Nuts about children’s books
Greek Australian author Helen Louise Arthurson gives young readers more than an adventure through her children’s books
"It's always been a passion of mine," exclaims Greek Australian author Helen Louise Arthurson about writing. As a teenager, Helen wrote for her high school journal, she's been a keen reader for most of her life and worked in areas where she'd have a lot of exposure to writing and communications, but it's now that she's taken the plunge and published her first novel - the children's book Nuts in Shining Armour.
It is a tale of five nuts who go on glorious adventures sparking the imagination and fantasy needed for children's literature. And it's that sheer innocence in children's books that attracts her to the written word.
"The way modern books are written today - the language - I thought 'I don't want to be in the situation where I want to write [an adult] book,'" the writer explains. Helen says her traditional Greek upbringing has also influenced her desire not to succumb to violence and bad language in her writing but to keep with the innocence of children's books.
"I love the innocence of children's books and I want to stay with it. I try to send a message but at the same time create a very interesting adventure that children would be focused on."
The passion to write has always been a huge part of Helen, but it was when she finally moved to the country that the surroundings inspired the author in her.
"The vast, undulating beauty of the country triggered a series of passions that had been brewing inside me for years," she says. Helen enjoyed gardening, sketching, quilting and drawing - but it was the writing that saw her become a published author for the first time.
Her debut novel has been picked up in primary schools, and she often goes and chats with students about the book. An adventure story through and through, there's another element to her writing that makes her work so important. Helen's children's books come with a message, an environmental message that is dear to her heart. She feels it is important to educate the younger generation on the environment and discuss with them the importance of nature, the beauty of nature and to respect your surroundings and animals. She adds that her Greek background has accentuated her love of nature. Having gone to Greece in 1970, some of her treasured memories are the way they farmed in Greece, and lived off the land. Her fondest memory is of hand-picking olives from the family orchard, and a little bit of this being at 'one with the land' ventures into her writing adventures.
"I just fell in love with that lifestyle," says Helen of her time in Greece.
"When we moved to the country you become familiar with what happens with farming and animals and how fundamental they are to our survival but at the same time of treating animals with respect."
More so than ever, she says her work is connected to her time living on the land that fulfils the childhood passion of wanting to live in the country. She is using her time surrounded by nature. The beauty of nature helps channel her inner child so she can write books that spark the imagination and stimulate the mind through adventure and education. Even on school visits, she commends the children who aren't afraid to talk and raise real issues and concerns.
And now, Helen is already looking towards her very bright literary future with a sequel on the way. She wants to explore the subject of animal cruelty and let the message be stronger, but still use the adventure spark of the already created characters.
For more information on Helen, and the novel Nuts in Shining Armour and its sequel, visit www.helenarthurson.com.au
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