Saturday, October 27, 2007

The Black Thread by Margaret Muir - sold out!

I came home from the Far South Camp to the news that after only 7 weeks, the first edition of my latest novel, The Black Thread, had sold out.
I hope that publisher, Robert Hale Limited, will consider reprinting this hardback edition.
Photo: Cover - The Black Thread

Ross Bridge - Tasmania

Driving through the Midlands, I stopped at the small hamlet of Ross.
Here I found the lovely stone bridge - reputed to be the best example of its kind in the state.
Though not quite the oldest in Tasmania - the bridge at Richmond has that title.
Not only the bridge but many buildings in the village remind one of the English countryside.
Photo: Ross Bridge - M Muir

Scrimshaw - the Whaler's art

I couldn't leave Hobart without a visit to the Maritime Museum.
Apart from a display of models, pictures and histories of the early ships and visitors to the region, the museum provided details of the whaling industry which was conducted in the southern waters for many years.
Fine examples of Scrimshaw are on display.
Designs of ships, nauticl scenes and loved ones were carved with only the tools the seamen had on board - knives and neddles (for sail repairs).
Soot, tobacco juice, lamp black or tar were used to colour the carved designs.
Whale bone and teeth were used and bones from other sea creatures.
Photo: Scrimshaw in Hobart's Maritime Museum

The Lady Neson and Windward Bound

As I didn't want to drive the 324 km back to Launceston that afternoon, I booked into a B&B in Hobart and stayed the night.
The following morning I visited the Hobart Harbour and was delighted to find both the Lady Nelson and Windward Bound tied up on the wharf.
Both vessels offer daily short cruises.
Unfortunately I didn't have the time to take advantage of a harbour cruise.
Photo: M Muir - Hobart

Kit of Cloudy Bay - Franklin Wooden Boat

Driving north to Hobart, I stopped at the little town of Franklin.
I had heard on the ABC that the renowned boat building yard had launched its latest craft that morning.
As I drove up I was delighted to see Kit of Cloudy Bay (named after the owner's mother) making its second trial on the water.
The hull, I believe, was crafted from Huon Pine, a rare timber which grows at only 1 ml at year. Some of the timber in the area is over 2000 years old.
No wonder the Greenies are adverse to the logging of the old growth forests!
Photo: Launch day for Kit of Cloudy Bay

Travelling north from Dover

As I drove back from the Wilderness Camp to Hobart I couldn't resist taking a few photos on the way.
I kept hearing myself say, "this is a beautiful place".
The photos hardly do the views justice.
Photo: M Muir - South of the Huon Valley

The Far South Wilderness - Tasmania

Being Author in Residence at the Camp was a great experience for me.
My previous expeiences as an author had been limited to talks at clubs and libraries. And mainly to adult audience.
I had never been involved with an extended three day event and had not been involved with school students.
Having accepted the challenge and thoroughly enjoyed the experience, I will be looking at other similar opportunities.
I guess you are never too old to try something new!
Photo: Peak overlooking Strathblane with some snow remaining on top

French landing at Recherche Bay

When I travelled to the Far South Wilderness Camp I knew little or nothing about the French impact on Tasmania.
During an evening around the campfire, the group was treated to a history lesson, by local historian, Paddy Prosser.
I discovered that two French ships in search of La Pereuse, landed near the mouth of the Esperance River.
It was an expeditionary party who interacted well with the local aborigines.
Many place names in the area reflect the French visit even though it was fairly brief.
To create atmosphere, Paddy dressed eight of the students in French costumes - seamen, revolutionaries - aristocrats - and concluded the evening with songs which she had written telling tales of the men and of the old sailing ships.
Photo: Paddy Prosser and group of students from the Huon region.

Inspiration for writing - goats and tall ships!

As an into to the writing sessions, I gave the group an insight into what inspired me to write.
For me the two most important things were - goats and tall ships!!
The students, aged from 10 to 14 years, were intrigued.
From there we went on to model a short story.
Over the three days, each student produced a piece of work suitable to go into an anthology.
Apart from myself, Damian Bester, a journalist, and June Burrell, illustrator, also provided sessions in the crafts of writing and illustrating.

The 34 students who attended the course were selected from the Huon cluster of schools which included, Huonville Primary and High, Cygnet, Franklin, Geeveston and Dover schools.
They were a great group, who despite age differences, interacted extrememly well.
Photo: Students plus teachers, Ms Lee and Mr Andrews and jounalist, Damien Bester (back row second from right)

Writers' Wilderness Camp

I was indeed fortunate to be chosen as the author in residence for a three-day workshop conducted by the education department for the Huon District group of Schools.
The Camp was held at the Wilderness Adventure Camp on the Esperance River near Strathblane.
It was a 324 kilometer drive from Launceston but as I had never driven south before, it was an enjoyable experience.
Photo: Wilderness Camp in pristine forest

Children's Writing Workshop with Mike Lefroy

In early October, I drove to Burnie on the north coast of Tasmania for a Writing Workshop.
It was a 90 minute drive from Launceston, but the scenery and the 6 hour session, made it worthwhile.
Mike Lefroy, like myself, has a keen interest in Maritime history.
Also like myself, he comes from WA.
Having seen the types of books he produces, I came away with a new insight into what the market is interested with regard to children's writing.
I must re-look at some of my previous work and think about submitting.
Photo: North coast of Tasmania, looking across the Forth River to Turner's Beach and Ulverstone.