Funny things that happen to a children’s author
For today’s blog post I thought I’d share some of the funny things that have happened to me . . . at book signings, book launches and writing experiences. I thought I’d make a list, in no particular order, as happenings come to mind:
* At a Probus presentation in the days when I used to take my own laptop, I returned from the toilet to find two elderly ladies had rested their full tea cups on the top of my opened laptop right next to the keyboard. I moved at lightning speed from the toilet door to my precious computer!
* At a book signing, a certain person (who shall remain anonymous) feeding ‘Harry’ the Westie, a large lump of White Christmas in the foyer of Myer – right next to the perfume department. I held my breath while Harry heaved, but he is such a little trooper that somehow the lump continued the journey without incident.
*There have been numerous occasions where I have had to ‘turn a blind eye’ and look above the seniors (mainly men) snoring in the front row, open-mouthed in the middle of my presentations. (Mmmmm – apparently that’s a common occurrence with other speakers . . . thankfully.)
*At my very first book launch (Queenie: One Elephant’s Story) held at the Melbourne Museum, I had no idea what the giant fluffy object was passing, as I entered the room, followed by a large camera. Then I was told it was the Channel 9 News – a definite ‘sink or swim’ moment . . . or two.
*When I was writing The Dog on the Tuckerbox illustrator Peter Goudlthorpe asked me to take some photos of rivers and landscape as I was passing through Gundagai. Problem was, there was a drought plus I was in a hurry to get to Canberra. The photos were taken with my right hand out the window snapping with the digital camera while my left hand was on the wheel driving up Conway’s Gap.
*My ‘then’ teenagers disowned me at Luna Park while I sat on the back of the horse I call Flame, in Flame Stands Waiting, and wrote the story. Problem was I didn’t just go around once – but all afternoon.
*I’d written an educational book called ‘Papa and the Freeway Ducks’ and a publisher contacted me, on a Friday afternoon, said they liked it, but they had enough duck stories. I was asked to substitute another wetlands animal and resubmit – by the Monday. Ordinarily that would have been ok but that weekend was the once a year performance of my daughter’s dancing school. So I sat researching and rewriting the text with turtles, surrounded by tutus, tap shoes, make-up applications, hair-fixes and quick costume changes, including an in the wings blackout change. It became The Freeway Turtles, which has also been published in French and in CD form.
*I’m thinking the funniest of all though was in December last year when Harry was invited to appear on Sunrise for the Myer Windows. It turned out they wanted me to talk too and after a quick interview I had to carry Harry back behind the windows and ‘throw’ him into one before Channel 7 flipped back to the weather report. Harry was a bit wriggly during the interview (very unusual) but later I realised that he was sitting on the microphone box resting on my hip. Scrambling behind the windows was just like the wings of a stage, only narrower and I think we had 30 seconds to get there. One of the funniest things I’ve ever done – kneeling and trying to hide behind the sets while feeding Harry ‘treats’ so he’d remain in the Flinders Street Station window.