Cameron Macintosh is a writer and editor based in Melbourne. He has worked in educational publishing since 2001, editing primary literacy books and teaching materials. In the last decade he has been busily writing them too, and is now the author of more than 80 primary titles. In 2017 he crossed over into trade publishing with the release of the first book in his Max Booth Future Sleuth series – a humour-filled sci-fi series for 7 to 10-year-olds.
Who inspired you to be a writer?
I doubt either of my parents would describe themselves as writers, but I’ve definitely been inspired by my dad’s love for music, art and books, and my mum’s voracious reading (she’s the only person I know who’s actually read War and Peace all the way through!)
Also, a few schoolteachers, who seemed to believe I had some ability with words, and made sure I knew it. It’s amazing how that kind of encouragement can keep you going, years later.
Have you always been a writer?
I’ve been working in educational publishing for about 17 years, as a writer and editor, both in-house and freelance. That’s been incredible, but I’d always wanted to branch into mainstream trade publishing with my own writing. The idea that helped me make the leap came along a few years ago when the first Max Booth adventure took shape in my head. After a few years of workshopping and redrafting, I submitted it to the marvellous people at Big Sky Publishing, and here we are.
What are you working on now?
I’m currently working on the fifth Max Booth book, a YA novel and my first full-length book for adults. I should probably stick to one thing at a time, but… nah! I do actually feel like each project benefits from the fact that I’m constantly hopping between ideas and audiences. It definitely keeps me thinking about the universal elements that help forge memorable stories, whatever the readership.
As a child, what was your relationship with books?
Books were a portal into other worlds, and into my own imagination, in a way that TV or movies could never quite match. Like most writers, I was a major bookworm, particularly when it came to Roald Dahl, Tin Tin and the Secret Seven.
What is the most important thing about what you do?
Without wanting to sound too earnest about it, writers, or any other artists, have the chance to use their craft to provide deep wells of connection between people, and to remind us all of our common humanity. I doubt I’ve come close to achieving that yet but it certainly motivates me when I sit down to write.
What are the challenges you face in this industry?
To me, it feels like the biggest challenge is the fact that there’s so much competition for readers’ attention, and certainly not all of it from books. But as far as books go, readers are spoilt for choice because so much good stuff is being written and published at the moment. Getting published, or self-published, is a colossal mountain to climb on its own, but in a way that’s just the beginning of the journey. These days you need to be quite proactive in helping your books find readers.
What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
Listen to your belly – if an idea starts it rumbling, you’re probably onto something. Beyond that, just hang in there and keep writing and submitting. It’s a long-game pursuit but there’ll always be an appetite for good stories out there.
What is your definition of success?
Living a life that remains true to the fire in your own belly, whatever that happens to be.
What is your ultimate goal?
To write something – even just one story – that holds up over time and really connects and resonates with people. I’m sure that’s