Being One of a Kind: A Guest Piece by Terenia Edwards
We are very happy to have been asked to participate in the blog tour celebrating the launch of The Lonely Tiger by Terenia Edwards. This utterly charming picture book is both a delight and a comfort to its readers. In this post, Terenia has shared her thoughts on the inspiration behind the story and her work as both an actress and an author.
Terenia says she is Tiger and we are all Tigers. I agree. Sometimes it can feel good to be unique, the only one of your kind, but then it can also feel lonely, seeing no one else who looks like you.
Tiger's friends throw lots of parties to cheer him up, but the same thing happens time and time again: when all the fun is over, he once again finds himself alone, leaving him feeling sad and lonely.
It is Tiger's friend Bird who realises that what Tiger needs is to see what all his friends see. After visiting the Guru, they find the magic they need to show Tiger that even when he is by himself, he is never alone.
With gorgeous illustrations by Severus Lian, this is a book to celebrate and share with anyone you know who might be feeling lonely. You cannot hep but smile wide, just like Tiger, after you read it.
I was recently asked about the books I read as a child that influence my work now. I found it very difficult to land on any one author or book because, looking back, I read everything - I was read to every night until I could read myself and bedtime always involved a story - sometimes a parent or grandparent would even make them up.
I particularly liked myths, folktales and fables. I have Polish and Irish heritage and both come with their own traditions of storytelling. But I think what really influences my work today is my own life and experiences. An important part of my creative process, for writing and preparing for acting roles, is remaining connected to my own childhood and to a sense of play.
I don’t really separate my acting career from my writing because I work in quite a similar way for all of my projects. Whatever it is I’m working on, it’s all ultimately about telling the story, so it feels like a very natural progression. In either medium though, making work for young audiences is the most fun in the world. I love their pure, unfiltered and often chaotic responses. I’m thrilled to be reprising my role of Zizi in Adrian Hornsby’s I Piano on tour in 2024; I have fond memories of heckles and stage invasions and I can’t wait for more.
I wrote The Lonely Tiger in 2021, with lockdown measures still in place, when it was still pretty unclear whether theatres would ever be able to recover from the pandemic. Loneliness was being talked about a lot at that time too, following a very difficult winter in isolation. It felt, and still feels, like such an important topic to keep talking through. Tiger is inspired by my friend who was struggling at the time; turning my feelings into a story was the only way I could express what I really wanted to say to him. I hope the book will help children (and parents) to understand that everyone feels lonely from time to time, and that it's okay to talk about it.
After reading the book, someone asked me if I had based Tiger’s character on myself and I realised that his journey in the book is a universal experience. In a way, I am Tiger. We’re all Tigers.
The Lonely Tiger by Terenia Edwards and illustrated by Severus Lian publishes on 20th July 2023. Our thanks to Terenia for the contribution to our blog and to Anthony Barlow at Tiny Tree for making this possible.
If you would like to follow Terenia on her blog tour, all the details are here: