This afternoon something special arrived in the mail. After publication delays beyond my control, I’m so excited to at last hold my new picture book, Nanna’s Button Tin. Heather Potter’s illustrations are beautiful and every time I read the story I find lovely details in her artwork. The release date with Walker Books is June 1st but here is a first sneak peek…
The story was inspired by memories of playing with my mum’s and grandmothers’ button tins. I loved tipping their tins upside down, sorting shapes and colours and looking for my favourite buttons. Some buttons held special memories; a favourite party dress or a bear-shaped button from a cardigan. The book is dedicated to every Nanna with a button tin.
I couldn’t have hoped for a better first review than the one published in the current issue of Books+Publishing by esteemed publisher, academic, author (and more) Margaret Hamilton AM. She writes: …The heart-warming story is sensitively told in simple and expressive language. The reader is invited to join this loving family to experience the special relationship between a small girl and her nanna and to relive treasured family memories, all through the special buttons in nanna’s jar… Stories about family togetherness are very important in the life of a child. They reinforce family experiences and loving relationships, and when they are as warmly portrayed as those in this book, they become keepsakes.
Thank you Heather, Editor Mary Verney and the rest of the team at Walker Books.
After five years working on PhD research; my two novels (The Shark Caller, The Dog with Seven Names) and the accompanying exegesis, “Crafting Animals Characters in Fiction for Young Readers”, it’s a wonderful (and somewhat fizzy) feeling to be able to at last be free to give attention to other projects which have been circling in a holding pattern. The first being Light from a Broken Lantern (working title).
Between final drafts of the exegesis I’ve been researching this manuscript; the third (and final?) book in the Lighthouse/Horse Boy series. The story steps back to explore the early WW1 years from the perspective of English nurse, Rose before she meets Jim (Light Horse Boy). This early stage of shaping an historical story is exciting in that research reveals all sorts of potential leads, some of which will be followed and woven into the plotline while others slip quietly back into history. I’ve been keeping a scrapbook journal of progress and notes, so that I can revisit some of the quieter snippets in later drafts.
In early June, another long-term project, Nanna’s Button Tin will be released by Walker Books Australia (and Candlewick for the U.S. market). Heather Potter’s beautiful illustrations hold lovely details which add multiple layers to the story. I can’t wait to share more details in a following post.
2017 also brings exciting events linking to Lighthouse Girl and Light Horse Boy, as well as festival and school bookings. Here are some details for those:
Feb: Lighthouse Girl and Light Horse Boy will be included in an exhibition of Australian and New Zealand Children’s picture books called Anzac Stories Behind the Pages – held in Brisbane libraries.
March: I’ll be filling in for Warren Flynn while he takes leave from his position as English tutor at the Albany UWA campus. I’m looking forward to working with first year students on texts including Shaun Tan’s The Arrival and Art Spiegelman’s Maus.
Also in March: Between the Lines Writer’s Festival is on again in Busselton. I’ll be talking about The Shark Caller as well as sharing ideas for creating animal characters.
April 21 and 22 : Time to frock up for Black Swan Theatre’s premiere of Lighthouse Girl in Albany. Playwright, Hellie Turner’s terrific adaptation also links to Light Horse Boy.
April – May: Black Swan Theatre’s season of Lighthouse Girlcontinues in Perth.
June : Nanna’s Button Tin will be released by Walker Books Australia (and Candlewick).
August: For the first time in many years, Children’s Bookweek will be spent in Albany and the Great Southern, coinciding with the Albany exhibition of Anzac Stories Behind the Pages. As well as Albany and Denmark sessions, I’ll be travelling to smaller communities and schools across the Great Southern.
Repeat bookings are always lovely and in 2017 I’ll be revisiting some favourite schools and places including; St Marks, The Literature Centre, Woodthorpe and Margaret River Library. More about dates and details in following posts.
Until then, thank you for your interest in my books and this blog. I enjoy receiving feedback, so please feel free to send me a message. In 2017, I hope to post more regularly, let’s see how I go …