about Christine Harris and her books by visiting her website: You can also check out the Audrey of the Outback page:

authors, competitions, info, teachers' resources

Summer 2009 issue – out 16 November!

Issue 5 cover, Alphabet SoupIssue 5 will be arriving in your letterboxes from 16 November. We love the bright and summery cover – it was designed by Kate Larson, winner of our design-a-cover competition!

We received many many excellent entries and choosing a winner was very difficult. We thought Kate’s cover was eye-catching, we loved the kids on the beach, and the design left room for the Alphabet Soup logo and a few words about what’s inside the issue. Congratulations Kate!

So, what will you find inside the upcoming issue?

  • Q&A with Christine Harris, author of the Audrey of the Outback series.
  • Meet an astronomer, Peter Birch.
  • Stories, poems and book reviews.
  • Crossword.
  • Kids’ writing.
  • Summer writing competition (win a $20 book voucher!)

If you’d like to buy a copy online, subscribe, or renew your subscription, visit our website:

Keep reading and writing!

Rebecca Newman, Editor