My appetence for writing has always been part of me, but choosing young readers as the audience of my first book is surprisingly related to a life-changing event.
The idea of writing a children’s book came to my mind, after having experienced an ‘Au Pair lifestyle’ for a year in the far-flung lands of Australia.
After my sophisticated Parisian career, becoming a nanny, chasing 4 hyperactive kids on a 20-acre Australian farm, sounded like the challenge I needed to spice up my life.
I remember the day when I hugged Mum and Dad at the Charles de Gaulle airport with my blue backpack. It was the 14th of June 2013, Mum was crying, Dad was holding his tears because he never cries in public. And me, I was excited and scared not knowing where this new journey would take me.
Part of it led me to this beautiful farm nestled on the banks of the Hawkesbury River near the Blue Mountains. For a year, I put all my heart and soul into looking after these kids. From jumping from the top of a tree into the muddy Hawkesbury River, despite my fear of heights, to cleaning little Eli’s vomit when he eats his breakfast too quickly.
It was hard sometimes, but it was also so much fun. These 4 little monsters were so smart, cheeky and funny. Very funny. I’ve never laughed so hard in my life. They welcomed me into their funny little world and I turned into a kid again.
I love how children see things in a simple manner. Their feelings are authentic and real. They aren’t scared of showing their emotions. They can be tough, loving, caring, mean at times but everything about them is pure. The words they use are simple but strong.
They are also interested in all sort of things. I feel a greater sense of freedom when I write for children. Nothing about them is boring, they usually have a sick sense of humour and a sick sense of criticism – just like me.
When it comes to writing for children, my best advice is this: Keep It Simple. Write vividly with all your senses and create memorable characters.