My latest joy is writing a set of children’s stories set in an imaginary place in the Australian Bush. The characters are Australian animals, the situations are ones that friends anywhere might encounter, and everyone gets along. It’s comforting to write for the child in all of us. My first story will come out in a few weeks. It is the story of The Big Race.
The stories are meant to be read out loud. Along the way, I’ve picked up pen and ink and watercolor again. It has been as much of a creative renaissance as a storytelling exercise. At the beginning of the year, I said I wanted to be able to tell better stories. This has taken me to a much more fun place than anything else I’ve done in years.
I get to play with color and character, with finding the right images to illustrate my characters. It is very much my hope that people will enjoy the stories and the world.
The best defense is a good offense . . . in this case, that means telling stories. In my particular case, those stories turn out to be cute animal stories about a mythical place where a very diverse population of animals meet and get along. Children’s stories. It wasn’t part of the plan, but this story telling genre has a lot going for it. How is this a good defense? It’s more like an antidote to the lack of civil discourse in the world. If there is no place where people get along, then why not create one?
The stories are short at between 750 and 1000 words, occasionally a little longer. That means a single story might take a day to write. In the past month, my response to the unfortunate tone of the discourse in the news has been to write more stories, and read less news. It has also meant picking up pen and ink and doing a lot of drawing, something I haven’t done in years. The whole endeavor is a lot of fun.
Am working on turning the first story into an illustrated children’s book (see the image above – KoalaDreaming – it is one of the illustrations for the first book).
At a mythical place in the Australian Bush, a group of animal friends get together for adventures and fun. The first adventure is a Big Race. The critters get together to race along the flats; there is Kookaburra and Kangaroo, Koala and Flying Fox, Wallaby and Emu. What fun they have.
February 2015 saw the publication of my second story, this time a novella in three parts – Child of Time. It follows the exploits and adventures of the young Mira as she grows into her magic and finds trouble wherever she goes.
The novella came from some questions from readers of Library of Time who wanted to know more of the back story for our main character. This sequence starts at the beginning when she is five years old, and continues with tales of her life as she is nine and thirteen. There’s even a sneak peek at the next novella, where she has become a mage apprentice who is at odds with her family’s expectations. Other characters like the tricky Jin Rael are introduced for the first time.
If you enjoy stories of magic and wonder, or your children do, then Child of Time is a good young adult read as well. Having braved both ebook and print, it is perhaps time to start thinking about audio books. Child of Time is a good read-out-loud story, so perhaps I will start here. I wonder if there will be interest in the author reading her own work? We will see, or rather hear. I started a new blog last month as a place to focus on thoughts about writing. You can find it at wyrdplay.com.
It makes me so happy to learn more about the world of my characters and to learn to be a better writer. The process of writing is so much about being in the now; the world drops away and the words flow effortlessly to create something that is as new to me as it will be to the reader.
It is an urban fantasy with magic and heart. Books and libraries, wonder and magic, and the quest for the characters to become who they truly are. I hope people buy it, read it, and love the characters as much as I do in writing their stories.