Monday, September 20, 2010

Author Spotlight: #Felicity Marshall


In today's Author Spotlight I present to you Australian Author "Felicity Marshall' and her Book "The Star".

 “The Star” Felicity Marshall
The Star is a cautionary tale, based on the contemporary hollow notion of “fame without substance” that we see daily in our celebrity-soaked culture.

Marion - a small wooden doll - and her friend Harley and their dog, Polka enter the imaginary World of Fame and Marion becomes a glamorous Star. But she learns painfully that there is a use-by-date for stardom. Her experience leaves her changed forever but her true friends love her just the same. The story explores the superficiality of stardom and the value of true friendship.

Felicity Marshall’s finely executed illustrations enhance the drama of the text.

Aimed at children in middle primary and above.

Author's Bio :

Felicity Marshall  Painter and Children’s Author/Illustrator
Felicity Marshall grew up in the country outside Perth, Western Australia. She was also educated in UK and in Boston. She obtained an Honours Degree in Fine Art from Curtin University of Technology while at the same time studying classical ballet, character dancing, Martha Graham technique and performing in ballet concerts and children’s pantomime.

Felicity has taught in art school and worked in film production and post-production. She has two children and has travelled and lived in USA, Canada, England and France. She has had several exhibitions of her work and numerous private commissions. Her most recent exhibitions were in France and London in late 2006, and subsequently in Melbourne in 2008.

Having been involved in dance, painting, photography, children’s books and film, her approach to art is a holistic one. Growing up in a family of writers, she often creates paintings that have a story element, and stories that have a painterly element.

Felicity lives and works in Melbourne and Anglesea, Australia and has also lived over a 6 year period in the Loire Valley, France where she developed a deep affection for French people and their way of life and was influenced by close connections to French artists and writers.

Nowadays, she practices yoga and Tai Chi and loves to cook for friends.

Endless beachcombing, wild country, odd pets, innovative performances, magic places, curious people and the pursuit of happiness constantly distract her from her art.

Interview With The Author :

1) Tell us about your book The Star?

The Star is a cautionary tale about Marion, a wooden doll who longs to be famous. When she and her friends Harley a harlequin, and Polka the dog, leap through the television into the Land of Fame, her dream of fame and glamour comes true. But fame has a down side and every star has a use-by-date, as Marion was to painfully discover.She also discovers who her true friends are.

2) You are also an Illustrator, can you tell us about that , how long have you been illustrating and what and how did you get into illustrating ?

I have been illustrating books and book covers for about 10 years, while also working, traveling and being a single mother. When I was growing up,I grew to love children’s books and their illustrations. As a result, I have always wanted to illustrate children’s books, but this was discouraged when I was at art school as illustration was seen as inferior - the poor cousin of paintng and ‘fine arts’. It wasn’t until I was in my forties and a single mother that I ventured into illustration work. I wish I had been encouraged to start earlier. I am sure I would have more books out there!

3) What gives you the innovation to write a particular genre?

I love the idea of combining images and text to create children’s pictures books. Sometimes the images come to me before the text or vice versa. I think that I just write what inspires me.

4) Has your characters or writing been inspired by friends/ family?

Inevitably, it often has. I also am inspired by historical characters, newspaper articles, and random people I have encountered in my life. Polka is definitely inspired by my own dog who was a very intelligent border collie, blue heeler cross and loyal to the death.

5) Did you experience writers block? If so, what did you do to get rid of it?

I do have times when I can’t resolve a creative problem, whether it is in my artwork or in my writing. I have the habit of going walking and thinking. Often this finds me in a boutique buying something I love but cannot afford – shoes for example! A major cooking session helps. So does writing/drawing in the middle of the night when the problem keeps me awake and the rest of the world is asleep.

6) What are you working on now?

An exhibition of paintings and drawings for an exhibition at Qdos Gallery, Lorne in January and a screenplay adaptation of my earlier book ‘Sage’s Ark’. Working with scriptwriter Alison Tilson.

Also I am fine-tuning the chapter book version of ‘The Star’ which is due for publication in 2011.

7) What is your favourite scene in your book?

My favourite scene is when Marion, Harley and Polka do the improbable thing and fly through the television.

8) Had you previously written anything?

Yes. I wrote and illustrated Sage’s Ark, and several short stories and poems.

9) Were there any scenes that were cut in the editing process you wish had made it into the book?

No. And I am eternally grateful to my editor Suzanne Wilson for her sensitivity and care when editing ‘The Star’. She brought out the best in my story and whittled away the dross.

10) Can you give us one fun fact we might not know about The Star? Something about the story itself or the writing process?

There is a star on every page, in the illustration. Some are easier to find than others.

11) How did you get into writing? Did you always want to become a writer?

As a child we did not have television. My father would not permit it. So I read books. Lots of them. This was when I first fell in love with picture books and no doubt the origin of my urge to write and illustrate children’s books

12) If you were stranded on a desert island, what are three material things you couldn't be without?

A sketchbook and pencil to record everything.
A knife for sharpening pencils, cleaning fish, getting oysters and for carving little statues.
A fancy dress outfit so I could pretend to be someone else and not feel lonely

13) What are you reading now?

‘Twilight’ by Stephanie Meyer

14) Which author has inspired you most and why?

Lewis Carroll. He is just so wonderful, imaginative and different.

15) What advice would you give aspiring authors?

Be prepared to be patient, to rewrite and to learn to cope with rejection.

16) As a Quotes Person I always like to ask To finish off, do you have a quote or poem that has stuck with you over the years and what is the story behind it?


Lewis Carroll

(from Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There, 1872)

`Twas brillig, and the slithy toves

Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:

All mimsy were the borogoves,

And the mome raths outgrabe.

I first read this when I was about 10 years old and it has stayed with me. A whole new language, a brilliant, beautiful rhythmic poem that conjures up extreme images.

There has been nothing like it since.

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