My sister Lisa first introduced us to Amelia Ellicott’s Garden when she bought it for the boys – and me – as she knew I would love it just as much. It is a divine, modern story about a lady with a big garden in a built up area. Amelia has no one to share it with, however, she lives next door to a unit block where each person daydreams of being in her garden.
When we decided to do the Garden Box, it was the only book we wanted and we were determined to get it. All of our suppliers were out of stock, so I rang the author Liliana Stafford. She sounded just like I would imagine Amelia Ellicott to sound!
She had stock and signed each copy! Now that is special indeed. She also agreed to do an interview for us. I know I am gushing, but we are so pleased to share it with you.
Do you have your own garden like Amelia?
I have a very wild and overgrown garden that is home to my art studio and a family of kookaburras. Two honey eaters are currently building a nest in the hibiscus bush next to the back steps.
Is there some of yourself in the character Amelia?
Amelia is the part of me that is polite, shy and English. Australia is changing that.
Did you ever garden with your children when they were pre-school age?
My children were in the garden as soon as they could lie in a bouncinette. Ed and I would be planting vegetables, weeding and digging and they would look at the trees, kick their legs and talk to the birds. They also got rather dirty.
When did you start writing books?
I began writing books in my late thirties but it was ten years before I was published.
Before you could read, did your parents read books to you?
I can’t remember if my parents ever read to me when I was little but later my dad took me to the library every Saturday and we would sit in the big armchairs and read.
What kind of books did you like to read your own children? Or what did they like to read?
I read Enid Blyton, Roald Dahl, Colin Theile, Beartrix Potter, Dr Seuss and many others. Our house is full of books, many of them from my own childhood.
How old were your children when you started to read to them?
My children were only five or six months old when I began reading to them and my grandchildren were the same. They all love books.
Liliana Stafford is an award-winning author, illustrator and artist residing in Perth, WA. To Liliana, writing is like breathing and it is present in everything she does. She draws from the normal everyday things that happen and her ideas come when she takes the time to live life slowly and approach the world with an open mind.
Amelia Ellicott’s Garden was a notable book in two categories in the 2001 CBC Awards. Liliana is published both in Australia and overseas.
Find out more about Liliana by visiting her website www.lilianastafford.com.