Ann Harth writes fiction and non-fiction for children and adults. Strong, interesting female characters creep into most of her books, and many arrive with a sense of humour.
Before becoming a writer, mentor and developmental editor in Far North Queensland, Ann studied psychology, waited tables, bar-tended, picked strawberries, worked as a clown and punched keys on various tills. She also spent ten years working with children with special needs. Ann taught writing for the Australian College of Journalism for eight years before taking the leap into freelance work.
Ann is the Far North Queensland representative for The Society of Children’s Book Writers and illustrators. She’s had a number of fiction and non-fiction children’s books published in Australia and the UK and over 120 short stories sold internationally.
When not tapping the keys, Ann stuffs a notebook into her pack and searches for remote places to camp, hike or explore.
Your character Bernice looks like a lot of fun. What inspired you to create her?
Stories have always simmered in my mind. I was an avid reader as a child, and my favourite books were those with strong protagonists with great passion. A giggle or two was always a bonus. I love main characters who cannot help but be themselves, even though it may not always be easy. If I can put myself in a character’s shoes, I will follow them anywhere. I hope readers will feel this way about Bernice.
Is Bernice based upon you or your own life experiences?
Bernice is always creating stories. Sometimes her imagination gets her in trouble. So, I guess the answer must be yes.
What adventures can we expect Bernice to have in future books?
Bernice has plans to visit a haunted house, a ghost town, and also the scene of a possible environmental disaster.
What is your biggest motivation for writing?
I write so I don’t explode.
How many books have you written?
I have written dozens of books. Twelve have been published.
What would you say is your biggest accomplishment?
Contributing to the lives of my two amazing children.
What advice would you give a young writer trying to get published?
- Read for pleasure, but also read with the eyes of a writer. Why does that scene linger in your mind? Why do you skim over a certain section? Find beautiful phrases and interesting language.
- Also free write. Spend some time every day capturing your thoughts. Don’t think about punctuation, grammar, or even spelling. Get into the habit of spilling your ideas onto the page without the internal critic sniffing over your shoulder. Write as though no one will ever read it. This gives you the freedom to experiment.
- Write from your own unique perspective. Dare to be different. Dare to play. There is only one you. Tell your stories as only you can.
What helps you when you have writer’s block?
Writing anyway. Putting in the time. Waiting and watching and struggling through the fear of failure until something glimmers off to the side. Then I sprint towards it.
Describe your writing style in three words.
Informal. Clear. Entertaining.
Bernice Peppercorn’s imagination fills her mind and her notebooks with adventure and intrigue. She sees crimes where there are none and races to the local police station daily to fulfil her civic duty.
When a real robbery is committed in town, Bernice dives into detective mode and stumbles across vital clues that could find the thieves. No one believes her except Ike, a one-legged fisherman who lives down at the wharf.