I am a teacher, author and animal fanatic. My love of animals came from my father and I can’t remember a time when we didn’t have pets. Over the years there have been many four- legged furry friends that have enriched my life; dogs, cats, mice, goats (lots of them), ducks, cows, a pig (not strictly furry, I know). The vast majority of these were strays, orphans, unwanted pets or animals from a pound. We adopted some very appreciative ex-battery hens and even saved a sheep and her lamb from the abattoir. At 11, I made the connection between animals and the meat on the plate and turned vegetarian (which I still am today).
Many of my stories focus on my pets, past and present. My very first published story, ‘The Heartworm War’ (Smarter than Jack 2, Avocado Press, 2004) was about Bluey, a canny cattle dog I owned as a kid (ex-school stray). Bluey was also the inspiration for a short story, ‘The Workin’ Dog’ (The Bridge anthology, Stringybark Publishing, 2011).
My first published book, D.O.G. (Macmillan, 2005) was a junior novel about a boy who desperately wants a pet dog. In 2010, my second book, Dog Logic-a pooch’s guide to dogs behaving badly was published (Big Sky Publishing, Sydney). Dog Logic was co-pawthored by my clever dog Sox, ‘The Philosophical Pooch’. Dog Logic was Sox’s view of the world: irreverent, honest, fun, naughty, at times a little rude, but always with tongue firmly planted in muzzle. Sox continues his writing career as a canine columnist with Dogs Life magazine and even has a Facebook Page. A talented dog indeed. http://www.facebook.com/pages/Sox-The-Philosophical-Pooch-Osborne/162936030398385
Not to be outshone by her kennel companion, Snowy put paw to paper and created Midget Bones’ Diary (Puppy Care Education, 2014).Witty, winsome and wicked; Midget Bones’ Diary is a quirky and humorous memoir written by a very special mongrel. Following in the pawsteps of Bridget Jones, the diary charts the trials and tribulations as Midget (aka Snowy) adjusts to life outside the shelter that has been her home for many years. Being an adoptee and playing happy families was not something she had planned on. While you can indeed teach old dogs new tricks, they don’t take kindly to change. If this wasn’t difficult enough for an aged terrier, Midget’s large and unwanted kennel companion from the shelter joined her at her new home. What N.B. (known as No Brains behind his generously proportioned back end) lacked in intellect, he made up for in exuberance and girth. Midget Bones’ Diary is suitable for ages 12 +.
2014 also saw my first two picture books, Going Fishing and Going Camping, published (Big Sky Publishing, Sydney). While these books are mainly about the foibles of family life, I did manage to slip Snowy into Going Fishing. I sent copious photos of her to the illustrator, Colin Stevens and was very happy with his artistic interpretation, even if she was sans black spots!
Sadly, both my canine chums have moved onto the Rainbow Bridge; Snowy in 2012, at the ripe old age of 17, followed in 2013 by Sox who never quite reached his 15th birthday. While I still miss them very much, Jack, an elderly ex-rescue terrier of indeterminate heritage joined us in October 2014. Jack is yet to reveal any literary aspirations, but with an uncanny resemblance to the model gracing the cover of Midget Bones’ Diary, who knows what the future will bring? http://www.gympietimes.com.au/news/robins-puppy-book-love/2494776/
My website is http://robynosborne.com/
5 WRITING TIPS FOR KIDS
- Decide what sort of story you want to write. Midget Bones was a doggy diary, whereas Dog Logic was a more practical book about training, from Sox’s point of view. What about a letter your pet might write to you or even a story about your talking pet?
- Chose an animal that you know well, ideally your own pet. If you don’t have a pet at home, write about one belonging to a friend or relative.
- Another idea is to write from a farm or wild animal’s POV. Does the dairy cow mind being milked every day, what is that green frog really thinking and why is the kookaburra laughing?
- Imagine what it be like to be that animal. What do they see, smell, hear, touch and feel? If you have decided to write about your pet, follow them around for a few days and make notes on what they are doing.
- Spend lots of time planning your story before you start writing. Jot down notes or do a drawing of the main points you want to cover.