Presenting at Sandcliffe Writers Festival photo courtesy of Jo Hoffman
“One of the best parts of running the Children’s Book Academy is seeing the beautiful books that our students make. This one is from June Perkins who took our Self-Publishing with Crowdfunding course, co-taught by Jed Alexander and myself. Magic Fish Dreaming is truly gorgeous, getting rave reviews, and most importantly getting into children’s hands in June’s native Australia.
June did not want to wait for an editor or agent and the incredibly slow process of getting contracted and published. Because it’s a book of poems, which also makes it harder to be picked up by a traditional publisher, June was wise to follow her heart and take her destiny into her own hands to create the book that she wanted. With the help of her illustrator Helene Magisson, and a small village of both professional and non-professional help, June…
It was a brilliant weekend reading some of the work fromMagic Fish Dreaming, at the Big Draw, at the State Library. This marked the first public appearance where Helene and I shared samples of the book. Heidi, our designer, worked on three pages especially for this event.
Perched comfortably in a super red story chair, miked up, and with a red mat for families to sit on, I read three poems, ‘Wishing For A Fish,’ ‘Beyond Caterpillar Days’ and ‘Discovering Magic.’
I asked if any of the audience had been to Far North Queensland, and one parent had grown up there. I then explained about the kickstarter and working together with Helene on the book and pointed her out in the audience. I actually picked her as my illustrator which you don’t usually do with a mainstream publisher.
I talked to everyone a little bit about fishing and the large and beautiful Ulysses butterflies from where I used to live.
I asked if any of the children knew what a Thylacine was, and told them about it being extinct, and then showed them where it was tucked in the illustration. They came closer and looking for all the animals on the dragon. Many of them they identified straight away and some were trickier like the thylacine and quoll.
At the end one young man asked, ‘Did you write all those poems?’
I then gave out an activity based on ‘Discovering Magic’ and some launch invitations and posters.
Then over at the demonstration art area Helene gave a sneak peak of the story board, and insights into her illustration process.
This included a delightful video demonstration.
It was great to catch up with Helene, as we are both busy completing a variety of projects other than Magic Fish Dreaming, which is presently with the designer. We stay in touch of course via email and phone, but it is always great to see each other in real space.
We loved having this opportunity to present on the same day and we’re thankful to all the organizers for inviting us.
One of my dear friends from Goodna, Minaira, traveled with a friend to give support on the day. She is a fabulous artist and it was lovely to see her connecting and chatting with Helene. It was special to share this first public reading with someone I consider family. I hope to see her illustrated books one day too.
Here I am with these dear young women from Goodna.
Another friend to offer her support, and one of our many kickstarter backers, was Nancy, who came along with her husband Andrew. Nancy, Helene and my friends from Goodna all took some fliers to distribute in their areas to let people know our launch is on October 30th. It’s support like this that made our book happen in the first place. So thank you all!
There were many other fabulous readers on the day and it was lovely to learn from them how they do it particularly Peter Taylor with his Puppets, Sarah Owens, with her use of kinetics and a bike horn. It was also brilliant to see Shannon Horsfall, reading ‘Was Not Me’ and sharing her art processes.
Illustrators Anil, Giuseppe, and Lachlan were just brilliant to watch in action. Anil was so relaxed working with her digital tools and looking at her work in progress on the screen.
My fellow Write Linkers produced two collaborative stories with the guidance of Charmaine Clancy. Children made their way to the art tables to illustrate these, and had some volunteers to talk to whilst they did their art, with either an art or writing background. These are some of the art works fromthe children in response to the story.
Upstairs Charmaine was conducting a Writer’s Workshop for youth. I caught up with her briefly before heading home.
A big thank you especially to Sam Sochacka for coordinating the program and volunteers, all the Write Linkers who were there in force, and a big thank you to our first audience for making it such a great experience.
‘Thank you dear backers all’ sing the Magic Fish Dreaming Team. ‘We hold you in high esteem For believing in our book dream. We plan to do you proud And thank you beautiful crowd for answering our kickstarter call.
Bless you – one and all.’
Honour Blog Roll
Paul Anthony Gerard
Christa von Zychlin
Dr Anne Marshall
Frank and Judith Wark
Paul Gerard (Junior)
Janet Tallarigo Murphy
Alan and Yvonne Perkins
Marie van Alphen
Melody Grace Cave
Betty Cabral Collerson
Sonja van Kerkhoff
Moala Eseta Pease
Catherina Van der Walt
Aisea and Naz
Ricardo Vargas Lubbert
Grant Hindin Miller
Edmond Keven Bona
A special thank you to Write Links, the Children’s Book Academy, the Inspiration Garden, Soul Food Writing buddies, friends from writing groups I have been in, blog followers, the Creative community of Far North Queensland and the Baha’is for their support.
Thank you also to all who so enthusiastically shared the kickstarter link with their friends, family and communities.
So, so exciting! Super, super busy! I think I need a pair of butterfly wings! Flap, flap.
Above is our second last sneak peak of the enchanting illustrations by Helene before the launch. Just one more reveal! No poem to reveal, as you’ll see that in the book. Wow, our caterpillar book is about to fly! No more cocoon. . . so very soon our book will fly into your hands.
It’s final editing of the manuscript time – the point where the poet is not allowed to tinker or fine tune the metre of any more lines, but has to finally be satisfied for the line edits by Matilda.
We have some magical people, in children’s writing and poetry, writing something about the book as we speak. Can’t wait for their feedback ! They are the first, other than the team, to see butterfly emerge from its cocoon.
Our design wizz Heidi will soon be doing her stuff, taking the manuscript and the art and putting it all together. Ah the decisions on font and so forth will be taking place.
I’ll be off to see the printer to make some final decision before that. Papers, binding, and other mysteries to hide from you all a little while longer. Ah for the mysteries of the cymk that will make the colours Helene has put into her art sing onto the page.
As for launching and so on, there’s still some research to be done, before we fix dates and places. Maybe we will make a trailer? We dream of flying or road tripping North to share our book in the place where the poems were born.
A big thank you to all those who supported Magic Fish Dreaming.
Since the kickstarter finished, Helene presented June and the team with a story board of all the illustrations in pencil outline, that she was proposing for the book. After some fruitful and constructive consultation this was approved for the go ahead.
Helene is now half way through completing these works in colour. The image above is a partial sneak peek of what she has been up to as she wants you all to be surprised by the book when it comes out. She will have completed her illustrations in May!
It has been a great process, seeing how Helene is interpreting the poems into art, and discussing the environment of Far North Queensland. Helene and June have both been enjoying these discussions.
Matilda the editor and June are checking the text to ensure it is entirely ready…