Burn My Letters

AU$4090of AU$3000
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I’m Ruth Back-Bonetti, third generation Australian Finland Swede.

Your help enables me to publish my books about ancestors who were refugees from Russian occupied Finland. They found safe haven in Australia around 1900.

A treasure trove of century old archival letters uncovered stories of settlers who battled, migrants who made good...and some who lost it all. These Finnish-Australian battlers fled their icy Scandinavian home to become Aussie pioneers. And also the ones that stayed behind—what did they go through? My family in Finland helped me translate folders of old letters and gave me parish records dating back 500 years. From all this I pieced together the jigsaw puzzle of what caused these people to escape, what they left behind and fruitful lives in Australia. 

These stories tell of escape, hope and freedom.

It’s time to release these two books to the world!

Check out the great ways that you can support this project below. By pledging your support you can:

    •pre-purchase your own autographed copy of the books

    •secure invitations to launch parties

   • get goodies like gingerbread, heritage wreath, photo collage

People everywhere who search their roots will resonate with ‘Burn My Letters.’ And its sequel. 

Thanks in anticipation of your support. I’m sure you’ll enjoy the stories!


I can almost afford an ideal venue - and to pay musicians

THANKS to enthusiastic response, we hit our initial goal. Tack! Kiitos! Danke!
In the process, I've loved meeting people of shared heritage.
Now I can realise my dreams...and give back to you lovely supporters.

What would I do with even more funds?
More Words and MUSIC! Live Music.

With an extra $1000 I can book a singer and my son's gypsy band, Greshka.
I'll commission André to arrange Scandinavian music specially for the event.
These talented musicians deserve REAL fees, not mates' rates.

My new target is $4,300 so we can:
 • enjoy lively musical parties for each book.
 • record excerpts from the books, interspersed with some launch music and sound files for download.
Because we can't neglect the people who live too far away to attend!
                                     And Words AND Music are my forte.

LAST WEEK special offer: free postage overseas!

I've negotiated printing deals that allow me to absorb postage costs to Europe, USA and elsewhere 'overseas'. Place your orders now, time is running out!

Some Of My Previous Work

See some of my research in Finnish Migration:       
• Conference Paper: Two Finnish Migrants Down Under: An Australian biographical perspective (Institute of Migration).      
• Journal article Finland Through Australian Eyes. (Institute of Migration, Turku, Finland)
As a muso, I'm author/editor of a dozen publications about music and performance, 2 with Oxford University Press and 5 through my indie publishing house, Words and Music. A QWC and ASA member, I founded Omega Writers in 1990, edited their anthology and produced performances of members’ writing.
My articles have been published in journals and papers in UK, USA, Finland and Australia. 

How The Funds Will Be Used

My story culminates a decade's research, writing, redrafts and edits. I've employed a professional editor but it needs a final check. My target of $3000 will be used for: 
Layout, prepress formatting and eBook conversion              - $1200
Printing, distribution costs                                                        - $1500
Promotion: advertisement in journals, print flyers, postcards- $ 300

The Challenges

Some ancestry.com habitués would envy my predicament: I'm blessed with too many fascinating stories!  So many photographs and letters reveal the people, their exploits and culture. I visited houses in Finland and Australia where the stories played out, and with my trusty iPad, took more photos and recorded interviews.
My Finnish relatives gave me masses of parish records, information and resources. Helped me overcome the challenge to translate archival letters. (My conversational Swedish is fluent but these are written in old Svenska and Munsala dialect.)The letters made it easier to get inside the heads and hearts of people who died long ago.
                   I try to answer these questions:
• Who/what are we?
• Where do we come from?
• What propelled the flight of two brothers and a sister to Australia?
• What events in Finland drove them out?
• What did the remaining family endure through wars, famine and struggles for independence?
                   Wondering: how would I have coped in their boots?
I've already pruned and edited through many redrafts.                        
The stories are so gripping that rather than cull further, I'll publish as two companion books:
•Burn My Letters
•Midnight Sun to Southern Cross; Those who go, those who stay
Book 1 in July, Book 2 in September. 

