Amelia Trompf is the newly published Australian author of Who is Fitzy Fox? As a teacher, she is passionate about instilling a love of reading in children through creative play and activities. Here, Amelia talks about all the creative energy that has gone into her book as well her own personal Picture Book Craft Challenge that she hopes will help get kids excited about reading.
Welcome to Oh Creative Day, Amelia.
I find inspiration… When creating reading activities for the Fitzy Fox website for kids to do at home, I found a lot of inspiration from Pinterest. My whole family is addicted. I got a lot of inspiration from Jennifer Bruce the illustrator of Who is Fitzy Fox? whose gorgeous illustrations lent themselves to so many great crafts. I also used to teach art at a primary school and the kids were so inspiring. I never ceased to be amazed at the way you could plant a seed of an idea and then kids would make it grow way beyond your expectations. As a teacher, I find inspiration from my own mother. She was also a teacher and she told me that to be a good teacher you have to genuinely want to see other people grow and succeed; you have to be selfless, passionate and egoless. It is a highly creative job in so many ways. Nowadays, I also find much inspiration from my son; watching him discover the world has really made me slow down a bit and marvel at the world around me and it’s so fun being able to do creative things with him. I now get so excited we finish a carton of eggs so we can make caterpillars!
I am excited about … my new book! It has been a long time in the making (I wrote the first draft 7 years ago). I wrote Who is Fitzy Fox? because after years of working with children as a primary school teacher, I came to realise that one of the most powerful ways of connecting with children is through story so I am really excited to think that children who might feel a bit lost themselves could benefit from identifying with the story and realising the importance of sharing worries and fears. I am excited about visiting schools and libraries sharing all the activities I have created for the book. A fabulous part of this process has been working with creative people such as the songwriter and the animator who worked on the book’s trailer but mostly I am really excited about having the amazing Jennifer Bruce as my illustrator. It is her first book; I really think her career is about to take off and she truly is the loveliest person you will ever meet.
When I’m in a creative slump, I… take a break. The thing that stops my creativity is stress and feeling overwhelmed so the only thing for me to do is to switch off for a bit and allow time to just not think and then out of nowhere a brilliant idea will come. It works every time. I also pop to the shop for chocolate. Our milk bar is far too close!
I’m really proud of… number one my son because he really is very sweet even when he is having a monumental tantrum. I am pretty proud of the fact that I am quite a shy person and don’t like to be out of my comfort zone, but I have really pushed myself to get a book published and to do all the networking and promoting that is required for book marketing.
Someone once told me… to invest in myself. It wasn’t in the context of book marketing or creative ventures; actually, my best friend and I were talking about spending money on babysitters so we could do exercise and she said, ‘If you don’t invest in yourself, no one else will’ and her words have really resonated with me. Sometimes I hear myself saying, “it will take too much time, energy or money” but then I stop and hear her words and it has really helped me to keep going.
My advice to you is … if you have an idea or have a dream but something is stopping you, spend some time to work out what that something is. I have had many creative ideas for school projects that I didn’t do because I was too scared of failure and I spent years thinking of excuses not to send my manuscript to publishers for fear of rejection but in the end I worked out that mostly it was an internal battle in my head. I would also say it’s important to identify the true motivation behind your project and always stay true to yourself. Over the course of writing, publishing and promoting Who is Fitzy Fox? there have been times that I have gone a bit off track worrying about popularity and so on but I just keep trying to remind myself that I wrote this story to connect with children and families and that my main passion in life is promoting literacy through creativity. Finally, never let housework or mealtimes get in the way of creativity unless of course your child is screaming to be fed. When creating a doll’s house for my son, I was so focused that I barely said a word to my husband for a week and we ate cheese on toast for dinner every night, but I was so happy building my dream house!