A successful and prolific writer of children’s picture books, Corinne Fenton explains the challenges of writing for children. Passionate about animals, all of her books to date have a different creature at their heart. These warm and engaging stories have found a large audience and her latest book was the inspiration for the Myer Christmas windows. It was fascinating to discover that, though they may not have a lot of words, children’s picture books are very hard to write. Corinne confessed she had sometimes spent months crafting a sentence or finding just the right word. A delightful interview.
Jennifer Kloester is an Australian author of Young Adult, Biography & Historical Fiction.
Her first novel, ‘The Cinderella Moment’, was published by Penguin Australia and Swoon Romance in 2013 and was followed by the sequel, ‘The Rapunzel Dilemma’ in 2014.
Jennifer has given talks around the world on Georgette Heyer and the Regency, and is a passionate advocate for women writers, books and reading.
Read the transcript
[0:08] I’m Jennifer Kloester and welcome to the book cave today I’m delighted to be interviewing the award winning children’s author.
Corrine Fenton Corinne welcome to the book cave thank you very much Jennifer thank you for having me. It’s an absolute pleasure and special guests today.
We have Prince Harry no not that Prince Harry is Prince Harry not a redhead but a beautiful white.
West highland terrier and he’s a beautiful boy why do we have Harry yet
we have Harry here now because I needed originally when little dog and Christmas wish came out I needed a
west highland terrier for book launch and I contacted a few friends and I said mine’s too grumpy or too old or whatever and I wandered into Collins Croydon bookshop
Monday and there was Harry behind the counter and since then Harry and I’ve been pretty good friends haven’t we Harry.
[1:05] How wonderful a Harry’s a celebrity Harry is a bit of a celebrity likes being silly
and the Christmas wish in little bit but first of all I’d like to go back to your first I believe it’s your first book
the first picture book which was published originally in 2006 over 10 years old
And it’s had a wonderful life and it’s about Queenie, one elephant’s story.
It’s a true story and it’s a story I had to write to me there was no choice so really I think I was.
[1:48] Roma story about sparrows this was the beginning house sparrows and some he suggested I might get some good photo information from the zoo so I clicked on the Zoo website and I have no idea how are you today.
Away from the sparrows and a months the elephant and I did and back then there’s this one page and I’d never heard of Queenie and I read the one page and I cried.
[2:14] I really keen then I cried again.
And I knew right then that I just had to write a story and that was the first thing was I couldn’t work out why nobody ever written her story before and that was the first thing I had to establish and night
never thought a Russian history before and that’s a look it took a very long time and being my first.
Book it also I took a while to get publishers when all at some stuff but look it was still alright everyday so it was still it still talk to you I think 24 it sorry for years 8 months from when I decided to write the story.
When I held the book in my hand so I think that people look at picture books and say hi.
[2:56] 500 words to be written in in 5 minutes but that’s certainly not not depend on each page
it was not very long do children effectively talk
long time to write research and look all is
if you write it with it so I guess a fiction or nonfiction book the research is huge because every bit of information you put into a children’s book.
Must be true and must be correct so looked it was that aspect but I think the thing with Queenie was this I assume that I get all this information at the zoo because she was at the zoo.
Walking Circuit for almost 40 years it in fact look he know there was some information at the zoo but.
At one stage apparently all the zoo records have been stored under monkeys cage so for years and years so it is some.
Pulled out and took them to the public records.
And so the people have to work with white gloves to make sure that they were ok and all of that so so she went.
[4:11] Record office and a lot of information there but I think more than that it was through the people I met and the more people I spoke to the more information I found them you know queeny is in the memories of the.
[4:24] 80 + year olds my mother is here so that look that was your head
dollar food but he said to me I wrote on Queenie and when I say we hang on when was that and if it’s anything after 19:45 and wasn’t Queen no and I think.
People actually disappointed it wasn’t quite so
visit Lee is a very long list of acknowledgement of the story but I didn’t know all these amazing and wonderful details but you’ve told beautifully and of course superbly Illustrated.
Biomedical Peter gouldthorpe missed a superb job but I have to say it was a sad story in the end I know
I mean I think obviously with modern sensibilities it’s a sad story in the beginning to take an elephant from it’s natural habitat and to let you know bring it to a zoo in particular zoos of.
The early 19 hundreds which would not like these today but the actual ending is sad because Queen is life is it.
[5:31] We can spoil I think it’s a bit of a spoiler bit I don’t think it matters now she actually ended up crashing her one of her keep things do we know why there were a couple of theories on Apple looking at firstly
I agonized over the story and and telling the truth and I had to be true
myself and I suppose over the years and I’ve read the story to in 5 year olds even some 4 year olds and
never been an issue army certainly the questions from children but there’s never been an issue because I’ve been honest and I think that’s a really really important thing and it looked a couple of things theories regarding her crushing will feel awesome and the first one is that.
