Me: What inspired you to start writing?
Robyn: When I was fifteen, my English teacher gave me an A for every essay I wrote. One day, as he handed me back an essay, he said, “You should be a writer.” At the time, I hadn’t given any thought to people writing books. I only thought about the characters and the stories. Thanks to my English teacher I realized I, too, could write a book. So I did!
Me: Tell me a little bit about you, in brief.
Robyn: I’m the author of 90 published books, most of which are children’s books. From 1994, I spent about five years reading every book I could find on writing children’s books. I also did two courses, one on picture books and the other on writing for children. My first three children’s books, Jen Stays Inside, People Need Trucks and My Bike were published in 1999 by Macmillan Education. Three of my homework assignments – three short chapter books – which I completed for the writing for children course were published by Macmillan Education in 2000. Nowadays, I have a strong interest in spiritualism. In 2010, I had my first experiences as a psychic and a medium. Yes, I can talk to dead people. I’m the Treasurer of the Spiritual Mission of Noarlunga Inc. On a personal note, I’m married to writer/composer/director Rob Parnell.
Me: Tell me a bit about your latest book:
Robyn: Technically, my latest book is The Easy Way To Write Picture Books That Sell. Hopefully the title says it all. My latest fiction book is Best Team Wins, a humorous story about who's best at cricket: the boys or the girls! Ella stops to watch a group of boys play cricket. She asks if she can join in their game. They react as if she's a zombie asking to join the church choir! According to the boys, girls can't play cricket. Ella will ruin their game. The boys' comments make Ella so cross that she agrees to a boys versus girls cricket match. But there's a big problem. Ella doesn't have a cricket team. She has to find a team by the end of the week – a team good enough to beat the boys! Again Ella encounters a big problem. She can't find other girls who play cricket. She has to teach the girls and turn them into cricket stars in time to beat the boys. Ella faces another problem. Her team is one player short. Who will she get to fill the gap? Her friend Madison? Her Aunt Anna? Jessie the dog? Don't be silly, dogs can't play cricket! On the big day, the best team wins... Is it the boys' team? Is it the girls' team? Who is the secret weapon?
Me: Tell me more about your love for animals and the pets that you have now.
Robyn: I have a dog named Wally and a cat named Ludo. They are both 14 months old. There are photos of Wally and Ludo on my Facebook page - https://www.facebook.com/robyn.opieparnell.3. One of my passions is animals. I support several charities that help animals. People can help themselves but animals are helpless. Animals depend on us. We can destroy animals and their habitats, or we can protect animals and their habitats. Animals can’t speak for themselves. Animals can’t fight for their rights. It’s really up to us.
Me: Tell me more about your love for sports and what brought on the interest for each of these?
Robyn: used to play tennis and netball as a child. I always enjoyed watching Australian Rules Football, thanks to my father and brother. They were big fans and I couldn’t avoid football while growing up. Nowadays, I don’t have time for sports. I love walking along the beach or in a national park. I love being in nature.
Me: I noticed you had some free books and writing tips on your website. Tell me more about that please.
Robyn: I love to help people who want to write and get published. It’s difficult to help each person individually because there are only 24 hours in a day. So I did the next best thing. I wrote articles about writing and posted them on my website. I also wrote e-books on writing which are for sale on my website and Amazon. The free children’s books I offer on my website are examples of my writing, so people can see my writing advice in action.
Me: Is there a particular book that you enjoyed writing the most? What is that book about?
Robyn: I enjoyed writing Best Book Ever because the humor made writing the story a lot of fun. But the book I enjoyed writing the most was Maya and the Crystal Skull because this particular story incorporates my major passions in life – the Mayan culture, quantum psychics and spiritualism. I enjoyed this book so much because I was writing about what I love. Here’s the blurb from Maya and the Crystal Skull: Move over Indiana Jones... Maya's life has changed. Her mother is dead, killed in a car accident; she's befriended by Ethan, a boy who claims he's from the spirit world; and now her father is missing. What does the legend of the crystal skulls have to do with her father's disappearance? Will Maya travel to Mexico to save him? How can Maya's destiny have anything to do with the future of humankind? The Mexican jungle, ancient Mayan ruins, dangerous bounty hunters and evil kidnappers... Yes, Maya's life has changed. The fate of the world now depends on her.
A list of my published books:
Maya and the Crystal Skull
Maya and the Daring Heist
Best Book Ever
Best Team Wins
Best Joke Ever
Caught in a Cyclone
The Pony Game
Our Secret Place
The Eye of the Future
How to Write a Great Children’s Book (Adult non-fiction)
The Easy Way To Write Picture Books That Sell (Adult non-fiction)
You’re Amazing: The Easy Way To Create Your Perfect Life (Adult non-fiction)
Thank you very much for the interview Robyn! It was a pleasure not only talking with you, but reading your book as well! I look forward to reading some of your other books in the future. Take care!
About this Blog
Author Vickianne Caswell interviews other children's authors.