Wednesday, 14 March 2012

'Do not forget Australia' Blog tour

Welcome to the last stop on an adventure to launch Sally Murphy's and Sonia Kretschmar's picture book published by Walker.

It's a special privilege to host a fellow author's blog tour- my congratulations to both Sally and Sonia on a great addition to our understanding of the First World war and this particular connection to France.

Recently on my travels into NSW, I saw an early copy of the book at a Bowral bookshop- there's nothing sweeter than catching sight on one's book on display for the world to see.

Now to pose some questions to Sally about historical fiction.

What attracts you to writing about a part of Australia's history for children and in picture book format?

I have always loved historical fiction, and feel it is a wonderful way to bring history to life for children. The visual element helps to make it more real. I feel it is really important that we teach our children about as many different parts of our past as we can, as the past shapes the present.

Does the Anzac story itself have a personal connection for you?

My grandfather served in the first world war, though not in Villers-Bretonneux, where this story is set. My son visited Villers-Bretonneux in 2008, and it was this visit which ignited my interest in the story.

Sonia Kretschmar is a talented illustrator how does her work contribute to the overall historical viewpoint of your book?

Yes, she is very talented! I am just in awe of her work and delighted that she agreed to illustrate the story. She has worked to recreate the era and the settings of the book, and her colour palette also adds to that historical feel.

The title is very poignant, was it easy to decide on a title?

Yes. I don’t always find titles so easily, but in this case, the whole story came from the sign, saying ‘Do Not Forget Australia’ which hangs in a schoolyard in Villers-Bretonneux, France. With the sign featuring so prominently in the story, there was no other title!

Research seems to be synonymous with historical fiction- what shape and time-span did your research take?

I started researching months before I started writing , and I’m still reading and learning! Only recently I visited the Trove archive on the National Library site to read news articles about Villers-Bretonneux.

I know only too well what family and work commitments can do to your writing time, how do you manage that time commodity? Any hints for other writers always juggling time?

I find I have to make time for writing – otherwise no writing will happen. I would love to write for hours every day, but am afraid that’s unrealistic for someone with four children still at home and a day job. So instead, I make sure that I write as often a possible – even if it’s just a few lines. I always carry a notebook, and my laptop goes wherever it can, so that I can write when I do get time.
For aspiring writers I would say don’t bemoan the lack of time – instead make use of whatever time you DO have. And snatch the time by making writing a priority.

What new perspective has this genre given your writing do you think?

Because I was writing about historical events, I had to be careful to be true to the times. Whilst credibility is important in any story, I think when you are working from history, you have to be careful – but in picture book format you have a limited number of words and so do need to stick to only the really key bits.

Will you write in this genre again?

Yes. I have a couple of other ideas for historical stories. When the time is right I will write them and, hopefully, get to share them with the world.

Any other comment you'd like to make?

Yep. I’d just like to mention that a picture book is a real team effort. I might have written the initial story, but Sonia’s illustrations brought it to life, and the work of editors, designers, publicity, marketing, distribution – so many people – is what makes a book complete. So a huge thank you to Sonia and to everyone at Walker Books for making it happen.

And thanks, Lorraine, for having me for a visit!

My pleasure Sally and now there's the last chance to win a copy of 'Do not forget Australia'. Can you comment on this post with another part of history that we shouldn't forget, or ask Sally or Sonia a question that hasn't been answered in the previous stops on the tour?  Winner notified Saturday 17th March.


Kaz Delaney said...

Congratulations Lorraine and Sally. Great questions Lorraine and great answers, Sally.

I've followed this tour for the most part and it's been an amazing experience. At each stop I've learned something new about the beautiful story, or its creators.

I love your advice Sally, about 'making time to write'. Such wise advice, and even more relative today than in days gone by. Life just keeps getting busier and busier, and no one is going to find that time for you, but you.

I hope you both, Sally & Lorraine, get to 'make' more time for your writing, and continue to gift the world with you wonderful books.

Congratulations of a successful tour, Sally!

Karen Tyrrell said...

Congrats Lorraine and Sally, fabulous interview!
Thanks Sally for pointing out what a team effort it is in making a picture book... author, illustrator, editor, publisher, marketer etc etc all working in sinc.

Jackie(My Little Bookcase) said...

I think this sounds like a beautiful book. I'm very keen to get my hands on a copy so I can add it to a book list I put together at the beginning of the year: Historical Fiction for Young Readers.

It has been my favourite book list to compile and one which I'm very fond of.

I'd like to see some more books on early Aboriginal/European Settler relations- something for young kids to understand.

I also think Eureka Rebellion is important. Certainly in Victoria it really paved the way for a true democratic nation we are- it is very unique within the world I think.

Thanks for the wonderful interview


Sally Murphy said...

Thanks for having me here, Lorraine, and for visiting Kaz, Karen and Jackie.

Jackie, your list sounds really useful. It is important that we make historical events accessible for younger readers.

Peter Taylor said...

Many thanks for your great questions and answers, Lorraine and Sally.

All best wishes for mega sales and looking forward to the rave reviews, awards ...and following your next tour.


Life's a poem said...

Thanks Kaz, Karen,Jackie and Peter for your supportive comments- Sally, I'm sure you're thrilled with responses to 'Do not forget Australia' and Jackie- love the historical story line suggestions.

Sally Murphy said...

Thanks Peter :)

Dee White said...

I enjoyed the interview, Lorraine and Sally.

Congratulations Sally and Sonia on a wonderful and important book.

Sally Murphy said...

Thanks Dee :)

Dale said...

Good interview Lorraine and answers Sally.True, about having to make time to write. It doesn't just appear like magic.

Sally Murphy said...

Thanks Dale. I wish it did appear by magic!

Life's a poem said...

Thankyou every one for your comments,
Jackie ( My Little Bookcase) has won the copy of 'Do Not forget Australia'- Jackie can you send me your email address please?
Congratulations on your suggestions.

Jackie(My Little Bookcase) said...

Thanks Lorraine. I'm very lucky. Will shoot you an email shortly.