Phone number for rumours that that he was actually cruel to her yeah now he was 69 so he retired and I bought him back from retirement so he was quite elderly.
An elephant is a huge animal and needs to be respect.
And accidents can happen but yes I look at a couple of series that was the end of a long day and queen he had given.
Mini rhymes and was only one little girl on her back and the father little girl walking away from crazy and so they were looking the other way.
[6:49] Wilfred Lawson and queen ever walking towards the gate out of the circuit so the only Witnesses work.
Call on the merry go round which was going now so how much do you see when you’ve got an elephant here yoga around and so look one theory is that
he did been to pick something up and one theory is that Queen it had enough and she just gave him a bit of a knock.
Yes it is. He actually had heart attack and he felt so that when people saw Queen been down to pick him up
she could have been oh actually what time did he being 10 years ago we do as a vet.
By the time I got to this person I actually had Simon able to record so I don’t believe that anybody actually saw what truly happened which is why I had to be a little bit
Open ended on it that a lot to ask of an animal.
[7:52] And I think she put up with a lot I don’t know but I do love this particular episode in your book where the children have been teasing her.
And he had actually gone out the back.
And come back and she is up squirting that with strawberry intelligence
um and I do remember me that thing that elephants not forgetting true to men but I think in fact when I read them in the class and get to that point.
Children actually here.
Navigate to that poisonous and say something to me beautiful.
Remarkable animal so congratulations thank you thanks but this lovely book
the Dog on the Tuckerbox and of course all the silk probably all Australians I think of familiar with the hopefully dog sits on the Tuckerbox on the road to Gundagai
I’m in Queensland and dumb but this is also a tribute really to Australian Pioneers European Pioneers it is so what brought you it’s an interesting.
[9:04] Jump from Queenie The Pioneers
it is and I think I remember exactly so Queenie had done quite well and I probably show Miriam Ballantyne said to me look really how would like a mother
another animal story can you think of another I can’t and all I can’t and I actually went home and I had this then I should have bought it with me a tiny little orange book
which at that point I think it was printed by Gundagai hospital as a fundraiser and it’s a little bit of background into the story of the Dog on the Tuckerbox and I had this at home and I looked at it nothing.
That would be a really good story so I went back and I said to Marianne you know what do you think about the Dog on the Tuckerbox terrific she said really good look I had a lot of trouble I suppose they call them.
[9:54] I wish I had to follow up a good book.
And that’s always terrifying the author you know you you’re only as good as your last and I suppose so that with that was really hard so for a while I had it was hard work trying to
put myself to to love to love lady
and I’m so I think I’ve mentioned in front there I was hoping that I’d read it was going over and over the text but I still felt
I didn’t know my.
I didn’t know my dog which was just a struggle thing that we also go through and anyway my daughter was house sitting and dog sitting as well and
I’ve ended up looking after 15 couple of days a dog who was too sick.
[10:44] And she was a kelpie and I ended up with Kate.
If you died in my arms so I had beers my store is lacking emotional impact and that’s what it was and it took
did you meet with Kate for me to realise that that’s what was missing in my story
and you don’t want you need a wish for that to happen but I know what my story needed love lady I meant to read this you know the old lady.
[11:16] 2 things it’s it’s so again another sad story though
you know if that the true story of the dog well ok so look explain this to two children probably more than anything is this is sort of my faction book
so it’s a story that every bit of research every bit of information is absolutely true
and correct but the actual story so have been a female dog for instance here I sit back and I thought I’ve got this really I’ve got.
Chinese female dominated story so I was at the time
the research information is working with the man who is secretary of the bully his leg.
And I rang him one day and I said look is there any reason why the Dog on the Tuckerbox.
Have to be a male dog and he said no not at all wish I could just as easily been a female so that was a decision that I made at the time to get the balance sort of right and
yes hopefully hopefully that work at the fair enough many people say to me they think Dog on the Tuckerbox is more sad than Queenie and for years I had trouble with us it will how can it be it’s an open in there no I don’t really say that the Dog on the Tuckerbox.
Don’t I don’t mention that and then I thought ok the big thing is.
Not many people have an elephant in their backyard but everybody do the dog.
[12:40] So I suppose that’s the right that yeah I forgot it again well I think it’s that sort of greyfriars Bobby story of the dog.
Loyally waiting for the master on mistress you never return this and I think this is incredibly oh hugs on the heartstrings you know that idea that you know
the dog day after day and can’t be in a northerly waiting and then can’t be you know by any means drawn away from it’s post of waiting for the mail and see if that annoys incredible loyalty and I think that really does.
