How I Came to Write My Very First Story

I write stories for children. (I write a lot of other things too!) They’re set in the world I live in. My Goddaughter lives in a world just like mine.

I mention my Goddaughter because she's a very important part of my writing story. If it weren't for Elizabeth, I probably never would have written my children's novels.

It all began when Elizabeth's mother said something like, "Sue, you should write a story for children."

Now I knew how to write interesting letters to children. At least, Elizabeth thought my letters were pretty good. But stories? I didn't think I could do it so I said, "I can't write fiction." And that might have been the end of it, except I couldn't get Elizabeth's mother's words out of my head. Around and around they went until one day I announced, "I'm going to write a story. It might be awful, but what if it's not? I won't know until I try."

So I tried. I opened up my computer and began. I found myself in charge of lots of characters. I chose their names and decided what they were going to do. It was a lot of fun. When I'd typed the very last word, I was very excited. I couldn't wait to share what I'd written. I shouted, "Hey girls, do you want to listen to my story?" Of course, my daughters did, and so I read it out loud. "Well, do you like it?" I asked. They did! There was just one problem: Perhaps they liked it because I'm their mother and not because it was good. I needed another opinion. And I knew just the person to ask: Father James Tierney.

Father Tierney is a priest, an author, and my friend. He knows all about children's fiction because he's the author of the very successful Bush Boys books. I decided to fax my story to Father Jim. Perhaps he'd read it and then give me some feedback.

After my story had disappeared down the phone line, I paced up and down, thinking, "Will Father like my story?" I didn't have to wait long to find out. A few minutes later, I received the words: "Write some more!" So I did. I wrote story after story. (I did a lot of rewriting too.) I wrote enough stories to fill a book.

And that book is called The Angels of Abbey Creek.

If you look in the front of the book, you'll see the words:

For My Goddaughter Elizabeth.

Now you know why Elizabeth is an important part of my writing story.

I write about the world Elizabeth, and I live in.  But what sort of world is that? I'll tell you more in my next post.

Sue Elvis

Australian blogger, author, podcaster and unschooling mother


  1. Oh, a new blog! I'm exited to find out what all this "testing 1-2-3" and "access denied" was really hiding. I so look forward to hearing more of your stories and the story behind the stories. And like Father Tierney I'll say: Write some more. Good luck.

    1. Uglemor,

      The tesing 1-2-3 was a mistake. I didn't mean to publish those posts. It seemed safer to make the blog private while I did further experiments. Actually, Sophie has been doing most of the work, not me.

      The stories behind the stories... that's a perfect description of what I want to do! I'm hoping to have some fun with this blog. I'm so glad you want to follow along. I WILL write some more! Thank you for your encouraging comment!

  2. I'm so glad you're sharing your stories, again, Sue. Your fans in our house will be so pleased :-)

    1. Vicky,

      I'm looking forward to sharing stories other than ones connected with unschooling. Perhaps this is the new challenge I need. (Though I am still going to be writing about unschooling.) I feel like being more creative, having a bit of fun with my writing.

      I hope I can get the balance right so that both parents and children will enjoy my posts. We'll see if I can do that!

      Please give my love to my fans in your house!

  3. So glad you decided to take the plunge and start writing children's stories :)


    1. Betty,

      Thank you! I discovered writing children's stories is a lot of fun. It's a bit like playing. I can make the characters do what I like! Thank you for your comment.