From pad­docks to books

The Morning Bulletin - - NEWS - VANESSA JAR­RETT Vanessa.Jar­rett@cap­news.com.au

FILLED with crazy an­i­mals run­ning around a tra­di­tional Aus­tralian farm mak­ing all sorts of funny sounds, Biloela woman Deb­bie Grav­ing has pub­lished her own chil­dren’s book.

“I have been writ­ing po­ems and do­ing il­lus­tra­tions for years and years,” she said.

“It’s only now things have slowed down on the prop­erty and the kids have left home I have time to fo­cus on it more.”

Ms Grav­ing and her hus­band, John, have a ru­ral prop­erty run­ning braford cat­tle 60km south­west of Biloela, be­tween Monto and Theodore.

Af­ter home school­ing her three chil­dren, now they have all grown up Ms Grav­ing has found her­self with spare time.

“I have had a lot of en­cour­age­ment from ev­ery­one, they have just said get out there and do it,” she said.

It wasn’t an easy jour­ney for Ms Grav­ing. Five years ago she was picked up by a pub­lish­ing com­pany and signed a pro­fes­sional il­lus­tra­tor.

Af­ter fronting some money, things were go­ing ahead un­til when one day she re­ceived a call say­ing the com­pany had gone into re­ceiver­ship.

“I sort of crawled into a hole a lit­tle bit af­ter that,” she said.

Tak­ing some time off, Ms Grav­ing even­tu­ally found her way back to the draw­ing board.

One thing led to an­other and she found a com­pany to self-pub­lish her book.

“I had ter­rific help from my daugh­ter Han­nah, the whole fam­ily has helped,” she said.

“We had a few is­sues with get­ting the il­lus­tra­tions at enough high-res­o­lu­tion for the book.

“We de­cided on the fonts our­selves, we de­signed the front cover our­selves.”

Ms Grav­ing was re­ally pleased the book could be printed in Aus­tralia on ecofriendly and sus­tain­able pa­per.

“It was a pri­or­ity to be made in Aus­tralia,” she said.

The blurb of the book reads: “A cun­ning plan causes chaos and con­fu­sion on McFud­dle’s Farm ... but in that big mud­dle the an­i­mals learn that ac­cept­ing the dif­fer­ences of oth­ers and adapt­ing to change can make life a lot more fun.”

“I had a cou­ple of in­spi­ra­tions, my daugh­ter Tessa had the idea of the an­i­mals wak­ing up each morn­ing with dif­fer­ent voices,” Ms Grav­ing said.

“I had a lit­tle ban­tam hen who, when we didn’t have a rooster, she made a rooster call.

“There is a lot of lit­tle sto­ries of things hap­pen­ing around here all the time.

“The an­i­mals are based on the an­i­mals we have at the prop­erty, Moscow.”

In do­ing the book’s il­lus­tra­tions, Ms Grav­ing has never had any for­mal train­ing in art, hav­ing just “dab­bled over the years”.

“It was a strug­gle at first but once I got into it and saw what I wanted I could get into it,” she said.

With a cou­ple more books up her sleeve, Ms Grav­ing isn’t plan­ning on stop­ping at one book.

“I just have to sit down and write them,” she said.

Sat­is­fied with her book, Ms Grav­ing said it was im­por­tant to her to rep­re­sent ru­ral Aus­tralia gen­uinely.

“I didn’t want a book that showed red barns and green pad­docks,” she said.

“We have a shed, ev­ery­thing is not su­per green, most of the time it isn’t green.

“I just wanted to bring an Aus­tralian feel to the book, some­thing a bit re­al­is­tic.”

Photo: Con­trib­uted

SELF-PUB­LISHED: Deb­bie Grav­ing with her newly re­leased chil­dren’s book, The Mud­dle on McFud­dle’s Farm.

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