Target the heartstrings.
[13:15] What I find really Revelator re talking to you Korean in this idea that you know either write a bit and I spend hours and days and weeks and months
researching my books because again I need everything to be correct but these are short better because it never really I don’t think I never really understood that you two could spend he is researching
I really only prats 136 Pages wait till we get a picture book isn’t just sort of all well there you go
I might go home for the weekend and write a picture book has been at dinner parties and people have said you’ve inspired me that’s why I’m going to do tonight
go home and write Picture Book hello yes I’m going to go home to your brains
every single word in a picture book must have the right to be there by passing as easily as one would actually in this so we’re on the bushfire page.
Yeah of course I didn’t stare at hope there at that word for 6 months there but I’d go away and come back and.
I knew the word would come but I just had to wait and be patient and it was the average blowing lady off as if she were a matchstick.
[14:44] That was fantastic I kept having this vision in my head over a Birdcage so I can I see.
I said you’re straight ahead but I can’t draw save my life.
And that is frustrating but on this occasion this this it was just me this bird cage but I find bamboo type one anyway in the end it look when they’re sitting at the computer and even said to my friends what would you think would be here and he went met.
Just dropped so it is also it was something fragile so lady against the ball is so tiny yes and yes.
She has a power behind her because she was brave and a match also has the power to set a bushfire so
with that was a good one so do you find the whole writing process
is it magical is it difficult is it what is it doing I think this look at both I suppose.
[15:40] The moments are magic they’re not always there but I suppose with.
Picture book for me I can research and research but I don’t start to write until I know
I’m ready to ride so I have to wait and be really patient if I start too early it won’t work while writing.
How long how many hours a day do you set a ride if it’s.
Probably yeah I don’t keep a record of it I suppose I have a job to do whether it’s a story that just.
Cups into my head and then I start writing out of my own accord or whether a publisher is said.
[16:24] Twin sister we would like you to write so in both of those instances I still have to wait.
Time in in the mood to write but sometimes the words I say that just dropping to the top of my head.
So is this a drop in the top of my head once I may call it that absolutely beautiful I wish I wish.
I have this with my children my little thing hey baby and it’s just a beautiful life affirming.
I actually think for any age I enjoyed reading it just for myself
and it’s just so clever with these wonderful animal picture this they are intended to read it figured out for a second.
[17:16] A splash or a hold your breath moment.
[17:23] Just how special I love it yes how unique.
[17:36] How precious.
[17:44] You are baby both and know that.
[17:52] In all the world there will never be.
[18:01] A newborn baby with eyes.
[18:11] Ear nose and toes.
[18:18] A laugh or smile at Cheeky Grin.
Exactly like yours.
[18:33] Beautiful baby beautiful eyes so beautiful baby kangaroo Joey.
[18:41] That is just a delicious book
it’s my accident book so I’ve written a story which is still
the bottom drawer has never been published and at the time it was going to be published and at the end of it I just had this idea that I would write a poem about.
[19:06] A mother’s love for their baby so I did this is sort of the added thing on the end and.
And I went and saw it and she persisted I just want anything because I think it’s nice and we’re sending her kitchen that’s why I remember so well and she said cream
I think this is a book of its own which is quite alright it’s think that the original story is never been published and then this one has and then there have been three others but
came from this so yeah so so does your hey Mum I love you hey Dad you’re great hey baby it’s Christmas so it was just one of those things but that was a.
[19:46] Write a cream.
It feels right and get it down so that was a real right from the heart that I didn’t have to do a great amount of research and then.
The books and in Walker death of the photographs doing that your ideal well I had it in my head.
[20:07] I can’t draw so I think it that point Moran said to me look what about we do photographs in this.
And I feel so yeah that sounds good so they actually got your treat all the photographs and they would send them to me and say what do you think about this one so it went backwards and forwards quite a while but it was fun and it was
so different from the other things that I’ve been doing so that’s good one more thing return.
To Australian I love your way of doing Australian history because it makes it incredibly accessible.
[20:42] And I think that’s really important I think if you can share the information
in a way that is easy and and palatable and children and I think you’re thinking that picture books I feel really strongly about is first
boys supposedly don’t always read and it’s not boys and girls as well.
Titles of love books from the beginning but I think to be able to read a book
in 5 minutes and then if they want to know more about trains more about the history of it if they dearer they can actually go to information books or they can then jump on the Internet and find more information so I see picture books as a vehicle.
And yeah they can still get into my information and still enjoy the story as much as they can from Facebook so if if.
