Book People: Natalie Jane Prior
The launch of Natalie’s latest book (with illustrator Cheryl Orsini), ‘The Fairy Dancers’ was one of the lovliest launches we have attended in quite some time – more here. Young attendees were given the magical opportunity to enter into the world of this gorgeous new series, with dancing, games, tutu action, fairy flowers, a photo booth, handmade book bags and magical fairy food. The highlight for me, indeed I nearly passed out at the exquisiteness, was that Natalie Jane Prior, a talented seamstress, had used Spoonflower to custom print fabric of the book endpapers and of Coco the dachshund. Endpaper FABRIC people! This means I could rest my weary head on endpaper pillows, or dress my children in endpaper clothes…the possibilities are limited only by the backlog of sewing projects I have already given to nan :). Below you can see the endpaper fabric matched up with the actual endpaper. It’s almost too much for me to cope with!
My love of endpapers is well documented, so endpaper fabric just blew me away quite frankly. You can see the fabric (and purchase it) here and if you do make something to match your book, can you tag me pretty please? Endpaper fabric. Really Natalie? Genius.
I am honoured to have Natalie Jane Prior here today on the blog so we can all learn a little more about her – so many of you will of course know through Lily Quench and The Paw.
Ten Things You Need to Know About Natalie Jane Prior
- Tell us about your latest book, ‘The Fairy Dancers’. Every Saturday, with a hop, a skip, and a magical twirl, Mia, Emma and Grace (with a little help from Mia’s dachshund, Coco) put on their dancing shoes and turn into Fairy Dancers. There are three stories about their adventures in this book, making it a perfect gift for little girls aged 4-8. Ideal for newly independent readers, and for bedtime stories with Mum or Dad.
- How did you get started as a writer? I was first published in 1990 by Allen & Unwin. Through my work as a librarian I had met the well known children’s author, Jenny Wagner. She read one of my stories and correctly suggested that they would be a suitable publisher to try. Understanding the taste and bias of individual commissioning editors and publishers is something you only know through working in the industry, so this was an invaluable tip.
- What does a typical day look like for you? There are no typical days. At the moment, I am not working full time, because I am caring for another family member, so any writing is squeezed in around this. My preference is to work quietly at night, but I rarely get to do that these days because I have to accommodate the rest of the family, who follow a more conventional timetable.
- Can you describe your workspace for us? Messy, alas. I have just come back from a trip to Japan, and there is stuff everywhere. The room I work in is called the library, and it is full of books, papers and various knitting and sewing projects in progress. We also use the room as a family TV room.
- Any words of advice for young readers and writers? Write and read as much as you can, as intelligently and critically as you can.
- Do you have a favourite book or character? Queen Dragon from the Lily Quench stories, and her precursor, Miss Paperknife from my first book, The Amazing Adventures of Amabel.
- If you were not a creator of books for young people what would you be? It’s hard to say at the moment. I was a librarian, but that was many years ago now. I have also helped my husband run a business selling historical musical instruments. I would have to look at my options, but I have worked for myself for so long now, I think I would have to run a business of my own.
- What is your favourite food to eat to listen to whilst you are working on your books? Chocolate, of course, accompanied by the very largest cup of tea I can find. All my books are fuelled by tea.
- How much of yourself or people you know is in your books? Everything is based on me and my own experiences.
- If you could have one wish for the world what would it be? For the world to know the peace of God, which is the only peace there is.
The Fairy Dancers will be featured at the Coogee Family Fun Day in Sydney, on Saturday, 5th Dec. Cheryl Orsini, who illustrated the book, will be there and you’ll be able to buy books and Fairy Dancer merchandise. The event will be held in Goldstein Reserve, at Coogee Beach, 9am-6pm.
The Sydnet launch of ‘The Fairy Dancers’ will be held on Sunday afternoon, 12th December at Wyld and Whymsy, 149 Norton Street, Leichhardt and all are welcome! You can read more about Skye Rogers’s beautiful shop here.
The launch will start at 2pm, and will include:
– lucky dips
– prizes for dancing fairies
– piñata tea party with cakes and sandwiches
– story telling and book signing
– hand-drawn fairy tattoos by the illustrator
– framed prints from the book and other merchandise on sale