Ky Garvey had put aside dreams of being an author, thinking they weren’t compatible with having a ‘real job’ and paying the bills. But when she discovered the online course in creative writing at Australian Writers' Centre, she realised she could fit writing around her work and family commitments. And now Ky’s dreams have come true, with the publication of her debut picture book Easy Peasy with EK Books.
“When I received an email saying that EK would like to publish my manuscript, I couldn't believe it was real! It was such an amazing feeling. It did really feel like a once in a lifetime opportunity,” Ky told us.
Discover the world of picture books
Ky was initially drawn to writing picture books, thinking that they would be easy. She had completed some other writing courses, but hadn’t had any traction.
“I had a crazy idea that writing picture books was easy and getting published would come quickly. What did come quickly was me learning that this was not the case, and my picture book submissions weren't going to be published overnight,” Ky admits.
Initially, Ky thought this meant that she would never be a picture book writer. She decided to try a different tactic and enrolled in Writing Chapter Books for 6-9 year olds at the Australian Writers' Centre.
“I found the flexibility of the course was fantastic,” Ky says. “It could be completed on a self-paced basis over 12 months, which meant I could fit it in within my work commitments and caring for my family. Learning the fundamentals of writing chapter books was really helpful and opened my eyes to a whole new genre.”
Skating into publishing success
Ky loves to write inclusive and empowering stories, inspired by her two sons who are diagnosed with Autistic Spectrum Disorder and ADHD. Her debut picture book Easy Peasy tells the story of Ruby, who thinks skating on her brand-new pair of roller skates is going to be easy. But after a few tumbles, Ruby realises she may need her dad’s help after all.
Illustrated by Amy Calautti, Easy Peasy embraces themes of independence, perseverance, and family relationships, and is a fun story for children learning how to do something for the first time. They are themes that parallel Ky’s own experience with writing and publishing.
“I had written and edited my story and had been submitting through the slush pile and not having much luck. I was beginning to think maybe the story just wasn't very good,” Ky says. Then she submitted it to Anouska Jones from EK Books.
A month later, she got the email that made her publishing dreams come true. While Ky hasn’t given up her day job just yet, she’s still fitting writing into the cracks of her day.
“I dreamt of being an author for a long time before I took the leap and actually started to take the steps to become an author. I am so glad I did. I have met many wonderful, kind, warm and talented people and formed a wonderful writing community around me.
“Australian Writers' Centre is a such a warm and encouraging environment. Their courses are designed to set us up for success in our writing. Their presenters are knowledgeable and experts in their industry.”
Yes! It’s true! I let somebody capture me on video! My beautiful sons and our friend Brodie created this little unboxing video for me. It makes it so much more special that it’s from my amazing sons – the creations I am most proud of ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ @EK_Books @amy_calautti #bookbaby pic.twitter.com/3YnlggqOnW
— Totallylitpodcast (@Totallylitpodc1) December 22, 2022
Course taken at Australian Writers' Centre: