How I write: children’s book author Anna Kenna

Author Anna Kenna says she writes best in the morning when her mind is fresh and the house is calm.

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Author Anna Kenna says she writes best in the morning when her mind is fresh and the house is calm.

Before becoming an author of children’s books, Anna Kenna was a radio and television journalist. She has written extensively for the education market and her stories are used in classrooms around the world. His junior fiction series, Viola Vincent Report, presents the adventures of teenage journalist Caitlin Nove. The last of the series, Troubled Water, was recognized as an Outstanding Book by Storylines 2021. Anna’s latest picture book is The essential fairy. Kenna lives on the coast of Kāpiti, with her husband and two terriers, and is an avid runner and long-distance walker.

Where are you happiest with a book in your hand?

On a lounge chair by the river with a flask of tea or a good white wine.

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

I loved the books by Gerald Durrell, the amateur naturalist. I particularly liked My family and other animals about his time in Corfu, where he regularly terrorized his family with his collection of live animals.

READ MORE:
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* How I write: Shilo Kino, winner of the Young Adult Fiction Award
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What’s your writing routine? Do you have a time of day when you like to write?

I write best in the early hours of the morning, around 6 a.m. This is when I feel most creative. My mind is fresh, the house is calm, and I have a large cup of tea next to me.

Essential Fairy written by Anna Kenna, illustrated by Tim Hunt.

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Essential Fairy written by Anna Kenna, illustrated by Tim Hunt.

And where do you write?

I write in my home office but I also like to write in libraries, to get away from it all.

Can you share any great writing advice you received?

“Show, don’t say. It’s an old man but a goodie. I consider myself to be a very visual writer, so I like to let the action and the dialogue tell the story, rather than long narrative passages.

What advice do you give to writers who are just starting out?

Writing is hard work. Anyone who tells you otherwise is not being honest.

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

Contemporary detective stories with relatable characters. This year I have read everything written by Irish writer Jo Spain.

  • The Essential Fairy, written by Anna Kenna and illustrated by Tim Hunt, tells the story of 6-year-old Ruth who loses her front tooth in the middle of confinement. RRP $ 20


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Grover Z. Barnes