About The Stories
The idea for the Audio book came about when my husband said to me "you should record an audiobook", whilst our children were listening to one that was not quite up to standard. As a voice-over artist with my own studio, that seemed like a fairly simple idea. I decided to complicate it.
Why don't I write a Christmas Audio Book featuring Australian Stories?
That seemed quite viable in September. All I needed to do was find a few Aussie stories and record them. Except I couldn't find anything. So....
What if I write my own?
I had written a children's newspaper page many years ago and I did have a blog, so writing was something I was doing. I was also constantly reading children's stories to my three children aged nine. six and four. But could I write themed stories for children?
Then the stories started coming. First came Jack and his family; a gentle story set in modern time in a small country town that focuses on a little boy and his desire for a puppy. In part it is based on my children. Jack is certainly my gentle, dreamy middle child. There are also elements of the pleasures we have living in a small community as we are fortunate enough to do. The rest is a family I would have liked to be a part of - beach Christmases seem really cool!
I wanted to write a war story to get a sense of that experience at Christmas which is so different to other periods in history. This brought about Mary's Story set in World War One from the perspective of a little girl called Mary and her dad who is a Light-horseman. It follows the Light-horseman's incredible battles and journey. The characters are fictitious, but all the information is based on real events (except for the rations which I don't think they had in the first year of the war), but I really wanted to mention it. Also I'm not sure when the soldiers were reunited with their families when they get off the train. I sincerely hope they didn't have to wait as long as Mary!)
I loved researching this story and, had no idea about the journey those men went on. It was very humbling and inspiring to see how they took their Australian identity and became known for their relaxed, fierce gutsiness. Whatever I think of war, nothing takes away from that braveness.
I have a cousin, Dawn, who was close to my mum and they lived together for a while when they were children. Throughout my life, Dawn has told me some wonderful stories about my family. I'm so glad she agreed to share one of her own experiences set in North Queensland in the seventies during a cyclone and featuring her children, a vomiting cat and Santa somehow making it through the melee.
If I was going to write an Australian Christmas Story, I felt it really needed to feature some of our most beloved animals. That's how Lexie's story was created, which is a nativity story featuring Australian native animals including the critically endangered Leadbeater possum. My favourite line in this story is the Kangaroo’s reminder to us that "All babies are miracles".
The next part of the puzzle was finding an artist to interpret these stories. How lucky was I to find a mum at my school with an amazing ability to draw. I told Dominika Keller a very basic idea of what the stories were about and she was able to bring them to life at such speed. It was like she looked inside my head and saw what I envisaged. I'm so delighted with her work and feel so lucky she can be a part of these stories. I look forward to creating more with her. To see more of her beautiful work, go to agardenforpearl.bigcartel.com.
It was a joy to bring these stories to life and to have our own culture reflected back at this time of year. It's important to me that my children know a real Christmas can involve sun and not snow. I see this audio book as a starting point. I want to reflect all Australians experiences of Christmas from different historical times and cultures.
As Mahatma Gandhi once said: A nation's culture resides in the hearts and in the soul of its people.
It's time we expressed our own identity at Christmas.