If a novel terrifies some boys or girls they’re able to read this still do a book report if they need to still learn from that information so that’s what I think
well I love this I’ve never heard of Bob the railway how do you know it’s a beautiful story.
[21:52] This is in the late 1800 in Australia and I didn’t know about all these dogs they apparently sent out into the outback to kill rabbits which clearly didn’t work it was I suppose a good try to copy all
you don’t happen to them of course got kept by one of the guards on the train but he became an incredible
traveller yes and it seems will travel all over Australia on any train is coast yet yeah every everybody new hits
just astonishing and all the information about
12 I think of off the top of my head he was about 12 and he actually died.
In arm is it Rundle Street station not the mall only hi sorry at the other end and it was a butcher shop there that we need is in Adelaide he would actually
butcher shop and apparently one day he called into his food and had a really good meal and I was dog on the other side of the road walk past but gave it back.
[23:07] Heart attack and don’t think what we would all want and he wasn’t it wasn’t too old but he wasn’t young either and he’s had this.
Fantastic lies is my favourite but also really.
[23:24] Touched me about this book not just a story but you have some really beautiful lyrical.
Writing which isn’t what one always tend to expect in a child’s picture book do you know if I can just read this this.
His favourite spot was on a Yankee engine or on the coal tender with the whistle echoing and wild smoke billowing about him.
[23:47] He stood there when the Night Train ran only the glow of one lonely Beam unstitching the Black Opal night.
[23:57] Well spinafex bushes Pete from the side the tracks like Wall-E headed ghosts.
[24:03] So I believe I’m writing in the real so he can take yourself to the place so with granny I used to sit in the zoo and I used to sit where.
Queen walk and I got a sense of place there am I correct you feel her there so that was important then yes I went backwards and forwards to Gundagai 5 times because
I had to be there I had to feel weird lady been and end with with.
This one my husband I actually took the Ghan and we did sit up in the night and we did.
See visions of the the ghosts in the list so all that was still there within my head so I was able to call on that and
just fascinating this is what lady Antonia Fraser called optical research and it’s it’s so I’ve certainly done it for my gorgeous hair work in a gone to every place she ever lived in.
[24:59] Inside the houses buy some beans are other absorb.
And you understand much more deeply then if you never do those things you can you can feel
set five senses at Woody visceral experience this really comes through in your writing.
And of course in the illustration talking about the relationship between an author and illustrator how does that work look I believe
it’s different between every offer.
And if you look straighter for every book they said they’ll be some some orvis Hill Fable I never met my list rated as I’ve got no idea and there is that thing and I believe this to that as an offer we reach a point where.
We have to let the story go and we have to have complete trust in the illustrator and to me the best picture book so the ones where
the words and illustrations equally tell the story so you know no words just illustrations no restriction as always.
It’s not a true picture look so to me it’s really important.
Send at yours in Illustrator work together I have been lucky enough to meet all my lost races except one and that’s only be she lives up on the the coast in New South Wales so I look we I have never had any issue with.
Illustrators that I work with that far and I I believe.
[26:25] It’s not my right to tell for me how to illustrate but that’s just not my my job but what does happen when the rough come through mostly there there
perfect bath if the something that I feel isn’t showing.
That’s when I say something but I suppose I only say something if it’s really important because I’m not quite so it hasn’t been a few instances where I’ve actually sit and have a look I don’t.
Believe that that that illustration is right but I have to feel really firmly
that’s not right and then it did get stuffed it look as and I think and I mean I speak to the publisher with editor at the time and we work through it and work through why
you know mostly I’m really Pleasant so I can’t draw so you’re saying I can only look back and say alright has is how’s the job there.
[27:24] Is a book that oh best it can be the of those illustrations in those words and another thing I do to her
if Illustrator has Illustrated as it should be all quite often let those words go and I’ll sit and cross those words at the very last minute and I did that with a Dog on the Tuckerbox is Peter
head looks so much it was interpreted interpreted so well yeah that.
I felt that my word with the words I need to be there in the beginning could do the illustration but then I was happy to take them away
fascinating things about words in terms of your audience and obviously your writing for young children.
Then we just read that lovely lyrical what I think is a very lyrical piece from Bob the railway dog how important do you think.
[28:12] Is lyrical writing or really fine writing a very young children it’s really important I think that children.
I think writing can be too simple I think I think there’s certain words need to be that you throw in
important magical lyrical word there that they haven’t heard before and they will remember that that’s the word that they will treasure and.
I think children can handle it I think we have to underestimate them a little bit and you know if it if it’s a lyrical word
little bit and I can go back to the alliteration as wonderful move for children and just reading that out loud and I supposed to be looked school visits.
