Wednesday 30 December 2020

Endings and beginnings

 I am writing this on the 30th December. I know there will be a lot of blog posts out there reflecting on the past year and looking to the future. At this point, I need to be upfront and confess, I have a real issue with New Year's Eve and all the expectations. That moment when everyone believes that at one minute past midnight all the problems and concerns of the previous year are suddenly going to disappear. We are then disappointed when they don't, so we start the year feeling let down. To compound my mistrust of this time of the year, today is the anniversary of my father's death. It might be twenty-four years, but I miss him. I would still like to talk to him, to ask his advice, to show him how my children have grown up and to introduce him to his great-grandchildren. Also to thank him. He stepped up when it was needed and I am not sure I ever really thanked him properly. 

At the beginning of  2020 I had fair view plans, as did we all, but the world had different ideas for us. I have not achieved many of those plans because the world thought it would throw a pandemic into the mix. However, I have learnt a few more unexpected skills  this year, who knew I could Zoom, do Microsoft Teams, teach online, create videos and develop websites plus write another book. Apparently, you can teach an old dog new tricks...

Family zooms become a thing

I am not celebrating the departure of 2020, I am happy for it to disappear in a whimper. Neither will I be welcoming the arrival of 2021. I do not trust massive grand plans anymore. I will live in the moment and see where it takes me. I will enjoy my family and friends. Hopefully, with the new vaccines, this might mean we get to see each other at some point. Who knew what a difference a hug could make and how much we would miss them?

US Cover

I am also hoping that in 2021US version of Flight will still be published in March, but we all know publication dates can be pushed at any time. 

2021 will be what it will be. Enjoy it, be kind. Live in the moment and hopefully there will be plenty of joyous times. Just remember though, we got through 2020, we can do this. And thank you for being there for the ride that was 2020. 

Monday 21 December 2020

Books are magic


A few of my books
I love books. You might say that is a bit obvious as I write them. However, I loved books long before I wrote them. Books have played a huge part of my life. I love the feel of them and the smell of a new book whether a paperback or a glorious and luxurious coffee-table book. Books give you places to escape to. They can prove solace, they can inspire, or heal. They can amuse and challenge you. Books have got me through some very difficult times. Giving me somewhere I to get lost in. They have taken me to places I could only dream of going. Books give us a chance to work out who we are, and just as importantly, who ware not. A chance to walk in someone else's shoes. Books are full of magic. Not the obvious kind but the invisible kind that weaves itself into your soul, making a difference. 

Loving books means I love wandering around bookshops. Full of all that temptation. Not just best sellers that flash at you on a screen, but all sorts of books that you can stumble across.  A chance to flick through them. Feel those covers, read the first (maybe last) pages. To have an unexpected book grab your attention. And, yes I know, often to have those stationery needs met while you are there. Who knows a writer who isn't a stationery nerd and doesn't always need a new pen or notepad? 

Walking around a bookshop can be soothing and inspiring. It takes you away from the chaos outside

P&G Wells

This photograph was taken at my book launch. A magical night at P&G Wells. Where all my dreams came true. This is an incredible shop. Please visit if you get a chance. 

Libraries like bookshops are full of hope and places to escape to, whether a school library or a public library. That certain hush that wraps itself around you like a comforting blanket as you walk into there. The giggles of Rhyme Time echoing around, small children, eyes all aglow as they listen, enthralled to stories being told by librarians. Libraries are all full of dreams and opportunities that some may feel are beyond them until they walk through the library doors. When they do, they sometimes realise anything is possible. if you believe and dream big. Having the courage that you can find in the books you read. It may be a dream to feel safe in those four walls or to be someone who makes a difference to the people or world around you, or just to have a book of their own. No dream is too small or too big. Libraries are built on dreams and hope.

Booksellers and librarians themselves are a special breed. They are kind, knowledgeable and so enthusiastic. If in doubt, ask a bookseller or librarian. They will undoubtedly have suggestions that will solve your problem. They guide children towards books that'll inspire them. They try to listen to everyone's woes before plucking a book from a shelf that might offer a solution. In the past year, they have also had to learn to be adaptable at the drop of a hat as circumstances constantly change. Having to become unexpected experts in technology. Providing services they never anticipated, but all done with a smile and a love of books. 

They take the time to talk to someone who may not speak to anyone else for the rest of the week. There is a moment for a child who finds the library or bookshop is a place of safety. No judgement is ever made. Just a listening ear. Books are full of empathy and so are the people involved with them. They create their own bit of magic and for that, I would like to say thank you. 

Magical memories

There is nothing more magical than sharing a book with a child. It is an opportunity to build such wonderful memories. Books are definitely magic. 

PS I have not forgotten the writers and illustrators or the publishers - you are all magical too!

Happy Christmas everyone. I know it is difficult but let's look towards the future. I am writing this on the Winter Solstice. The shortest day. Light is coming. We can do this. Stay Safe everyone. In the Bleak Midwinter was my mother's favourite - so this is for her.