Podero has always wanted to taste sweet, living in Darae, a town that hasn’t seen sugar in ages! What happens when a magic tree is brought to town- a tree that grows sweets? Not just that, this tree knows and shows love. They call her Una Bo the Tree of Love. But what happens when a terrible danger comes upon them? Can the tree save them? How far will her love really go?
See the strength of love from a magic tree with Dr Rebecca Verghese Paul and I as we chat about the intriguing ‘Una Bo the Magic Tree of Love’. Rebecca, I’m keen to get curious about this novel. Where did it all begin?
My kids love story time. This book was originally a story I told my children. Which I then decided to turn into a book because I was sure other children would enjoy it too. Writing and getting the book illustrated was a wonderful journey.
Tell us a little about the characters that we’ll meet along this journey.
Podero and Filgard were always in my head. Podero the child who never had much but is suddenly made the guardian of a magic tree. What was important was to keep him grounded, happy and giving, despite the apparent power he wields.
Miyana came in later. She was definitely inspired by my daughter who is adopted and a special needs child. Miyana loses her parents and is adopted by her aunt, more out of compulsion than want. She is also different. My daughter was bullied for her differences the same way Miyana was. It made her really happy that a character is inspired by her.
Reflecting on your work now, do you feel that elements of the book are drawn from your own life?
This is probably me reliving my childhood. Expecting magic behind every door, a fairy behind every flower. I’m sure every child has always dreamt of a magic storehouse of sweets and chocolates. The story probably came from there.
Was there a message that you wanted to share through the magic?
I wanted to teach children about morals and values. There is always a right and a wrong and choosing the right path will always make you a better person. I also wanted to differentiate need and greed and that what you need is always enough.
What ideas did you try and focus on as you wrote?
Nothing other than the characters and what they are doing and why.
What did you learn by turning these ideas and characters into a fully written, edited and published work?
You never get done editing, but there comes a stage when you have to stop and say enough. It does take a town to bring a book to completion.
Do you find that the process of writing, editing and ultimately publication is energising, or does it get a bit exhausting towards the end?
It makes me happy but it also exhausts me. I think mental work is way more exhausting than physical work.
How has this dedication to mental work been reflected in your author voice as you’ve kept writing?
I have become more conscious of grammar and punctuation. I end up editing what everybody writes and that is annoying but I can’t change it. I am now more daring with my ideas too.
Has this daring extended to your author brand? Have you started building a brand to share your ideas with the world?
Yes. I’m not sure how far I have succeeded though. I have a Facebook page and an Instagram page and author groups in both places. Writing is fun, marketing is not.
Marketing is fun when you get into the swing of it, especially if you can add a touch of creative spark. Let’s see if we can push some sparks to the forefront today through a few wilder questions like, can you cry underwater?
Oh yes, and the fish drink your tears.
I can see that spark coming along. Let’s try again with the question, if you invented a monster what would it look like and what would you call it?
A dark cloud that rains unhappiness and depression.
Oh, a sad spark :(. Let’s see if we can make it a tad happier, what’s your favourite word?
Now that’s bound to put a smile on anyone’s face! What happens if Batman gets bitten by a vampire?
A holy neck.
*Laughs* You’re into the swing of it now! If you could breed two animals together what new animal would you create?
Zombie + hyena = a zoyna
I’d like to meet one of them in your next book. But until then, can you share your favourite line from Una Bo the Magic Tree of Love to help readers make the choice to select your book?
Greed has not gotten us anywhere and it never will.
Solid choice. Rebecca, thanks for sharing a taste of your work with us today, I hope to hear more from you about your new work soon!
Excited to read the book we discussed today? Find it here on Amazon: ‘Una Bo the Magic Tree of Love ( ASIN: B07Q8G2PZW )‘.
Want to find out more about Dr Rebecca Verghese Paul? Connect here!