Saturday, 11 January 2020

Interview with author Marg Gibbs


Marg Gibbs, a writer, poet and blogger has released a new picture story called Arriving Home. It promotes the tourist towns of the Sunshine Hinterland and showcases nine local artists, called Mapleton Art who have contributed to the illustrations of this children’s picture book.

What is your story about?
When Maggie, the Magpie Goose and Eric Echidna return from Italy back to Mapleton, they discover new happy memories. From old tractors to sweet, syrupy pancakes, art to waddling ducks, this picture story celebrates friendships, community, home and belongingThe book concludes with facts about animals and the places from the eastern water dragon to the purple swamphen. Overseas visitors can learn about the long nosed bandicoot and marbled velvet gecko.

I have written teacher notes to accompany the story. Intended for families and children ages 3+, Arriving Home, is available for purchase at the Mapleton library or from Marg Gibbs, for $10. (m.j.gibbs@bigpond.com)

What inspired you to write this story?
When my husband and I returned from a trip to Italy, I thought how lovely it was to come home to a beautiful part of the world in Mapleton. It occurred to me that arriving home means feeling a sense of belonging and love. I thought about the attractions we have that make the Sunshine Hinterland a special place. I used animals and places to show the fun, beauty and appeal of our country towns.

What influences helped in making decisions while writing?
Using popular tourist names like Maleny Showgrounds and The Barn on Flaxton helped me to shape the story. Mapleton Lilyponds park is a place where my grand- children play, therefore it seemed important to include it in the story. I love Australian animals and thought children could identify with them easily. Our native animals are popular overseas too.

How did the collaboration work with the artists?
I approached a group of women one day who come together regularly at the Mapleton library to paint, sketch and do botanical art. They agreed to take on the story. We then had to co-ordinate nine different styles to create the vision for the book. Watercolour scenes, coloured pencil and ink resulted a vibrant Maleny Showgrounds, the wood ducks crossing the road,  and children playing at the Lilyponds park.


What do you think works well in the story?
Probably the variety of places the animals visit, the scenery, plants and quirky conversations between Maggie and Eric. I hope children enjoy the action and description of the animals, paying attention to the hidden lizard on nearly every page. The story promotes the region as a positive place to create happy memories. It is light- hearted and entertaining.

What do you want your book to do for readers?

To enjoy making memories wherever you are. To celebrate community and friendships. To pay attention and respect the animals, flora and fauna. Mostly, I would like the book to bring a sparkle to someone’s day.

How long did you have to wait from the dummy draft to publication?
I met with the group to discuss layout, design and art. It took five months and was published just before Christmas.

Tell us about yourself, Marg as a writer.
I love connecting to children through story, poetry and picture books. I belong to a writers group called The Round Table, attend many literary conferences and workshops, write a blog, and share my love of children’s books with my 10 grand- children who live in Brisbane. My trip to the Bologna Book Fair in Italy was the highlight of 2019. I have published poems in 2 anthologies and The Hinterland Times. I talk at primary schools about authors and illustrators of kid’s books. Currently, I am working on a manuscript for adults that will be self- published in 2020.

How can readers learn more about you?                                                                                                                       My Blog www.themoderngrandmasmanual.wordpress.com instagram@marg_gibbs
Mob 0412362947
My new website is currently being revamped.

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