Samuel's Kisses Media

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WHEN Samuel was two years old his mother, Karen Collum, noticed him blowing kisses to fellow shoppers who passed the trolley in which he was sitting. Collum also paid attention to the effect the kisses had on random strangers and knew one day the episode would make a beautiful story. The idea for Samuel’s Kisses was born. ‘‘It was a beautiful, innocent and lovely thing Samuel did and I was fascinated withthe change in people’s behaviour when they were blown a kiss, seeing their frown turn into a smile and they would interact with him,’’ she says. Collum says people would play peek-a-boo with Samuel but kiss recipients in the book who juggled and danced were figments of her imagination. Collum says she wanted to get across the message that one small person could have a positive impact on many. ‘‘This book, as soon as I wrote it, I thought it was something special,’’ she says. ‘‘I also very strongly believe that children can make a difference.’’ Samuel’s Kisses has also been published in Korea while Collum has had two picture books published in the United Kingdom. ‘‘It’s very surreal; my whole dream is coming true. I had always hoped to become a career author,’’ Collum says. She has just moved from Brisbane to Ballarat with her husband and four children – Samuel, 6, twins Jacob and Matthew, 3, and Hannah, six months. ‘‘To be a successful children’s author you need to see the world through the eyes of children and fortunately I have four kids so I can see the world through their eyes,’’she says. Collum gave illustrator Serena Geddes a photograph of Samuel, who she used as a model. ‘‘Serena’s work went far beyond anything I could imagine. I wanted the kisses to leave some sort of trail and I was excited to see that there is a beautiful trail of hearts. ‘‘Serena has brought the story to life in such a powerful way.’’ Collum lived in Brisbane for seven years and took up writing five years ago when she became a stay-at-home mum and had the time to ‘‘take my dream seriously’’. She was a school teacher in Tasmania and Victoria for seven years. She is now working on several picture books, rising at 5am several mornings a week to write. ‘‘In fewer than 500 words you have to keep kids’ attention, to tell a proper story, to touch people in some way and capture the heart of the story – that’s why it takes so much work,’’ she says. ‘‘Writing is what keeps me sane. Writing is the part of my life that is for me and enables me to give to everyone else. ‘‘I’m at my happiest when writing is a part of my day-to-day life.’’ Samuel’s Kisses is a Little Big Book Club selection for June.

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Copy courtesy of The Courier Mail
Written by Fiona Purdon

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