My Place

Louise Karch. (Dr Liz Cyarto)

Award winning local author Louise Karch tells Jennifer Pittorino about her new book.

Tell us why you decided to come to Australia from Canada.

I had to see if your toilet bowl water really spiralled down the opposite direction. After that, discovering life without sleet, slush and wicked snowstorms had me at G’day.

Tell us about your latest book.

I looked in the mirror and got nostalgic for my youth. Truthfully, after I co-wrote the global bestseller ‘The Carbon Almanac: It’s Not Too Late’ with 300 authors from 41 countries, I needed to escape with the fairies. ‘First Aid for Fairies: From Rain to Rainbows’ is a tiny book that gives young adults micro-resilience tools. These are little tips to manage hard moments at the moment.

Why this book now?

Recent Australian research on young people, aged from 10 to 24, found over a third of them experience depression and/or anxiety. I wrote a ‘help others book’ so they could support their friends when they wobble. One of my careers was as a trauma counsellor/advocate. I learned tools that help people shift from the sympathetic nervous system – fight and flight – to their parasympathetic system – rest and digest. The parasympathetic, think of a parachute softy lowering, is the calmer, wiser part of ourselves.

What is an example of a tool?

The eight tools in the book spell the word R.A.I.N.B.O.W.S. For example, the letter A stands for aquatherapy, the importance of drinking enough water. The tip says: “Stress dehydrates you, the experts agree. Dehydration strains a body in need. This sharp downward spiral is yours to stop. You know what to do. Drink up buttercup.” I chose the voice of a steampunk fairy godmother because this age group needs someone cool and caring in their corner.

I chose steampunk because the west has a proud history of industry. Plus, the Victorian era saw massive technological and social change from the light bulb and telephone to rapid urbanisation. Young people today see the rise of AI, global conflict, housing shortages and climate damage. They need a strong inner voice that combines grace and grit, hope and resilience. Mashing together steampunk and a fairy godmother is a novel way of bringing light to what some feel is a dark time.

Tell us about the Hobsons Bay Homegrown Authors Program (HBHAP)?

Anything that matters happens with others. Parts of my books have been written at Hobsons Bay Libraries, particularly the Newport Community Hub and the Williamstown Library. There are over 100 authors in Hobsons Bay. This program gives us opportunities to connect and celebrate book launches.

As an author, where do you go for inspiration?

Creatives need space to just be. My new favourite spot is under the stunning Golden Elm tree in Williamstown Botanic Gardens.