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Take Five: Sophie Masson and INSIDE STORY: the Wonderful World of Writing, Illustrating and Publishing Children’s Books

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We are so pleased to share a look at a new book by long-time contributor and multi-published author Sophie Masson called Inside Story: the Wonderful World of Writing, Illustrating and Publishing Children’s Books! The book, which releases on May 1st in Australia and this summer in the states, is a gorgeous and unique resource–as Sophie is about to explain.

Q1: What’s this new book about?

SM: Inside Story is a fabulous showcase of the richness and diversity of contemporary Australian children’s books. An attractive full-colour production, it is packed with tips, advice, illuminating quotes and anecdotes. The stellar list of contributors includes writers, illustrators, editors, publishers, agents and reviewers from across Australia. I was one of the lead writers and compilers, along with Kathy Creamer, Beattie Alvarez and Peter Creamer. It’s published by UPA Books, which is the collaborative imprint of two Australian children’s publishers, Christmas Press(with which I’m involved) and Little Pink Dog Books.

Q2: What inspired you to pursue Inside Story?

SM: Through our work both as authors and publishers, we’d realised that in Australia at least there were no contemporary how-to books about writing, illustrating and publishing children’s books and felt that there was a great need for it. But we also wanted to celebrate the vibrant and rich world of Australian children’s books: this would be a showcase as well as a reference guide. We also wanted it to look beautiful. And we achieved all that, I think! It’s a truly superb book.


Pages from Inside Story reproduced with kind permission of UPA Books, 2022. All rights reserved.


Q3: Is it meant for writers, or writer-illustrators?

SM: Both. Inside Story is an invaluable resource and reference book for aspiring writers, illustrators, editors and designers, and will also appeal to anyone interested in Australian children’s books. It features the amazing richness of the contemporary Australian children’s book world, and the exciting ways in which emerging creators—writers and illustrators—and emerging book professionals—editors, designers, etc—can find a place within it. I think that the book hopefully will help emerging creators and emerging book professionals to understand the world of children’s books.


Pages from Inside Story reproduced with kind permission of UPA Books, 2022. All rights reserved.

Q4: What unique challenges did this book pose for you, if any?

SM: It was an absolutely mammoth undertaking. Our wonderful team: the four compilers mentioned above, plus editors Jen Scanlan and Sharnee Rawson, and designer Rae Ainsworth—worked very hard to get it all together. As well as all the text the compilers created, we had generous and illuminating contributions—quotes and images– from over 75 other people, including writers, illustrators, publishers, agents, editors and designers-and these all had to be worked into the book too. The book is published in association with our local Writers’ Centre, and partly funded with a grant from our State-based arts grants body, and that was fantastic but also we needed to be mindful of all the protocols associated with that.

Q5: What has been the most rewarding aspect of having written this book?

SM: The result! It looks and reads so beautifully. Working with the team has also been absolutely marvelous. And knowing that this book is truly unique—there is nothing like it around in contemporary Australia. I am very proud to be one of the lead writers for this amazing and unique publication: there’s nothing else like it around at all!

Learn more about Sophie’s book about it on the publisher’s website and by watching the book trailer below!

Congratulations, Sophie!



Writer Unboxed began as a collaboration between Therese Walsh and Kathleen Bolton in 2006. Since then the site has grown to include ~50 regular contributors--including bestselling authors and industry leaders--and frequent guests. In 2014, the first Writer Unboxed UnConference (part UNtraditional conference, part intensive craft event, part networking affair) was held in Salem, MA. Learn more about our 2019 event, ESCAPE TO WuNDERLAND, on Eventbrite. In 2016, the Writer Unboxed team published a book with Writer's Digest. AUTHOR IN PROGRESS: A No-Holds-Barred Guide to What It Really Takes to Get Published has been well-received by readers who seek help in overcoming the hurdles faced at every step of the novel-writing process--from setting goals, researching, and drafting to giving and receiving critiques, polishing prose, and seeking publication. James Scott Bell has said of the guide, "Nourishment for the writer's soul and motivation for the writer's heart." You can follow Writer Unboxed on Twitter, and join our thriving Facebook community.

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