You can have your good days at school visits in and bad as you know I think the visits you have the classes before lunch when the children are hungry can be a bit of time sometime or if there then determine there a bit time so all that can be a challenge about
what is really lovely is if you sit there and read your book out loud.
Tyler and I just don’t believe children never too old to be rude to agree I think of it I think we should be reading aloud to have children far more than we do I need for longer.
[29:29] I think the lutely wonderful way to give children love of books and love of reading and it’s meant to be fun meant to be.
Pure joy really something that shed you can remember if I join my children about thing at 10 and 12 and we’re moving house anyway I ended up.
We spent every night reading through Foxtel Gillian Rubinstein.
My kids now still remember that it’s been a really special experience and
they keep referring back to that and you need to do that I think I think the sharing in the reading and and also for grandparents with these books as well and he would like to share something with him
there’s a full I think that’s a fantastic come introduction to this one Christmas in one of your Christmas book this.
And just beautiful and the sun set in Melbourne in the 1962 68 68 58.
[30:27] Tiny bit early in the 50s and this is the city to surf.
This is just beautifully Illustrated this is Margaret Robbie Farah off and she’s just thought I’d really rich sumptuous set of illustration to go with your beautiful story.
[30:51] And I love the fact that you brought this one back to Melbourne.
[30:54] And Luna Park yes and I remember the giggle Palace Eagle really wonderful but it’s a wonderful flight of fantasy that I think children.
Would relate to you know that idea that you could sort of take off on a merry go round horse and fly through the air really beautiful and the grandfather.
Has taken her so what inspired this book this was a look I’ve had a dog and Christmas wish for the my windows medical on really well and the suggestion was that
I write another one so it was it had to be quite quick but I really it was one of those ideas I guess it.
Into my head this I thought about Melbourne and what was popular around that time and I have this lovely silly and I’ve lived in this a little bit of travel there a couple of times and yeah I thought about
Melbourne men and women what it was like to be in Melbourne and I guess.
Yeah you might have a couple of as children in the class her of Italian Heritage and I just thought it a little girl in a park being a place where.
[32:05] Children could escape to and have a good time forget all their worries and enjoy yourself and the magic you know this got to do magic
in the world and I think specially these days is a lot of.
Search up going on in the world and I think to have some imagination and the kids to believe that yeah you know she should believe.
Could happen and they could fly away and fly all over Melbourne in a favourite one of the difference was there
a bit longer the story with longer in my head and the other bit that I had to let go and sometimes that can be really really hard really challenges yeah
had to bits had to.
To be had to go throw it so I had other visions as well that Maddie is a Sydney Australia so it was she actually came down here and sat at Luna Park and I remembered
let me see
lovely sunset over so what happened with that and it is actually quite funny so imagine was busy illustration away.
[33:14] I don’t know when this was was last year so I was in St Kilda that night and I rang the.
Director in Sydney and I said look I’m here in the park in St Kilda is anything you want me to change that all look
ring Margery and see what she says seller call Marjorie instead of just take anything her in muffins
beautiful sunset here tonight and it was just stunning so I sort of feel that’s my other things why it is important
to talk to me illustrate at times you know not not all the time but to me that was just.
[33:58] Especially and it was just this magnificent sunset that night and just.
The Myer Windows right yes Myer Melbourne is a
very famous department store that used to be the third largest department store in the world after Macy’s inherits and the manager at mobile
so the Myer windows are in a very iconic part of Melbourne history really enjoy every year at Christmas Is You
no obviously they from the nineteen fifties have had these wonderful mechanical Windows which I can still remember Cinderella.
And they had this wonderful scene with the the sink and the dishes and the dishes went in and out of the sink with Cinderella at the end
coming down the stairs and having left her glasses are behind and she come forward and rock back into the slipper
incredibly powerful children you know and the wonder of a kind of mechanical thing you know creatures animals moving service of course you had.
Little dog and the Christmas wish addermire window that is it.
[35:22] I’m trying to quickly
well it is it is now become his book so what happened like a Christmas Story.
[35:38] This is actually back when it was just Black Dog books before Black Dog books became an imprint of walk.
In Australia and they said we wanted a Christmas story and we talked about sitting and time and all it’s a stuff so I actually read this article back in 2000
a talking cat is and it was about how children
and those people buy puppies and kittens at Christmas or exciting at first and then come with Christmas holidays and everybody gets too busy and sometimes I forget to water them they forget to feed them and they more particularly
[36:13] To look after them and they can go out and get lost so that if it was in the back of my head I been asked to write a Christmas story and I was sitting in the Block Arcade waiting for a friend.
[36:25] Lunch and she was running late and ever sitting there I looked out into the iPad and.
