Sticky Beak

Thanks to Aleesah Darlison for tagging me for The Next Big Thing Blog – you can find her here on  And here are my answers to the questions:

Q: What is the working title of your next book?    A:  Manly’s Little (Fairy) Penguins.

Q:  Where did the idea come from for the book?    A:  This is a work of non-fiction. I was commissioned by NPWS to write the story of the Little Penguins of Manly.  After talking to the Penguin Wardens as well as to personnel in the numerous other agencies who all have a share in caring for and protecting these little penguins, I came to understand how vulnerable they are and how precious.  Sticky Beak is a very precocious little penguin. According to Angelika, one of the wardens ‘he sings the loudest and dances the best’.

Q:  What genre does your book fall under?    A:  Non-fiction for children

Q: What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?   A:  Sticky Beak for sure!!

Q:  What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?   A:   This book focuses on the Little Penguins at Manly but is applicable to all of southern Australia where penguin colonies are found as it describes their lifestyle and habitat, the threats they face from such dangers as stray dogs, fishing tackle and water pollution, and ways in which they may be protected.

Q:  Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?   A:  The book, due out early next year, will be published under the aegis of National Parks and Wildlife Service.

Q:  How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?   A:  Researching and writing the text took the best part of six months, but it’s been through several drafts since then.

Q:  What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?    A:  There are numerous non-fiction books written for children about Australian creatures in general, but this is the first (so far as I know) that focuses on our Little Penguin colonies.

Q:  Who or what inspired you to write this book?    A:  I’ve more or less answered the question above, but I have to say the love and dedication of those who care for the penguins, particularly wardens like Angelika who are on duty night after night to supervise them while they are nesting and raising their chicks, was truly inspirational.

Q:  What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?    A:  This is really a book for all ages because of all the information (and great photographs) contained within. The antics of our penguins are highly amusing, but  the difficulties they face for survival will shock and sadden you.  Above all, the book will show the reader how to protect these small, vulnerable creatures and how to keep their colonies viable, particularly when (like our Manly penguins) they live in such close proximity to people.

It’s my pleasure, after this week, to pass on the baton to Patricia Bernard:   Isolde Martyn:;  Wendy Blaxland:;  Sophie Masson:;  and Jenny Hale:   You’ll find their blogs live from December 26th.  Happy Christmas everyone!

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