'Bout time I posted don't we think!
E N Reinmuth was pondering... "If memory serves me right it was your interview on either the Today show or Mornings with David and Kim that got me out searching for MBT-Foundling, (technically I saw the gudgeon design before Lamplighter was even published, whoot!) and you said that you had gone to a publisher for a different story, and upon leaving you had dropped your notebook which held details of the world of the HC, and in turn the publisher asked you to write as many words a week, etc etc, leading to Foundling. Might I ask what that initial story was?"
Yes you may! It goes a little like this...
'Tis a long story I shall attempt to make short. I trained back in the early 1990's as an illustrator in Adelaide, South Australia. In 1995 I moved to Sydney to pursue illustration work with magazines, newspapers and advertisers. In 1997 I began as a cartoonist at Burgo's Catchphrase working there and as a freelance illustrator until I followed adventure overseas to the US in 2003, before crash landing back in Adelaide again.
Looking for illustration work, I went to a local publisher - Omnibus Books, an imprint of Scholastic Australia - on the recommendation of a fellow illustrator friend, Cheryl Johns. At Omnibus, the publisher, Dyan Blacklock, gave me a cover to complete, then a whole picture book (Grannysaurus Rex written by Tony Wilson, which is that "different story" I mentioned).
I used to sit in her office and talk about life the universe and everything and one day one of my many small black notebooks fell out of my bag as I reached for some gum. The book had the number "23" boldly on its cover and snatching it up, Dyan immediately began to peer within, wondering (she later told me) where the previous 22 notebooks were. Inside she found my crabbed notes about a pretend world I had been scribbling about since about 1993 (hence the then 23 and now 32 - almost 33 - notebooks). Dyan tells it that she felt the hairs on her neck raise; she asked me if I had written any stories about this pretend world.
I said, "No."
She returned, "Do you have any characters from this world?"
To this I responded "Yes," and began to list some off, including Rossamund, a boy with a girl's name.
Dyan thought he sounded interesting and persisted, "Put him down somewhere in the Half-Continent and tell us what happens."
So I did... and here we are.