JULIE REED The Winner of the Adelaide Books Children’s Literature Award
1. Tell you a bit about myself – something not found in an official author’s bio. Do I have any unusual creative habits?
The character Stella, of Stella’s Umbrellas originated when trying to keep my daughter, Stella, for whom the character is based, occupied during my older daughter’s soccer game. Fair skinned and red-faced from the heat, Stella and I decided to walk to the car to get an umbrella to provide some shade. She loved writing stories at the time, so I suggested she write a story about a little girl who owned magical umbrellas. I do my best creative thinking when walking my dogs in nature and oddly, when folding laundry. I think tackling mindless chores without any interruption allows for a creative flow to emerge. I also write songs in my sleep. One of these days I’ll remember to place a notebook by the nightstand to help me remember them in the morning.
2. What was my first story (article, essay or poem) and when did I write it?
When I was a young teen I used to write poetry for my grandmother. She and I were very close, and in lieu of a birthday card or thank you note I would share a poem to express my thoughts and feelings. Occasionally, I still enjoy presenting a gift to a friend or family member accompanied with a poem.
3. What am I working on right now?
I am always concocting future adventures for Stella to discover.
4. What do I deem the most relevant about my work?
What is the most important to be remembered? With respect to Stella’s Umbrellas, I love her character’s authenticity. She really marches to her own beat and does so by making her little world a better place each day. Ultimately, I intended my story to show how important it is to be kind and how much our words can positively affect people.
5. What authors and books have influenced my writings?
As a child and as a parent reading to my children I have always been drawn to rhyming children’s books. I still have my original copy of The Giant Jam Sandwich, story and pictures by John Vernon Lord with verses by Janet Burroway. Thanks, mom, for reading it to me a billion times! I also adore Priscilla and the Splish-Splash Surprise. I love Nathaniel Hobbie’s creative word usage. Jocelyn Hobbie’s illustrations transport me to a happy place where there is always a silver lining.