This time next month, my first non-fiction book for middle readers, Protest In Australia will be available in bookstores and online. Protest In Australia is the next book in the award winning Blackdog Books’ Our Stories series. The book explores how protests, strikes and rebellions like the Rum Rebellion, Shearers Strike, 1965 Freedom Ride and Wave Hill Walk Off shaped Australia into the nation we live in today.
I thoroughly enjoyed the process of researching and writing this book. I used not only my writing skills, but the research techniques and persistence I learned while working as a producer/presenter for ABC Regional radio. The whole time I was working on this book I felt an enormous sense of responsibility to be accurate and keep my views well hidden.This was another of those skills I had to learn while arranging and conducting interviews with the ABC. It’d be fair to say that sometimes I wasn’t very successful. I distinctly remember struggling to remain calm when discussing the threat gas exploration off the Warrnambool coast would pose to calving whales! Then there was the time I cried when…okay so I don’t keep my views well hidden, but I did try.
Protest In Australia is a book I’m immensely proud of and, as is the case with all my books, the process has taught me so much. In fact, if I hadn’t been doing this this book, I’d never have written my latest young adult novel, Freedom Ride.
Prior to starting Protest, I’m embarrassed to say I hadn’t heard of Charles Perkins’ 1965 Freedom Ride. Sure, I was only two when the Freedom Ride traveled through country New South Wales, but how did I get to be 50 and not know about such an important and brave event? I became obsessed with learning more about the event and the treatment of Aboriginal people. The result of my obsession is my novel, Freedom Ride.
At the moment I’m working on my next Our Stories book…in fact, the deadline is thundering towards me. Funny, but no matter how much research you have, you still need to find out that one more little detail.