Youth Libraries Group Conference October 17th and 18th

Had a great time in Durham at the Youthdurham librarians cake Librarians Group conference. Everyone was excited about books, all the time, and I knew some of the answers in the quiz! Lovely to meet lots of interesting people, listen to experienced speakers and present my session on writing about sensitive issues. There were dozens of yummy cup cakes provided by publishers and new books to find out about as well.

So thank you YLB for inviting me!

Parkgate, Watford

14th October

Hello Parkgate!

I really enjoyed working with you all today. My favourite character living on Wiston Hill has to be the ninety three year old who runs the shop with a section for World War 1 antiques. I just hope the vet was nice to him!

When I visited your classrooms, I was impressed with the ideas you were having. Well done! I hope, when you write your stories, you carry on having lots of brilliant ideas and remember to edit those sentences. ATTACK THE VERBS – they sit there waiting for you to change them!

Enjoy whatever you are doing today and here’snorfolk 2012 104 a random picture of my birthday cake with a pirate birthday candle.



I’m looking forward to working with you all on the 14th October. We’re going to create a story about things that happen in a place called Wiston Hill. At the bottom of the hill is a building and we’ll think of something interesting for it to be when we have decided who lives on the hill. We’ll also create 6 characters who live there. They’ll have a pet each and a vehicle and random things which we will weave into a story.

It would be great if you could bring to school (on the 14th) a random object like a cuddly toy (for a pet) or an interesting tin or a key ring or a shoe. Don’t bring anything  precious, just in case something happens to it. You’ll need these because you are going to make up a story about Wiston Hill afterwards and the more props there are in your classroom, the more ideas you are likely to have.

I’ll also be spending time with each year group telling you about what I do as a writer. On this visit I’ll tell you about my latest book titled Us Minus Mum. You can hear me reading an extract from this book if you click here.  You’ll be able to ask me questions, but I want to ask you a question as well. This website is brand new. I have tried to make it so children will enjoy looking at it. When I visit your school, can you be really honest with me and tell me how I can improve it. Thank you!

I’ll have copies of Us Minus Mum to sell (and sign) after school for £5.

Enjoy the rest of your day and see you soon. The photograph at the top of this blog is a plant pretending to be a scary animal!


October 2014

So autumn is here once again. This is my garden. When I am working at home all day I usually spend at least half an hour doing something to it. P1010733Last week I was involved in a promo film for the charity Child Bereavement UK. I spoke about schools needing a framework to help them know what to do if someone who is part of their school community dies.

In a few weeks I am speaking at a librarian’s conference in Durham about writing stories which explore sensitive issues. I was invited because I wrote a book called Helping Children Think About Bereavement and also my latest book, Us Minus Mum.

Now I’m working on the final stage of my TMD covernext book, The Milkshake Detectives. It’s whodunit set in a village. The Milkshake Detectives began when I was having lunch with a friend and ducks visited us and pecked at our food. ‘They’ll turn up in a book,’ my friend said, and they have, living on the village pond where strange things keep happening.

I have some interesting schools to go to in the next few weeks. I’m looking forward to that as I love spending time with creative children.

Here’s another thing I love – going to book shops. My favourite second hand bookshop (Barter Books) is in Alnwick, Northumberland. Last time I was there I found a book written by Enid Blyton that I read when I was a child. I bought it and it now lives on my shelf with some of my favourite books.