While I was studying at University I had a part-time job working in the Gift Registry at Grace Bros (yep, it was that long ago that it was still called Grace Bros!). I worked with a really lovely lady who made coming to work so much fun.
We lost touch and I thought about her over the years and I finally decided to see if I could find her on social media. Instead I found her daughter, Jacqueline, and I was so excited to read of her success.
So I got back in touch with my friend, had a lovely catch up and approached Jacqueline for an interview as she truly fits the 'Inspiring Women' title. A mother to 2 young children, Jacqueline also works full-time, is an award-winning children's book author and supports and assists other creatives through her initiative Story Creators Community. Talk about following your dreams!
Tell us about Jacqueline de Rose-Ahern – who are you and what do you do?
I am a children’s book author and travel enthusiast!
My love of travel began at age three when my parents and I moved to Australia from Sri Lanka. Having family sprinkled around the world I have lived, worked and been on many adventures overseas.
My appreciation of travel and the uniqueness of culture inspired me to write books for children, encouraging them to learn more about the vibrant world we live in.
I currently live in Canberra with my Irish-South African husband (who I met on an escapade in America), my daring five-year old daughter, cheeky five-month old son and inquisitive beagle named Sherlock.
I also hold a Masters in International Development and work in international affairs.
I recently founded the Story Creators Community, providing talks and workshops around the country to assist aspiring creatives reach their goals.
What is a typical day for you?
It has to start with coffee!
I also like to journal and read in the morning. I aim to wake-up before my husband and children do so I have some quiet time to mentally prepare for the day and set some mini-goals.
After dropping my daughter off at school and whilst I am still on maternity leave, I try to do some creative writing before taking Sherlock (our beagle) for a walk and tending to my son.
Then, after school pick-up, there is often a flurry of action. I run my daughter around to her various activities, answer emails and go to the gym.
My favourite part of the day is dinner time when my family gather around the table to enjoy wholesome food and play the gratitude game. We give thanks for the highlights of our day and what we may have learned throughout the day.
Finally, after our children are asleep, my husband and I unwind by watching a movie and chatting before heading to bed.
What do you enjoy most about writing books?
Sharing my stories with children. If I can make one child happy or give one child a glimpse of how beautiful the world is and how important reading is, then it’s all worth it.
I adore writing. I love putting words together on a page and weaving them to create thoughtful stories. Writing is innate in me. I feel compelled to write each and every day.
You have 2 children – how do you balance motherhood with your writing and work?
It definitely involves a lot of juggling but I am also very grateful to have a very supportive husband and incredible parents who are always there to lend a hand.
Whenever I find a moment of stillness, where my children might be asleep or at school, I seize those opportunities to put a few words down. It’s all about embracing the time you have.
My daughter (and I!) love Charlie’s Adventures in Hawaii and Charlie’s Adventures in South Africa - can you tell us where Charlie is going next?
I can’t reveal too much, but a trip around Australia, Charlie’s home, is definitely on the list.
There are so many amazing countries still left for Charlie to explore. There are lots of adventures awaiting him (and us).
What do the next 12 months look like for you?
I am currently working on an exciting upcoming title with the incredible team at Penguin Random House Australia which is due to come out next year.
I will also be appearing at a number of events around the country sharing my story and hopefully inspiring others to embark on their own creative journey.
Your Everyday life
What do you enjoy doing (outside of writing!)?
Dancing! Definitely dancing. From Irish dancing to hip-hop, I have tried it all. I love that my daughter enjoys dancing as much as I do. She is always ready to start an impromptu dance party.
At all my book events you are guaranteed some dancing.
What are you reading at the moment?
Marie Forleo – Everything is Figureoutable.
I am also surrounded by children’s books. I call it “research” but I truly love escaping in children’s literature. I am re-reading The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis. One of my favourite books of all time!
What are you watching at the moment?
Grand Hotel. I’m hooked on the drama!
You live in Canberra and have a day with no responsibilities to do anything you like. What do you do?
I would pack a picnic and go for a stroll around Lake Burley Griffin. It’s such a picturesque walk. I would spend some time reading and admiring the scenery before heading to the National Library of Australia to do some writing. It’s a place that always inspires me to write and create.
Which do you prefer?
Dogs/cats - Dogs
Camping/staying in a hotel - Staying in a hotel
Home cooking/eating out - Home cooking
Watching a movie/reading a book - Reading a book
Summer/winter - Winter
Waking up early/staying up late - Staying up late
Tea/Coffee - Coffee
Sweet/savoury - That’s a tough one….Sweet
Breakfast/no breakfast - Breakfast
Online shopping/in store shopping - In store shopping
And finally, what is the best gift you have ever received?
I also received a very thoughtful gift from a friend, she made us a family adventure jar and filled it with lots of unique experiences that we could do as a family (for example, taking a road trip to somewhere we had never been, flying a kite, building a cubby house of blankets and sheets). It continues to bring us lots of fun.
You can find Jacqueline
Update 4 September 2020 - Jacqueline has just published a book with Penguin Random House! A huge congratulations to her. Aussie Kids: Meet Matilda at the Festival is available Australia-wide and is a lovely book about friendship and Jacqueline's hometown of Canberra.