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Open Right

Andrea Rowe

Author, Personal Development

Energising, passionate, sometimes silly and forever hunting stories, Andrea turns children’s light bulbs on for their own story creations and loves inspiring text connection chats.  A professional copywriter for Australia’s top charities and past media manager for Government Ministers she’s inspired teenagers to explore career opportunities in writing and communications.

Andrea’s best-selling  debut picture book Jetty Jumping won the 2022 CBCA Picture Book of the Year for Early Childhood and the  2023 Speech Pathology Australia Book of the Year for 5 to 8-year-olds.

Sunday Skating has been released in Australia, UK and Europe and the USA and In the Rockpools has been announced as a 2024 Notable Book of the Year: Early Childhood. She has more books in production.

Where were you born?

I was born in Mortlake, Western Victoria where small town living seeped into my veins. We soon moved to the ‘big coast town’ of Warrnambool where strong ocean winds sang me to sleep.

What other jobs have you had?

Sometimes I think my CV reads like an ‘I’ve been everywhere’ theme song. But I kind of have. From my school days of working in the video store (man, I’m old!) to university and intern adventures behind the microphone in radio stations, I’ve always liked a job where there’s a story to be shared.

After graduating from RMIT with my BA in Media Studies I set off overseas, adding summer camps in America, London tourism airport meeter and greeter, French ski resort Chalet Girl and visitor expereimce and interpretation writer for a Canadian national park to the list.

Back in Australia I headed for the hills to be work in Marketing at Mt Buffalo Chalet, and a visitor interpretation and Junior ranger writer for national parks / historic sites. I upgraded my skills with a Grade Diploma in Issues and Crisis Communications Management to become a Media Manager for an  environment agency and government Minister, and squeezed in managing the Media Centre at Melbourne’s Commonwealth Games.

The pace is less hectic but just as fulfilling these days – I’m a copywriter and content strategist for Australian not-for-profit organisations like Royal Flying Doctors (Kids Club newsletter editor),  Kids Teaching Kids and Conservation Volunteers Australia. Working with organisations that make a difference matters to me all the more these days.

What themes are recurring in your work?

I’m a little obsessed with the conflict within us all in real world-settings, and I love tackling themes that encourage conversations

The focus of my first book explored themes around bravery and resilience, as well as healthy risk taking. My next two picture books are about lifting others up during times of doubt or worry, which is something I feel is so important for us all to be mindful of.

The things many of my books and stories have in common is community, and deep diving into connections with people and place. My writing often captures  nostalgic reflections of every-day life, and how transitions through tricky times draw us together.

In my short story (and current novel) writing I like to write to themes that are unfolding in our news feeds and over our kitchen tables  like climate change and community activism, safe digital communications, evolving family relationships and mental health and wellbeing.

What have been the highlights of your career?

My debut children’s picture book was shortlisted as the 2022 Children’s Picture Book of the Year – Early Reads with the Children’s Book Council of Australia. That gets my biggest grin!

I’ve also written award winning campaign copy for the Royal Flying Doctor Services which has helped change lives, developed media communications declaring Victoria’s first marine National Park, recorded community historical stories of Mt Buffalo and Wilsons Promontory National parks during their Centenary years and managed international media at 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games.

Another highlight was achieved at altitude. (Fitting!) I wrote the iconic road signage for the Great Alpine Road which shares the environmental, cultural and historical tales of the Victoria’s high country.

Not bad for a teenager who was first published in Dolly Magazine at 14 years old and wondered if she could ever make a go at this writing caper!

What are you passionate about?

-Community and connection

-Environmental care and activism

– Regional Australia, the bush and the beach and the paddocks in between

– Asking why and always questioning

– Being where your feet are and enjoying the moment,

– Looking up words that I over-use and teaching myself even better words to use (always learning!)

– Meeting characters in books so real to you that you can’t wait back to plunge into a book and spend time with them again.

– Eating Cherry Ripes

Haven’t I seen you before?

Busted! Before I was a writer I used to be in PR and I was often in front of the camera talking about different things. I’ve sat on the couch with Bert Newton, chatted to reporters at big launches when the VIP’s were running late, milled about looking like the general public in tourism shows, and even dressed as a Wombat and made it on the national news. (For the record, there are NO best sides in a wombat suit, and it’s all wet stink inside!)

Anything else you’d like to share with us?

I’ve grown up in the bush, teenaged in the burbs, perched in park ranger houses across the world and now I write from my house in the windswept sand dunes of Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula. Life’s an adventure!

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