Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Celia and Nonna's heart-warming connection

Celia and Nonna Celia and Nonna

Writer: Victoria Lane

Illus: Kayleen West

Ford Street Publishing

Like many books, Celia and Nonna began with a line of truth, says author Victoria Lane, with the narrative exploring the relationship between a granddaughter and grandmother, and how they reconnect following change.

Describe your book: Celia and Nonna is a significant and heart-warming picture book about the special bond between children and grandparents – and what happens when life changes.

Celia and Nonna is Victoria Lane's first picture book.
Celia and Nonna is Victoria Lane's
first picture book.

What was the inspiration for this book? The starting point of the story was that sense of nostalgia, or loss, for all the lovely things that Celia and Nonna used to do together. I’m sure many of us either have strong memories of our grandparents, or watch our kids with our own parents, and wish some of those moments could last forever.

Describe the main character: Celia finds her own way to make the changing relationship with her beloved Nonna still special, with a creative solution that I hope will inspire other kids and parents in a similar situation.

What was your favourite book as a child and why? Probably The Secret Garden, by Frances Hodgson Burnett, because my Dad bought me a really beautiful hardback edition. I was also a huge fan of historical fiction, anything by Rosemary Sutcliff or Penelope Lively, and fantasy series like Susan Cooper’s Over Sea, Under Stone.

What is your favourite book for children now, and why? I LOVE Iggy Peck, Architect, for its originality, and Herman and Rosie, for its perfect pitch.

Who is your favourite author? It changes frequently, but over the years I do keep coming back to Raymond Carver for short fiction and A.S. Byatt for long, intricately woven stories. In children’s literature, I love Deb Abela’s Max Remy series and the entire Our Australian Girl series, especially Lina by Sally Rippin and Pearlie by Gabrielle Wang.

Home: No matter how far I roam… I still call Melbourne home… But I do still have a big soft spot for New York, where I lived for seven years.

Where do you write? We have an open room at the front of the house. It would be lovely if it had a door, though.

If I wasn’t a writer I’d be... Um… a financial journalist? Oh hang on, I already am.

Author Victoria Lane and illustrator Kayleen West at the launch of Celia and Nonna.
Author Victoria Lane and illustrator Kayleen West
at the recent launch of Celia and Nonna.
Other than writing I’m passionate about... Reading, and my kids. And my kids, reading. I also love gardens, but not weeding. And singing. I’ve been a member of various gospel choirs over the years, from Brooklyn to Brunswick.

Celia and Nonna is published by Ford Street Publishing and distributed by Macmillan. It can be ordered through bookstores if they don't have it in stock.Celia and Nonna is available online at Readings and Booktopia.
Find out more about Victoria and read her blog at www.VictoriaLaneBooks.com, follow Victoria on Twitter @vthieberger, and check out her Facebook page at www.Facebook.com/VictoriaLaneBooks


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