In my last post, I told you how I wrote my very first children's story and then sent it to Father James Tierney, author of the Bush Boys book, for his opinion. And Father sent back a message: "Write some more!" Of course, I felt very excited as I headed back to my computer. What would I write next?
I wondered if I could write another story about the characters I'd invented for my first story. Could I write a whole book of stories about this family? Maybe I could write a novel for my Goddaughter, Elizabeth.
I decided I would set my stories in Elizabeth's world. I wanted her to read about familiar places and events and children who might be a bit like her. I happen to know Elizabeth's world very well. I live in it too!
So what's our world like? Well, we both live in Australia. We know all about enjoying life with lots of brothers and sisters. We celebrate birthdays, go on picnics, visit the beach and do lots of other things families around the world like doing. We know all about hunting for the perfect First Holy Communion dress, how wonderful it is to have three mothers, and how exciting it is to go out in the middle of the night to attend Midnight Mass. We've seen bounding kangaroos, strolled under shady gum trees, woken up to the sound of chuckling kookaburras, and admired the beauty of golden wattle flowers.
My novel The Angels of Abbey Creek is set in a village nestled among the gum trees. I know this place very well because I live there. Of course, I changed the name of the village before I put it in my book, but all the details belong to a real place: my home.
I love writing about things I know about. I often take an event that has really happened and turn it into a story to share with other people.
"Did that really happen, Auntie Sue?"
"It's mostly true," I say. "I just sprinkled in some imagination."
Is the Angel family really the Elvis family? Yes and no. None of the characters corresponds directly to anyone in my family, but I did have fun making them just a little bit like us. For example, whenever the Angel family leaves their house, Mr Angel always returns to check if he locked the front door. My husband Andy does that all the time! Even when someone tells him they saw him turn the key in the lock, he still has to check for himself. (I wonder if you know anyone like that.)
So that's a little bit about my Angels of Abbey Creek world. I'm sure I'll share more details with you in future posts. I'm also likely to share some stories of my own family. I won't be able to help it. The Angel world and the Elvis world often overlap!
I took these photos some time ago when my daughter Gemma-Rose and I went for a walk around our village.