|Rick Searle has been writing for a living since 1976, mostly for the screen. ‘I’ve always been fascinated by the movies,’ says Rick, who has produced and directed many films, and has worked as a teacher, university lecturer and radio presenter. ‘Because of my screenwriting background, I tend to think in pictures and story sequences, so making the transition to picture books such as Follow Me seemed a natural progression.’
Rick considers himself more fortunate than many other picture-book authors. His wife Bronwyn is an illustrator and this gives them a distinct advantage. ‘It’s instant communication,’ explains Rick. ‘Instead of trying to convey ideas to someone in another city, I have Bronwyn right here, on the spot. I can give her my thoughts about the way the words and pictures are working (or not working!) and she can make comments to me about the story. It’s a unique working relationship.’
Rick began his professional life as a teacher, writing radio scripts part-time for the ABC. He then took up a position as a staff writer at the Queensland Education Department’s Film Centre in Brisbane, writing scripts for a wide range of educational productions.
In 1982, Rick developed Butterfly Island, a children’s television mini-series, which was internationally successful, enabling him to leave the Education Department and strike out on his own. He has been freelance ever since, writing, producing and directing award-winning film, video and multi-media for both adult and young audiences. And writing picture books.
‘A well-conceived, well-crafted, well-produced picture book is a work of art,’ says Rick. ‘It can lift your spirits and inspire you, no matter how old you are.’