Behind The Scenes

Welcome to an exclusive glimpse into my writing journey behind the making of A Winter’s Kiss. I have always dabbled with writing, and recorded in various notebooks – stories, ideas, moods, snapshots, phrases, memories, happenings.  But Dawn’s story came to the fore when I found myself back in a mountain village, in the snow and mountain quiet, during the long pandemic lockdown. The writing itself, prior to publication, evolved over four years. The scrawled pages resting in the bottom of the drawer, next to my bed, with no attention paid for long periods of time. I tend to write, put it away – dip in and out of the piece – returning with ‘fresh eyes’ ‘new perspective’ to draft, re-read, revise, delete, add. As a working mum, juggling different responsibilities, I was determined to make the time to bring this captivating tale to life, and to share it. 

It all started way back when…

Five years back I had returned to the charming mountain village in the Okanagon Valley, BC Canada, where I had spent much of my early childhood. My younger brother and I were mountain babies and had known ‘the white everywhere’ from a very early age. I had this time, returned with my partner and our four children, to ski and share our love of the mountains with our children, and to spend time with extended Canadian family. 

Noel and I (both CanAussies) had been living in a beach community in Central Queensland, Australia and our four children were more used to running barefoot on sand, and in the waves, than wearing layers of clothes and slip, sliding on snow. I found myself pondering this difference, and how these formative early experiences can so fundamentally shape how we see and understand ourselves, and the world around us, and how we might interact with the world. I found myself ruminating with these thoughts.

I recalled my parents telling me, how when I was small and first saw grass, after coming down from the mountain after a long winter, I had been afraid. This stuck with me, and would become a pivot point for my story. 

During this trip, on a chair lift ride by myself, high above the marshmallow-ed landscape below, in the cold of the mountain air, and the quiet, the first version of A Winter’s Kiss took shape. I skied directly back to the chalet, and penned almost a stream of consciousness. But it was rich with vocabulary, imagery, a small she, and the core of a story. Heidi’s childhood experience inspired A Winter’s Kiss, but the influence of that childhood was only made visible through the lens of my own children’s tropical beach childhood.  

Driven by a desire to encapsulate the enchantment of winter and the changing seasons, and highlight a child’s curiosity and act of discovery, I embarked on this writing journey, diligently handcrafting notes, transitioning these to a first draft on my computer over a few years. Despite the drama and direness of the Covid pandemic, the periods of long lockdowns had the serendipitous outcome of allowing the story of Dawn to joyfully emerge.

Behind the scene tale

My musings culminated in a completed submission-ready draft. I feel my years in the classroom, listening to the voices of children, and undertaking teacher professional development focused on vocabulary, traits of writing, and nurturing budding authors in the classroom has enriched and finessed my own craft. I am thrilled with the outcome and proud to promote A Winter’s Kiss.

I feel brave for embarking on this creative journey, and putting myself out there, and of course it would never have been possible, without the love and absolute support of my partner Noel. My kids are proud of me. And I have extended family, friends and colleagues who have encouraged me, read drafts, provided feedback a long the way. I have immensely enjoyed the collaboration with Little Steps Publishers, and Naya Lazareva who brought my words to life, through her gorgeous illustrations. 

Illustrations from Ukraine

My publisher connected me to the very talented Illustrator Naya Lazareva. Based in the Ukraine Naya fell in love with A Winter’s Kiss and loved to bring the story to life through watercolour & pencil illustrations. 

During the creative process Naya was caught up in the war in Ukraine. Naya was heavily pregnant when Putin invaded Ukraine, causing chaos, disruption and devastation. Naya had to flee Kyiv, making her way across borders, leaving loved ones, to seek safety for herself and her unborn child. Despite what was happening, Naya once a little more settled, escaped into her art, and into the world of Dawn to continue to work on the book. 

Pen to Print

Through the timeless artistry of the printing press, our book comes to life with vibrant full-colour illustrations and is lovingly crafted on beautiful, thick paper. Available in both hardcover and softcover editions, each copy is a limited edition treasure.

It’s on it’s way!

With utmost care and attention to detail, we personally hand package each order, ensuring that it is prepared with love before swiftly delivering it to the post. Your satisfaction is our priority, and we strive to get your order on its way as soon as possible, bringing the joy of our book right to your doorstep.