Category Archives: Anzacs

World War One 1914-1918 resource list – NEW

Thanks for this comprehensive list ūüôā

Just in time for Remembrance Day we have compiled a list of fiction and non-fiction reading about World War One. It comprises picture books, some material for middle grade and also resources for high school. It is an excellent starter for a school library collection. We hope you find this useful and as always we welcome suggestions for additions to the lists. World War One Resources

View original post

Yikes, we found more artwork …

Brian Simmonds and I are both spring- cleaning, and we’ve found¬†fifteen more images for the November¬†sale. Anyone who has¬†already contacted me to express interest should have received an email with these images by now. Please advise if you haven’t.

Free pick-up delivery is possible for Albany and Perth.

Large concept sketches for In the Lamplight $100

Large Concept sketches for Lighthouse Girl $100.

November Artwork Sale

‘Light’ series illustrator, Brian Simmonds is offering original artwork for sale at half price throughout November. Large charcoal sketches which appear in the books will sell for around $250-$350 instead of¬†approx $700. There are also preliminary roughs for sale at bargain prices. The images appear below. If you would like more information about a particular image please email me via the contact link on my website or Facebook message and I will send a full price list. These photos were taken on my phone and so apologies for the quality – the originals are gorgeous. Artworks are in Albany but could be brought to Perth. I am removing images as they are sold…

Original illustrations from In the Lamplight $350

Continue reading

End of Year Writing time :-)

The school year is winding up. Library, school and conference visits are mostly completed, and even in Albany the days are warming. It’s now the season for intensive writing time¬†at my desk.

First up, I’ve returned to a long ago YA novel called Shadows Walking. I began this story in 2002 (I know). Shadows Walking is set in wartime Papua New Guinea¬†and current time California/Australia. I’ve had to mega-edit the latter! The book was optioned for publication long ago¬†but that lapsed and by then I was busy with¬†Lighthouse Girl and then the others in the ‘Light’ series as well as PhD research and linked novels …

IMG_2589Re-reading the old manuscript has been interesting, wondering whether it’s worth putting in the months of effort needed to tighten and reshape the story. I’ve decided yes, and so far I’ve removed some characters, lowered the age of my central character as well as done some serious slash and burn editing. The good news is that I can see that I’ve improved in my craft over the past fifteen years.

Since 2002, when I walked the Kokoda Track to research this story, another Kokoda linked title has¬†been published. Photographs in the Mud (2005) shares similar themes to Shadows Walking and in some ways is a crystallisation of the longer novel, but only in some ways.¬†Returning to the novel is timely; this year I’ve been honoured by¬†people approaching me at conferences and schools to say how much they enjoy Photographs in the Mud. It was my first picture book (not one for young children) and I’m grateful that in these days of books going out of print so quickly, Fremantle Press have kept this one.¬†Hurrah for them. Another fun part of returning to Shadows Walking is revisiting photos¬†from the trek. Here is a collage. I look so much younger.

I’m hoping to complete my through-edit soon. Then I have a list of other projects I’d like to start, none of which involve war!

I’ll keep you posted on my progress …

 

‘In the Lamplight’ – UK book launch

Now that I’ve caught my breath after returning from my whirlwind UK book launch and schools tour, I can at last share some of the lovely photos.

The Harefield Library and Harefield History Society both gave generous support, making the UK launch of In the Lamplight a friendly and memorable occasion. Library staff decorated their function room with Australian and British flags symbolising the close connection their town shares with Australia. Lara Marshall, Richard May and their team also provided a beautiful afternoon tea, complete with savouries, delicate cakes and delicious scones, jam and cream. Their kindness made me feel so welcome.

20180520_230341

with Harefield library staff

20180520_231502

With Harefield History Society members. Andy Harris (front left) gave valuable research help.

After a presentation showing¬†pages from the book, with images from Harefield and evocative charcoal illustrations by Brian Simmonds, we shared stories about WWI, the village, now and then,¬†and also the hospital. Then we enjoyed the scrumptious food. I learnt a lot more about the town’s history and made¬†lovely new friends.

Despite the perfect spring sunshine outside, it was a wonderful turnout, made even more special by the arrival of family members, Brooke and Justin, who¬†are working in Peterborough. Linda Evans my very first contact in Harefield also popped in for a chat, despite having another commitment. Thank you to everyone who helped make the celebration so special. I’d encourage any Australian history lovers who are visiting London to add a side trip to Harefield to visit the WWI Anzac cemetery and meet the friendly locals.¬†I’m¬†hoping to return and fingers crossed for another visit in 2019.

 Thanks again, to the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries for funding support which made this launch possible.

School visits in the UK

 

I’ve enjoyed a wonderful week of speaking and workshopping at schools across Hillingdon and Greater Manchester, celebrating the launch of In the Lamplight which is set in the UK during WWI.¬†Students¬†were keen to tell me about their favourite books and share personal stories. Some lovely readers like Karl from Harefield and suffragette Alice from Altrincham (pictured above) also love writing stories. And Karl wants to become an author ūüôā¬†I was made welcome at all of the schools; thank you to staff at Harefield Infants School, Harefield Junior School, Harefield Academy, Hermitage Primary, Cedar Park School, St Vincent’s Knutsford, St Vincent’s Altrincham and Loreto Preparatory School.

There were so many highlights. I especially enjoyed talking about Australian/UK WWI links¬†especially those relating to¬†Harefield Hospital. Showing historic photographs that appear in the book was fun and speaking to hundreds of St Vincent’s Altrincham students dressed in costumes for History Day was amazing. Thank you to parent helpers Sharon Dobson and Catherine Collins (and Lucy, Molly and Erin) for introducing me to your fabulous schools. It’s all been wonderful …

And a special bouquet to¬†my friend Clare Valley (originally from the UK)¬†for¬†sharing school/friend/family contacts. For fellow Australian authors planning a book tour, one of the most valuable things I’ve learnt from this experience is the importance of connections and word of mouth. UK schools are very security aware, without introductions from Clare I would not have been able to reach as many readers.¬†Clare put hours of her own time into helping me plan and I am very grateful.

And thank you again, to the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries for generous funding support.

 

Serendipity & Black Jack’s Mill

black jackThere are many places I could have stayed in Harefield, indeed I originally booked somewhere other than Black Jack’s Mill, but something about the B&B¬†on the canal called me. Imagine my surprise,¬†when today I found out, that after¬†donating their manor house for the use of convalescent soldiers in 1914, the¬†Australian Billyard-Leake family moved into Black Jack’s Mill!

I love serendipity and have enjoyed sharing interesting conversations with other children’s authors about strange coincidences linked to their work. Synchronicity seems especially common to authors who write historical fiction (looking at you Mark Greenwood and Norm Jorgensen).¬†To research In the Lamplight, I¬†thought I’d read all the books about Harefield Hospital in WWI, but discovering this small snippet in Tanya¬†Britton’s, The ANZAC Hospital No. 1 at Harefield and the Australians who died there and elsewhere but who are buried at Harefield 1914-1918 has made my day, and started me thinking about serendipity all over ¬†again. It’s also made me keen to find out more about both the Billyard-Leake’s and Black Jack. So far no one has been able to confirm whether the latter was a horse or a man. Hopefully more details to follow…