New world created for children

November 1, 2023 BY

A debut children’s book more than two decades in the making

Liz Crowley recently unveiled her debut children’s book ‘A Silence in the Forest’ at the Naracoorte Library.

It was a launch more than two decades in the making and she had the perfect test audience.

“Not being able to have children, I wanted to bring some joy and magic into children’s lives through my stories,” Liz said. “I wrote the children’s books for my nieces and nephews over 20 years ago. As I couldn’t illustrate and didn’t know the first thing about publishing, it was pushed aside and placed in the too hard basket.”

But what those early offerings did teach Liz, was that she did have a talent for writing entertaining tales for kids.

‘I read my first story to my niece. I guess she was around 5 or 6 at the time. Afterwards she grabbed her wand and ran outside chanting some of the spells. So, for me that was a win,” Liz said.

With no ability to research publishing back in those early days of her writing, Liz’s stories were the exclusive domain of her family and even then she edited and worked on those stories as she brought her love of reading to the youngest in her extended family.

“I always had my head in a book from a very young age,” Liz said. “I loved to read and escape into an unknown world.”

‘A Silence in the Forest’ takes the readers into one such world and the Naracoorte Library event earlier this month saw the entire facility transformed into a fairyland.

Around fifty children in fairyinspired outfits joined Liz at the library to hear her read the book, before a craft session creating nature-inspired wands and then a morning tea, highlighted by a beautiful cake supplied by Baked at Beachport which looked exactly like the book cover. A colouring in competition and book signing were also organised.

“…she grabbed her wand and ran outside chanting some of the spells…so, for me that was a win…”

“… I always had my head in a book from a very young age…I loved to read and escape into an unknown world…”

“I’ve had some wonderful feedback on the book,” Liz said. “One local said that afterwards I had inspired kids to go out into the nature park and look for sticks to make wands with. Customers who have purchased my book online have contacted me to say how beautiful and colourful it is and loved the use of Australian native animals and fauna.”

So while the release of ‘A Silence in the Forest’ has taken more than two decades, it has been worth the blood, sweat and tears to get it into the hands of young readers.

“I did have a few grey hairs waiting for that first illustration,” Liz said. “Twenty years of picturing a story in your mind; it’s something you must be quite subjective about. It may not be as you have envisaged it. Needless to say the illustrator has done a fantastic job of bringing the book to life.”

Liz also had a great publisher who stepped her through every step of the process.

The good news for those who have loved Liz’s first children’s book should not have to wait too long to enjoy her next offering.

“I have another book in with the publisher now, for release next year,” Liz said. “It’s about the adventures of a red tailed black cockatoo. ‘A Silence in the Forest’ will be a trilogy having both a prequel and a sequel, hopefully to be released late next year.”

She is also got a novel in the works for older readers – a passion project.

“I’ve always wanted to write a novel,” Liz said. “I have one planned, it’s just a matter of time. It will be based on my travels overseas where I found myself in quite a lot of trouble and how I got out alive.”

She is also looking to continue promotion of ‘A Silence in the Forest’.

“I’d love to do a reading and activity at the Mt Gambier Library. I’ve been in touch, so just waiting to hear back. I’m also planning on doing more local activities at kindergartens and preschools. If anyone is interested in this I’d love to hear from them.”

She is also looking to touch base with Adelaide bookstores and libraries to take ‘A Silence in the Forest’ on the road.

The book is available worldwide and has already been sold in Canada and New Zealand, as well as the Australian sales.

In between writing and promoting, Liz also has to focus on her other tree change project – the organic farm she runs with her husband.

“We both left our high end jobs in Queensland to travel in our AEC bus, trailer and Suzuki and after travelling for six months through outback Queensland and New South Wales, we joined the harvest trail in South Australia at Balaklava, and then transferred to Frances so we could visit family,” Liz said. “That was in 2010, we never got any further. In 2011 we stumbled across a small block of land and decided to make the tree change. We became boutique organic farmers, firstly garlic and then branching into capers which is still in operation today.”