NEARLY every book idea Perth author Kathryn Lefroy has is for children.
“I think it’s because some of my fondest memories are of holidays when I was growing up and I could sit for days on end, devouring books,” Lefroy said.
“I want to recreate that feeling for readers and I think it’s harder to get that sense of being totally lost in a book as an adult.
“That’s not through any fault of the book, but because of the trappings that come with ‘adulting’.
“Saying all of that, I’m actually very conscious of not trying to write books ‘for children’. I just want to write fun, fast-paced and engaging stories; stories that might be aimed at kids, but that I would enjoy reading too.”
Lefroy, who writes novels, articles and screenplays, has released her first novel for middle readers, Alex and the Alpacas Save the World.
Published by Fremantle Press, the book is set on a Tasmanian farm where main character Alex and her herd of talking alpacas must save the world from sinister forces all set to derail her summer holidays.
“About 10 years ago, I was living in Melbourne and took a weekend trip to Tasmania to visit a friend who was house-sitting a small hobby farm in the Huon Valley,” Lefroy said.
“The best thing about the farm? The four alpacas who wandered around as though they owned the place.
“They were so skittish and bumbling and dopey, and had this expression like they were all sharing a hilarious joke that you weren’t in on.
“Basically the least likely animals you’d ever want on your team if you had to save the world, which made them so much fun to write.”
After finishing the first draft in November 2011, Lefroy spent the next seven years rewriting it about 20 times until she was happy with her book featuring a strong-willed girl as the main protagonist.
“And who doesn’t like alpacas?” she said. “Now, llamas on the other hand… don’t even get me started.”