With Wish Upon a Southern Star soon to be launched in September, it is my pleasure to introduce you in advance to each of the contributing authors and to give you a taste of their work.
Today, meet John Lowe and find out about his story,
"The Haughty One."
John Lowe is retired from the State Library of Victoria. He has published verse in Blast, Poetry Monash, Australian Poetry Collaboration, Visible Ink, Off the Path (Central Coast Poets, NSW) and Once upon a Sonnet (Melbourne Shakespeare Society), as well as poems and a short story in three Deakin Literary Society anthologies. In 2009 and 2010 he came second in the My Brother Jack open poetry awards (City of Glen Eira). He assesses poetry for his wife Virginia's business, Create a Kids’ Book.
A Conversation with John
1) John, why do you write?
I write to create something that rises above my inadequacies and the things that are wrong with the world. It is very satisfying to draw from the great treasury of words and shape them into form and meaning.
2) Why do you think fairy tales remain relevant today?
They lift a child's world view from the mundane into the domain of the imagination. Everyone needs to be given at least a glimpse into things that are transcendent. They are a yardstick to measure the world and everyday life.
3) What was your favourite fairy tale as a child? Why did you like it so much then and is it still a favourite or has it been replaced and why?
My favourite was 'Dick Whittington'. I have always liked cats, and the story of one taking the initiative to improve the situation appealed to me. I liked the happy ending then, but it was political success he achieved. Although I am not an anarchist, today I much prefer 'The Emperor's New Clothes', an anti-political story if there ever was one.
4) What is your favourite fairy tale retelling by another author? Why is it a favourite?
I have never thought enough about retellings to say. But there has always been the satisfaction of encountering a traditional version of a tale that I first met through Disney.
5) Can you tell us a little about your retold fairy tale?
The front cover of my childhood fairytale book showed the princess and the frog at the pool, from 'The Frog Prince'. I thought I would tell the story in terms of one culture not properly understanding another. I hoped also to suggest that while the prince might have had a regal haughtiness, he was very unhappy at being trapped in the body of a frog.
A taste of John's story...
None of us ever really liked him. Some called him standoffish, some said arrogant.
There was a day when we were exchanging memories of when we were tadpoles. We agreed that frogs who spoke of happy little tadpoles swimming around without a care had short memories. It was no fun being a tadpole. There was always the danger of diving birds who could swoop down and swallow you whole. Everybody had a story of a brother or sister who had disappeared that way. Then there were the humans. From time to time they would come, take off their wrappings, making themselves all pink, and jump into the water. At best you would be sloshed around; at worst you would be choked on the mud they stirred up.
He listened to us, but said nothing. Someone asked him if he had any special memories from his tadpole days. He did not reply, just turned and hopped away.
Want to find out what happens next?
Read the full story in
Wish Upon a Southern Star
(release date 2 September 2017)
Pre-order an e-copy from Amazon
(or wait for the release date to order your paperback copy from Amazon)
Attend the launch
Saturday 2nd September, 2pm
at the South Library, Christchurch
For Christchurch residents and launch attendees,
preorder a paperback direct from the editor at email@example.com