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A fairy tale from the Silk Road
A fairy tale from the Silk Road
104 backers pledged AU$ 6,618 to help bring this project to life.

About

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AU$ 6,618

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Hearts are stolen every day, but a stolen belly button- well, that has consequences! When willful Mei Ling wheedles her mother Lady Lin into taking her to the circus, she catches the attention of the orphan Fang Fei. The envious girl traps Mei Ling in the mirror maze, then offers her safe passage home in exchange for her navel.  

Although The Stolen Button is a picture book, it is intended for an older audience (12+) At 48 pages, it is much longer than a traditional picture book and contains dark themes.

 

It’s often said that fairy tales are for children. Certainly it was growing up with Disney Princesses that inspired my love of fairy tales but it was only after I found the Grimm Brothers original stories at the school library that I came to understand their complexity. Stories such as Angela Carter’s The Bloody Chamber, Neil Gaiman’s The Sleeper and the Spindle and Shaun Tan’s The Singing Bones have a darkness that reflects real life. If you love these stories, then The Stolen Button is for you. 

I started writing a story called The Stolen Button starring a Victorian steam punk heroine called Katherine. Her mother Lady Leigh wore laced gloves, tight corset, a bustle in her skirt and curls in her hair. This story never saw the light of day. Every summer holiday, I’d take the manuscript from the bottom drawer and play with it.  

I write fantasy in a European tradition but as a kid, I was obsessed with Wuxia Chinese martial arts stories. I did what all kids do when they fall in love with a story— I wrote fan fiction, dressed up in character and role-played – all in secret, because if there was one thing Eighties, Gold Coast youth just weren’t into, it was Wuxia cosplay. It was only when the Disney princesses came along, that I abandoned one pop culture for another.  

It was an easy decision to return The Stolen Button to my Chinese background. I replaced European courtyards with Chinese marketplaces, carriages for sedan chairs, turrets for sweeping, ridged, imperial palace roofs. But these changes were just superficial. Nothing clicked until I went to an exhibition of my colleague, Leila Honari. She was exhibiting a series of watercolour paintings based on a Sufi poem called The Conference of the Birds. At once, the little girl Mei Ling came to life; I saw her climbing a blossom tree in a desert oasis— a fairy tale, tent city along the Silk Road. I showed Leila my work and she immediately began sketching. She told me there were places along the Silk Road where artefacts showed influences of both Persian and Chinese aesthetic.  

The Stolen Button became a story of migration. As a writer, you inject a little of yourself in the main character but I realised I was not Mei Ling, the Chinese girl. I was Fang Fei the gypsy, the outsider who was so ashamed of her background, she resorted to dark magic to fit in.

 

 

The Stolen Button won second place in the Children’s and Young Adult Writers and Illustrators Conference (Aspiring Picture Book Category) in 2016. The industry judges’ feedback was overwhelmingly positive.  

One judge commented, ‘A powerful story – filled with superstition, folk laws and fantasy elements’  

Another praised it as, ‘Loved this illos (illustrations) - they were so different, vibrant and beautiful to look at.'

 

Despite their enthusiasm, it was difficult to find a traditional publisher. I was told repeatedly that picture books are for young children. The Stolen Button with its dark themes, complex language and high word count didn’t fit that mould.  

As both Leila and I have a full workload, we were unable to commit further time seeking an appropriate publisher. I view self publishing as an opportunity to break new ground— picture books for older readers. I have experience in this area having previously self-funded and published two successful works. However, The Stolen Button is a much more ambitious undertaking. Its specific trim size rule out print-on-demand publishing meaning I have a high initial set up cost to print in bulk. Leila’s beautiful watercolour pages will be printed on heavy, bond paper with a matte finish and a hard cover.

The great news – the book is 90% written and illustrated, and the rough lay outs are complete. The manuscript is with the editor for a final check and then I can work on layout. 

We’re just looking to raise money to print the book and deliver it to you. The majority of funds will go towards printing with additional funds to cover publicity, creating other campaign rewards, postage, Kickstarter fees and taxes.

 

 

 

 1. The Elf (AU$1)  

Every dollar counts! You will receive a personal thank you tweet extolling your virtue/s in a simile form for helping make this project come to life.+

*Please message me your twitter handle 

 2. The Animal Sidekick (AU$10)  

Thank you Tweet PLUS a pdf version of The Stolen Button.*

*Please message me your twitter handle

 3. The Princess (AU$15) plus shipping

Thank you Tweet (message me your twitter handle), Pdf version of The Stolen Button PLUS Three postcards with designs from the book.

4. The Unicorn (AU$30) plus shipping

Thank you Tweet (message me your twitter handle), 3 postcards with designs from The Stolen Button PLUS a signed copy of the book you’re helping to produce

 

 5. The Hero (AUD$50 or more) plus shipping

Thank you Tweet (message me your twitter handle), 3 postcards with designs from The Stolen Button PLUS

TWO signed copies of The Stolen Button

 

 6. The Dragon (AU$100) plus shipping (Australia Only)*

Thank you Tweet (don't forget to tell me your twitter handle), 3 postcards with designs from The Stolen Button, A4 signed digital art print*, 

PLUS dedication at the front of The Stolen Button 

PLUS THREE signed copies of The Stolen Button

 

* Unfortunately the prohibitive cost of shipping makes it too difficult to offer this reward to international backers. Sorry!

*art work printed using ultrachrome archival inks on photo rag matte paper. It will look super nice and will not fade for a very, very, long time.

