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