Friday 13 October 2017

Georgie Donaghey on Clover’s BIG Ideas

Being the smallest in the paddock isn’t easy. Clover is always being teased. When three naughty lambs go too far, Clover and her big ideas step in. Discover how Clover shows being little makes her more determined and clever than they could ever imagine.

This is the background to Clover's Big Ideas, Georgie Donaghey's latest picture book, illustrated by Emma Middleton and published by Little Pink Dogs. Here Georgie is interviewed by Di Bates of Buzz Words.

Please tell us about yourself.
I am a full-time working mother with three gorgeous kids, all at various stages of their life. I began writing from a young age, even winning an award in the Sunday Telegraph at the age of eight, for a poem about the dentist.
Life took many turns over the years and my writing was pushed aside while I explored other paths.
After the birth of my first child, 19 years ago, I felt inspired to play with words again and began writing for children. That’s where I have called home ever since. My little writing nook is littered with story ideas, my computer bulging with WIP’s and even more ideas.
My first steps in the world of children’s publishing were with the Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA) where I served as President of the Sutherland Shire Sub-branch for three years.
It was during my time with the CBCA, I discovered there were many emerging children's authors that needed a voice. They needed somewhere they could share their work, network with others and utilise tools and resources to assist them on their journey to publication.
In 2011, as a commitment to help others and with the assistance of my husband, Creative Kids Tales was born. Now an industry recognised site, CKT has become a valuable resource for Australian emerging children’s authors.
In 2013, I stretched my creative wings and The Author's Shelf hit the airwaves on 2SSR. After a year of chatting with authors like Captain Underpants author; Dav Pilkey, Jackie French, McLeod’s Daughters creator; Posie Graeme-Evans, Andy Griffiths, Susanne Gervay, Kate Forsyth, Belinda Murrell and other extraordinarily talented authors, I decided to put The Author’s Shelf ‘on the shelf’ and focus on my writing. It paid off.
By 2014, my dreams of becoming a published author became a reality; I signed my first contract. In 2015, my first picture book was published with Dragon Tales Publishing. In 2016 I signed my second contract with Little Pink Dog Books for Clover’s BIG Ideas, illustrated by Emma Middleton. Lulu was also re-released this year through Wombat Books. I’ve also re-signed with Little Pink Dog Books to publish my next title, In the Shadow of an Elephant due out in 2018.

How did the idea for Clover’s BIG Ideas come about?                                                Clover’s BIG Ideas will speak to all who have endured teasing at some time in their life. I wanted to share that it doesn’t matter how we look on the outside, it’s what’s on the inside that counts. Clover showed through her passion, determination, courage and of course her BIG ideas, that by standing up to those naughty little lambs she is powerful.

Who is your target audience for this book?                                                                This book is suited for 3-7-year-olds. I find of the different age groups I share this story with, each takes away something different. The younger kids want Angus to crush the bullies and the older kids like the antics of the three naughty sheep. No matter what the age, they can all relate to Clover. It’s great to be able to share the subtle message of how the words we choose to use on a daily basis can either hurt or heal.

The audiences also love Emma’s illustrations. I am so happy with the added level Emma has brought to this story. Her illustrations are simply divine and tell a story of their own.  The classic style will definitely resonate with lovers of picture books past. 

What aspects did you find challenging about this book?                                              This book hit many firsts for me. The partnering with Emma Middleton, my first publication with Little Pink Dog Books and the wonderful friendship I now have with editor, Emma Cameron.
In my goody bag from a NSW Writers’ Centre Kids and YA Festival a few years ago was a voucher. It was for a kick start mentorship. I sent Clover off to be assessed and the assessor, Emma Cameron loved it! She helped me develop the story and the rest is history.

I loved the whole process of bringing this story to publication. Although towards the end it was both exciting and bittersweet as Emma M and I knew we were getting closer to having our book baby published, but we also knew it would be the end of our partnership for this project.

Peter and Kathy Creamer were dream publishers to work with. They allowed Emma and I to just run with our ideas and were very supportive of every step.

What does Clover’s BIG Ideas offer the reader that differs from others covering similar subjects?                                                                                                 
Clover’s BIG Ideas invites the reader into a world of gentle story-telling and demonstrates that looks are not always what they seem. Clover’s BIG Ideas celebrates friendship and instils the importance of understanding and acceptance.
You can visit Georgie at:     

Title: Clover’s BIG Ideas
ISBN: 976-0-9946269-6-7
RRP $24.99
Age group: 3 – 7 years.
Published by: Little Pink Dog Books
Instagram: georgiedonaghey    
Twitter: @CKidsTales

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