Author’s infectious enthusiasm
Enthusiasm and a love of history and children are some of the motivating forces driving Yvette Poshoglian to create a string of bestselling children's books over the past decade.
As the writer in-residence at Don Bank Museum, she has been given the opportunity to scribe in a tranquil garden and historic environment, in the heart of the busy North Sydney CBD.
“I'm very much a woman who is wearing many hats,” laughs the former Journalist, publicist and now high school English teacher as North Shore Living catches up with her on a hot and steamy morning.
Ms Poshoglian is the author of titles such as Frankie Fox Girl Spy and the Ella & Olivia series, which now has 20 books.
In addition to her writing commitments, she consults to publishers and educational organizations, conducts writers' workshops at Don Bank and speaks at festivals and library events.
"I grew up in the North Sydney area, so it was a joy to come back," she smiles. "It's very sentimental to be here. Don Bank has survived among all the new developments surrounding it.”
Don Bank Museum in Napier Street is the oldest timber house in North Sydney, built in the first half of the 19th century, and was acquired by the council in 1979 and refurbished as a historical site. It's a rare example of a slab timber house, nestled in a Victorian garden, and Ms Poshoglian says, “It's wonderful there are so many layers of history here and I'm definitely thinking about writing a novel set in the area - perhaps based on a family who lived here."
Ms Poshoglian undertook a BA at Sydney University and then had a decade-long career in publishing before embarking on a Graduate Diploma in Journalism and then a few years later, a BA in Teaching. She says her "life experiences" have made her the author she is today, smiling, "I think journalism teaches you how to get to the heart of the story and about deadlines. You really have to project manage yourself - so that's good training for being an author."
Her first novel, Escape from Cockatoo Island, was set in 1879, along Sydney Harbour, the site of an industrial and reforming school, where 11-year-old Olivia Markham spent her days on the windswept Island, cooking, sewing and imagining what life would be like if she had her freedom.
Ms Poshoglian's love of the harbour foreshore and our history was firmly established here and has been a theme of her work ever since.
These days she receives "fan letters" from all over the world, which she says is one of the great benefits of social media and "a wonderful way to get feedback".
"I love being here," she adds. "It's quiet and fantastic to be part of the colonial history of Sydney. Thankfully, people still buy books - we need children to be creative and imaginative. They are the writers of the future."