When I started this new blog post series, I did it with the idea of sharing the WHY I created my stories, but then I thought…why not share OTHER authors STORY BEHIND “THEIR” STORY? I put the call out and soon I had tons of authors who wanted to share their backstories with my readers. This week my friend and children’s book author, Marie Robert, is sharing the WHY she wrote her book, “Georgia’s Far-Away Family”. Take it away, Marie…
Georgia’s Far-Away Family by Marie Robert
When I was a little girl, I moved around a lot thanks to my father’s job. I loved being in exotic places, switching schools never bothered me and I still feel it was a wonderful way to grow up. I learnt about the world and its different cultures and people. The only problem was that I didn’t see my extended family that much when we were posted outside of Ireland. As I grew up, I continued to move around and I married a man from a different country. After moving around together we finally settled in France.
All that might not seem like it’s about writing but I assure you…it is.
I have always written; poetry, essays, the starts of novels I knew I would never finish. So when I had children, I started writing for them. I wrote stories, read them to my three little girls and then put them away. Until I wrote a story about a girl called Georgia and read it to my two elder children. Their eyes widened and my eldest said, “Hey, that girl is just like us!”. She was right. Georgia’s Far-Away Family is about a little girl who doesn’t live in the same place as her extended family, like me when I was young, and like my own children now. It struck me that in our increasingly global world, what was unusual when I was a child is now very common. Third culture children, multilingual families and people that move from place to place are EVERYWHERE. So, I decided to work on getting Georgia’s Far-Away Family out into the world. I also decided that since we are a bilingual family and we live in France, I should do it in two languages. The French title is Georgia et sa Famille Autour du Monde.
Over the next few months, I was in overdrive. During the day I treated my pediatric patients (I am a speech pathologist by trade), looked after my girls, and then after bedtime I edited and reedited, translated, met online with my illustrator, the fabulous Maryam FeyziChakab (she lives in a far-away place and has a far-away family too), and generally talked the ear off my very patient husband.
It was all so exciting but I was a novice to self-publishing and that meant it was not always smooth sailing. France is very strict about children’s literature in particular so as well as the normal tasks there were laws and rules to check as well. The translation was such an interesting process. We speak both languages at home and as I worked on it, I rediscovered how poetic French can be and got to appreciate how they do not ‘dumb down’ language for children. The turn of phrase was so beautiful that I even went back and fixed a few things in the English version.
Finally, it was all ready. I had the beautiful hard back copies in my living room and the paper backs for sale online.
Georgia had become a reality and I am so proud of all that represents to me, my children, and to the millions of children living in different places. Many parents who have read the book tell me their children really identify with Georgia and her family and that is worth its weight in gold!
Marie Robert is an Irish Speech and Language Pathologist and children’s author. Marie loves to travel and has moved around a lot! After living in Singapore for many years she finally settled in Paris where she currently lives with her husband and three daughters. In her day job Marie is passionate about improving the lives of children with language disorders and she is a firm advocate for bilingualism. Her children’s book “Georgia’s Far-Away Family” can be purchased in either French or English and is for ages 3-7.
Want to contact Marie about books for your children or a school? Write to her at [email protected]