I actually saw the whole story it was like this visually I looked there was a Father Christmas time is not a Father Christmas in it now but at that point actually saw.
[36:41] How to Christmas tipping out from the store for Sydney
and I saw this little white dog who was sheltering from from the rain and it was just all so clear and I sat there and I started scribbling it so in here.
[36:54] I’ve actually got Hopetoun Tea Rooms Block Arcade 27
of November which is just the other day but 2008 while accelerating the story so I did that and then Robin cowcher
after what was the illustrator and so the book was released in October 2014 and we launched in the Block Arcade and the Lord Mayor of Launceston it was lovely occasion
just trying to that I decided I needed a little Westie for there
yum for the launch and that’s when I wanted you to book shop and found Harry so Harry’s been involved in 3 years ago so roll on the book.
[37:34] Hot Wheel over the christmas period sold out which was all lovely and then January I’ll see you at home and I was actually mined in Harry but he was actually under my desk Harry and the phone rang
and a lady said I was at Corinne Fenton it was a very bad line and I was actually writing at the time I remember.
Also quite rude I think I’m really sorry can you call back I can’t hear you and then I hung up and she called back and she just said I wasn’t cream I’m just ringing to tell you your book bulldog and the Christmas which has been chosen as the book for the moment thing and I was like
you know I didn’t quite believe it and the point that I took her number and I said look I just need to check with the publisher and I’ll need to check
and she said I think it will be alright I’m sure it will be but I’ll just check and I hung up and hair is looking at me and I said how am I dreaming of course anyway so they are being myriad and I said look
can you can you just check this for me and I think I said to her first are you sitting down.
[38:40] And anyway and she said look I’ll check for you and then she went back and she said it’s true do you want to leave your phone in
this was actually a man catches a picture book she done a lot of illustrating for the aged over the years you’re not going to pick.
Before 5 then had the pleasure of ringing often so.
[39:02] It’s sitting in the 50s and to me this is.
I used to think why it’s missed wonder why I’d kill to people and I think the 50s we’ve had two world wars with had the depression
these were really simple x and little really easy and there wasn’t a lot of money around but
people just did everyday things then got pleasure and simple things and I think people look back and remember that as a.
[39:36] Enough period of time I think you talk about to you dedicated to those who remember Christmas like this.
And I do think that was a much simpler Christmas so it’s beautifully written and illustrated it’s an unexpected Christmas Story.
[39:55] You know usual run a Christmas story is quite different and I think Harry’s just delightful and the end.
Beautifully christmassy and happy and I think the Christmas wish that comes true is.
[40:10] Hey gorgeous thing and there’s Harry of course I sleep in a bath if he’s actually asleep on the floor.
Have you spoke before about greyfriars Bobby and I remember actually choosing what sort of dog would be the right dog for this and you’re a great father Bob is just such a
as well and so that was a big decision you wouldn’t really I thought about you know the why
west highland terrier because at that point I actually had I had still an a man who meet thing in the book
I had a lot more information there about him n he actually ties a red bow around the dogs neck so I thought the white and the red would look really beautiful thing that she was made not to
make it so Father Christmas and and bright colours and that
what is what makes not like that it’s not that kind of story it’s not a commercial Christmas Story in the way that we see them
actually to do that but yes yeah thank you and now we have it in the Myer windows in Geelong which is really thrilling so and you’re going to be launching.
Down up the curtain which I’m not sure whether it’s me or at least have a couple of books we don’t have a lot of time but I just wanted to.
[41:40] I found this book fascinating counting on you such an interesting unexpected book you know counting on you sort of think.
[41:49] You know what that’s going to be about and it’s beautifully written with these wonderful evocative
metaphors you know foot for the every Saturday and for moments and emotions I think I get in that right if you are and
you have my heart did you see that as well so they weren’t there were two like this so you have my heart came
first and then this once you have my heart was sort of a Mother’s Day book right around Mother’s Day Facebook saying you know no matter what no matter what life brings no matter what you do to me
you always have my heart yeah and so that was that and then I was asked to write.
Father’s Day why so it had to be different and you know so what what how is that relationship.
Between a mother and a child and a father to child
how is it different and that’s when I came to the idea of the sock things and what what
Alison and and children do together and you know they get up to venture they do funny thing you and the relationship is this different number that’s my take
oh that’s been different I only ever the card it’s never.
[43:03] Clearly stated it’s about the father a father or parent or anybody actually it’s only everything.
Beautiful illustrations and needs wonderful words.
With a cat and a little boy but you do get that sense and I see that is dedicated to your father and see you still somehow magically have conveyed this sort of meaning even though without ever saying.
[43:28] What is actually about you still no I think that look that’s one thing I think you can.
Tell story with very few words.
