I caught up with them at Dromkeen National Centre for Picture Book Art, in Victoria recently and chatted with them about the book’s amazing journey.
Mark admits to having a long-held fascination with Ned Kelly, culminating in him purchasing a replica armour which has held pride of place in their house for the last four years.
But Mark says his interest in the famous bushranger was heightened when there was an article in a Broome newspaper about Ned Kelly’s missing skull.
The story of the green sash has been mentioned in passing in a number of books about the notorious bushranger, but has not had quite the same focus as in Mark and Frané’s Ned Kelly and the Green Sash.
The story goes that when he was a young boy, Ned Kelly rescued a classmate from a flooded river. The grateful boy’s parents awarded Ned the green hero’s sash.
Clearly, Mark and Frané share a deep fascination for Ned Kelly. The story of the green sash was brought to Mark’s attention in Ned Kelly, The Authentic Illustrated History by K McMenomy.
For Mark, Ned Kelly and the Green Sash started with a lot of questions. Where did Ned Kelly hide his green sash? Where was it now? These questions took Mark and Frané from Western Australia to the Benalla Pioneer Costume Museum in Victoria where Mark was able to look upon the actual green sash for the first time.
Mark was able to get copies of Ned Kelly’s letters, and he says that having real documents really brings the story to life.
After finding the green sash, Mark says his next major dilemma was “How are we going to balance the story and show that Ned Kelly was a criminal. The Green Sash was such a symbol of his duality – of someone who was both a hero and a villain.”
Equally as fascinating as the story of Ned Kelly is the way that Mark and Frané work together on a project.
Mark says that he writes with Frané in mind. He doesn’t mind taking words out if that will make the story work better with Franés illustrations. But they agree that the input works both ways, and Frané says she uses a lot of Mark’s research in creating pictures for the story.
Both Mark and Frané love the research process. Mark says, “It’s all about finding the story and walking in that person’s shoes – filling up your senses with detail from that era and time.”
Whether you feel fascination or fear when it comes to Ned Kelly, you can’t help but appreciate the meticulous research and the passion behind the story of Ned Kelly and the Green Sash – out now from Walker Books Australia and UK.
I was totally engrossed from start to finish.
OTHER BOOK NEWS
Alex Rider competition closes TODAY! So get your entries in to
NEWS FROM FORD STREET PUBLISHING
Jenny Mounfield interviewed at: http://paulazone.blogdrive.com/
Hazel Edwards interviewed on Australian Women Online: http://tinyurl.com/34wxty3
George Ivanoff interview at: http://paulazone.blogdrive.com