Thank you

On Sunday just past, I had the pleasure of officially launching my first book – a children’s picture book called Annabel and Turtle. The book was illustrated by my friend and colleague, Mary-Ann Orchard and the Australian edition was co-published by 40 South Publishing. Lucinda Sharp, from 40 South MC’d the event that was held at Fullers Bookshop.

My thank you speech on the day was a shortened version of what follows – as we had over thirty children in attendance who did their best to listen to the adults talking!

Today really is a Dream come true. Before I read Annabel and Turtle to you, I have a list of “thank-yous” to make. I can’t get through them all – there will be a long and comprehensive list on the web!

Firstly, Thank you to my Grandmother Shirley, who’s here today. She taught me how to read, and here began my life’s love of books and story. Ever since I learned how to read I declared my life’s ambition was to be an author.

Thank you to my children, who were undoubtedly the inspiration behind this story and who encouraged my ideas and help me come up with new ones.

Thank you to Mary-Ann Orchard. Mary-Ann was the first illustrator I asked to be involved in this project and I’m so happy she said yes. The book has become so much more than I could have ever imagined because of your fabulous work. Mary-Ann has also put in a lot of work for this launch, creating our special seagull who is hiding in store and putting together special activity books for the children to complete today. Mary-Ann’s husband Neil has also been fantastic support of this project – and today we also celebrate his birthday!

Mandy Byers and her Mum, Colleen have also contributed to today’s launch by creating crotcheted turtles that form part of our display today. My long-time bestie, Kate Bendall has helped me organise myself today, with constant reminders about what to do, and coming up with the idea that my husband James could build a treehouse. She also craftily adapted the finger puppets of Annabel and Turtle that are currently with the treehouse.

I truly feel Tasmania is the most wonderful place to be an author. The inter-connectedness of our state means that we all know someone who’s had something to do with making a book, and it’s through these networks that I was able to get this whole publishing gig done.

Thank you to Katherine Scholes. Katherine is a long-time family friend, and her many works of fiction have been successful both nationally and abroad. Katherine read my story, listened to my ideas and helped me steer the story in a way that is both entertaining and educational.

Thank you to Lucinda and her team at 40 South. They have been amazing at helping me do all the other things. From having the book printed, and all the logistics to do with selling and distribution. Lucinda has also been an amazing advocate for the book. Every time I’ve stepped into a Hobart shop to tell them about my book, Lucinda already has!

Thank you to author Lindsy Little. Not only for coming here today to launch the book and all her kind words, but also for meeting with me early last year, and talking me through the ins and outs of publishing.

In putting the book together prior to publishing, Marcus Bendall worked with me as graphic designer. It’s his first time putting a book together, and he’s done a fabulous job. Together we discovered the restrictions around scanning large works of art in high resolution in Tasmania. And after much to and fro-ing – we’ve made it this far!

My grandmother may have taught me how to read – but she didn’t teach me how to spell. For my poor spelling, I am shamelessly unapologetic and am so happy to say that I had not one, but two editors help me with this short 150 words! ABM for the story text, and Susan Scott for the blurb.

Other champions of this project have been Polly McGee, who has given me excellent marketing advice and encouraged me to dream big.

Hayley Jones has designed my two websites and keeps my social media on track!

Thank you to Fullers for hosting us today and your support in selling Annabel and Turtle.

Thank you to my husband James, for his mighty effort building our display tree house and his undying faith in me.

And of course, what is a thank you speech without thanking my own mother, Peta who has listened to many a crazy idea from me, and supported every single one of them.

Now, on with the story!….


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