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A good book, a pot of tea and some dark chocolate. Heaven! Thank you for joining my world of magical mysteries and exciting adventures. Bring your own refreshments and I’ll provide the rest.

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Writer's Notebook

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The Bookshelf

Writing Competition! - blog post image

Writing Competition!

Open to all under 19 year olds. 

A Day At The Desk - blog post image

A Day At The Desk

I am particularly thrilled to welcome my friend the poet and author Claire Dyer to today's 'Day At The Desk' feature.  After a busy month with the triumphant launch of her latest novel The Last Day, Claire has generously agreed to answer questions from a local school about how she juggles writing poetry and prose, teaching and numerous other creative commitments.  Welcome Claire.  

A Day at the Desk - blog post image

A Day at the Desk

I am lucky enough to have a lovely long list of interview questions local school children asked me to put to children's book illustrators. Today I have posed a few to Caitlin Truman-Baker, illustrator of Have You Seen the Sleep Fairy? reviewed on The Bookshelf for younger readers.  

Day At The Desk - blog post image

Day At The Desk

Today's 'A Day At The Desk' welcomes the author illustrator duo Sam Hay and Sarah Massini, my stars of the week and creators of the  Star in the Jar (reviewed here), a book that bought tears to my eyes. 

Calling All School Children! - blog post image

Calling All School Children!

Kids - I need your help! I want loads of brilliant questions from 4 - 14 year olds that I can put to professionals across the publishing industry. I'll compile their answers into a series of features on the site that will hopefully help us to really understand how a book goes from the first word on a scrap of paper to a shelf in your local library. 

How did you choose the cover? - blog post image

How did you choose the cover?

The first question children ask when they hear I’ve had a novel published is, “did you do the illustrations?” The next is often, “how did you choose the cover?” and “how many have you sold?” I fear I disappoint on all scores as all I did was write the story (and even that with a co-author); I can’t draw for toffee, our publisher chose the cover and until the royalty statement I have no idea how many we have sold. 

A Word With Lisa Thompson - blog post image

A Word With Lisa Thompson

I am delighted to welcome the bestselling author of The Goldfish Boy whose second fantastic novel The Light Jar launches to huge critical acclaim this week. Lisa has kindly agreed to join me on the blog today and to answer some of your questions and I am delighted to feature reviews on both of her novels on The Bookshelf.  

A Word With Kate Frost - blog post image

A Word With Kate Frost

Kate and I have not met but I feel like I know her - we are members of the same fantastic Facebook group (Book Connectors), she lives in Bristol which is near where I come from and, like me, she writes adult and children's fiction.  I recently reviewed Kate's novel Time Shifters Into The Past and a few people have got in touch to say they are going to read it.  If you haven't read the review you can read it here and if you scroll to the end of the interview you'll find details of Kate's Time Shifters Club with a fun freebie for those who sign up. 

A Word With Cate Douglas - blog post image

A Word With Cate Douglas

A big round of applause and an enthusiastic tail wag for author Cate Douglas, creator of Poppy's Tail, who has kindly agreed to come on the site today. Cate and I have never met, but I have a 

A Word With Author Helen Dennis - blog post image

A Word With Author Helen Dennis

I am thrilled to welcome the lovely Helen Dennis to the site today to talk about her books and answer some of the questions you have sent in. I met Helen at a library event in Windsor and liked her instantly. Before you read further you should know, even though she has written ten fantastic books Helen is very modest. When I congratulated her on her amazing work she said, “at least it means I don’t have to get up as early as I would if I did a milk round.” I wonder what time she got up to answer our questions? I started by asking her to tell us a little about herself ...

A Word With Author J.L. Smith - blog post image

A Word With Author J.L. Smith

Today we welcome children's author Jenny Smith. Jenny's super successful novels include Diary of a Parent Trainer, (already reviewed on The Bookshelf), My Big Fat Teen Crisis and the fab Abominator series.Jenny has kindly agreed to answer questions submitted from my Instagram and Twitter followers.  

A great new initiative called #BookBuddy links donors with schools. Visit Book Buddy and help more children discover the world of books.

The Phantom Lollipop Man! - blog post image

The Phantom Lollipop Man!

Review to follow (busy week!) but, as you can see, I adored this hence its position as the March Book of the Month!  


The Keeper of Lost Things - blog post image

The Keeper of Lost Things

I am loving this - not sure if it is age appropriate but I will take a view and possibly review it here for older readers in due course.   

Bats, door mice and hedgehogs! - blog post image

Bats, door mice and hedgehogs!

Did you know bats, door mice and hedgehogs are the only British animals that hibernate - they’ll be waking up about now!  

"The moon illuminated the yew tree's ghoulish profiles turning them into grim reapers that watched over us as we rowed."

~The Witches' Punchbowl