The sky is the limit for award winning young adult author

By Marlene Jennings

OPENING a new chapter in her life, talented young Sunshine Coast author Rhiannon Wilde sets her sights on the American publishing market in October.

On proving her success with Australian audiences, Rhiannon, 27, has finalised the US edits and cover of her Queensland Literary Award-winning first young adult (YA) novel ‘Henry Hamlet’s Heart’.

In an additional and unexpected honour, Rhiannon starts this year as a recipient of a 2022 Children’s Book Council of Australia Notable Book.

Charged with a combination of nerves and excitement, the former secondary school teacher aims to showcase the queer coming-of-age novel to a new and diverse readership.

Rhiannon notes the importance of diversity and representation within her stories, allowing her characters to question their identity and place within the world.

Pleased publishers are retaining the Australian essence of the novel with only a few language changes, the author regards ‘Henry Hamlet’s Heart’ as a love letter to Brisbane.

“It is a slightly different perspective on growing up because there is a lot of YA set in American high schools and I think Henry is so different to that,” Rhiannon said.

“I hope they feel a little piece of themselves outside of their geographical experience.”

Finalising pages of her second YA novel ‘Where You Left Us’, due to be released in August, the Caloundra author was inspired by her walks on the beach during the COVID isolation.

‘Where You Left Us’ is described as a “mystery romance family saga with a gothic element set by the beach”.

The detail in characters and settings play an important role in her novels enabling the reader to connect.

Rhiannon explores the different perspectives of her protagonists as they navigate family and personal situations.

There is a thread of vulnerability within the characterisations allowing readers to resonate as Rhiannon draws insight from real life.

As a person who suffered from anxiety in her youth, Rhiannon shares pieces of herself with readers to highlight the importance of mental health and the positive message of working to get better.

“Imagination comes first out the void and then brings them to life through real experience,” Rhiannon said. “The dialogue should be real.”

The positive feedback from her adolescent audience is the most rewarding for the fulltime author, knowing people have read her work.

Rhiannon acknowledges while working in the YA genre, she wants to do right by her supporters for their continued reading and enjoyment.

In bringing her stories to life Rhiannon has learnt from the publishing process, transferring new skills and knowledge to the second book.

“You learn about minimising work for yourself,” Rhiannon said, adding you don’t make the same mistakes again.

“You have a tool kit of writing skills that you take with you.”

Not willing to rest on her laurels, Rhiannon is looking to delve into the fantasy genre with ideas she has carried since her teenage years.

Rhiannon states the ideal goal is to experiment with styles and genres while compiling a diverse body of work in order to find her niche.