Monthly Archives: March 2018

2, 2 and 2: Maureen Eppen talks about Every Family Is Different

Maureen Eppen 1Maureen Eppen
Every Family is Different (Serenity Press)
illustrated by Veronica Rooke

I met the lovely Maureen Eppen some years ago when she invited me to Secret Harbour to talk to the First Edition Book Club, a group of passionate readers who have been meeting now for 14 years. They were erudite, engaged and insightful, and it was a pleasure to discuss Elemental with them.

Since then, Maureen’s path and mine have crossed many times and in different contexts, but it was only last year that I discovered that she was also hard at work on her own creative projects. Every Family is Different is the first to be published, and I’m delighted to feature it here.

First, a little more about Maureen:

Maureen Eppen has been a freelance journalist for more than 30 years and now works in corporate communications and marketing. She writes book reviews and author interviews, hosts the Shelf Aware blog series, and is a grammar nerd who frequently questions her own spelling and punctuation. When she’s not procrastinating over working on her first novel, Maureen practises yoga, and she has completed two half-marathons and countless fun runs—at a glacial pace.

And here is the book’s blurb:

Who’s in your family?

Some children live with their mum and dad, others live with their grandparents or foster parents. Some live in a big house, others live in a tiny apartment.

With captivating illustrations, Every Family is Different celebrates what it means to be part of a family, and reminds us that there’s something that’s always the same in every family…


Over to Maureen…

Every Family is Different_cover

2 things that inspired my book

My mum, Maureen O’Donnell, is a compassionate, generous and loving woman, and this book would never have been written without her unwavering belief in me. Mum left her family and friends in England to support my dad in his desire to relocate to Australia in the 1960s, only to find herself bringing up my sisters and me single-handedly just a few years later, with no relatives to support her. As a result, family is incredibly important to all of us. This sentiment is also embraced by my daughters and their cousins, and we are now welcoming the next generation to our extended family.

Mum, my sisters and me

While I was lucky to grow up in a positive, welcoming neighbourhood, I’ve heard of situations in which children being brought up by single parents, aunts and uncles, grandparents or same-sex parents have felt ostracised or somehow ‘less’ than others. I wanted my book to highlight that there’s no such thing as a ‘typical’ family these days. Families come in a variety of shapes, sizes and configurations—but love is a common element to them all.

2 places connected to my book

Home—literally and figuratively. I wrote the earliest drafts for this picture book, and others, in my home office, where I worked as a freelance journalist while my daughters were growing up. I also feel a sense of ‘home’ whenever I spend time with my family and closest friends, and they have been incredibly supportive of my journey towards becoming a published author.

There is also a strong connection to my childhood home, in the suburb of Calista, south of Perth, where I grew up in the 1970s. A child’s life in those days was carefree and physically active—with parks and bushland to explore, school within walking or cycling distance, and playtime inspired by imagination rather than spent in front of a screen. Friends lived ‘just around the corner’, and we were free to spend happy days outdoors, as long as we were home when the street lights came on.

2 favourite images

The image of two dads and their baby was illustrator Veronica Rooke’s initial concept of a ‘non-traditional’ family. When Monique Mulligan from publisher Serenity Press showed it to me for the first time, I burst into tears of joy. All of Veronica’s illustrations perfectly reflect what I wanted my words to convey, and I love the way Serenity Press has combined my words and Veronica’s artwork in this beautiful book.

Every Family is Different_original concept

Every page of the book resonates with me, because the families I describe exist within my extended family and among friends and neighbours. Having said that, I have enjoyed the reactions from readers when they see the penultimate pages, which describe families that include ‘one person and a pet…or lots and lots of pets’. The pictures accompanying these words always delight.

Every Family is Different will be in bookshops soon
or can be pre-ordered from Serenity Press
You can contact Maureen via her website
or follow her on Facebook or Twitter


Filed under 2 2 and 2 (writers + new books)

3, 3 and 3: Patrick Corcoran, mixed-media artist

Patrick CorcoranIt’s been a very long while since I’ve posted in the 3, 3 and 3 series, which turns the spotlight on creative people I know, but I’m pleased to break the drought now by introducing Patrick Corcoran.

Patrick is a mixed-media artist from Limerick, Ireland, whose practice includes sculpture,​ installation, photography, print, drawing, film and the written word. He has exhibited work throughout Ireland, and also in Northern Ireland, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Hungary, China and Brazil.

We met at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre in County Monaghan, where we were both residents, and became friends over many cups of tea, far too many scones, and a mutual interest in film and photography. Patrick’s wide knowledge of both artforms cast mine well and truly in the shade, but I can assure you that I held my own with the scones!

Since then, I’ve seen his interests range widely in many directions—the art to be found in ordinary objects, the traces of themselves that people leave behind in lost and discarded items, haunted places…You’ll catch a hint of this in his answers below.

Patrick’s current exhibition, Phobos & Deimos, runs until 24 March at the Linenhall Arts Centre, Castlebar. The following two images are from the exhibition:


Psychophobia-full & cropped


Over to Patrick…

3 things I love about what I do

1 My work allows me to delve into and explore topics which I normally would not.

2 It gives me the choice (and excuse) to work in on a variety of projects simultaneously.

3 My art allows me to experiment with different media to get the desired results and to learn new techniques, software packages and equipment.

3 places I’d like to visit

1 Gobekli Tepe, south-western Turkey
First discovered in 1995, it has been dated to 9,600 BC. I love researching archaeological sites of any age, especially ones like this. More than 11,000 years ago, people were choosing particular rocks to cut and what sculptural reliefs to carve and how to assemble them into structures and places of worship.

2 Puma Punku, Bolivia
The stone carving at this site is some of the most impressive I have come across. It  almost looks like it was machine made, or came off an industrial assembly line, especially the interlocking ‘H’ shaped blocks. The stone workers were so talented to have created and carved these blocks. Thousands of years later, we can still admire their skill and design. I would love to visit this site and do work based on it, and I plan to apply for a travel award in the near future.

3 Baalbek, Beqaa Valley, Lebanon
This ancient site comprises the two-thousand-year-old Roman temple to Jupiter. In the base of these ruins lie three hewn stones known together as the ‘trilithon’, each estimated to weigh more than 750 tons. In a nearby a quarry lies one of the largest stones ever carved, the Stone of the Pregnant Woman, weighing an estimated 1,200 tons. Again, I am amazed at the level of skill and ingenuity these ancient builders and masons had.

3 favourite artists

1 Max Ernst
I have a huge interest in dreams, dream diaries and the unconscious. I didn’t really discover Ernst until after I left college, and over the years I have grown to greatly admire his variety of styles, techniques and materials.

2 Ansflem Kiefer
I did my fine art degree in sculpture, and Kiefer’s paintings and use of materials for his sculptural and installation pieces had a strong influence on my own work.  I find his work very earthy, and I keep an eye on his art and exhibitions. I would like to return to my roots, as it were, at some stage in the future and get back into making 3-D and sculptural work.

3 David Lynch
I am currently watching the new Twin Peaks series and am thoroughly enjoying it. I watched the first two seasons when I was in secondary school and have been a huge fan of Lynch’s work since then, whether it be his films, art or music.


Contact Patrick via his website

Other links:
Publications: The roads have got deadly; Nocturnes; Phobos & Deimos
Short film: 4DTI

Dsiplay c.u

Leave a comment

Filed under 3 3 and 3 (creative people)