The Inspiring Story of Luna Finch
Luna Finch has turned her passion into a journey that would eventually lead to publishing two books and the potential for more.
Luna Finch always loved reading and telling stories with her own children growing up, especially when it meant time for snuggles. Now she has turned her passion into a journey that would eventually lead to publishing two books and the potential for more.
“I never intended for it to go this far... But I’m also feeling like I could have further adventures brewing inside of me...”
Experiencing a number of hurdles in life hasn’t slowed Luna Finch down. In fact, it’s given her the push she needed to travel down a different path, publishing children’s books. When she was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 2016, not only did Luna face big changes in everyday life, it also meant a change in her career. Reminiscing to when her own children were young (she’s a mother of four), Luna recalled all the times they snuggled up to read books together, with the adventurous Hairy Maclary a favourite in their house. With her own children growing up and now two grandchildren in the mix, Luna channelled her passion for storytelling and the Adventures of Koko-Possum and MarMa-llama was brought to life.
Luna’s background is in community work, where she was in a program management role supporting other single mums with financial literacy. Her position at the not-for-profit was made redundant during Covid. With lockdown kicking in and extra visitors (her eldest daughter, husband and two grandbabies) temporarily moving in with her and her three teens, Luna found the time and inspiration to put pen to paper. She has created two story books Searching for Santa and On the trail in New Zealand and two activity books alongside them. The books have garnered a lot of interest from local daycare centres, schools and speech therapists.
“With three of my babies being born premature, we spent a lot of time in allied health clinics and meetings with their teachers when they were younger,” Luna says. “I have a strong interest in education and allied health, my eldest daughter is actually now a speech pathologist, the next one down is studying Auslan and works as an allied health assistant and my third born has a traineeship in allied health at Redcliffe Hospital.”
Luna explained she aimed to support literacy development within her stories, by integrating speech and occupational therapy concepts previously learned by her children.
“I embedded the use of opposites and prepositions of place i.e. top, bottom, in front and behind as a form of camouflage learning in the story books,” she says. “And with the activity books, on the surface it may look like they’re just doing colouring in however, with the spirals or in tracing the patterns of a fern, it is very much about supporting the development of fine motor skills and hand/eye coordination.”
Originally from New Zealand, Luna moved to Australia when she was 21 and has been living in the Moreton Bay Region now for 12 years. Now 52-years-old, Luna has incorporated both countries into her books.
“I was born and raised in New Zealand and Australia is home now,” she says. “That’s why my first book is based in Australia, highlighting Australian terrain and much-loved native animals. The second book is a New Zealand adventure featuring favourite locations and animals from my upbringing.
“I've spent a large period of my life in each country; my childhood in New Zealand and my adulthood in Australia, so I wanted to share the unique beauty of both of my ‘home’ countries.
“The first book was something to keep me occupied in a search for new purpose, to help stay motivated in life by having a new goal. I intended it to simply be a present for my granddaughters, but it kind of grew legs very quickly with enthusiastic feedback and encouragement to keep going. Being very proud of my New Zealand roots, I wanted to offer my grandbabies a taste of their heritage. This was the inspiration for the second book”.
Luna never imagined that she would become a published author, but now she’s contemplating whether there will be future books in the series.
“I never intended for it to go this far,” she says with a laugh. “But I’m also feeling like I could have further adventures brewing inside of me, there are years of collated inspiration with my love of travel and lifelong interest in other cultures.
“One potential idea I have considered is an adventure across Spain. My daughter was a live-in nanny for a family in Cordoba last year and I visited while she was there and gave the children copies of the books. They loved them because Australia and New Zealand are perceived as these weird countries on the other side of the world, that they may or may not ever get to visit.
“The children asked me if I could write a book about Spain and if they could be in it. I do have a story in my head for an adventure in Spain featuring some of my favourite places I visited. And it could potentially feature their neighbourhood donkey…
“My stories spring from real life and real experiences, so I would like to continue that with any further books coming from the same source of inspiration. For now, the mystery remains. Will there be more books? Stay tuned to find out.”
Luna’s granddaughters and pets are who all the book characters are based on. Her toy Cavoodle Lola (featured in Searching for Santa) has also tagged along with Luna on school visits. With her health currently a little more stabilised, there’s opportunity to explore the visits further.
“The school visits have proven to be a big hit,” she says. “I do an interactive reading with a furry guest and some creative giveaways. The kids have loved meeting Lola and being given the colouring sheets/stickers from the books. It’s been a lot of fun. I thought maybe this could be the next stage for me, back to being an interactive member of the community”.
Luna further commented that “while writing a book is creative and fulfilling, it can also be quite isolating”.
“Being out in the community however, sharing the experience with people and watching the kids' eyes light up, seeing them laugh and having a good time, I find that extremely rewarding.”
Reading has always been a big part of Luna’s life, but she’s not so keen on technology-based reading devices.
“I’ve loved storytelling for a long time and reading was a huge part of our lives with all my children,” Luna says. “I know they (kids) have access to a lot of electronics now and iPads and other devices where you can read books. But I still just appreciate a good old fashioned hard copy book and snuggling up close to read, that’s the whole experience. It’s an opportunity for connection and remains part of my most cherished memories of raising my children.
“Our love of the Hairy Maclary series was a big one and we still have all the books, the original ones that the kids had when they were little.”
Luna admits she never envisaged she would have the time to sit down and write her own stories, but it evolved from being made redundant during Covid, her fluctuating health with managing MS and being a grandmother.
“Becoming a Nonna was a big catalyst, but the combination of those three things ignited a late in life, new sea change career and has pushed me to where I am today,” Luna says.
Luna launched her website late last year but has also partnered with the Newport IGA to sell her books. For further information about Luna, her books or to request a school/daycare visit, please visit www.lunafinch.com.au.