Following the SCBWI trail across America

My name is Sheryl and I’m a SCBWI-holic; a proud member of this global network of writers and illustrators for young people.

There’s nothing better than meeting others from the TRIBE, so, before we left Australia on our recent trip to the US, I emailed Facebook friend, book  illustrator, author, blogger and illustrating teacherMark Gregory Mitchell – Ross and I were heading his way to stay in the fair city of Austin, Texas with our son, David and wife, Kathleen.

with the scbwi tribe
With some of the SCBWI Austinites – including Kristin Anderson, Mark Mitchell, me, SCBWI Austin ARA, Shelley Ann Jackson, Amy Farrier and Regional Advisor, Samantha Clark.

Not only was Mark a thoroughly lovely, hospitable bloke, he also took me to  several SCBWI and KidsLitBloggers events. One Saturday morning, we met up with the SCBWI mob at their Fall Critiquenic in the park. It was excellent.

We broke up into groups according to our genre – then took turns at reading and being critiqued by the group. They’re very professional – and thorough! With shaking knees, I read them the first chapter of my historical adventure work-in-progress, SWEET ADVERSITY. Would this Aussie story translate into another culture? Phew, it did!! 🙂

Mark Mitchell is an experienced blogger himself who is totally on the ball with it all. He arranged to interview me (on video!) for his illustrators’ and authors’ blog, How to be a Children’s Book Illustrator.

with the scbwi mob3
Beginning the Fall Critiquenic in the park – this table for novel/chapter book writers.

I organised my brain to at least be able to talk of  ‘shoes and ships and sealing wax, of cabbages and kings’ – and all things to do with our imaginary, magic world of children’s books, but with Mark’s skilful questioning and ability to put one at ease, I forgot I was on camera.

Mark’s wide range of interests includes dinosaurs, and how could he not be interested in these fascinating creatures from the deep past? That’s something I can relate to (as my Aussie friends know – I have a deep passion for Aussie dinosaurs).

Mark’s questions let to a discussion about the journey towards publication of my children’s Mid-Grade novel, Secrets of Eromanga – an adventure set on an Aussie outback fossil dig. Dinosaurs, writing, illustrating and Aussie publishing got a full airing.

The video will be up here soon – once Mark sets it up.

Being a writer can be a lonely and at times, depressing business … what other job do you know where you must pick yourself up from the floor after rejections and keep on going, following your profession and your passion? Oh, yeah, that’s right, artists, illustrators, musicians, actors all face the same thing. But it need not be a lonely existence – you must network nowadays to meet others in the field, to share experiences, and to benefit from the experience of others; to learn and to teach.


I couldn’t live without the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. That’s why I’m proud to be the SCBWI Australia East/NZ Assistant Regional Advisor in my home state, Queensland; and why I love connecting up with others from our tribe across the globe.

Go SCBWI Austin, you good things!! 🙂 

the scbwi mob2

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