Esperance authors discuss book launch

Authors: Sue Starr (left) with a copy of Now I’m Sixty Four and Sally Ashbil (right) with a copy of Samson, The Story of a Happy Horse. Photo: Supplied.
Authors: Sue Starr (left) with a copy of Now I’m Sixty Four and Sally Ashbil (right) with a copy of Samson, The Story of a Happy Horse. Photo: Supplied.

Two Esperance authors, Sue Starr and Sally Ashbil, are launching their new books on Friday 14th September at 5pm with a gathering at the Esperance Senior Citizen’s Centre. Anyone who has been involved in the production of a book will be familiar with the amount of work involved in this process.

Writing the text is just the first step; there is courage involved in committing thoughts to paper and sharing them with others, time spent revising, refining, crafting language to ensure that each sentence or line says just what the author intends. Preparing illustrations and photographs also takes time. Then there is the process of editing, formatting, proofreading, liaising with publishers or printers.

Publishing a book is a labour of love and the arrival of the finished product is an important moment to celebrate.

Sally Ashbil has written some reflections on ‘the joy of publishing a book’.

“Well I finally have a copy in my hands – my children's story published after writing it so many years ago.

I wrote this story during a particularly happy period of my life.  

My husband an up and coming architect, both my sons alive and well and a beautiful property in Kalamunda where we kept our horses, dogs, cats, chooks; we grew vegetables and had many fruit trees – the property was beautiful and secluded and had a permanent stream running through it with huge tree ferns all along its edge.

Even at school I had a love of writing short stories.   One quiet day after doing all the chores I sat down at my IBM electric typewriter and wrote my story “Samson, The Story of a Happy Horse” and thought to myself that maybe my grandchildren would enjoy it.  At that time I had no grandchildren and my eldest, Hannah is now 21!

A lot of time passed before I asked my son Stuart to consider doing illustrations for the book, he readily agreed and we discussed and drew prelininary sketches – with one thing and another the project was put on the backburner and forgotten.   

My son Stuart died suddenly, shattering all our lives. His wife found the story and sketches and returned them to me – again it was shelved. Quite recently I met Sue Starr and she told me that she had published a poetry book, helped by her niece Christine Briggs a publisher and talented artist. Well I contacted Christine – who incidentally was born and educated in Esperance – and the rest is history.

I sent Christine the story and some photographs and we had, over a 3 month period much email communication regarding the illustrations.

Christine seemed to know exactly what I wanted and her illustrations are amazing and bring the story to life in an exceptional way.”

Come along to Sue’s and Sally’s launch to celebrate our local writers and find out more about their creative work.

For more information on upcoming events please contact Esperance Community Arts on 9072 1158, message us on Facebook, email us - or visit us at 67 Dempster street from 10am -2pm Tuesday - Friday. You can also visit our website ( ) and subscribe to our monthly e-newsletter.