The Booktopia Book Guru asks
Ten Terrifying Questions
1. To begin with why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself – where were you born? Raised? Schooled?
I was born and raised in Perth, Western Australia until my father dragged the family across the Nullarbor when I was 15 for bigger things out East. I finished high school and went to University in Sydney and haven’t really ever left.
2. What did you want to be when you were twelve, eighteen and thirty? And why?
At age 12 I dreamed of one day running my own newspaper and dating Spike from Press Gang – the thought of sitting around talking about what stories were important and which weren’t seemed wonderful to me, and Dexter Fletcher was just so witty and respectful of Julia Sawalha; at age 18 I wanted to be an academic historian – I was studying history and loved it, I still do; at age 30 I wanted to be a lady of leisure – it seemed so appealing.
3. What strongly held belief did you have at eighteen that you do not have now?
I believed that life would take a linear, logical course.
4. What were three works of art – book or painting or piece of music, etc – you can now say, had a great effect on you and influenced your own development as a writer?
5. Considering the innumerable artistic avenues open to you, why did you choose to write a picture book?
There is so much delight to be had in a picture book – you only need to sit down and read to children to discover that. You can see the world open up to a child right before your very eyes. To be able to create those experiences is a total joy.
6. Please tell us about your latest picture book…
My latest picture book is a follow up book to a book I wrote a number of years ago called Count My Kisses, Little One. They appear to be counting books, but they are really about smooching and the affection small children have for new babies.
7. What do you hope people take away with them after reading your work?
A warm fuzzy feeling.
8. Whom do you most admire in the realm of writing and why?
In the realm of children’s picture writing, I’ve always admired Margaret Wild who knows how to write for babies and toddlers like no other, and Jan Ormerod, who was also a great expert in writing and illustrating for small children. If you read their books, it doesn’t take long to see what great observers they are of life in the small lane.
To continue writing picture books that keep the interest and imagination of toddlers alive; books that when the reading comes to a close the toddler says, ‘again’, and mum or dad or the loved one has to read it over and over. Sorry grown-ups.
10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?
Don’t be one of those people who read children’s books and say ‘I could have written that’ – you didn’t – but you could – if you sit down and give it a try.
Ruthie, thank you for playing.
by Ruthie May, Tamsin Ainslie (Illustrator)
From the creators of the beautiful Count My Kisses, Little One comes another delightful book, perfect for the festive season.
One kiss for baby, under mistletoe. Two kisses for baby, catching falling snow.
2010’s Count My Kisses, Little One was an instant hit with Australian littlies and their parents. With Tamsin Ainslie’s adorable illustrations and Ruthie May’s beautiful rhyming text, the book gently introduced young children to the idea of numbers and counting.
The book soon left our shores, and went on to become an international bestseller, with more than 100,000 copies sold worldwide. Now, Ruthie and Tamsin are back with Count My Christmas Kisses – a gorgeous new picture book, perfect for the holiday season.
About the Author
Ruthie May was born in Perth, Western Australia. She is the published author of Count My Kisses, Little One and Stew a Cockatoo: My Aussie Cookbook illustrated by Leigh Hobbs. Ruthie immerses herself in stories for both children and grown-ups, but prefers stories where age doesn’t matter..