Aussies first fell in love with funnyman Peter Helliar when he launched his career on Rove Live back in the late 1990s. Since then he's become a household name and is the co-host of The Project.
Now, he's trying his hand at writing -- though technically it isn't his first foray into literature.
"As age seven or eight years old I started a publishing company called Better Books. Sadly I think it has folded, or at least hasn't had a release for quite a while," Helliar told The Huffington Post Australia.
"I used to love writing books as a kid in class. Sometimes it was part of class activity, but most other times it was just because I liked writing. I would write a story and the teacher would type it out for me and print it with spaces for illustrations. I would draw the pictures with texta, or if I was lucky, Derwent pencils. I would then get two bits of cardboard and staple them together to make the cover.
"It was only when I rediscovered them recently that I remembered my Better Books brand -- it had it's own logo and everything. It's been so funny to rediscover those at a time when I am releasing a real book. I remember back then releasing them out into the classroom like it was my own book launch."
Fast forward a couple of decades and Helliar again gets to hold court as he releases his first ever children's Novel, Frankie Fish And The Sonic Suitcase, on March 1st. Instead of showing it off to his classmates, it's debuting nationally.
"I wanted to have a story about a kid who had a bit of purpose. I loved The Magic Faraway Tree as a kid -- it was one of my favorite books I remember absolutely loving. I was running out of time to make that Pixar film for my kids that I always wanted to do while they were young, so I figured that writing a kids book would be more achievable," Helliar jokes.
"Frankie is a 12 year old boy who only has the one friend at school who he gets banished from because they play a prank that goes horribly wrong. Frankie gets most of the blame, so he gets exiled to his grandparents house. His nanna is quite lovely but his grandfather is a bit of an old meanie who has a bit of a mysterious past. He has a hook for a hand and nobody really knows why he has the hook.
"Frankie quickly realises that his grandad has been traveling back in time with disastrous results and has actually deleted the entire Fish family, albeit not Frankie. So Frankie has to then go back in time with his grandfather to try and save the family," Helliar said.
Helliar said that he'd been thinking of writing a book for quite some time when divine intervention stepped in.
"I have had it in my mind over the years and actually a very weird thing happened -- as I was thinking about it, that same week two publishing companies rang my agent to see if I was interested in writing for kids, like there was a message from the gods."
"I wrote 10,000 words in the end, and the actual writing of the book took me a year with the schedule that I have. A lot of people in the writing community tell me that writing a kids book is just as hard as writing for adults, which I now understand. To put time travel in my book complicated things even further. I had to make sure I explained it in a way that was entertaining and that kids could understand it. I'd be lying if I didn't admit that once or twice I was cursing myself for writing about time travel. But once I got the structure and mechanics right I was really glad that I kept with that theme. I didn't want to write a book that was patronising to kids or wasn't challenging," Helliar said.
Frankie Fish And The Sonic Suitcase is available now.
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