Matthew said the year 2020 has been unlike any other throughout the entire world, and locally as a singer he had felt the pain of losing his income because of COVID-19 restrictions.
During the time, the father-of-three said he realised the feeling of sadness was a human emotion, and at the end of day it was okay to be down.
“At home we talk about emotions a lot,” Matthew said.
“This year there has been a lot of ups and downs with home life, COVID-19 and not being able to continue my job.”
To help deal with the difficulties of life, Matthew said he wrote The Grey Cloud to release his emotions, and now he hopes children around Australia will take comfort as they read the book.
“I hope children realise it’s okay to have certain feelings – The Grey Cloud sort of explains sadness is okay,” Matthew said.
“When children read it, I hope they realise that they are not alone, and sadness is a feeling many people have.”
Support to publish The Grey Cloud
Matthew said publishing The Grey Cloud was made possible with the help of funding through Central Queensland Regional Arts Service Network (CQ RASN), and with the support of Bundaberg Regional Council and CQU Bundaberg.
He said, after losing his income, that without the funding support his second children’s book The Grey Cloud wouldn’t have been a possibility.
“I had great support along the way,” Matthew said.
“Local artist Jaimee McLeod really brought the emotions out in her water colour illustrations, they made the story.
“And I had a lot of fun working on the format with the help from Matt Norris from Liquid Graphix.”
The 36-year-old said his first book, My Parents Bought a Caravan, was a light-hearted and fun story about the adventure he and his wife Natalie, and their kids, Harrison, Hendrix and Scarlett, as they packed up their Bundaberg life and took to the road and travelled Australia.
And although The Grey Cloud is a little more serious, he enjoyed using his creativity to write it.