Cover art for The Little Cottage
Cover art for The Little Cottage
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Local author, actress and model Liana Hall was sitting in her friends’ beautiful little cottage overlooking Somerset Bridge when she was inspired to write a children’s book about the place.

She loved the home so much that she decided to make the little cottage itself the central character of her book, having it grow and develop as any human character might.

The story is told in the third person, but it focuses on the emotions and observations of the cottage as its new owners settle in and create new stories of their own. The book, The Little Cottage, is illustrated by Hall’s close friend Alicia Wanklyn who is also a local fashion designer and photographer.

Charities

While aiming to have a cultural impact on Bermuda, the book will also contribute to four local charities. Proceeds will go towards Agape House, whose staff took care of Liana’s father, lawyer and former PLP MP Julian Hall before he passed away in 2009, Friends of Hospice, The National Trust and The Chewstick Foundation.

Hall hopes to publish the book in the summer. She is looking to raise at least $15,000 towards funding the project and is calling to the community to help. Donations can be made online at igg.me/at/littlecottage. There are various incentives for donors including everything from Little Cottage merchandise and launch party tickets, to a personalised, signed, limited edition copy of the book with a leather bound cover, and dinner with the author and illustrator.

Hall spoke to the Bermuda Sun about the project:

Why did you decide to embark on this project?

I started writing the book in August 2011 and it was entirely unexpected. I was sitting in the little cottage next to Somerset Bridge with my friends Aziza and Cal Furbert who reside there, and our visiting friend Jen from Toronto. I remarked how cute their little cottage was, and suddenly I started telling the first paragraph of the story, just making it up as I went along. I realised it was sparking so much inside me that I grabbed my BlackBerry off the table and started writing the first page as a memo and reading it to Jen as I went along. I then raced home and began to flesh it out. A few months later I was staying with Bermudian friends in England and they have two young daughters, Saskia and Gabriella. I decided to try out some chapters on them. When I read it to them they loved it and kept pressuring me to finish it because they wanted to know how it ended. In the end the three of us sat down together in front of my laptop and I typed and read to them simultaneously and asked them for ideas and the book was completed in a few hours. It was great to have live feedback and encouragement from the age group for whom the book is intended. 

What is the basic plot of the book?

The book is a snapshot of The Little Cottage’s life in the present day. When the book opens we find the cottage has been left vacant for some time and is exceptionally lonely. A couple move in and the book charts their growth as a family and their relationship with the cottage.

The book focuses on the cycle of life from the perspective of something or someone that doesn’t go through the same cycles we do.

You say you hope the book will bring attention to our island home. What are some of the Bermudian treasures that the book features?

 It features landmarks and their history, plus aspects of island life. There’s Somerset Bridge, The Railway Trail, Royal Naval Dockyard, Bermuda’s pink sand beaches, our flora and fauna (including flying cockroaches!), Hurricane Season, the Sargasso Sea and Bermudian Christmastime traditions.

What genre is The Little Cottage?

The cottage has a life of his own and therefore there is a fantasy/fairytale element to it, but it’s mixed in with realistic facts and characters also. I would call it an art book. Alicia is an artist and fashion designer here in Bermuda and a close friend of mine. We’ve collaborated on fashion and photo shoots in the past so I knew we worked well together. And I knew she would just “get” the vision. She had done a series of works (including one of my younger siblings) a couple of years ago and I thought the style of that collection would work perfectly. So I gave her some inspiration images, we had some chats and away she went. The art she’s been producing is really phenomenal.

When is the launch date for the book?

The launch date is really dependent on how quickly we reach our fundraising goal. The fundraising initiative will end in six weeks and we can’t receive the funds until it closes. It is hoped that it will be completed by the summer. If not, it will definitely be done by autumn so the book is available in time for Christmas. We’ve kicked off a campaign on Indiegogo to raise funds for the book. We’ve listed our goal as $15,000 but we actually require closer to $25,000 so we’ll be looking for corporate investors too. If anyone wants to donate or contribute in another fashion other than through the Indiegogo site I hope they will contact me on liana.hall@gmail.com.