And I think that’s a really important thing to it doesn’t have to be long and sometimes yet the shorter they are the more difficult
they are as well let you know that long I went over and I think I think the difference with that one little bit was that I already had.
You have my heart so I was quite clear
on the format and where I was going with it so and the other guy movies in your head you have my heart I got just my text out in front of me and then I sat there within what I do which sounds a bit silly but if a lot of my ideas or lot of
my writing I do in my head when I’m walking and Zoloft and walk and I take them because someone United picture books it’s there.
Shanina shaik the words are just two pages so I’ll take my pen and I’m in a script with me and I’ll go for a walk and if there’s any stumbling block.
[44:39] Something’s not working it will often work
when I’m taking it for a walk and I’ll stop an ultra running water have the same effect
in the shower you have a good idea.
[45:02] You had a really knotty problem the amount of resolving your jump in the shower or sit by a running stream and it come
rain is a remarkable solutely and that if you don’t write it down somewhere in the morning song
that was come to your work before we do that do you know how children interpret the kite
look I don’t I don’t to me I mean that was Robin that was Robin’s idea to do the kite because it was that thing of OK I’ve written a words what I see hear what I see is all stations I could see it.
But it wasn’t
be kind to me and I miss you spoken to me she secretly you know where we had the heart that was that was really clear this you have my heart started with
basically in illustration illustration at Robin dead for a Mother’s Day card and I actually so it work the other way around so it was just one small illustration back.
That was my inspiration for you have my heart so this one was the other way around so I did the words first and then Robin followed up with the face she said to me look at the image of a kite how is that with you and I think.
Yeah it really work.
[46:31] When I go into schools I probably wouldn’t be working with that book so much thank schools would seem to want me to do
information and so I haven’t honestly done that I would love to know
speaking of information book really fascinating book this is recent
no because I’m following up too little dog and the Christmas we pulled over summer holiday holiday so that’s just come out and this was March this year
well this came out in 2017 so that’s exciting and this is a.
Fabulous story I’m I really enjoyed it although it does raise a few in the modern contact me every quite a few questions about.
Immigration that does illegal immigration and I’m just about people but actually.
Bringing animals into Australia so but that’s all a bit further down the track so it’s it’s purchase two shifts which of course is my friend tertius and turtles been Latin for.
Yes so we have privacy conversation and it’s about a.
[47:45] Man and his wonderful wonderful relationship.
[47:50] With a monkey with a given the whole thing I have to explain
all the time and people everybody seems it’s Monkey GO the not monkey no sew a given is the smallest member of the 8 firmware so I same school you know the Gorillaz the orangutan
basically the ones without tail
where is monkeys are the ones with tails I’ve actually got to fluffy toys and I think she chocolate a lot of weird is this is this is valid forgiven
and has a monkey and it’s the tail and I’ll have them but hold them both out and it will take them
sometimes five children to say ok the big difference there is that one doesn’t have a tail.
[48:40] So good you can go anywhere and yes I looked this this took me 10 years
what is a few more words I’m trying to remember I think I think it’s about 1400 which is longer so it really is a picture story but it’s a bigger story of it she really a story.
I think you have to say you’re great. Almost a chapter book without being a chapter books and and I really.
Believe that it had to be that because I always saw it usually try and get the information for this was just it was like I knew the end
and nothing else so I have to work back in in fine bikini what brought you the story.
[49:29] The cuckoo.
Who was infected intelligence officer was he actually Chinese balls or 9 ish
he looks sort of Oriental in Hong Kong.
If you go to the.
And I should have bought the actual photograph with me I took a definite English and he was quite.
The past it was very good family and his brother.
Had work to let u park so they were very very highly intelligent and as well educated educated living in Hong Kong
foreign office for the foreign office and he end up in Singapore before the fall of Singapore and he actually miraculously escape to get his full is.
Given this given this beautiful give it in Hong Kong in Hong Kong called purchase Singapore and then they’ve escaped on the last ship out of Singapore.
[50:38] And is always wonderful little anecdotes where she swallowed the safety pin and I loved how to just woke him up in the morning but I live the part of it
delightful picture of purchase in OK wake up
and so they do escape and he eventually ends up
docking in Fremantle in Australia in Western Australia and of course he has to hide.
Purchase this given because you can’t bring it give me a call in a legal and illegal immigrant into Australia.
[51:12] And eventually he’s caught up with by the authorities in Melbourne and of course purchase ends up in the Melbourne Zoo it’s a bit circular Korean you’ve begun with Queen end up.
No I know exactly turn of the Melbourne Zoo.
So it’s a delightful story which has all sorts of it I can see the wonderful material in schools you know all this interesting.
