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Ian writes picture story books, novels for older readers and young adult novels as well as dabbling in some freelance journalism. He was, until recently a primary school teacher, but after 40 years in front of a chalkboard he finally decided writing is heaps more fun and so much quieter.
I was born in Geelong, Victoria, where I had a great childhood hanging out with my mates, riding my bike everywhere, terrorising the local neighbourhood and spending endless summer days bodysurfing and lazing on the beach. When it was time to give all the fun stuff away and grow up I became a primary school teacher, but that little kid is still lurking within me and often pops up somewhere in my stories.
Although all of my working life has been as a teacher, I sometimes supplemented my miserly teacher’s salary with school holiday work as a builder’s labourer, working in a foundry that made street signs and basking in the sun while pretending to be a surf lifesaver.
I have never consciously sought to explore any particular theme in my books, although my picture story books have sometimes been described as ‘gentle tales’. I love adventure and I think this is reflected in my Hopscotch novels which I hope not only transport the reader to another place in another time, but also keeps the reader’s heart pounding and the adrenalin pumping.
When my first picture story book, Quincy, was published and subsequently won a CBCA ‘Notable Australian Book’ award I began to think I might just be on to something here. Author visits to schools all over the world, including Colorado in the USA (I was on a teaching exchange there for a year) and the tiny fishing village of Pittenweem in Scotland (I’d just finished walking across England with my wife). Fan mail, like … “I appreciate you signing my very own copy of Golden Scarab and I can’t wait to see the other great books you create and publish.” Harrison, aged 12
Books. I just love books – the way they feel and smell and how the pages rustle if you rub them a certain way and the places they can take me too. As a child I read all Enid Blyton’s series of books by saving my pocket money and riding my rusty old bike into the city to fork out 7 shillings and sixpence for her latest adventure. Enid Blyton rocks!
Probably not, unless you were one of those idiots who took no notice of the patrol flags at the beach and I had to risk life and limb to drag you out of the surf.
Forget computer games and television; books rule. They are the best form of escape ever. With a book in your hands and a torch fitted with brand new batteries you can spend all night under the blankets exploring strange and exciting new worlds and meeting fantastic characters! It’s been 5 years in the making, but my next picture story book, Edge of the World is due for release early in 2012. In the words of my editor, Donna Rawlins, “It’s a doozy and Wayne Harris’s illustrations are just awesome”.