Posted by: Lisa Hill | October 4, 2021

Meet an Aussie Author: Danielle Binks

I’ve never before featured an author twice in Meet an Aussie Author, but the first time I featured Danielle Binks was in 2017 when she came to my attention as an ambassador for Australian YA.  She had launched #LoveOzYA and the first Begin, End, Begin: the #LoveOzYA anthology and the MAAA focus was all about that and not about her own work.  In fact I had never read any of Danielle’s books because I don’t often read YA.

However, as you may remember from my post about the Port Fairy Literary Weekend, Danielle featured in a session about writing historical fiction for young people and I bought and subsequently read her debut middle-grade novel The Year the Maps Changed.  I was impressed, and so were the judges for the 2021 Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA)  because it was awarded the status of a Notable Book.

And then, the 2021 Melbourne Writers Festival was cancelled and Danielle’s opportunity to promote her new book The Monster of Her Age vanished. She took up my offer to spruik the books of Australian authors whose MWF events were cancelled (an offer which is still open to anyone impacted by the cancellation), and very generously shared the author’s note about the Australian film industry that accompanies the book as well. You can read about The Monster of Her Age here.

So here we are, it’s time to meet Danielle in her own right.

  1. I was born…. September 15th 1987 in Frankston, on the lands of the Boonwurrung. I grew up along the Mornington Peninsula and still live there to this day; I love it so much that some of its true history inspired my debut book for children, ‘The Year the Maps Changed.’
  2. When I was a child… I was obsessed with Blinky Bill, The Animals of Farthing Wood and the animated Robin Hood. Anthropomorphic animals were totally my jam, and I’d write and illustrate these stapled-together “books” featuring the only animal I could draw halfway decently; rabbits.
  3. The person who encouraged / inspired / mentored me … My grandmother, my Omi. She was a voracious reader and treated books as treats – if I was well-behaved I got a trip to the library, or a Little Golden Book from the supermarket checkout. As I got older my Omi and I would swap books and dive headlong into series together (we became obsessed with Diana Gabaldon’s ‘Outlander’) – we had our own little book club of two, really. She passed away in January 2020, but it was one of my most treasured memories getting to show her my debut book in December 2019 and tell that she made an author out of me.
  4. I write in … I do a lot of my ‘writing’ when I’m walking. That’s when I can clear my head and let my characters talk to me a little bit, figure out the emotional trajectory of the story and just work some things out within myself before committing them to the page. A lot of writing is thinking, and not actively ‘writing’ but it all counts and goes towards the creativity.
  5. I write when … I am a night-owl when it comes to writing. When I’m on a roll I can blast through midnight and go well into the AM. I think that’s a pretty good balance; that I do a lot of my thinking about writing in the light of day and out in nature, and then I tuck myself inside and write into the night.
  6. Research is… A joy! ‘The Year the Maps Changed’, my debut book for 10-14 year-olds, was inspired by true events during the 1999 Kosovo War and a refugee operation in Australia called ‘Operation Safe Haven’. I did a lot of my research interviewing people who lived through those events, trawling through newspaper archives at public libraries, and visiting the sites where my book takes place (especially the Point Nepean Quarantine Station). I considered it my responsibility to tell this true story well and as close to the truth as history demands, and to do as much research as possible – especially knowing that my audience would be young people and they could potentially be studying it, and would absolutely poke holes if I got anything horrendously wrong (as well they should!) For ‘The Monster of Her Age’ I gave myself a small break and made up a fictional Australian film history – but it still had a basis in Hollywood reality, and I still gave myself the ‘homework’ of watching a whole lot of horror movies to get inspired (not at all a chore for me, I love horror movies!)
  7. I keep my published works in … An old bookshelf that desperately needs rearranging, and I hope to one day fill every shelf with my books.
  8. On the day my first book was published, I … was in Melbourne lockdown! But I hung up some streamers, got my top-half presentable for a Zoom virtual launch and then burst into tears because my friends, family, and publisher delivered me flowers and a chocolate mud-cake to celebrate!
  9. At the moment, I’m writing… A new story for middle-grade readers, those aged 8-12. It might be set during 2020, but will be a tribute to the resilience and curiosity of kids. There will be a mystery that proves a great and epic distraction for kids across two continents. I think.
  10. When I ‘m stuck for an idea / word / phrase, I … Walk it out. Get into the world a little bit, let nature do its thing and inspire me.

How wonderful to have a grandmother who rewards good behaviour with books!

You can find out more about Danielle at her website.

 

 


Responses

  1. ‘The Monster of Her Age’ sounds interesting:-)

    Like


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