MOUNT Eliza author Gaby Chase (above) has written a coming-of-age story that has an unusual focus on cooking and ambition, which helps it resonate with both the target audience of young readers, as well as their parents.
Chase says the story, Joe Turns Pro, is about the importance of finding your true passion.
“I love the story of Billy Elliott and I wanted to write an equally inspiring story about an average kid, one with no obvious talent, and how they go about finding something they’re good at and find that they love – discovering their passion,” she said.
“In my experience, it involves a lot of trial and error, mainly error, until maybe something sticks.”
Chase says the narrative also quietly explores unhealthy relationships with food and generational obesity.
“Gradually, Joe takes his family on his food journey with him and through it they find a healthier relationship with each other,” she said.
First and foremost, Joe Turns Pro, is a feel-good story that kids can enjoy and relate to, with an underlying message that while you may not initially know what you want, if you give it a go and muddle around long enough eventually you find the things you love.
Chase says some kids are born with clear talents, which are then nurtured by those supportive people around them.
But she wanted to write about the young people who take a little longer to work out their strengths and demonstrate their talents?
“What about normal kids who don’t have all the right supports,” she said.
Joe Turns Pro is for those kids who are trying to find their moment to shine.
Joe Turns Pro started out as a screenplay that won the prestigious Final Break Family Category in 2020. This was the biggest year of the competition with 13,000 entries, which made the win even more special.
Chase writes screenplays and novels for adults and older children.
“Writing novels provides a freedom to explore the character’s inner workings. I’ve always loved writing, but when I decided to have a red hot go at it, like Joe I quickly found out it takes practice,” Chase said.
“Lots of practice. But after a couple of books, I definitely feel I am finding my feet.”
Joe Turns Pro follows Joe who is looking for ways to make fast money so he can attend a ten-pin bowling tournament.
The high school cooking competition has a cash prize of $5000, and although never having cooked before, he gives it a go.
With the help of a teacher, Joe finds that he’s actually quite good at cooking and, more importantly, he loves everything about it.
Gradually, Joe takes his family on his food journey with him and through it they find a healthier relationship with each other. First and foremost, Joe Turns Pro, has the underlying message of ‘give it a go’ and if you muddle around long enough eventually you find the things you love.