Brave and Strong All Day Long: An Interview with Elizabeth Cummings

#BraveAndStrongAllDayLong #BooksOnTour #BlogDash #Day4

Just Write For Kids and Books On Tour are dripping with excitement to welcome teacher and author, Elizabeth Mary Cummings here to discuss her Verityville series and the charitable intentions behind the stories – primarily focusing on strengthening marginalised or unheard voices in the community. Thank you, Elizabeth, for what you bring to children’s literature! 👙 🌊 🏄🏼‍♀️


Congratulations on the release of your picture book, Brave and Strong All Day Long! Can you tell us a bit about this series and how it came into being?

Sure, BASADL is the fourth in my Verityville series all based on characters in a fictional town called Verityville – yes the town’s name is a giveaway as the inspiration for each character is drawn from real life – told through the eyes of a child. The idea behind Verityville is that life is full of people and experiences that connect us and the stories all celebrate individuals who make a positive difference in our lives with a particular focus on the roles that often go unnoticed or underappreciated. For example, your garbage guys, lollipop ladies, teachers and now lifeguards! There are a good few more coming out in the next year or so too – so watch the town grow and the celebration of community spread!

How did you meet Fiona, the lifeguard? Why did you decide to feature her for your story?

I live in Coogee by the ocean. Every day I go down to the beach to run or swim and so I have met Fiona through my time down at Coogee beach. Fiona is the only female lifeguard in our local team of 45 professional lifeguards and she is a force to be reckoned with, having stood the test of time working the lifeguard shifts for more than 23 years. I decided to feature her as I am so inspired not only by her physical strength of mind and body and bravery in tackling the waves, the many dramas and the rescues whilst on duty, but also as I believe she is a strong female role model whose resilience and determination to do her own thing and take on the glass ceilings in the surf club culture are great examples to girls and women everywhere.

What is it about Fiona that you most admire? How do you think being a female lifesaver in this male-dominated industry projects to the general public?

I think what I admire most is her constant presence and her capacity to keep going despite the challenges, despite the gender discriminations and bullying she has experienced through the course of her life. All this whilst juggling family life and caring for her chronically sick father.

Do you have a love of the beach and/or swimming? Did you grow up near beaches as a child? 

Absolutely. I live by the sea and having grown up in Scotland I will never take this beautiful, accessible coastline for granted. Scotland is a stunning country but to be able to swim in the ocean on a daily basis and see such magnificent marine life on my doorstep is a real blessing.

Johanna Roberts’ illustrations are gorgeously child-friendly and reflective of your protagonist’s calm disposition. How did you find collaborating with her?

Johanna and I have worked together now for over four years and this is our fifth project. We have developed a strong bond and an understanding of each other’s working practice which allows us to be increasingly effective and be able to communicate well with each other.

You self published Brave and Strong All Day Long. Was it a smooth and simple process? Did you come across any challenges along the way? Any publishing tips for aspiring authors?

Brave and Strong in many ways was easier to self publish it being the sixth title I have published. However each time I publish a book I learn new things. For this book I was keen to ensure ALL production of the book was executed and completed here in Australia with the book being so quintessentially Australian and that was a new learning curve – sourcing printers, and ensuring the product met the standards and the time frames we required.

Fun Question! Fiona’s favourite thing to do is rescue people in the water. What is your favourite thing to do?

LOL! I have a few favourite things to do: running, snorkelling and gardening and you could say that these can all be grouped under the heading ‘being outdoors’. This passion for the outside world has been instrumental in leading me to this book’s creation!

You’ve also just released another picture book, Dinner on the Doorstep. How do your books reflect your care for a better world? What else can we expect to see from you in the future?

My belief in the need for us all to seek to engage with our world and our community, to appreciate our world and to make it a better world is fundamental to my writing as a whole. I want to make my readers think about the world and experiences from alternative viewpoints – often those of marginalised or unheard voices. I believe it is never enough to accept one perspective and that many factors interplay in people’s choices. I think that often the human desire to be included leaves others as outsiders. I want to represent these individuals and having often felt like an outsider myself it is an instinctive draw for me to write these narratives.

I always have several ‘pots of stories cooking’ at any one time and amongst these you can expect more Verityville characters coming up – from hairdressers and baristas to building site traffic controllers and parking rangers! They are all there, as well as an early reader chapter book all about Audrey (The Sweetest Lollipop Lady In The World) and the friends she meets on the crossing!

On the mental and family health front I am very excited to have signed a contract with Big Sky Publishing for a picture book about death and grief due out in 2018!

Fantastic! So, where can we find more about you and your books?

Check out my website: elizabethmarycummings.com.

Also, my books are in quite a few local bookstores and also listed on all the usual online retailers, as well as through Dennis Jones Distribution.

Thanks so much for chatting with us today, Elizabeth! 🙂


FUN in the SUN: Brave and Strong #BookGiveaway!

Simply comment with what your favourite Summer time activity is for an entry into this fabulous #bookgiveaway! There are multiple copies of Brave and Strong All Day Long up for grabs! 🙂

Please click here for more information.


Brave and Strong All Day Long Blog Tour Schedule

Everyday from Monday December 4 – Friday December 8

www.justkidslit.com/blog

PLUS!

Wednesday December 6

Vanessa Ryan – www.educateempower.blog

Thursday December 7

Brydie Wright – www.brydiewright.com

Friday December 8

Creative Kids Tales – www.creativekidstales.com.au

Julie Anne Grasso – www.whenigrowupiwannawriteakidsbook.blogspot.com.au


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