If you lived just down the road from Roald Dahl, or any other author you love, surely you’d be inspired to read and write wonderful stories, too? Canberra author and editor, Irma Gold, did and although she spent most of her ‘growing up’ years in Melbourne, the Roald Dahl connection makes for great conversation.
Irma’s world has always been full of books. An ambassador for the Save the Elephant Foundation in Thailand, her other passion is … elephants. Two of her most recent books, The Breaking (for adults) and Seree’s Story (Irma’s latest picture book) feature this beautiful animal.
Animals seem to be a source of inspiration for many authors and Irma Gold is no different with all of her picture books spotlighting an animal – elephants in Seree’s Story, a bear in Megumi and the Bear and a Magellanic penguin called Dindim in Where the Heart Is.
Where do you get your inspiration for your books?
I draw ideas and inspiration from the world around me and write about things that excite me.
Do you have any tips for children (or adults) who might be thinking “But, I don’t know what to write!”
Think about the things that excite you! What are you passionate about, what do you love doing? It’s always a great place to start. If you write about the things that are meaningful to you, your story will have spark.
Which of your books is your absolute favourite? Why?
That is impossible to answer! I genuinely don’t have a favourite but the book I’m always most excited about is the one that’s coming out next, which at this moment is Seree’s Story (Walker Books). It is being launched at the beginning of April 2022 and was inspired by my work with elephants rescued from the tourism industry in Thailand. I can’t wait to get into schools and talk about it with kids!
Which of your characters is your favourite? Why?
I still have a soft spot in my heart for Megumi from Megumi and the Bear. That was my third children’s book but my first with a major publisher (Walker Books), and it was a wonderful experience. As a character, Megumi is an expression of pure joy. We all need that in our lives!
When you think about children reading your books, how does this make you feel? What do you want their ‘take-aways’ to be?
A book means something different for every reader, so I don’t necessarily want them to have any specific take-aways. But I would hope that they are transported, and moved in some way. I write with heart, and I hope they connect with that. I would also love it if my recent books got kids thinking about the world around them, and the importance of caring for animals and our environment.
Writing what you are passionate about writing is wonderful advice. Having authors come and speak to the students at your school is a great way to inspire the next generation of writers. Irma Gold is one of many of our local Canberra authors who loves nothing more than spending the day with children talking about books, writing and things that give us inspiration.
Finding out that other people are just as passionate about your books as you are is also an author’s dream. Take a look at Sarah ‘Fergie’ Ferguson’s reading of Where the Heart Is here.
If you’re interested in finding out more about school visits – either as an author or illustrator, or as a teacher or librarian – have a look at Just Right Words’ speakers agency, Write Angles. We support authors and schools to ensure expectations are met from all angles and the students get the most out of the visit.