It’s been a fascinating experience working to come up with the cover for the third novel. I sent Ross MacLennan a sketch of themes from the novel as a montage. I loved his first effort, and his advice that I had too many themes cluttering the cover. He selected four themes which I think blend well and part of is a photo of Aboriginal children at play which he found on a website belonging to a person involved on movie-making. It is a joyously uplifting photo but we felt there were several problems in using it. One was being able to get permission from the photographer, who wasn’t the owner of the website, a second was that the last entry on the website was in 2009, and a third was to find out the community where it was taken and seek their permission too. Talk about detective work!!!
Anyway, after several abortive attempts to find the website owner, I decided instead to try to identify the photographer. After several searches I eventually came up with the name Brett Monaghan. That led me to Facebook and Linked In and a couple days of contacting various people under that name. I’d just about given up when I got an email from Brett saying “yes, I’m the photographer, get in touch and we can talk.” I rang him, explained what I wanted to do, and while he is no longer in the photography business, he still owns the rights to that photo. He said he happy for me to use it, but we agreed that we should contact the community where the photo was taken – Ernabella, which is in the Pitjantjatjara Lands, a couple of hundred kilometres south of the NT/South Australian Border. I’ve been there working but not since 2004. Brett, bless his heart, was willing to make contact if I sent him a copy of the draft cover, which I did.
Getting to that point took the best part of four days work and we still have no answer from Ernabella. On the one hand, it’s very frustrating trying to follow the legal and ethical requirements of different cultures. On the other hand, however, it has put me in touch with some lovely people whose comprehension of the legal and ethical dimensions across cultures is warming. And I know if I fail in this effort, Stephen DuPont, a photographer whom I met in Mildura, is willing to assist, too.
We presented at the York CRC with assistance from Karina, whose efforts were genuinely appreciated. Dave had played a couple of seasons of Australian Rules football with York back in the 1970s, when people like Jim Finnerty, Macca and the Marwicks were on the field. So it was great to see a few of those names and to meet others at the CRC. We also introduced those present to the cover design for Dave’s new novel, “Turn on a Light”. We used a sample of Ross MacLennan’s design and asked the question, “Would this cover make you turn to the back and check out the synopsis?” The answer, generally, was yes, so Ross has done well. We need permission, however, to use one of the images on the cover and Dave is currently pursuing that. We’ll see what happens.
But yes, it was a top time in York, staying at recently re-opened Settlers, and dining at the Castle on Monday night. Our next endeavour will be in the south-west, probably after Christmas. We’re looking forward it.
I spent time at VisAbility in East Victoria Park chatting about Audio Books. The idea emerged on our promotional trip to the south, and libraries at Albany, Denmark, Walpole and Bridgetown all had large sections of Audio Books. In chatting with librarians, they spoke of different groups of people who used Audio Books, including not only the sight-impaired but long-haul truckies, farmers on tractors, and people driving to or from Perth or between country towns for work. That led me to speak with Dinesh and the staff at VisAbility about the possibility of producing Audio Books. One of the staff members, by the way, is Susie Punch, whose father Keith was the chief supervisor for my Ph.D.
Their offer is certainly well worth considering and part of the reason is the possibility of partnership between myself and Karen as authors and publishers of the novels, and VisAbility asa marketing and production entity with the capacity to extend the reach of our novels. At the same time, I am exploring the private sector through our son Paul, whose contacts in the realm of voice-overs has given him ideas about how to record and produce Audio Books.
But whether I choose to go with VisAbility or not, I was hugely impressed by the production team, their facilities, and the enormous number of volunteers who assist in the production of Audio Books. To be part of that production set-up is certainly a motivating factor. Good on you people and well done.