Jacqueline de Rose-Ahern is a Canberra based author and the recipient of the ACT Writers Centre 2017 Anne Edgeworth Fellowship. Her debut picture book, Charlie’s Adventures…in Hawaii, was shortlisted for the 2017 Speech Pathology Australia Book of the Year Awards and chosen as a finalist in the 2017 American Best Book Awards. Her second book in the Charlie’s Adventure series, Charlie’s Adventures…in South Africa, was recently released. At the heart of Jacqueline’s books are an appreciation of travel and the uniqueness of culture. She endeavours to encourage her readers to learn more about the world, supporting an empathetic and inclusive community.
Who or what inspired you?
Travel and adventure inspires me. The Charlie’s Adventures…series is based on the travel adventures my family has had.
The character Charlie is inspired by my grandfather whose name was Charlie.
What has been your journey up to this point?
I have been writing for as long as I can remember and I always wanted to be an author, but I was overwhelmed with fear. I never shared anything I wrote with anyone outside my very small immediate family.
When my daughter was born prematurely I was at a very low point in my life, being in and out of the special care nursery. Watching my daughter bravely fight reminded me how precious life is and how important it is to try. I knew I had to “walk the walk” how could I teach my daughter to dream big and work hard for her dreams if I wouldn’t do it myself? Her boldness and tenacity gave me the encouragement I needed to step out of my comfort zone. With a deep breath, I started to put myself and my stories out into the world.
In 2016, Charlie’s Adventures…in Hawaii was released. The book went on to be shortlisted for the 2017 Speech Pathology Book of the Year Awards and was chosen as a finalist in the 2017 American Best Book Awards. I was also fortunate to receive the Anne Edgeworth Fellowship from the ACT Writers Centre. The Fellowship enabled me to travel to Hawaii and Los Angeles to share my stories with an international audience.
I am so grateful for all that has happened on my journey so far. It has been paved with magical moments. I owe a great deal to my daughter and my incredible friends and family.
The second book in the Charlie’s Adventures…series, Charlie’s Adventures…in South Africa, was recently released. I am excited to share this book with my readers.
I am excited to keep writing!
What are you working on now?
Charlie’s Adventures…in South Africa was just launched as part of the Canberra Writers Festival at the National Museum of Australia. I am enjoying sharing this new book with my readers.
I have a number of manuscripts in the works, all of them feature a hint of adventure and travel.
As a child, what was your relationship with books?
Growing up I was fortunate to be surrounded by incredible storytellers. My mum, especially, was able to weave captivating tales. She instilled in me, at a very early age, a fondness of books, an appreciation of language and creating stories.
I was always surrounded by books. I loved where they would take me, to lands far away, full of magic and wonder.
What is the most important thing about what you do?
To create books that children will enjoy, encouraging them to read and read widely.
I like to write stories that showcase the beauty of the world and the extraordinary cultures within it.
I would like my stories to nurture global citizens, offering a window to the world, cultivating respect, bridging differences and providing a deeper understanding of the similarities we all share, no matter where we live.
What are the challenges you face in this industry?
I am introvert. I find it challenging putting myself out there, especially in terms of book marketing. I know it is an import part of being an author though and I am slowly getting better.
What advice can you offer to aspiring authors?
Back yourself. Keep writing and sharing your stories with others. Push past any fear or reservations you may have.
I also think it is extremely valuable to surround yourself with other authors and illustrators. They can teach you so much. I find children’s authors and illustrators are so generous. They are always willing to share their experience and lessons learned. It’s wonderful.
It is valuable to go to writing conferences and workshops too. Being around those in the industry gives you so much inspiration and guidance. It is essential for your craft.
What is your definition of success?
If my books have made one child happy or given one child a glimpse of how beautiful the world is, that is success to me.
What is your ultimate goal?
To reach readers around the world.
I would love my stories to be embraced by children around the world.
Have you been involved with Share Your Story in any way?
I often peruse the Share Your Story website. It’s a fantastic resource.
I would love to be more involved and attend some of the events. Hopefully in the next year!