I was absolutely delighted to be asked to write a book especially for World Book Day 2008. ‘A Very Special Friend’ is number 16 in the Magic Kitten series. These books are about Flame the Magic Kitten. ‘A Very Special Friend’ was so exciting to write because I knew that, in this book, Flame would be meeting someone very unusual indeed. It was another magical animal – Storm, a Magic Puppy! I imagined all my lovely readers getting a big surprise and some of you have already written to me to say how much you enjoyed meeting Storm.
I met a lot of children during World Book Week, in bookshops and libraries in Northampton, London and Norwich and signed lots of copies of ‘A Very Special Friend’. I always love meeting readers and chatting about their interests and their pets. Lots of children ask me for tips on writing stories too and my advice is to jot your ideas down in a notebook and then you won’t forget them. And don’t expect to get your stories right first time – published writers, like me, do lots of re-writing to polish up our books and get them perfect.
One reason why I was so proud to be part of World Book Day this year was because I’m very keen on encouraging children to read. I fell in love with books, when I was about 5 or 6 years old. One of my earliest memories is of being curled up in a chair with a book about farm animals. Things haven’t changed that much! I love to read almost more than anything else. I read on the bus, on the train, in the garden, while eating, in bed – anywhere I can. But I haven’t quite managed the art of reading while walking down the road – as I saw a young man doing when in London recently. It made me smile though. I felt like congratulating him and asking him what he was reading. It must have been an amazingly good book!
I started using my local library when I was quite young. The library was on the way to Grandma’s house, so I popped in to choose some books when we visited her on Saturdays. I thought it was so brilliant that you could borrow books for free and then return them and choose some more. I still think it’s fantastic. Everyone can read, even if they can’t afford books. Another vivid memory I have is of being read to in class on Friday afternoons. It was like entering a magical other-world and I looked forward to Fridays when I could, once again, meet the fairies, elves and animals in the books.
I always thought I’d write books one day – all writers are readers first. But I didn’t expect to be one of the top most borrowed authors in libraries, as I am today. Something else of which I’m very proud.
(The first 4 sparkly and exciting Magic Puppy books will be in the shops in April.)