Summer Reading Club
space craft special edition 2017

Mary Van Reyk

I’ve worked with books for years. At university I started out working in a little second hand bookstore in the afternoons. After graduating I got a job at a chain bookstore as their Educational Specialist, then I worked for an independent bookstore as Children’s Specialist, and then I got a job in publishing where I ended up being promoted to Children’s Sales Executive.

All during this time I had little projects that I used to improve my writing, mainly blogs that I shared with my friends and family. Once I wrote my first book, Ava’s Big Move, and it got picked up by an agent and then a publisher, I started to feel more confident.

Now I write articles for websites and try to help other people with their writing projects.

Getting to Know Mary Van Reyk

Game On: How did you get into writing/illustration?

I always loved reading as a kid, our local library was amazing. My best friend and I would go straight to the new release section to check for our favourite authors, it felt like Christmas morning when there was a book I’d never read. While I was at university I got my first job at a second hand bookstore, and then kept working with books for years. I practised writing small pieces and kept reading lots of books, eventually I felt confident enough to try and write a book, which was Ava’s Big Move!

Have you always wanted to be a writer/an illustrator?

I’ve wanted to be lots of things (including a truck driver so I could listen to audio books all day) and luckily I got to do lots of them (but not truck driving, although I’ve ridden in one!). I think working on different projects in different jobs has really helped my stories because I have lots of experiences to use. But I always kept reading and practicing writing, because I love it.

What are some of your favourite games to play?

Mario Kart is still as awesome as when I was little! My husband and I also like playing Scrabble, and when I go on holidays with my friends we love games like Celebrity Heads and Articulate.

Do you have a favourite sport, sporting event or sporting hero?

I love surfing, especially with my girl friends when we’re on holiday. We all encourage and cheer each other on. Tyler Wright is an amazing surfer, watching her compete is awesome!

What kinds of activities do you like to do to supercharge your summers?

Summer is the best, because there is so much to do and so much sunshine to do it in. I love all types of surfing – bodysurfing, longboarding and bodyboarding. I’m still only a beginner, but I still have lots of fun. I also love walking my dog and bushwalking.

Can you recommend some good GAME ON reads for our SRC Members?

I’m a big Harry Potter fan, I think everyone should read all of the books, J K Rowling is an awesome writer. I’d love to fly a broom in a quidditch match. If you prefer non fiction there are also heaps of great biographies, it’s always amazing reading about how much professional athletes have to train.


To learn more about Mary, visit her website.

A Creative Tip

Read, read and read some more!

Read as much as you can. Apart from the awesome stories, every author can teach you something about writing. I learnt a lot from a series called the Babysitters Club which was really popular when I was young. But I also read new kid’s books, it’s always interesting to see what stories are out there and who’s trying out something different.

Hot Off the Press

Mary Van Reyk’s newest book is now available. Have you had a chance to read it yet?

Book Title: Surf Riders Club: #1 Ava’s Big Move

Publisher: Lothian

Recommended Reading Age: 9–11

Book Description:

Meet five very different girls with one thing in common: they’ve caught the surfing bug!

Ava has grown up in a big city. But everything changes when her parents decide on a sea change – they’re moving to the small town of Beachcrest to open a cafe. Ava will be starting high school that year, and now she has to say goodbye to her life in the city. Her new school is very different and Ava misses her friends. When she hears that surfing is going to be offered as a sport for the first time, Ava uses her snowboard skills to give it a try. Not everyone thinks she can become a surfer but Ava is determined to prove them wrong, and she’s making new friends along the way!

Ava, Alex, Bronte, Janani and Molly form the Surf Riders Club to help each other practice, but it quickly becomes much more than that. Whether it’s learning how to get barrelled, problem parents or annoying boys, the Surf Riders Club are there for each other, no matter what.

Sneak Peak

Read a few preview chapters now!

Celebrity Corner

Want to learn more about our other Celebrity Authors? Return to Celebrity Corner to find out more.