Sonia Bestulic was born and grew up in Sydney Australia, enjoying a childhood filled with wonderful books, a passion for writing, and musically entwined, having played the violin until her late teens, including performances at the Sydney Opera House. Sonia is Founder of Talking Heads Speech Pathology, the well-known, reputable Sydney based clinics established in 2006. Along term advocate for children’s learning and literacy, Sonia continues to write and speak when it comes to all things children.
Who or what inspired you?
My three children were certainly a strong inspiration, particularly during the time in my life when I wrote my first draft, they were aged 2,3 and 4, life was certainly hectic, and there was always activity happening!
Having three children so close in age brought with it a supersonic burst in personal development, and a strong reminder to live in the moment and be playful. Reece give Me Some Peace! certainly reflects that, as well as the difficulties parents often experience, in trying to enjoy moments of peace and quiet in a noisy child inhabited household!
Also of great inspiration was my professional background as a well-seasoned Speech & Language Pathologist, having worked with countless children and families. Within my work I often discuss the power of learning through play and exploration, and also work very heavily in getting children ready to learn how to read, spell and write.
Reece Give Me Some Peace! also has a musical theme reflecting my musically entwined childhood, having played the violin well into my late teens. I certainly appreciate the joys that come with playing an instrument.
What has been your journey up to this point?
I completed my manuscript a few years back, and had it assessed at the then, NSW Writer’s Centre. That was a valuable process, and great way to get some feedback. It was also encouraging and reassuring, as the feedback received was to get my manuscript in front of publishers; so I did submit to a few publishing houses – without much luck though.
My positive belief in my work however was ever present, so last year I resubmitted to a couple of publishing houses and then two months after submitting Reece Give Me Some Peace! I thought; why not submit one of my other manuscripts too, to further showcase my writing. I was super excited, (perhaps elated is a better way to describe the feeling) when I received a call from publishers, keen to commission both of the manuscripts I had submitted… there were big hugs all round for whoever was in a five metre radius of me!
What are you working on now?
A start has been made on my second picture book, due for release mid-2019 with Big Sky Publishing. It is already looking amazing, and Nancy Bevington is such a talented, wonderful illustrator.
I am also in the early stages of podcasting; my podcast is Chatabout Children with Sonia Bestulic. It encompasses all things children, from health, development, learning and literacy. I am looking forward to it being an avenue to educate, enlighten and entertain parents and child related professionals alike.
As a child, what was your relationship with books?
I would definitely consider my child self as an absolute book worm. I loved reading, and loved books. I enjoyed trawling through any books on the home bookshelf, and other people’s bookshelves! Bookstores were also a favourite place to visit– where I could experience so many worlds in a short space of time.
In my first job at 14 years of age, I would save up my $5/hr to buy books and very often used my lunch breaks to visit the local book store and plan my future purchases!
What is the most important thing about what you do?
Books are just such a powerful and personal mode of connection; and with children’s picture books there is that beautiful layer of shared experience that occurs with the child and the reader (who is often a parent, carer or educator). I consider myself and others authors as facilitators of connection, which is both humbling and amazing.
What are the challenges you face in this industry?
I’d say I share some of the common challenges; including having your voice heard in a busy and competitive industry, and also the challenge we as authors face in getting books in front of children and parents/ carers when there are so many other activities that compete for their attention these days.
Another personal challenge I face is that of creating more time to be able to dedicate to do more writing!
What advice can you offer to aspiring authors?
Keep writing, keep reading, get involved in writers events and engage in writers groups online and in person, get feedback on your writing, and persevere with your submissions!
What is your definition of success?
Success is… being at peace with yourself, with others and with the universe.
What is your ultimate goal?
My ultimate goal is to live each day being congruent with my definition of success!
In terms of writing goals – I plan to have more books published within the picture books genre and eventually other genres as well.
I hope to continue inspiring young people to make reading and books a natural and loved part of life.
Contact Sonia Bestulic