7. The Fairy Godmother (AU$250) plus shipping (Australia only)   

Thank you Tweet (need your twitter handle please), 3 postcards with designs from The Stolen Button, A4 signed digital art print, dedication at the front of The Stolen Button, 3 signed copies of The Stolen Button PLUS

I will write you into my next novel*

 

*My next novel is a Choose-Your-Own-Path style fairy tale to be released late 2018. If your name is Caspian Pendragon, GREAT! This reward is perfect for you. If your name is something like Johnno, please understand I may have to take artistic liberties and make you Earl John O'Furie.  

 8. The Wizard (Mini Education Kit) (AU$75) plus shipping

Thank you tweet, 2 signed copies of The Stolen Button 

PLUS A dedication at the front of The Stolen Button 

PLUS PDF version of The Stolen Button for classroom use 

PLUS A classroom activity kit on crafting narratives and designing fantasy characters based on The Stolen Button*

*The activity kit is a 3 hour lesson plan suitable for upper primary/ lower secondary levels (equivalent to Australian Grade  6 - 8). It provides notes on the fantasy genre with emphasis on myths and fairy tales, and guide students to create their own short stories. There is a connected technical drawing guide in fantasy character construction.

9. The Oracle (Education Kit) (AU$150) plus shipping

Thank you tweet, 2 signed copies of The Stolen Button 

PLUS A dedication at the front of The Stolen Button 

PLUS PDF version of The Stolen Button for classroom use 

PLUS A classroom activity kit on crafting narratives and designing fantasy characters based on The Stolen Button* 

PLUS 30 minute Skype or Google Hangout session with illustrator and/or writer*

*The activity kit is a 3 hour lesson plan suitable for upper primary/ lower secondary levels (equivalent to Australian Grade 6 - 8). It provides notes on the fantasy genre with emphasis on myths and fairy tales, and guide students to create their own short stories. There is a connected technical drawing guide in fantasy character construction.

*The date and time of the live chat session will have to be negotiated. If outside Australia, the session may only be conducted with the writer.

 

Marianna Shek has a PhD in transmedia narratives and teaches in the animation and games department at Griffith University. She publishes picture books and novels for adults who are really children at heart through www.rockonkitty.com.au  

Leila Honari  

Illustrator. Painter. Setar player. Carpet designer and weaver of stories. Leila learnt drawing at a young age by sketching moving farm animals. Twenty years on, Leila’s paintings are represented in international collections and galleries, and she teaches concept art to animation students at Griffith University. She is currently undertaking a PhD to introduce Persian narratives to Western audiences.

 

 

 

Risks and challenges

There is minimal risk given that The Stolen Button is mostly complete. The printing process will take approximately three months as I am working with an overseas printer. If our Kickstarter is successful, I will work on final lay out and place the order for the books. I anticipate you will receive your reward within 16 -20 weeks from the end of campaign (international shipping may take extra time).
We greatly appreciate your patience and look forward to sending your reward.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge AU$ 1 or more About $0.74

    The Elf

    Every dollar counts! You will receive a personal thank you tweet extolling your virtue in simile form for helping make this project come to life.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    11 backers
    AU$
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  2. Select this reward

    Pledge AU$ 10 or more About $7

    The Animal Sidekick

    Thank you tweet PLUS
    A digital version of The Stolen Button as a pdf

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    14 backers
    AU$
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  3. Select this reward

    Pledge AU$ 15 or more About $11

    The Princess

    Thank you tweet, pdf version of The Stolen Button PLUS
    Three postcards with designs from The Stolen Button

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    6 backers
    AU$
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    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  4. Select this reward

    Pledge AU$ 30 or more About $22

    The Unicorn

    Thank you tweet, 3 postcards PLUS
    A signed copy of the book you’re helping to produce

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    41 backers
    AU$
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    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge AU$ 50 or more About $37

    The Hero

    Thank you tweet, 3 postcards PLUS
    TWO signed copies of The Stolen Button. One for your library and one for the bathroom.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    11 backers
    AU$
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge AU$ 75 or more About $55

    The Wizard (Mini Education Kit)

    Thank you tweet, 2 signed copies of The Stolen Button PLUS
    A dedication at the front of The Stolen Button
    PLUS
    PDF version of The Stolen Button for classroom use
    PLUS
    A classroom activity kit on crafting narratives and designing fantasy characters*

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    2 backers
    AU$
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  7. Select this reward

    Pledge AU$ 100 or more About $74

    The Dragon

    Thank you tweet, 3 postcards, 1 signed A4 art print, book dedication PLUS
    THREE signed copies of The Stolen Button for your library, your bathroom and a friend's bathroom*

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Only Australia
    8 backers
    AU$
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  8. Select this reward

    Pledge AU$ 150 or more About $111

    The Oracle (Education Kit)

    Thank you tweet, 2 signed copies of The Stolen Button*
    PLUS
    A dedication at the front of The Stolen Button
    PLUS
    PDF version of The Stolen Button for classroom use
    PLUS
    A classroom activity kit on crafting narratives and designing fantasy characters*
    PLUS
    30 minute Skype or Google Hangout session with illustrator and/or writer*

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 1 backer
    AU$
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  9. Select this reward

    Pledge AU$ 250 or more About $185

    The Fairygodmother

    Thank you tweet, 3 postcards, 1 A4 signed art print, book dedication, 3 signed copies of The Stolen Button
    PLUS
    I will make you a character in my next novel*
    *See details under Rewards

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Only Australia
    3 backers
    AU$
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.

Funding period

- (32 days)