Tag Archives: Albany

Shark Launch #1 Albany:

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The countdown to Launch #1 began with my sister flying in from the east. The Shark Caller is dedicated to three people and Karen is one of them. And last week, Karen surprised me with the most amazing gift; a shark carved from obsidian. If you read the book you will understand why this is such a precious gift. Over the past few years I’ve trawled the Internet for obsidian and never came close to finding anything like this.

For many children’s authors and illustrators, August is the busiest time of the year with Bookweek school and library visits spilling over into the rest of the month. For me, 2016 is busier than usual with two book launches to celebrate the release of The Shark Caller with Penguin Random House and a mini book tour of Esperance and Kalgoorlie.

Launch 1 was held at the Albany Surf Club, supported by Albany Public Library and Paperbark Merchants. It was a wonderful evening and here are some photos of the event.

 

 

Breaksea House @ GSG

This morning I went to Great Southern Grammar’s Start of Year Assembly to donate copies of my historical novels, Lighthouse Girl and Light Horse Boy. The occasion?

black and white photograph of the real Fay Howe

The real Fay, image courtesy of Don Watson

GSG’s new boarding house has been named Breaksea House to honour Fay Catherine Howe, the ‘lighthouse girl’ who signalled to the departing Anzac nurses, troops and horses in 1914.

I was honoured to present signed copies of my books to boarding house student leaders; Emma Taylor and James Gonzales.

LHG cover  LHB cover

GSG has also purchased original artwork by illustrator, Brian Simmonds. The image appears on page 94 of Lighthouse Girl and shows Fay searching the Albany Advertiser for news about the troops in the Middle East. This lovely charcoal illustration will now grace the walls of the new boarding facility. I hope to see it when I visit for an informal book chat.

The full school assembly was a terrific occasion, welcoming the 2016 student leaders who then offered a badge to each Year One student, celebrating their new beginnings.

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Fay’s story continues to touch a chord with readers, particularly those living in WA. I often wonder how Fay would feel to know that so many people remember her…

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Book Launch for Gabriel Evans

Annie's Snails coverBeing asked to launch a book is an honour, especially when the book is created by someone who has illustrated one of my books!

In 2013, Gabriel Evans brought Annie and her snails to life for me and he has since illustrated and written several more titles. Gabe’s website is a great place to find details and workshop tips: Gabriel’s website

Last night was the Albany launch of Gabriel’s new book,The Mice and the Shoemaker, a joyful reinterpretation of the fairy tale with sweet furry characters instead of elves. The book is a delight with intricate illustrations that will stimulate young imaginations.

The Albany Library was packed with fans and well-wishers and it was great to see so many young readers coming along to celebrate. Lockie from Paperbark Merchants was kept busy, but says he still has a few signed copies at the shop.

Clare Valley with her signed copy
Clare Valley with her signed copy

The book’s themes of kindness and generosity link to Christmas and best of all… The Mice and the Shoemaker has fun pop-ups. I love pop-ups!

Congratulations Gabriel and Five Mile Press on this beautiful book.

 

Jessica helping to launch Gabe's book

Back to Breaksea Island – after 9 years…

aud's choice 020It’s been nine years since I visited Breaksea Island in the very early days of my research for Lighthouse Girl. So much has happened since then…

When I last went out, the only way onto the island was via a swing & breaksea 055ladder, then a hike from the jetty up to the lighthouse and cottages (just like Fay would have done to meet the monthly supply boat). Back in 2006, very little was known about Fay’s early life, but going to the island gave me a strong feeling for how things ‘might’ have been when she signalled to departing troops in 1914. After that first research trip, Lighthouse Girl took another three years to research and write.

Now there is a helicopter service to Breaksea, which makes things much easier! I was excited to go back to Breaksea with the team from Channel 9’s Destination WA to film a segment that will go to air on Sunday 16th April at 5.30pm on WIN and Channel 9 with presenter Tod Johnston.

The Albany weather was at its wild and woolly best. I didn’t think we’d be able to fly, but pilot Rainor of Skyhook Helicopters has nerves of steel. He is an amazing pilot. After multiple flybys of the helipad; which gave us great views of the cottages and lighthouse, Rainor decided it was safer to put us down on a granite slab further down the island.

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The following clip shows how windy it was when we arrived. Forty knots plus.

20150318_153920 We walked up the hill to the lighthouse, battling the wind to explore the ruin of the original lighthouse and the sturdy second lighthouse (now solar powered). After taking lots of photographs, fighting wind and rain to do an interview, we went down the hill to the restored lighthouse keeper’s cottages.

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When I was at Breaksea in 2006 we camped overnight. I slept in a swag in the far room of the far cottage. I’ll probably never know which house Fay and her father lived in, but as I lay there listening to birds squawking in their burrows at night, I had such a strong sense of Fay having a link to the room I slept in. I had the same feeling this time.

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I loved being in the cottage which might have been Fay’s, looking out the windows to views of Bald Head and the wild Southern Ocean, imagining again how her life might have been. Thanks to Keir Tunbridge for the photo of me in that room. kkkkkk - Copy

And also for this one of me and the lighthouse.

 

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IMG_4982Thanks also to the intrepid team from Guru Productions  for organising the trip. I can’t wait to see the complete story on Destination WA.

July 23rd – Light Horse Boy classroom ideas

Fremantle Press has just launched a fun new teacher feature on their website, looking at how a teacher has used a particular book in the classroom.

The first book featured is Light Horse Boy, with links to interesting classroom activities done by Sarah McNamara and her students at Flinders Park Primary School in Albany. Click the link below to read more.

Teacher Feature on Light Horse Boy (external site)