Tuesday, December 3, 2013

New Website and Blog

Hi - exciting news! I've just launched my brand new website and blog. You can find the latest news on my books and what I've been up to at www.janeenbrian.com.au or on Facebook

Hope to see you there soon.

Kind regards,

Sunday, June 23, 2013

That Boy, Jack launch

Oh, what a feeling!

After months of planning, my children's, historical novel is officially launched. That Boy, Jack (Walker Books) has taken over 10 years to get published. Now it's out there. Happy reading, everyone. 

It was a happy day!
Such a stunning cover. Thanks Walker Books!

Wonderful music by The Celtic Daughters opened the event.

Ex-student and now family friend, James Quigley, was the perfect MC.

Award-winning author, friend and fellow-Cornish descendent, Rosanne Hawke, launched the book with grace, warmth and humour.

With the book at last!

Jack took a liking to the Cornish pasties!

Friend, Wendy Johnson, reading out winning ticket of the door prize.

Members of the Adelaide Cornish Choir singing traditional songs.

Book buying!

The crowd in the great Function Centre at Immanuel College, Novar Gardens, SA.

A great day.

Happily signing away.

Members of The Celtic Daughters plus Isabel, who also played her debut performance.

Mike Lucas of Shakespeare's Bookshop, Pt Noarlunga.

Daughter, Cass and grandson, Liam.

Baby grandson, Saxon.

Daughter, Nat, and baby Saxon.

Sister, Jo and cousin, Sue. (Left to Right)

My husband, Jon, son-in-law, Nick and friend, Peter. (from Left to Right)

Friday, June 21, 2013

After the book - more surprises.

after the book . . .more surprises.

Children at St. Anthony's did an action play and . . .

children at Somerton Park Kindergarten created a dinosaur after hearing the story . . .

love it!

Friday, May 24, 2013

It's Festival time!

The two words Kernewek Lowender, mean Cornish happiness and is the name for the biennial Cornish Festival which occurs in the old copper mining towns of Moonta, Kadina and Wallaroo on South Australia’s Yorke Peninsula.

It’s a time for Maypole and Furry dancing, singing, wrestling and historic walks, for parades, pasties, poetry and more, all to celebrate the Cornish culture that came to Australia through the early immigrant miners and their families who arrived in sailing ships from Cornwall from 1840's onwards.

I was thrilled to have a special Cornish launch of my historical, children’s novel That boy, Jack, (Walker Books) which is set in the heart of the copper mining region, during this week's festival. And to know that my ancestors were miners who made a new life in South Australia. 

It was made especially memorable because my friend and writing colleague, Rosanne Hawke, herself of Cornish ancestry  and acknowledged as a Bard of Cornwall, launched the book. 

She will also launch it at a city event on Monday, June 10th, 2013. 

Sunday, April 14, 2013

when THIS becomes THAT

It started as a seaside sculpture that’d been YARN-BOMBED. The community of Holdfast Bay, SA, including me, KNITTED, CROCHETED and finally STITCHED wool scraps around the metal creation called RHYTHM.

The brightly coloured shape ENLIVENED the environment and gave FUN and PLEASURE to all for a month.

But what was to happen to the sculptured pieces afterwards? Had they reached their used-by date?

My picture book, SHIRL AND THE WOLLOMBY SHOW provided the answer.

The resolution of Shirl the Sheep’s problem was to use remnants of knitting and create a SCARECROW.

With the help of artist, Violet Cooper, the Holdfast Bay Community Development Officer, Jenni Reynolds organised a children’s workshop, called SCRAPPY SCARECROWS.
At the workshop we created Rex the Scarecrow, and his friends, Harry the Duck and Scare-Dog.

Meet Rex the Scarecrow, Harry the Duck and Scare-dog.
At the moment they’re display treasures at the local libraries . . .but after that? Well, they’ll be off to live in a newly created Community Garden in North Glenelg, SA.

Just where a scarecrow and friends should be!

What a lovely recycling story.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Melbourne and More!

Loved my time in Melbourne recently!

Had a great meeting with Erica Wagner, publisher of Allen & Unwin who will be publishing my next book: a picture-poetry book called Village Child, illustrated by the multi-award winning, talented Anne Spudvilas, due out in 2014.