Things you can bring up a part for the store itself but how did you come for the story OK look it with as far back as when
we have just come out here and I went to visit alady this
when squatting I met a lot of people ring me and settled I’ve got photographs of got this to share with you which was wonderful oh I have all those photographs I’m glad you ring me and I went to her house and and she said I’ll
that’s nice if we know what’s purchase and she actually said to me to oceans and monkey
and so her family had actually uncle I think they’ve been the director of the zoo.
[52:19] Around that time so as a little girl she would be at the zoo anyway cut a very long story short I went home and I started checking up on purchase and
it was a very little information of a few newspaper clippings once again there was hardly anything to do and I went back to the zoo records the whole bit and I could find out through those newspaper clippings on.
He’s like here which was the end of his life but then it will fit in between and one of the newspaper articles said refer to the fact that
I think they said that other Cooper was a sailor anyway I basically just.
Going and going and then I discovered reference to other Cooper our lady called Emily hunt and she is the most fascinating character says she was an American journalist.
When is these women like in their 30s and 40s who is just before her time so she did this outrageous things I have worked in the Congo and Drover.
Convertible car across America all this other stuff anyways Ty and Cooper became friends
when they’re in Hong Kong and she loves Gibbons and she had my keys as well and I believe through her chest.
[53:32] He is up her hand and it was so hard and.
I knew one point like 5 years into interested in and getting frustrated that I couldn’t get information there I I learnt that his son with a dog.
[53:50] And I just keep going at it and I put I think a notice in this reduces journal asking were there any nurses.
Who escaped Singapore in 1942 and remember a man on the ship with a with a given and I didn’t get a reply from a nurse but I did have a man who had work.
[54:10] With Arthur Cooper or have been sort of.
How to keep a bean he’s been taught at Oxford university and he contacted me and said look I I never meant ocius but I can tell you a lot about Arthur Cooper and it was through him who kept saying look don’t give up keep going.
[54:26] I actually found out about the sun so he told me that the safety pin
and the pricing of the eyes and that whole x-ray bit and the bit about the curtains been looking like a kid from the window so that was also real and let you know
I’ve learnt to I’ve haven’t actually I’ve met the man from Oxford but I haven’t met
the song we got this lovely in my relationship now when he shared the book with these children and down and look at it also special because Edward the same actually said to me
as he fell through the book and me here
is give a closer relationship with his father and there was a lot about the wall and you know the father never ever mentioned her she remembers it was so painful for him so he never talked about it
and they lived in Melbourne for family for 5 years 2 bit by then purchase was in the zoo and he couldn’t get out
so it was nothing I could do about that so that was a lovely feeling to know that strawberry the journey that will take you on
far beyond anything you might ever imagine if you have an idea and then you begin to pursue it and I’m really looking forward to reading.
[55:49] Little dog in the summer holidays I think that would be splendid should have got a copy.
Talking to you Corinne you as well they were going into the book cave the
$64,000 question so we want to know your three books and you would contribute to our virtual Time Capsule our virtual book bin.
The three books that you would like the world to read a thousand years from now.
[56:26] Thank you I Love Jefferson wonderful it’s been such fun so thank you for having me look I agonized over do I just make it.
Because that’s my singing so I had it I have chosen three picture books and that in itself is being just
agonizing I look my face when he’s old pic.
I’m by Margaret Wild and I love many of Margaret Wild books she just has a nice beautiful voice for telling stories and uses the most beautiful perfect words and um yeah
I just think she’s my hero I’ll pig with illustrated by Ron Brooks and it’s just a beautiful story about.
[57:14] About losing people I got hoes and and and and death and dying but told him the most beautiful special general way
call Pig old Wonderful old keep the other one is a great joy and this is an American author by the name of Kate dicamillo now graduated pronunciation is very hard but it’s
E bertolini I think I probably New York.
And the words once again it was just so beautiful and precious and it’s in it.
Christmas time it snowing in New York a little girl looks out a window and see is an old man with symbols and a man.
And the cold and he’s begging for money in so little girl was kind him invite him to her.
Christmas pantomime and the mother saying when I know we haven’t got time that little girl persists and it’s just beautiful one just once again.
[58:21] I suppose it a simple premise told in a beautiful way
before I had any picture books published that was the book
best I spy to it’s quite long by today standards but you know I think everybody will know if I hope the velveteen rabbit then I’m forgetting something and loving something
no matter what and important.
Super strong theme of love in love and loyalty the simple things I think are often.
[59:05] That’s really true in a wonderful night to end I thank you Corinne Fenton for coming into the book cave thank you very very wonderful having thank you bye bye
in the book a was recorded SMS with the assistance of 94.7 FM.