Toni Brisland has been a teacher and she now writes full time for children of all ages. Toni is the Vice-President of CBCA (Children’s Book Council of Australia) NSW and their Sub-branches, and Author and Illustrator Liaison Officer.
She has two new books, and today she’s sharing tips on how she wrote them.
TONI’S NEW BOOKS
The Tree House:
This Picture Book was written as a response to a discussion I had with a social worker in 2012 who works with families of disabled children. She said to me that there are very few picture books that she can use to commence a positive discussion with young siblings of disabled children who are finding it hard to cope with their family living environment. The book is about my sister Teresa who had cerebral palsy and how inspirational she was to me.
A sequel to DemiChat and the Kent Street Mystery and the second in a series of three books for 9 – 12 year olds, instead of flying home to London after their Sherlock Holmes style escapades in Italy, DemiChat the Himalayan cat and Lord Flannery Beagle find themselves whisked to Egypt to search for a lost mummy. Surviving grave robbers is hard enough but when an evil motley cat-gang lead them into a trap, Demi realises that the part and present are intertwined. Flannery is willing to risk everything to save Demi, even if it means confronting the ghostly guardian of the tomb.
- Use the things and people that you’re familiar with to create a special world and characters with whom your readers can identify. In The Tree House I used my personal experiences of growing up with my sister Teresa to create a make-believe story about building a tree house. In DemiChat and the Lost Mummy I used my travel diary of a 2010 visit to Egypt where I’d recorded all the amazing things I saw as the basis of a search for the last Pharaoh of Egypt whose tomb has never been found.
- Present your heroes with a problem to be solved, a challenge or an adventure. In The Tree House the problem is how a child who can’t walk can climb a tree. In DemiChat and the Lost Mummy the challenge is how to read the clues to find a mummy that has been lost for thousands of years.
- Put obstacles in the way of your heroes’ journey. In The Tree House one obstacle is how to build a tree house that a disabled child can climb up to. In DemiChat and the Lost Mummy there are lots of obstacles including Demi being kidnapped by an evil gang who want her to lead them to the lost mummy.
- Have a critical moment in the story, an ordeal in which the heroes seem not to be able to overcome. In the children’s excitement to see the tree house being built in The Tree House, Teresa has an accident and goes to hospital. In DemiChat and the Lost Mummy, Demi and Flannery face the ghostly guardian of the tomb who is intent on keeping its location a secret.
- Have the heroes emerge from their special world transformed by their experience and bringing with them a treasure or knowledge or an achievement. Ahh … if I tell you what I did you’ll know the ending!
WHERE TO GET TONI’S BOOKS
The Tree House can be purchased at $19.95 from Little Steps Publishing. www.littlesteps.com.au
Schools can borrow the eBooks from Wheelers Book CLub Ltd www.wheelers.co.nz
VISIT TONI’S WEBSITES
If you have a question for Toni, feel free to ask it in the comments section of this blog.