“Oh, the places you’ll go!” Dr. Seuss famously wrote three decades ago, encouraging kids across the globe to follow their dreams. Similarly, local author Ian McIntosh is encouraging kids right across the country to get creative and dream big.
“I specialise in working with kindergarten and primary age children,” Ian said.
“My message is all about letting kids know that they can become whatever they want and that they don’t have to wait until they are older to start using their imagination, dreaming big and doing awesome things with their lives.”
Ian achieves his objective by writing stories that encourage self-belief and reflect positive values. He also shares his own life story, “from being a kid in the bush who didn’t finish high school and a former rodeo clown to becoming a full-time author.”
Five years ago, the idea for Ian’s first children’s picture book came like a bolt from the blue.
“As a joke I pretended to take some biscuits from a friend’s two-year old daughter,” Ian said.
“The little girl was too quick for me, so I missed out on getting any biscuits. But I did have a random idea for a story about a little boy who thought a bickie monster lived in his house.
“I jotted down some notes, then later that evening I wrote the first draft to what would become ‘Watch Out For The Bickie Monster.’
After sending the manuscript to 10 publishers and receiving a polite rejection from only two, Ian’s daughter’s teacher read the story to the class and said the five words that would change his life: “You should become an author.”
Two years later Ian self-published the book and presold 350 copies via crowd funding. Within four months of its release, Ian was a finalist at the NQ Arts Awards and was invited to attend Savannah Writers Festival as a guest author.
Ian said his next book would further his message to kids that they can achieve anything.
“‘The Little Kangaroo’ is about a kangaroo who doesn’t think she can do anything, but thanks to the help of a wise old emu, she discovers that she was born for a purpose.
“I have already pre-sold around 600 copies and have received interest and endorsements from a number of larger organisations that work with children and families, including the USA. The plan is to do a short tour of the US with the book in April 2019.”
Two years ago, Ian began the Junior Writers Club, an online club for children eager to develop their creative writing skills. Ian also hosts an annual writing competition and an online creative writing master class for kids who want to take their writing to the next level. His summer program offers 40 boredom-busting creative writing challenges in 40 days over the Christmas holidays, keeping the little ones entertained and creative over the school break.
Ian said he would like to see a more collaborative, long term approach to nurturing creating talent in Townsville.
“From a writer’s perspective, I would like to see more inclusion of local writers in the planning and delivery of Savannah Writers Festivals,” he said.
“I also think that the NQ Arts Awards should become a permanent fixture either annually or biannually; both of these events are essential for nurturing local creative talent.”
For the bigger kids wanting to flex their creative writing muscle, Ian said there were plenty of resources locally.
“The Townsville Writers and Publishers Centre (TWPC) seems to be running well at the moment,” he said.
“There is currently a core of talented and dedicated emerging and established authors involved with TWPC. As a result, there’s quite a bit of activity on offer for local writers.”