This is Eliza McCann…
More than anything in the world, Eliza has always wanted to write a kid’s book. Sure it was fun working in fashion and as a film publicist but books – especially kid’s books – have always been her passion (any coincidence she’s married to a children’s writer?)
She started off offering her husband constructive criticism on his writing. And then they wrote the Piggy book together. And then it was time to cut him loose, to forge her own career…
Eliza and Phillip have two awesome kids who road test all her books and are not afraid to tell their mother exactly what they think!
This is Phillip Gwynne…
Phillip has written crime fiction, YA books, early readers, TV series in Myanmar and East Timor as well as some fabulous picture books including ‘The Queen with the Wobbly Bottom’, ‘Ten Green Geckos’, ‘Ruby Learns to Swim’, ‘What’s Wrong with the Wobbegong’, ‘Little Owl’, ‘Yobbos do Yoga’ and ‘Little Piggy’s Got No Moves’ (which he happened to co-write with his wife, Eliza).
Phillip also wrote the AFI Award winning screenplay to the film ‘Australian Rules’. Which is actually how Phillip and Eliza met. Eliza was working as the publicist on the movie and Phillip kept bugging her about stuff until they discovered their mutual love of Scrabble, ocean swimming, books and travel. A love like that can’t be denied and they were married two years later.
Phillip always promised that if they got married, they would live overseas. He also promised her a dedication in his next book. Both things came to pass.
She is still waiting for him to take her to Dollywood, however.
Would you like to meet our illustrator?
This is Tinne Cornelissen…
It’s a fact universally acknowledged that neither Phillip or Eliza can draw. They have an abundance of ideas but when it comes to putting pen to paper, it’s best they stick to words. That’s where the wonderfully talented Tinne comes into the picture (literally). The duo needed someone to bring their ideas to life. Eliza was trawling illustrators on the internet when she saw Tinne’s map of Paris.
This was the only person she wanted for the Bali book but where was she?
After much cyber-stalking Eliza found Tinne (who is Belgian) on holidays in Bali, in Ubud. Surely a sign from the Balinese gods? And the rest is collaborative history.
Tinne is an incredibly talented illustrator/designer. She loves cycling, travel, art, photography and is a dedicated vegan.
She now lives in Melbourne, Australia.
The origins of the book
Phillip came up with the idea of moving to Bali after meeting a guy called Gags in Darwin, who spent half his year in Bali and the other half in Australia.
If it was good enough for Gags, it was going to be good enough for them.
It took just six weeks from making the decision to move to actually getting their bums on a Jetstar flight.
In 2011 the family arrived at steamy Denpasar airport at 11pm at night with nothing but six suitcases and two little girls, Ruby and Ella, in tow.
They were taken to their accommodation – not quite like the pictures! – and were greeted by two Dobermans and a Frenchman, who were all unexpectedly included, in their Airbnb rental.
And so began their Awesome Bali Adventure.
It didn’t take long for all the family to fall deeply, madly head over heels in love with Bali. They settled easily into their new life finding a house, a school for the kids and forming wonderful friendships.
Phillip and Eliza developed a happy daily routine, dropping the kids to school and then heading to their favourite cafe (Bungalow in Berawa in case you’re interested!) to drink copious amounts of coffee and to work.
It was on one of those mornings (no doubt buzzing from too much caffeine) that they both started talking about an idea… a kid’s travel journal for Bali.
Every day, they saw kids coming and going, sometimes with their heads firmly stuck in an iPad, and not noticing the magic that was surrounding them: the landscape, the culture, the language, the people. The idea grew and they set off on a mission: to create a book that would open kids minds up to their surroundings, to encourage curiosity, to learn but also have some fun.
What about My Awesome Sydney Adventure?
Publishing your own book can be challenging, but deeply satisfying: a few times, on the night flight back to Australia, they would spot a tired, hair- braided kid clutching their well-worn copy of book. They noted that It wasn’t just tourists buying the book but expats as well. They would often travel around Bali and see kids clutching their copies of My Awesome Bali Adventure.
And so they thought about the other place that was so very dear to their hearts: Eliza’s home town of Sydney. And so, with much love, My Awesome Sydney Adventure was born.
Their hope is that, armed with the book, kids will explore this extraordinary city with an open mind and fresh eyes!