Where I work...

My cottage is old. It’s damp. But that’s fine. Because old cottages are meant to be.
Its foundations are deep and its walls unashamedly bumpy.

Its nature is such that you have to pass through one room to get to another. And my desk is found in the room in the middle; a thoroughfare for cats, dogs and people.

This is good. It means I stay in touch with the comings and goings of every day. That helps me keep a sense of perspective and balance.

My desk is full of things I’ve collected. Things that I like to see. It’s an eclectic mix; a bit like the cottage really. There’s a round, sliver box with mice on, some labradorites that flash blue and green, family pictures, pens, fir cones, a white owl, and a postcard print of Psyche opening the Golden Box. Bad idea. But I suppose, in the end, curiosity gets the better of us all.

This place where I sit, and think, and write, is a window on the changing seasons. Nestled into the hill with hills on all sides, you can’t help but notice the passing of time in the grassy banks and in the trees. In the spring, the hazel catkins appear before the last winter frosts have melted. In the summer, wild flowers engulf the lane, eventually giving way to the earthy tones of autumn when squirrels raid those hazel trees for nuts. The prologue to winter usually plays out with me charging the car up one of the hills the moment the first snowflake drifts past my window. Park in the village at the top of the hill, or stay here at your peril. Snow, though pretty, means you might be in for a while!

Finally, my study wouldn’t be the same without Dylan being there. Ever hopeful that I’ll pause my work for a biscuit.

My desk. Full of the things I love and the place where I love to write stories. But better a place to be by far when the house is full of comings and goings, and snow is perhaps, not falling…

Dare to be Different!

Pandora’s granny in my Hubble Bubble series is unequivocally different.

From her “alternative” car (a jet-powered broomstick), to her burping bat pets and cauldron handbag, Granny is the new black; quite the chicest granny on the block!

But having a granny who’s so “different” does have its embarrassing moments. And so – just the once – Pandora suggests that Granny tries on-trend “normalish” instead. 

Granny goes along with Pip’s suggestions; it might be quite fun after all! But Granny's quickly BORED by the norm and Pandora quickly sees her mistake. Granny doesn’t look, or act, like her granny anymore.

Naturally, a happy resolution is reached when everything returns to different. That’s how Granny’s meant to be after all.

When I was a little girl, growing up in Wales, I was scared – no terrified – by a very old lady who lived next door to my granny in a block of flats just down our road. 

Mrs Jones had a great big wart on her chin, a rocking chair, and hair like candle smoke. What other evidence did I need? She was totally – thoroughly – absolutely (excuse me while I whisper this next bit!) a witch.

Mrs Jones and my granny were the duo who inspired my first Hubble Bubble book. It was written at a fairly rapid pace one summer’s afternoon. Almost like I needed to get the worry I felt as a child out of my system, and invent a wonderfully friendly witch who is lovely, and warm, and kind – if at times, totally batty and chaotic!

I tell the children that I meet on events all about my granny and Mrs Jones. I tell them how silly I was to think Mrs Jones was a scary witch. My “big self” knows now, I say, that she was probably just a lovely old lady. I say that I got her completely wrong and was worried for absolutely nothing!

People react in a similar way to Granny until they get to know her. Until they see how daringly fun she is. In fact, so keen is she “to help” that she often just goes that little bit too far. But everyone loves a crazy adventure, right? At the end of the day, Pandora loves her Granny “just like that.” 

So dare to be different. Dare to be fun. And most of all, dare to be yourself!

The latest young fiction book in the "Hubble Bubble" series is published today!

Fall Festival Story Walk

It's always great to discover that a book has been the inspiration for a community activity that has involved all ages, from young to old The Fall Festival Story walk was just such an event. They used spreads from "Just Right for Two" to create a walk in the woods. The spreads were part of a discovery trail. It was a great success, and I wish I could have been there, it looked absolutely beautiful...

It was great to receive an update on the Peters Rock Association's Fall Festival Story walk.

The day proved to be quite cool, sunny and windy, but luckily we avoided the rain. We probably had a couple of hundred people show up for the festival which is our "give back" to the community. The festival included the story walk which was appropriate for those very young or old at heart and all those in between as it is a reasonably easy trail. Also we had a local nature center bring a trailer with reptiles and seashore artifacts; a pumpkin patch and decorating; complimentary refreshments; and a guided hike to the summit of our park which affords the hiker with a panoramic view of the Quinnipiac River valley as it winds through four towns.

Everyone loved the addition of the story walk and it was fun to watch the kids run from stanchion to stanchion to read the next page.

Thanks for writing such a fun book. I wish that the day allowed us to have the kids draw pictures, but the wind was so strong that most of our craft activities didn't work out. 

Thanks, Ann White Lombardi - petersrockassociation.org