Anne's rough of the book's intro

A brief but nice catch-up with my agent, Jacinta di Mase and her children, at the State Library of Victoria Children's Book Festival.

I was blown away, so impressed, with this well-attended event. I heard approximately 15,000 families and children enjoyed the day.

Me just arrived at the Random House tent to promote my picture book, Meet Ned Kelly,  illustrated by Matt Adams.

While I read the book, during the afternoon, over a hundred children had fun making their own Ned Kelly masks. 

Also spied in the crowds, friends and writing colleagues Claire Saxby and Meredith Costain. 

Thanks Random House and thanks Melbourne.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Kids Day at Adelaide Writers' Week

Beneath huge, leafy plane trees and among its shadows are hundreds or readers and writers and tents and children dressed up or listening and watching creators in the Story Tent.

It's Kids Day at the highly-regarded Adelaide Writers' Week and the first time the free festival has been held annually.

I was especially chuffed to be asked to present in the Story Tent. Why? I had my two new picture books, I'm a dirty dinosaur and Meet Ned Kelly, to read and celebrate! The tent was full to overflowing with toddlers, older children, parents, grandparents and others interested.

It was a great time. And my new books sold out.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The Next Big Thing blog trail

 Please join me as I answer questions in The Next Big Thing blog trail.

What is the working title of your next book?

            That boy, Jack.  (published by Walker Books, Australia)

Where did the idea come from for the book?

The idea developed over a long period of time and mainly from reoccurring visits to a place called Moonta in Yorke Peninsular, in South Australia. I’d visited this place as a child and as an adult, and it always intrigued me because of the little tiny, Cornish cottages dotted about the area, which had once been a thriving copper mining district. I always felt a strong pull to the place and when I discovered that I, like thousands of South Australians and indeed, Australians, were descendants of the Cornish who left Cornwall and the tin mines for a better life in Australia (and also in USA), I became more interested.
Suddenly, I had a heritage that I’d known nothing about.

As a child I had also read about the 19th century British reformer, Lord Shaftsbury, who argued in parliament for laws to stop children under the age of 10 from working underground in coalmines. Yet, in the Cornish Museum in Moonta, I saw a photo of young boys working as picky boys for long hours each day, sorting ore hauled up from the mines.

Another totally different aspect was added to these memories and images. Having spent many years as a Junior Primary and Primary teacher, I was horrified to discover the cruel treatment handed out in bygone days to children in schools who used their left-hand, their dominant hand. The children were punished, often caned and many had their left hand tied or strapped, to prevent it being used, thus forcing the child to write with his/her right or proper hand.

After more research into the Cornish social history, I penned a short story, incorporating those earlier thoughts and newfound knowledge, and sent it to an educational publisher, hoping it would suit their brief. When it was rejected, the story lay low for many years. However, I later rewrote it as a novel, and in 2003, Penguin Books Australia showed initial interest. But the concept of novel writing eluded me. I was more used to writing smaller works. After more than 20 complete rewrites and countless drafts, Walker Books finally accepted it in 2012!

What genre does your book fall under?
            Children’s historical fiction, age 9 - 13

What actors would you choose to play the parts of your characters in a movie rendition?

Don’t know.

What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?

In the early copper mining township of Moonta, South Australia, 11-year-old Jack struggles with decisions; to stay at school or follow his friend to the mines, but whatever way he turns there’s both adventure and conflict, with family, friends and his own real fears.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

The book will be published by Walker Books, Australia in May, 2013, and represented by my agent, Jacinta di Mase.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

As I said, the book’s grown from a short story and it was more than ten years, with over 20 re-writes and dozens more drafts, before being accepted.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

The series:
            Our Australian Girl             (Penguin)
            My Australian Story (Scholastic)
The wind is silver  by Thurley Fowler
Boy of the Mines  by Trish Stringer

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

            I once read a book, set in the early mining days of Moonta. It was called Not only in stone by Phyllis Somerville and it described the life and times of an early, Cornish mining family. It was so rich and evocative, both in characterisation and emotion, that it had an enduring effect on me. I think that’s probably what opened my heart to writing about this era and this place.

What else might pique a reader’s interest?
*How much children in earlier times were required to work in adult industries and the changes that have come about in Western countries. Child labour still prevails in 3rd World countries.
            * How values and language of another immigrant group can be melded into a country’s own culture, enriching it and making it unique.