Yes, that means Burning Midnight Oil. But adrenalin is fuelled by enthusiasm.
I hope you enjoy these journeys around the globe as much as I did uncovering the stories.
on 15th May 2016 at 12:00pm. The payment portal is closed now.
AU$7 +Heritage photo collageDigital visual history: the books' characters, their homes, their habitats in PDF collage. Emailed to your email address.
1 Chosen | Unlimited AvailableEst. delivery is June 2016
AU$29 +Midnight Sun - Book 2Those who go and those who stay; My grandfather, W.A. Back was the Migrant Made Good. He developed much of Mullumbimby and St Lucia 'Coronation Park Estate', site of University of Queensland, and built a pastoral empire in W Queensland. In 1920, he was joined in Australia by sister Anna Sanna, husband Erik Johan Holm and 6 children. My crash course in Finnish history enlightens what part our northern family played in the battles to gain Finnish independence from Russian occupation.
1 Chosen | Unlimited AvailableEst. delivery is October 2016
AU$30 +The book: Burn My LettersYour copy fresh from the printers in July!
35 Chosen | Unlimited AvailableEst. delivery is July 2016
AU$35 +Trad Finnish gingerbread Gingerbread pack by the author using recipe shared by Finnish relatives! (For Aussies only–Scandinavians can bake their own recipes!)
1 Chosen | 14 AvailableEst. delivery is June 2016
AU$45 +Heritage book packYour copy of Burn My Letters and a KJ Back memorabilia postcard and historic PDF digital collage.
6 Chosen | Unlimited AvailableEst. delivery is July 2016
AU$70 +Scandinavian book packPersonally autographed copy of Burn My Letters and fir cone wreath ornament. On 26 November 1902 Wilhelm Anders Back sailed from Finland with a few fir tree seeds in his pocket. He was 16. He planted them on his land at Wilson’s Creek Mullumbimby. This pinecone grew from those very seeds: from Finnish genes!
4 Chosen | 8 AvailableEst. delivery is July 2016
AU$77 +Back Story – Both Books •Burn My Letters (launch July 2016) •Midnight Sun to Southern Cross (launch October 2016) Autographed Book 2 covers 'Those who go and those who stay' (in Finland): •Finnish family fight in wars to grasp independence from Russia. •W. A. Back's development of Byron Bay area, St Lucia 'Coronation Park Estate' and pastoral properties in W. Queensland. •Sister Anna Sanna Holm, husband and children settle in NSW. •Ruth's journey from a shy outback childhood to now enjoy performing words and music.
3 Chosen | Unlimited AvailableEst. delivery is October 2016
AU$85 +Deluxe book launch packTwo tickets to launch party where you enjoy Scandinavian food and music and receive your personally autographed copy of Burn My Letters and KJ Back memorabilia postcard.
1 Chosen | 19 AvailableEst. delivery is July 2016
AU$155 +Ruth's 7-book mega pack• Burn My Letters • Midnight Sun to Southern Cross (available late 2016) PLUS! — Ruth's books help you to perform Confident Words and Music: • Confident Music Performance • Speak Out–Don't Freak Out • Practice is a Dirty Word: How to clean up your act • Music Practice Journal • Sounds and Souls: How music teachers change lives
0 Chosen | Unlimited AvailableEst. delivery is September 2016
AU$195 +THE TOTAL PACKAGE!* Burn My Letters (launching July 2016) * Midnight Sun to Southern Cross (launching late 2016) * Two tickets to launch parties * Fir cone wreath * Gingerbread pack • Shout out on Facebook • Hand penned KJ Back memorabilia thank you card.
2 Chosen | 5 AvailableEst. delivery is September 2016
AU$395 +Heritage talk + Book packRuth tells the heritage stories through photographs and music. Includes: * Keynote presentation with characters' audio clips and music. * Burn My Letters book (available July 2016) * Midnight Sun to Southern Cross book (available late 2016) * Gingerbread pack * Heritage wreath * Postcard of book hero (Available in S.E Queensland and N. NSW, otherwise transport costs required. If held before September 2016, books will be mailed when available.)
0 Chosen | 7 AvailableEst. delivery is June 2016