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Elaine Ouston

answers the Usual Questions

photograph, Elaine Ouston, courtesy of the author; 220x273

Elaine Ouston

Says Elaine Ouston, "After a career as a graphic artist, copywriter, and marketing consultant, I retreated from the rat-race and turned to my longtime dream of writing children's fiction. To ensure I knew enough about my chosen craft, I went back to University and completed a Master of Letters in Creative Writing. I edit for other writers, teach writing to adult students, and have a publishing imprint, Morris Publishing Australia."

Has your interaction with fans, for example, at conventions, affected your work?

To hear fans talk excitedly about my story and beg to know what happens next has made me want to continue writing.

Is there any particular incident (a letter, a meeting, a comment that stands out?

My fantasy series, The Mystery of Nida Valley, is based on the discovery by a group of teens of a hidden valley where Australia's unique megafauna still roam. It has become very popular with schools, because, as well as being an entertaining fantasy story, it contains information on the animals. I had a teacher/librarian from a large Brisbane private school bring six books to me to sign and say, "You are very sneaky." When I enquired why, she said, "The boys are going to love this story and they will be learning something and not know it. I love it!" I realised at that point that I had achieved what I set out to do.

Do you have a favourite author or book (or writer or film or series) that has influenced you or that you return to?

As a child, I read Enid Blyton almost exclusively. Reviewers tell me that I write like her, and I'm not at all surprised. I also love Tolkien's books and learnt a lot about fantasy from him.

Who is the person you would most like to be trapped in a lift with? or a spaceship?

Except for my partner or family members, it would have to be Tolkien. I could then ask him all the questions I have about his stories and characters.

Who is the person you would most DISlike to be trapped in a lift with? Or a spaceship?

Someone who doesn't read and who's only conversation is gossip.

What would you pack for space? (Is there a food, beverage, book, teddy bear, etc that you couldn't do without?)

My iPad loaded with good books. Life would be very boring without being able to escape into another world in a great book -- even in space.

What is the most important thing you would like to get/achieve from your work?

I would love to think that I contributed to keeping children reading. They are too distracted by electronic devices for my liking. From my series, The Mystery of Nida Valley I would like to educate the children of Australia about the amazing animals that roamed our continent. They are not being taught about them at school.

What is the special satisfaction of your work?

To entertain others.

submitted by Elaine Ouston

14 July 2014

For other answers to The Usual Questions Click here

Just the facts:
Born: Hughenden, Queensland, Australia. It was too long ago to remember the date. :-)
Resides: Southeast Queensland, Australia.
I have four published children's books - from a picture book to a fantasy series, The Mystery of Nida Valley, for 9 - 16 year-olds. I am currently working on book three in the series. The first book in another series, Barben's Magic Quest, is completed and I am half way through a young adult fantasy/quest novel. You can find more information about me on the Morris Publishing Australia website,

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