The Treasury Interviews: Sapphira interviews Rachel McAlpine — It’s harder for me to stop writing than to start writing.


Rachel McAlpine edited Another 100 Poems for Children, an anthology of children’s poems for Random House a number of years ago. She has published lots of adult poetry books and has poems in the School Journals. She has a NZ Book Council author page. She has several poems in the A Treasury of New Zealand Poetry for Children.

Sapphira Harrington I recently turned 13. I enjoy writing and reading story, I prefer writing poems to a long story. Most people don’t understand how I write what I do for my age. I am looking for a few writers’ ideas and opinions or how they write etc.



The Interview:

What inspired you to become a writer? I think I was born a writer. I always told my sisters spooky stories in bed, and regularly sent drawings and poems to the Children’s Page of our newspaper by the time I was about 9.

What is your favourite writing strategy? Strategy? It’s harder for me to stop writing than to start writing. So any little thing could trigger a poem. But when I’m writing something longer, I like to go away for a few days to a quiet place, leaving my life behind. That’s a geographical strategy.

What strategies would you recommend? In between bouts of writing, take a break on your own —but not a social break. Go for a walk. Do the dishes. Or read a book. Your mind will carry on working.

What is your favourite poem by you? Favourite poem by me: ‘Before the Fall.’ See the video:

Favourite saying or quote (doesn’t have to be by you.)? Favourite saying or quote: Very very good is good enough.

Any advice for upcoming writers? Lots and lots and lots and lots and lots of reading. Lots and lots and lots and lots and lots of writing.

Any sites or people I should visit or read? Visiting websites for writers and reading books about writers is a kind of procrastination. Don’t visit often.

And take it easy—writing is hard, but that’s half the fun: it should be the best fun in the world. It shouldn’t be agony, or why are you doing it?

Best wishes for an exhilarating life as a writer.

Rachel McAlpine

Thanks for a wonderful interview Rachel and Sapphire. I really enjoyed reading this. I really love rachel’s poems for children as they are a great mix of juicy sounds and bounding imagination.




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