When we were at Abbeys Bookshop the other day in Sydney, Lorena and I were asked to do a little video introducing our book Satin. Here it is!
Last week was a Satin week!
Last week was a real Satin week for Lorena and I, with the fabulous official launch in Sydney and bookshop and school visits. Didn’t have time to put up pics then (was having too much fun!), but here are a few now. Satin really had a most wonderful introduction to the world–may he fly ever higher!
Looking forward to the launch of Satin on Tuesday!
I’m heading off to Sydney in a couple of days, and one of the highlights will be the official in person launch of Satin, next Tuesday, March 14, at 4pm at the gorgeous Better Read than Dead bookshop in Newton. Lorena and I will both be there, to read from and talk about the book, sign books, and meet readers! Everyone is very welcome, we’d love to see you there! It’s a free event but the bookshop would appreciate it if people can register if possible(though of course you can also just turn up, if you run out of time) Here’s the registration link.
We’ll also be celebrating Satin through school visits, organised by the wonderful people at The Children’s Bookshop. And calling into city bookshops to say hi. It’s going to be a great week!
And those reviews just keep coming–we had another couple of lovely ones very recently, here and here. Seems readers are really taking Satin to their hearts, which warms our hearts, too…
Announcing the new Pardalote Press production!
I’m absolutely delighted to announce the forthcoming arrival of the new Pardalote Press production, my latest collaboration with the wonderful Lorena Carrington!
It’s a beautiful little book titled Secrets of the Good Fairy House, which will be out at the beginning of June and distributed nationally through our distributor Peribo. Below you can see the book’s gorgeous front and back covers which Lorena created, as well as the lovely page Peribo have for the book in their June catalogue.
Secrets of the Good Fairy House is a unique exploration in words and images of the magic a beloved childhood home can confer on people, through its sheer atmosphere and the objects in it too. Both in words and images, it’s a mix of memoir–about my childhood home in rural France and Lorena’s in regional Victoria–and fiction, to create what we hope will be an enticing, imaginative blend. Each page features a space or an object or an aspect of the good fairy house, and, as well, there are interactive elements at the end: an encouragement to create memory maps(with ours as samples), ideas on how to use the ideas and concepts in the book to create your own exploration of your own ‘good fairy house’, and a maze game, for a bit of fun 🙂 We absolutely loved creating this unique little book, and we hope many readers will take it to their hearts too. It’s for a general audience, for adults as well as younger readers, and makes a great gift too.
Secrets of the Good Fairy House is a beautiful small square book of 48 pages, in full colour, retailing at $25. The ISBN is 9780645563429. It will be available in all good bookshops across Australia, and can also be pre-ordered, via your local bookshop, or directly via our website.
Teachers’ Notes for Satin
There’s some great Teachers’ Notes for Satin now which include something from Lorena and something from me about the creative process behind the book, and also a range of fabulous activities of all kinds around the book. Free to download (below) and use by families, schools and libraries. All rights reserved.
Publication day for Satin
Today is a special day: the official publication of Satin. Yes, the book is now out in the world and Lorena and I are celebrating–and looking forward to the official launch in Sydney on March 14 (all welcome! ) And to mark today, here’s a beautiful review we received only yesterday, from Sydney teacher-librarian Judy Rachwani:
This book is beyond breathtaking. An abundance of concepts that most probably every single person has dealt with or is dealing with can be seen, heard and felt within the deep meanings of the words and the incredible visual images that reflect those meanings. There are concepts of solidarity, loneliness, uniqueness, longing, accumulation of sadness, the importance of contribution and the beauty of the sweet human connection and more.
I truly am finding difficulties using words that give this author and illustrator justice to their in-depth, meaningful and intriguing artful work that has been reflected and processed within this work.
As a reader, this book moved me immensely and took me into the depths of feeling the ‘blues’ but in a very different way. As a teacher, I found it a great resource for the students (upper primary/highschool) to unlock and discuss emotions such as loneliness and longing for connection but also not being aware of that need to connect, the beauty of the connection, being unique and realising the importance of one’s uniqueness to the community around.
Highly recommended for wellbeing discussions, visual literacy and for story telling time too!
Thank you so much, Judy! We are so happy our book is already finding its way into readers’ hearts…
Thank you so much to our wonderful publisher, Anna Solding of MidnightSun Publishing, for loving and believing in this book from the start. And thank you to the wonderful MidnightSun Publishing team, and to everyone who has helped bring our very special Satin into the world.
A little taster of Satin in anticipation of the launch
In anticipation of both the official release of Satin on March 1, and its launch in Sydney on March 14, I’ve done a short video reading of the first few pages of the book. Hope you enjoy!
And if you’re in Sydney on Tuesday March 14, Lorena and I would love to see you at the launch, 4pm at the fabulous Better Read than Dead bookshop in Newtown. We’ll be reading and talking about the book and signing books of course too! Please register at this link(the launch is free, of course, but you can if you like also order the book prior to the launch). Hope to see you there!
Lovely first (advance) reviews for Satin!
Lorena and I are so delighted to be already seeing the most wonderful first reviews of Satin, even in advance of the book’s official publication day on March 1! (It’s in shops however now). There are two, published this week: one’s in Buzz Words, and the review is written by author and editor Dannielle Viera; the other is on Read Plus and is by children’s literature specialist Fran Knight.
Here’s an extract from the Buzz Words review:
Inspired by the satin bowerbird, Sophie Masson’s mesmerising fable is infused with melancholy. Sibilant alliteration snakes across the pages as Satin silently seeks a life without loneliness. Children aged four and older will empathise with Satin’s longing for love and emerge from the story with a steadfast belief in the power of sharing to strengthen connection.
