Hatched and dispatched:  author launches first of five 'kidlit' books

Five thousand copies of debut picture story The Book Chook are heading to stores all around Australia and New Zealand and Blaxland children's author Amelia McInerney can scarcely believe it.

Kids Lit rising star: In between taking ultrasounds of patients in her day job, and playing the saxophone at her girls preschool for fun, Blaxland's Amelia McInerney makes writing kids books look easy.

Kids Lit rising star: In between taking ultrasounds of patients in her day job, and playing the saxophone at her girls preschool for fun, Blaxland's Amelia McInerney makes writing kids books look easy.

Because even as that first book is hatched and dispatched this month, there are another four waiting in the wings to be published by 2020.

"It's all happening for me," she told the Gazette. "I can't believe it. I'm so lucky. It's very unusual to have books contracted before the first book comes out and before the book sales. I'm pinching myself every day."

Mrs McInerney started writing in between raising three small children while her husband was stationed with the airforce in Washington DC almost five years ago.

"I started with the biggest cliché, the lightbulb moment … It happened when I was reading a picture book to my two week old and my three-year-old. It wasn't a very good book, I thought I could write a better one."

Two weeks later the chook story came to her in rhyme - one of many "wacky" stories that have  popped into her head when she has needed an idea.

"I loved reading picture books as a child, loved reading them with my own kids, loved watching my husband read them to our kids. I slowly began learning."

She is not embarrassed to admit she read Writing Children’s Books for Dummies, bought a $5 Groupon for www.writestorybooksforchildren.com and trawled the internet for months, finding sources like kidlit411 and Harold Underdown. She also attended Pinerolo in the Mountains and joined the society of childrens' writers (SCBWI). She now spends 30 hours a week writing.

Like many children's authors she thinks picture books are a bowl of porridge just right for little brains.

"Research has shown that screens don't get their brains working the way a picture book does."

Her three girls (4,8 and 10) and the bush have proven to be her muse - seven of her last ideas which she is turning into books have all had their genesis in the Mountains.

"My children have been a fantastic source of information and it really helps my writing being here, we are surrounded by the national park, which is amazing for any creative pursuit."

Sometimes an idea has come to her while doing ultrasounds in her part-time job as a sonographer. She always loved English, as well as biology, and wanted to help people, which led her to pursue science over literary pursuits.

The Book Chook is about Ray who panics when he discovers he is a drawing of a chicken and then hatches a plan to get out of the book. She said it's about "flying the coop and discovering home".

"It's about self acceptance really."

She has four real chickens at home - one is called Ray - but adds maybe there's a bit of her in the story.

The Book Chook, with illustrations by Connah Brecon, will be launched on Monday March 11 at 4pm at Cafe 2773 in Glenbrook. Blue Dragon books will have signed copies to sell.