Wednesday 5 July 2023

With Dawn Meredith, children’s, and YA author

I trained as a High School Art/English Teacher but retrained and worked for twenty-eight years in Special Education/children’s counselling. My first two books were commissioned by Cambridge Uni Press for the Livewire Real Lives series and published in 2000. Since then I have had fourteen books published, with a new one coming out soon with Forty South.

In my twenty odd years as a published author I have worked with many publishers, big and small, Australian and International. I’ve written for the award winning Pearson Blueprints series, Blake Education’s Red Hot Writing Ideas and others. I’ve had a crack at most things – fiction and non-fiction, even poetry! Wherever an opportunity presented itself I’ve taken it, stretching my skills and experience. I am now part of a local writing group who are producing anthologies every two years.

Why do I write?

An important book I spent five years writing was a biography of WWII veteran Jim Haynes, who lived in my neighbourhood. I self-published it, just so I could put a copy into his hands before he died. We had a lovely big book launch and members of his family, some estranged from him for years, came up to me and thanked me for this extraordinary gift to them, because he never talked about his life. 

I write because stories clang around in my head, demanding to be let out. They all have a message, something important I want to convey and I am unashamedly moralistic. Being a teacher, I feel it’s imperative we guide young minds with wisdom, experience and sensitivity. I’ve covered topics as diverse as friendship, bullying, trans-humanism, a family of spies, high fantasy, disability, mental health, urban science fiction, the value of family affection, caring for pets, nerds vs divas and sibling hauntings. It’s all brilliant fun.

Self-publishing and traditional publishing

I have self-published about half of my books and gained valuable experience working with book designers, one in particular, (in Greece!) through the Fiverr website. It’s inexpensive and he is brilliant at interpreting my vision for the cover. My latest book was The Whispering Stone, published in March 2023 through Amazon. It’s stunning! Normally it takes a few revisions, but with this one he got it perfect first go. It’s so thrilling to see your characters come to life on the cover!

My aim is to have it look professional, eye catching and of excellent quality. With other books published with traditional publishers I’ve been sometimes fortunate to have some input into the illustrations and cover design. With the Don Bradman book, it was out of print but still very popular with libraries (the ELR and PLR scheme) so I decided to republish when the rights were returned to me.

My most popular book is 12 Annoying Monsters, which I published through Moshpit but also myself through Amazon, as I retain the rights. It sells all over the world, ten years after it first came out. With my background in Special Ed and children’s counseling I wrote it for my clients, but it quickly became in demand more widely.

So far my titles are:

Sir Donald Bradman

Tony Lockett

The Wobbly Wombat

Fat Abby – Feline Investigator

The Anything Shop

Friend in a Shell

12 Annoying Monsters – Self Talk for Kids with Anxiety

Sir Donald Bradman (republished with Moshpit)


Letters From the Dead

The Boy Who Went to War

Rebel – book 1 of the Flight trilogy


The Whispering Stone

Secrets of the Water Meadow (released in 2023 hopefully!)

Letters From the Dead won the SCBWI Writers Conference Award in 2016 and I was given mentorship with Scholastic USA’s Andrea Davis Pinkney. The very first thing she told me to do was rewrite the manuscript in first person POV! It took me six weeks. By then we both realised it was more of an adult book.

I began The Whispering Stone in 2006 and had a lot of input from people such as Mark MacLeod and Peter Bishop. A couple of years ago I sent it to Sally Odgers and after following her detailed analysis it was finally ready.


Writing is fabulous, but I am interested in so many things, especially Art. I have come full circle, back to drawing. Some of my work is in a local exhibition. Since moving to Tassie in 2018 to live on a farm I have written three novels, so I’m never bored! There’s always plenty to inspire me.


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