Exuding sapphire and shadow, Lorena Carrington’s illustrations serve as a moody backdrop to Sophie’s wistful words. Satin is shown in silhouette, which heightens the heartache of his solitude. Only when the protagonist begins to bestow his blue upon others does Lorena lighten the ambience with pinks, yellows, and greens – it is the dawn of a new life for Satin.
You can read the whole review here.
And here’s an extract from the Read Plus review:
With all the atmosphere of a modern fairy tale or fable, Satin will entrance readers with its overwhelming sense of longing as Satin searches for things that are blue…..
The illustrations are wonderful, full of layers of different blues, on some pages in broken crockery, and marvellously pieced together on the endpapers. Kids will love collecting their own pieces of blue to see how they can be fitted together and try mosaics for themselves.
You can read the whole review here.
Many thanks from both of us to the wonderful reviewers–it’s such a wonderful start to Satin’s journey to readers!
The story of Satin, part 2: creating the visual world
In this lovely post, Lorena writes about how she created the stunning visual world of the book.
When Sophie asked if I was interested in working on Satin with her, she had barely finished her sentence before I said yes! I love working with her, and the story sounded so beautiful and intriguing. I also immediately had wonderful visions of all that blue… And it perfectly combined two things I’d worked with before. Some of my earliest montage work included shards of willow pattern plates, and I had also been doing a lot of work with cyanotypes, an early photographic process that has the most glorious blue emulsion. And the fact that Satin gathers objects to create his beautiful thing is exactly how I work too! It was perfect.
These are the first sample images I made for Satin, which we sent as part of our book proposal to the wonderful Anna at MidnightSun. They remain essentially unchanged in the final book, though you maybe be able to spot a few differences in the versions of the first image. As you can see, they are built up with layers of photographic images: the buildings, the silhouetted foreground landscape and figure, the bird, distant trees and the full moon against the misty sky… The pair underneath are more painterly. The elements are still photographic, but they are layered over a rich wash of painted cyanotype, giving a textured deep blue.
And here they are in the book:
You’ll find many shards of blue china in Satin, many featuring the famous Willow pattern. Some of my earliest montage artworks were based around that same pattern. The images were made from shards of china I found in my backyard and the local landscape, and the landscapes themselves. Creating the illustrations for Satin felt like a delightful full-circle return to my early work. Here are three examples from around 2009.
The other slightly different element I’ve introduced to these illustrations, are splashes of painterly blue. The ‘paint’ is actually created with cyanotype chemistry, which is painted onto paper, and them exposed in the sun to create a rich blue. It’s wonderful cross between painting and photography, and lets you combine the two in wonderful ways. On this illustration spread, I’ve painted the splotches of blue, and digitally inserted the photographic elements.
I felt such an immediate affinity for Satin. He explores his surroundings, looking for interesting things, so that he can make something beautiful, which is exactly how I work, and Sophie’s extraordinarily beautiful prose made Satin such a pleasure to work on. I really hope you find inspiration and beauty in it too.
The story of Satin: Part 1, creating the text
In just ten days or so, Satin, my picture book with Lorena Carrington, will be released by MidnightSun Publishing. And in anticipation of that, Lorena and I thought you might be interested to read about how the book came about, and what the process of creating it was like. Today, I’m talking about my side of it, how the text came into being, in one of those amazing, inspirational moments that are such a blessing in a writer’s life…
In May 2021, my husband David and I were travelling by car from our home in northern NSW on our way to attend the Bendigo Writers’ Festival in Victoria, a two-day journey from our place. It was somewhere on the road before we reached the town of West Wyalong that I suddenly glimpsed, on the side of the road, a bird with satiny, very dark blue plumage. Though I saw it for just an instant as we flashed past, I knew at once what it was—a male satin bowerbird. But what was it doing there, all by itself? Satin bowerbirds are shy, it’s not easy to see them, and they certainly don’t make a habit of hanging around near roads! I knew they like to collect blue things to decorate their nests: so had it spotted a special blue there?
In that moment, something else flashed into my mind, a title: Satin. I could see a character: a lonely young man, or was he a bird? Or both? Words began to flow onto my small travel notebook (I wasn’t driving of course!) By the time we reached West Wyalong where we were to stay overnight, I already had the glimmer of an idea for a special picture book text, and by the time we got to Bendigo the next day, that idea had firmed up.
When I met up with my friend Lorena Carrington in Bendigo, I excitedly told her about it. Lorena’s a wonderful illustrator and she and I had already worked on two books together, retellings of French fairy tales and medieval French Arthurian stories, and that had been a wonderful collaborative experience. I was very much hoping she might be interested in the idea of Satin—and to my delight, she was, at once! We started talking about how it might work: usually for a picture book you don’t have writer and illustrator together at the start, usually the writer sends in a text and the publisher then chooses the illustrator. But we just knew this book had to be with the two of us. And I had an idea who perhaps might be interested in such an unusual book…
After getting back home, I worked on the story, first in my bigger usual notebook, and then on the computer.
I then sent it to Lorena, who created some gorgeous sample illustrations. And then I contacted the wonderful Anna Solding at MidnightSun Publishing and told her about the book. She loved the idea and immediately wanted to see what we’d done. So we sent the text and the samples—and within a week, she got in touch. The MidnightSun Publishing team loved it and wanted to publish it. So exciting! And as we worked with the wonderful people at MidnightSun, and Satin’s world came to brilliant life in Lorena’s spellbindingly beautiful illustrations, I kept thinking of that moment when I unexpectedly glimpsed a shy blue-loving satiny bird by the side of the road. Pure magic, that’s what it felt like: and pure magic to see it developing into such a very beautiful, very special book.