BOOKWORMS: Nette Hilton and her niece with her brand-new book The First Adventures of Princess Peony.
BOOKWORMS: Nette Hilton and her niece with her brand-new book The First Adventures of Princess Peony.

A vision is the start to Princess Peony story

TWEED Coast writer Nette Hilton has never met illustrator Lucinda Gifford but her editor thinks she would really like her.

And Nette, 72, thinks she's pretty right given Lucinda has just illustrated the prolific writer's latest creation bringing to life the brilliantly individual Princess Peony in a way that is very much her own vision of the character too. The pair have only really communicated through an editor so far but if this one is a success who knows.

"Lucinda's work is just fabulous," Nette said of drawings in her latest book - The First Adventures of Princess Peony which has hit all good book shops just in time to be a fun summer read for children of all ages (and one that even those a bit older than that will enjoy reading too).

A second adventure has already been written and is expected to be out midway through the year.

Ask Nette where she came from and you get an insight into how this teacher turned writer ticks.

She said the original idea came from seeing a young girl in the library in bright red tights and a tutu - it was years ago, and she stored the image away along with other incidents from her own life (including a story of her grand daughter when she was young not wanting to go to bed) until they all just came out and fell into place.

"Princess P just sort of happened," she explained.

"I was playing around with them (the stories) for a while before I sent them off to my agent. We offered them to a couple of places, but Walker Books picked them up pretty quickly."

And so Nette's writing journey continues - a journey that started thirty years ago when her daughter was going through a period of hating school and she wanted to help.

Not finding a book for that situation she wrote one herself.

A friend was enlisted to illustrate it and suggested that they have it published - the year was 88, the book was the beloved The Long Red Scarf. Between 75 and 100 books from picture books to young adult fiction have followed since including The Proper Little Lady which is now considered an Australian classic.