New Zealand Herald / Hawke's Bay Today interviewed Sally about her debut book, The Chicken Caravan. Read it below or read it on their website here.
Book about rescue chickens going from cages to caravan a feather in the cap for debut author
by Linda Hall, Hawke's Bay Today
November 25, 2023
If you are thinking of writing a book, a Hawke’s Bay debut author’s advice is “to make sure you have talented friends”.
Those words of wisdom come from Sally Newall who has just launched her delightful children’s book The Chicken Caravan.
Three years ago Sally started social media Facebook page Kiwi Country Kids in the hope it would educate children about farming. Today it has almost 30,000 followers.
“I’m a vet, a farmer, and the mother of three boys and wanted people to see and learn about how we look after our animals,” Sally said.
Sally’s also passionate about writing.
“My mum’s an author in the UK and I write for a local magazine.”
Back in October last year Sally asked her boys to jump in the ute, they were off on a rescue mission, she told them.
They picked up 30 rescue hens, took them home to the farm in the back of the ute, then housed them in the woolshed for a few days to settle them in.
In the meantime, Sally and the boys got to work on a new home for the chickens.
They converted an old caravan into a mobile home for them.
Sally posted the chickens’ journey on Kiwi Country Kids’ Facebook page and that led to her first book.
It’s such a cool story but my lips are sealed now. I’m not telling you anymore, that would spoil the fun of reading The Chicken Caravan.
Sally says writing and publishing The Chicken Caravan has been an overwhelming learning curve.
“I was googling how to publish a book,” she laughed.
“Luckily for me my best friend Kristin Baylis is a graphic artist and she designed the book.”
Sally says she felt really proud when she saw the finished product and is thrilled that it has been selling well.
She has also produced a Kiwi Country Kids calendar.
Her advice to anyone wanting to publish a book is if you are passionate about it, make it happen.
“Anything can be done. Just take it step by step. You will make mistakes but that’s okay.”
A donation will be made to Ronald McDonald House Charities with every copy of The Chicken Caravan sold.
“Ted, my youngest son, faced some medical challenges when he was born and our family was supported by Ronald McDonald House Charities New Zealand. So this is our way of supporting them,” she said.
These days Sally works from home on their Patoka farm.
“Our farming community was cut off for seven weeks following the cyclone and I was the only vet in the area. I had no choice but to work from home and now it suits our family.”
Their farm is now home to “60 or 70″ rescue brown shavers along with other breeds.
The dust has barely settled after her book was launched at the Puketapu pub a few weeks ago and already Sally is thinking about her next “really big dream”.
“We have a huge under-utilised wool shed. We only have about 20 sheep, we are bull farmers. So my dream is to turn this space into an educational facility where school groups can come and have a hands-on educational experience.
“They can see all the biodiversity work going on on the farm and help plant seedlings, they can watch a sheep being shorn, milk a cow, learn about anything and everything, animal welfare. the vet side of things.
“I have got all the passion in the world around this and I will lead it but what we need is financial support. If you know any investors, funding, grants, or anything that would suit please send them my way. I’m so keen to do this. I just need some help because I have no idea where to go looking for support. "
If you can help Sally with this or would like a copy of The Chicken Caravan or a Kiwi Country Kids calendar email email@example.com or go to Facebook page Kiwi Country Kids (facebook.com/kiwicountrykids).