...Creating Beautiful Books

Meet Teena Raffa-Mulligan, writer

Teena is a reader, writer and daydream believer. Her short story “Perhaps Love” was published in our Rocky Romance anthology in 2015. She is currently working on a number of children’s books for our Serenity Kids imprints. Find out more about Teena at her website and her blog for writers and readers, and follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

What are you working on now? Describe it in 15-20 words or less. I’m adapting a picture book manuscript about a little girl who collects mementoes from her extended family into a chapter book for older readers.

Where did your desire to write come from? I knew I wanted to write stories from the time I learnt to read and discovered the magical worlds I could enter through books. What do you think about the phrase ‘write what you know’? It’s missing a couple of key factors in a writer’s tool kit: imagination and research. So yes, of course I draw on my life experience to add realism and authenticity to what I write, but I’m not going to limit myself by only writing what I know.

What’s the hardest thing about writing? For me these days it’s staying focused on the WIP. It is so easy to be distracted by social media and all the information about writing craft and the publishing industry that is available on line. I often spend more time reading about writing than writing. And did I mention all the wonderful books that beg to be read?

What would you like your Facebook Page status to say in 2018? I’m happy dancing at the news my bestselling children’s novel The Seven Day Dragon will be produced as a musical – and the film rights have also been optioned.

What inspires you in life? Sunshine; birdsong; flowers. Walks along the beach path near my home. Drifting in the ocean close to the shore. Nature never ceases to fill me with awe…and my wonderful family is positively awesome.

What is your favourite quote? Before enlightenment – Chopping wood. Carrying water. After enlightenment – Chopping wood. Carrying water.-Zen proverb

What is the best book-to-movie you’ve ever seen, and why? And the worst? If I see the movie first, I often avoid reading the book because I don’t want to feel disappointed if the film version didn’t do the story justice. Of the movies I’ve seen because I read the book, a favourite would have to be Mary Poppins. There are reports that PL Travers wasn’t happy with what Disney did with her story, but I was. It’s an absolute delight. Another favourite of mine is The Railway Children. I was a great fan of E Nesbitt as a child and it was wonderful to see this story brought to the screen.

I had high hopes City of Bones because I loved Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments series but the movie fell way short of my expectations. The screen versions of Jodie Piccoult’s My Sister’s Keeper and Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables also left me feeling disappointed. Books offer elements of a story that are lost in the film adaptations.

What’s the last thing that made you laugh? My husband has an offbeat, weird sense of humour so we should have known it was a mistake to let him join me in a UNO game with our daughter, son-in-law and two grandchildren aged 10 and 12. His antics were hilarious and I laughed so much I had to fetch a tissue to dry my tears.

In a letter to your 16-year-old self, what advice would you give? Don’t take life so seriously. Lighten up, have fun and play more. Stop trying so hard to live up to your high personal ideals. Forget about being liked and accepted and let who you are shine brightly.

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