Welcome to Sally Murphy, on day 2 of her blog tour. She’s dropped in to talk about her latest book, ‘The Big Blowie’ and to share a little more about herself.
The Big Blowie
Every afternoon, tourists visit beautiful Lake Blowie. They have afternoon tea at Syd’s place and buy postcards and souvenirs. But the drought has made the lake dry up. The tourists have stopped coming. A new attraction is needed — and Syd knows just the thing!
How many of the ‘big’ things have you visited around Australia? Which is your favourite? Did any of them inspire this story?
When I wrote this book I had only seen a couple if big things – both in WA, but at the end of 2008 I travelled through South Australia, Victoria and parts of NSW and saw a heap – including the Big Orange, Big Galah, Giant Ned Kelly, Big Lobster, Big Orange Tree, Big Merino – I’m sure there were more. I made a point of stopping at each and getting a photo. I’ve always been quite intrigued by the big thing phenomenon and using a big thing (albeit fictionally) for my story was lots of fun.
How can readers get a copy of The Big Blowie?
The Big Bowie is distributed by Blake education and can be purchased online directly from Blake for just $9.95 by clicking here . It is also available at educational bookstores. For kids, the Aussie Aussie Aussie series is in loads of school libraries – so ask your school librarian,
‘Blowie’ is great Australian vernacular. Are there other examples of particularly Australian language in The Big Blowie?
For those readers who are outside Australia, a ‘blowie’ is a blowfly. It’s very common for us Aussies to shorten words – except when we lengthen the really short ones (such as changing the name Doug to Dougie, one of the characters in the book). The word ‘mate’ – which isn’t uniquely Australian, but seems to be used differently here in Australia, is used several times. Dougie also drives a ute, which is a very Australian vehicle – overseas a ute is called a pickup. Dougie also uses the word ‘struth’ an exclamation of surprise. I also wanted the main character to have an Australian name and struggled for a little while, before settling on Syd, short for Sydney. Not
a common name for a child, but reflecting our most famous city. Very Australian.
You’ve lived in a few different places. Are you aware of regional differences in language and does this affect your writing?
Mostly I’ve lived around Western Australia. I think the differences between parts of my state are slight, although I’ve been aware since I was a teen that I had what I call a ‘Collie accent’ – I tend to sound quite ocker compared to a lot of people, having grown up in Collie, in the south west of Western Australia. When I’ve gone interstate, or even read books set in other states, I’m aware of different word usage for common items. For example in WA we call swimming costumes ‘bathers’, while in other states they are variously called swim suits, togs, swimmers. I don’t think these differences affect my writing greatly, but I do sometimes check with friends if they ‘get’ what I’m talking about.
When writing for an overseas market, there are bigger differences. In one of my (unpublished) stories I have a character dive under his doona to hide in his bed. A publisher from England emailed me to ask what a doona was. The English word was duvet. It just doesn’t have the same ring to me.
After writing stories that are designed to appeal to (or to be understood in) both local and international markets, can you describe the experience of writing a particularly Australian story?
I loved it. It was a lot of fun. Having the freedom to bring in as many Australian things as possible and trying to make a story out of it was great. The story sprang from a bit of a brainstorm after reading the Aussie Aussie Aussie series guidelines. They were looking for uniquely Australian stories exploring Australian issues. I came up a list of Aussie things including blowflies, the outback and big things, threw in an Aussie issue – drought – and very quickly came up with an idea to bring them all together in one story. I didn’t find it hard to plot and write the first draft, though of course it still needed lots of reworking to get it just right.
What’s coming up this year for you?
Lots! I’m really excited that my first verse novel, ‘Pearl Verses the World’ will be published by Walker Books in May. I’m really proud of this book, and delighted with the illustrative work of heather Potter, who has bought Pearl to life. Then in November I have a picture book, ‘Snowy’s Christmas’, being released by Random House Australia. This one is being illustrated by my wonderful brother in law, David Murphy, who is a talented illustrator. It’s proving fun to work with a family member. I also have two other picture books in production. ‘Constantine and Aristotle’ (to be illustrated by Ben Wood) is nearing completion, but I don’t have a release date yet, and ‘Let Us Rejoice’ will be published by new Frontier in 2010, so during this year I’ll be working on the editing process on that one.
And of course I’m hoping to write and place lots of new stories, as well as promoting these books, hopefully doing some school and festival appearances (I’m open for bookings) and lots of reviews for my review site.
I like being busy.
Thanks Sally, it’s been great to have you here. Enjoy the ride!
Sally Murphy is a Western Australian author, mother, wife, teacher, book reviewer and website manager. She has twenty seven children’s and educational books in print and another eight titles in production. Her most recent book is ca chapter book, The Big Blowie, and her first verse novel, Pearl Verses the World, is due out in May from Walker books Australia.
Sally runs a book review site, Aussiereviews.com, which reviews Australian books across all genres, and a blog, for children’s writers but, fo course, her first passion is actually writing for children.
Yesterday 8th February, Sally was here:
This is where she’s visiting next:
10 February www.robynopie.blogspot.com
11 February http://spinningpearls.blogspot.com/
12 February http://thebookchook.blogspot.com
Thanks heaps for having me here, Claire.
I love hearing how other writers go about creating their books! Thanks Sally and Claire.>>Also, I have another swimming costume word for you – many of my kids said “swimmers”, but some also said “cossies” to rhyme with mozzies. I so enjoy finding out about regional variations and Aussie vernacular.