Getting a book accepted by a publisher in this country is difficult enough, but to end up having three publishers wanting to publish your work is an amazing achievement. Such was the case for children’s author Corinne Fenton and her latest picture story book ‘Flame Stands Waiting.’
Corinne was at Stoneman’s Book Room in Castlemaine last Saturday, reading from her latest picture story books and signing copies for her fans.
The origin of ‘Flame’ as Corinne affectionately calls her book is based on Corinne’s family; ‘The germ of the idea [for Flame Stands Waiting] started one day when my Mum and I were out on a Friday…she said you know when your grandmother shifted from Tasmania to Melbourne…the first thing she wanted to do was to ride the carousel at Luna Park,’ explained Corinne between signings.
As it so happened at around the same time Corinne’s family went along to Luna Park as part of her husband’s Christmas work break up. While others were enjoying the scary rides, ‘and much to my children’s horror,’ adds Corinne, she found herself sitting on Flame on the carousel. This is where Corinne wrote the bones to ‘Flame Stands Waiting’ and it was long before her other two recent picture story books were published.
While Corinne had interest from publishers wanting her to present ‘Flames Stands Waiting’ as a short novel she ‘…felt that I was selling it short because I always believed that it was a picture book and that’s my passion.’ Corinne’s faith in her writing style proved to be correct as in the end she had offers from three publishers to publish it.
It is obvious that Corinne enjoys the research that goes into writing her stories as she spoke of the history of the carousel at Luna Park in Melbourne, from the time it was imported to Australia from the USA in 1913 where it was sited at the White City amusement park in Sydney. After this park closed the carousel was moved to Melbourne in 1923. It continued to give rides to children and the not so young until the 1990’s where it fell into disrepair. It has since been restored to its former glory due to the work of The Friends of Luna Park. (http://friendsoflunapark.org)
‘The story is set in the years of the Depression… [and] the colours [and] sparkle of the carousel juxtapose with the dark colours of the clothing in the years of the Depression….’Corinne explains.
Flame is the story of one of the only two standing horses (known as standers) of the 68 on the carousel. In his heart he wants to be one of the horses that go up and down (the jumpers).
‘So one day Clara, who is the name of my great grandmother, [comes to the park and] she sees in Flame something the other horses don’t offer to her…and they escape and in their imagination and their dreams they fly. So [the book] is about being different and using your imagination and believing in yourself and your dreams.’
Corinne believes some of the horses have their own names, but when she was doing her research she could not find any particular name for her horse and so being a piece of fiction she decided that Flame was the name for her horse.
Corinne’s family roots continue to provide inspiration. She planned, once she had finished at the book shop, to revisit the old Fenton’s farm house at Campbell’s Creek (only a short drive from Castlemaine) where she has vivid memories as a child of visiting the farm and being amazed at the big black bull on the hill. She is sure there is another story waiting to come out from these memories.
For more information about Corinne Fenton and her work go to: