Robyn Osborne completed her Deakin degree while living in Queensland and is now finally living her dream of being a full-time writer.
Interview with Robyn Osborne
What has been your journey since finishing your course? Briefly outline your career path prior to your current role.
I was working full-time in the Commonwealth Public Service while I completed the Graduate Diploma at Deakin. As I enjoyed the study immensely, I was accepted into a Masters in Women’s Studies at Deakin. This corresponded with redundancies being offered at work, which I happily said yes to. Living in a small rural town in the 1970s offered limited career prospects and I had joined the public service as an interim until ‘something better turned up’. I never did start my Masters though, as I opted to begin a Graduate Diploma in Education instead. This allowed me to work happily as a primary teacher for many years, and while I don’t regret this decision, I would love to one day complete that Masters.
What is your current position?
Full-time writer as of 2018! The majority of my books are for children and young adults. My latest book (My Dog Socks) is a picture book published by Ford Street in October 2017.
What has been the biggest influence on your career?
My parents were both bookworms. My father in particular loved the beauty of poetry, with the Scottish poet, Robbie Burns, a favourite. I clearly remember bedtimes with Dad reading us excerpts from TS Elliot’s ‘Old Possum’s Book of Practical cats’ and the lyrical ‘Wynken, Blynken and Nod’. My parents were also animal lovers and I grew up surrounded by pets. As an adult, my life wasn’t complete without a canine companion. Over the years my dogs have also been a big inspiration on my writing. My Dog Socks is about my real life dog Socks and a couple of my books have even been co-pawthored by them.
Have you always wanted to pursue the kind of career you have embarked on? If so, when and how did you realise?
As a kid I was an obsessive reader and writer, so becoming an author was always my big ambition, but, as often happens, life got in the way. The day my first manuscript (a junior novel called D.O.G) was accepted by Macmillan changed the way I saw myself, from dabbling amateur to serious writer. Since then, I have had another five books published, with number seven due out later in 2018.
What advice would you give graduates wanting to pursue a similar profession?
Don’t give up your day job! I can’t remember the exact numbers, but the average salary for full-time writers in Australia is appallingly low. I feel very lucky that I can finally devote my full-time to writing.
What do you believe Deakin University has shown you/given you as a person?
I loved the reading and research, being exposed to different ideas and ways of thinking. My university studies also helped me develop confidence that I could write well.
What are your passions outside your work?
Animal welfare. I turned vegetarian when I was 11 and can be a bit rabid when it comes to animal rights.
How would someone describe you?
Is there any advice you would give to a person who is starting out in your career?
Develop a thick skin - manuscript rejections can be devastating. Don’t be precious about your writing. Learn patience and persistence.
What is something that amazes you?
Animals in general and my dog Jack, the writer’s muse; clever, cuddly and cute.
Is there anything else you’d like to add we haven’t covered?
My website is robynosborne.com