Catch up with Hazel Lekkas - author of The Little Hardware Shop

February 14th, 2023

Tell us about yourself – where did you grow up?

I grew up in the western suburbs of Melbourne where I attended catholic primary and secondary schools as well as Greek School on Saturday mornings.  The suburb I lived in (Sunshine West) was a melting pot of cultures including, Maltese, Italian, Vietnamese, Macedonian, Greek, Polish, Croatian, Turkish and Serbian (working class) families, hence my appreciation of diverse linguistic backgrounds. 


Time away from school was spent in my parents’ family-owned business of which we lived above the premises and school holidays were spent with my grandmother who told the best stories before bed. 

Describe your writing style in one sentence?


My writing style features repetition, a range of vocabulary, and importantly, words that attempt to warm the heart and spark conversation between the reader and the child(ren).  

Tell us about your book?

The book was written during COVID-19 lockdowns (to escape the boredom) and to celebrate my parents’ 40 years in business (1980-2020) of an independent hardware store. 

I returned to work at the shop during the lockdowns with the opportunity to relive my childhood mixing with customers of which I had not seen in years.  The book is told from the perspective of an unnamed ‘customer’, many of whom have shared their life’s milestones with my parents, and return now with grandchildren.  The story is about the special connection my parents forged with families in their local community which I think is partly why they are still working into their early 70s.    


The 18 languages that feature in the book represent the main languages spoken by residents who frequent the shop.    

Who has influenced you the most in your writing?


Good question!  The writings of Shel Silverstein come to mind who was able to capture a moment, memory, special bond, or feeling with simplicity. 

If you could take one book away with you to a desert island which book would it be?


The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein because it was the first children’s book that truly caught my attention as a child and taught me about life – to give is to receive

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

As a first-time author, I learned that it’s best to take your time to write (drafting is key) and to engage the assistance of an Editor.  Read over your text out loud and if stirs an emotion(s) in you, you are on the right track!  Be patient when seeking a publisher and an illustrator.  It takes time to find the right fit for your book.  And always write about what you have experienced first-hand even if told from the perspective of another person.  
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