Michael Gerard Bauer Writing Secrets

bauer-michael-gerard-5498bfdf717bcMeet Michael Gerard Bauer Australian award winning children’s author. His popular books include The Running Man, the Ishmael trilogy and Just a Dog. His most recent publications, the very funny Eric Vale and Secret Agent Derek ‘Danger’ Dale series for younger readers, are fully illustrated by his film-maker son Joe Bauer. Michael is in high demand for author talks at schools. His books, which are regularly set as school texts, are sold in over 40 countries and translated into 12 languages.

I, Karen Tyrrell attended Michael’s comedy workshop at the CYA conference, inspiring me to write humour in my children’s resilience books.

I interviewed Michael to reveal his writing secrets and how he connects with his audience.

Karen: Where do you get your inspiration for your books?

Michael: Inspiration can come from anywhere at any time. I liken it to coming across one interesting piece of a jig-saw puzzle and then trying to figure out what the rest of the picture is, one piece at a time.

My books have been variously inspired by childhood memories, a magazine photo, the opening line of a novel, an old movie, the name of a dog, and in the case of the Eric Vale books, incorrectly typing ‘epic fail’ one day as ‘eric fail’. Each of those gave me that feeling that there might be a good story there, if I could just find the other pieces put it all together.

eric vale

Karen: How do you fully develop these ideas?

Michael: I get interested in that initial thought or idea and start wondering and asking myself questions about it. The answers I make up usually create many more questions. A story slowly grows as you start finding other bits of the jigsaw that fit.

I do a lot of thinking and wondering about a story before I ever write anything and I can’t type the first word until I have seen an ending of some sort. I usually do three drafts but I also do a great deal of editing and rewriting of those drafts along the way. I’m a slow writer. I like my first draft to be as close as I can get it to the final story.

Karen:   How do you write comedy and tragedy that touch our hearts and our funny bones?

 Michael: Well they say there’s a fine line between comedy and tragedy and I think that’s true. I love to laugh and I’m a big comedy fan, but I’m a pretty emotional person – I even tear up watching reality TV! – so I guess that comes through in my writing.

I think if you genuinely are passionate about the story you are telling, and you relate to your characters, not simply as your creations, but as real people, then you’re more likely to connect emotionally with your readers.

sisKaren: What’s your TOP tips for author talks in schools?


  1. Be prepared, be enthusiastic and be yourself.
  2. Incorporate props and images into your presentation.
  3. Inject humour when you can but only what you feel comfortable with. Kids know when you’re trying too hard to be funny.
  4. TELL STORIES– most important. Stories can help the students to get to know you as a person and as a writer. And everyone loves a good story.
  5. Get the audience involved– with readings, acting out a scene, questions etc.

Michael’s next book ‘The Pain, my Mother, Sir Tiffy, Cyber Boy & Me’ is out in May.

scan0005Connect with Michael Gerard Bauer on his website or on Facebook: Michael Gerard Bauer Author.

Which writing and author TIPs from Michael Gerard Bauer resonated with you?

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