IT was a dream come true yesterday for one Gemfields woman as she scribbled her signature into the front of her first children’s book during a book signing at Blossoms.
Fleur Vella-Chang has spent the past two years perfecting her labour of love, The Story of Flora, after writing and illustrating the book herself.
The 30-year-old said she had wanted to write a book for years and it was high school teacher Janet Young who “planted the seed” for her creation.
“She told me if I wrote a book she would be the first person who would buy one,” she said with a laugh.
Fleur said the idea for The Story of Flora just popped into her head one day while she was walking down the street.
“The main character is Flora and it’s about a journey of self discovery,” she said.
Describing her book as “multicultural”, Fleur said the characters were based on her close friends.
“The Hubert character is actually based on my husband and Alice and Jacqui are my two best friends,” she said.
The story follows the characters of Hubert, Giovanni, Alice and Jacqui, who all know what they want to be when they grow up, while the main character is a little more indecisive.
Fleur said her friends were very excited about being included in the book and were helping her celebrate its release with a tea party at the Gemfields.
“They absolutely love it,” she said.
Targeted at children between four and seven, Fleur said it wasn’t just kids interested in the book.
“Adults will enjoy it as well, because it’s quite quirky,” she said.
Now living in Singapore with husband Hubert, Fleur said making the move had given her a fantastic opportunity to have the book published.
“There is just more opportunity there for that kind of thing,” she said.
Fleur said the book was a work in progress, but she was happy to finally have it finished and printed.
“I started the illustrations two years ago and since I got married I have had more time to work on it,” she said.
The ex-Emerald Marist College teacher said she decided to return to the Gemfields and Emerald for her book launch and signing because she knew the community well.
With a plan to write more books in the future, Fleur said it wouldn’t be straight away and planned to focus on finishing a graphic design course she had just started in Singapore.
“This book was a massive feat, but I have so many new skills now which will be great for the next one,” she said.
Fleur’s mum Mary said she was very proud of her daughter and what she had achieved.
“We’re just over the moon and we’ve been on a high since the book went to print,” she said.
“I’m just taken with the illustrations because she never did art at school.”
The Story of Flora is available at Blossoms and has a RRP of $14.95.
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