Ten Terrifying Questions with the creators of Wylah the Koorie Warrior!

by |June 9, 2022
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Jordan Gould is a Peek Whurrong man from Warrnambool, Victoria. He performs Welcome to Country ceremonies at corporate and private gatherings. He is passionate about teaching and talking to groups about culture, language and reconciliation.

Richard Pritchard – a New Zealand-born Samoan man – has had a dream of writing books since he was a teenager. His passion for visual storytelling has led him to work in graphic design, film, animation, commercials and video games.

Today, to celebrate the release of their middle grade novel Wylah the Koorie Warrior 1: Guardians, Jordan and Richard are here to take on our Ten Terrifying Questions! Read on …

1. To begin with, why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself – where were you born? Raised? Schooled?

Jordan Gould: I was born and raised in Warrnambool all my life. I never grew up knowing my own culture until I started at Brauer College. Only then i started to learn from the local elders and doing many Welcome to Countries, is when i found out who i truly was.

Richard Pritchard: I’m a New Zealand born Samoan. I grew up in Central Auckland in a low social-economic/housing commission area. I was raised in a single-parent family with four other siblings. I went to school in Avondale College and came 2nd in art overall when I left. (I was beaten by a water colour artist … but I’m not jaded by it …maybe)

2. What did you want to be when you were twelve, eighteen and thirty? And why?

JG: I wanted to be a game designer, or even perhaps run my very own game studio.

RP: Twelve – Sixteen I wanted to be a book author. Eighteen I wanted to be an architect/fashion/graphic designer. Thirty I wanted to be visual effects artist and feature film director/writer. I have always loved to be creative, no matter the industry. I’m a project person, I love all creative projects.

3. What strongly held belief did you have at eighteen that you don’t have now?

JG: I believed that I wouldn’t make a big impact on my life and others. But now after announcing my book, that belief is gone, seeing how many people are so excited about this book.

RP: I thought that my worldview was right and I would debate that with people. But now I realise that no matter what you think you should always accept people for who they are. Find a compromise and move on.

From right: Richard Pritchard and Jordan Gould.

4. What are three works of art – this could be a book, painting, piece of music, film, etc – that influenced your development as a writer?

JG: All video games have been an influence on my ability to envision story ideas. I really have a big love for games, animated films, and music. All of which I can’t wait to make with Wylah.

RP: The biggest influence on me as a writer was Save the Cat by Blake Snyder. It’s probably the best screenwriting book I’ve ever read.

5. Considering the many artistic forms out there, what appeals to you about writing for kids?

JG: The fact that I can teach culture and language to younger people, and give them the opportunity to learn about the culture around them at a young age. The opportunity I never had.

RP: As a visual effects artist working in films, I’ve written screenplays before but the format is very technical and limited with time and production budgets. With children’s books, you can explore your imagination without limits. Children’s books are the perfect medium for fantasy adventure writing. To write and illustrate your own story is an incredible opportunity. For me, the illustrations influenced the writing and the writing influenced the illustrations.

6. Please tell us about your latest book!

JG: The book is about Wylah, a young Peek Whurrong art teacher who loves megafauna animals. When her tribe is stolen from an invading Dragon Army she must find the courage to rescue them. But there’s a problem, she can’t even throw a spear straight or return a boomerang. It is through her epic journey that she is transformed.

RP: Wylah is a fun, action-adventure. Imagine: How to Train Your Dragon meets Hercules meets Moana meets Mulan. Yep, it’s got all the hallmarks of the hero’s journey.

‘With children’s books, you can explore your imagination without limits. Children’s books are the perfect medium for fantasy adventure writing.’

7. What do you hope people take away with them after reading your work?

JG: I wish for people to take time to ask their local elders and indigenous people in their community more about the culture around them. And be willing to learn and pass on that knowledge to their generations of children.

RP: I want people to first enjoy the story and follow her adventure. Second, I’m hoping that readers will take away a greater appreciation for the ancient history of Aboriginal/Australian culture. I want people to see how similar we are, so they can start a conversation and friendship.

8. Who do you most admire in the writing world and why?

JG: I admire Richard’s approach to writing. Even though I have high functioning autism, he found a way we could verbally write together. I love the fact that I can just let my creativity run wild and create something I can be proud of.

RP: C.S. Lewis and Tolkien, both are amazing writers and world builders.

9. Many artists set themselves very ambitious goals. What are yours?

JG: To revive my culture and bring it to the mainstream media.

RP: My goal is to make Australian Aboriginal culture as mainstream as Samoan and Maori culture is in New Zealand. I grew up celebrating my culture and seeing it in every corner of society. I know what Australia is missing out on, I know the richness culture can bring when it’s widely and genuinely embraced.

10. Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

JG: Patience is the most important thing you can have as a creative person. Also the ability to take criticism and improve from it.

RP: Learn the craft of writing, watch YouTube, listen to podcasts, take courses. Do everything you can to learn what you don’t know. Then write for your audience, write for the people that will buy your book.

Thank you for playing!

Wylah the Koorie Warrior 1: Guardians by Jordan Gould and Richard Pritchard (Allen & Unwin) is out now.

Guardiansby Jordan Gould and Richard Pritchard


Wylah the Koorie Warrior: Book 1

by Jordan Gould and Richard Pritchard

Meet Wylah: warrior, hero and friend. Her adventures have been 40,000 years in the making!

Wylah is brave, clever and strong-willed, and all her best friends are giant megafauna animals. But she isn't a warrior. Not yet, anyway. Then comes the day when her family is stolen by the dragon army, and her life is forever changed. She must find the courage to set out on a journey to save them. What will it take for Wylah to become a warrior, like her Grandmother before her?...

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