I met Sarah Foster from Walker Books at the SCBWI conference in 2012 when we were on a panel together discussing realistic fiction. Afterwards got talking about flying, as I'm a private pilot and Sarah had taken lessons and we discussed a book on flight. I sent her an idea that involved lots of words but essentially was about the history of flight told from the eyes of the pilots (men and women) who risked their lives to prove to the world that flying was the new way to travel.
With Kerry, my husband, a professional pilot and co-author I got a May Gibbs fellowship in 2013 to develop the idea. Then with major changes at Walker Books I thought the book would fall through the cracks. It was only thanks to Sue Whiting who believed in the idea that it didn't end up flying back to me and ending in my bottom drawer.
However, she didn't want the 25,000 word book I was writing. She wanted a 5,000 word picture book. Hmm. Not my field of expertise but it was a challenge especially as I was writing a novel about Syria at the same time (Zafir Through My Eyes - Allen and Unwin) and going though the process of selling and moving house.
Sue was...well amazing to work with and now finally the Amazing Australians in their Flying Machines released in April this year.
Big thanks to SCBWI, May Gibbs Trust and Sue.