To the Bridge – Writing true stories
Writing True Stories
Meeting and working with people who have a connection with the books I am researching and writing has been a big part of my life for the last 20 years. For my first picture book, Queenie One Elephant’s Story, I worked with the grandsons of the Zoo Director and the Captain of the ship which transported Queenie to Australia. For The Dog on the Tuckerbox I worked with Rodney Hutton who was then the Secretary of the Australian Bullock Driver’s League and for My Friend Tertius I received vital information from the son of the main character, Arthur Cooper who I was blessed to finally meet in London last October.
Almost 5 years ago I traveled to Queensland to meet Beryl Ferrier, the then 90 year old little sister of Lennie Gwyther, the main character in To the Bridge, along with his treasured pony, Ginger Mick. The book was conceived and created under the umbrella of Black Dog Books, which was, until December 31st last year, an imprint of Walker Books Australia and illustrated by the gifted Andrew McLean.
It has been a privilege to work with Beryl on this book and such a unique experience to learn the precious details of the story through her eyes and her memories.
Statue Unveiling – Leongatha October 2017
On Monday night her copy of the book was waiting on her doorstep when she arrived home and I spoke to her shortly after.
‘I was completely blown away,’ she said. ‘Absolutely the best and worth waiting for.’
Her response brought tears to my eyes and in that moment I realised just how much her approval meant to me and how much responsibility it is to write these stories.
On 12th March, her 95th Birthday, Beryl will be co-launching the book at the Leongatha launch, beside the statue of her brother and Ginger Mick which stands proudly in the centre of Leongatha, along with Maryann Ballantyne, the original publisher Andrew and I worked with on this book.
The Melbourne launch will take place on Saturday April 4 at 10.30 a.m. at REALM Library at Eastland Shopping Centre in Ringwood. Here’s the link: https://events.yourlibrary.com.au/event?id=17891