Of grumpy penguins, a lost reindeer and the Aurora Borealis

Like many people, I’ve been fascinated by the Northern Lights for years. Who wouldn’t be enchanted by coloured veils of light dancing across the night sky? Early one January, my husband and I flew to Tromso in Norway, which is in the Arctic Circle, in the hope that we might be lucky and see them. We took a risk – we could have sat in fog or a blizzard for the few days we were there, but it was worth the chance – and we were lucky. We saw them shimmering above the new cathedral, from our hotel window. We saw them from a boat out on the water. We saw them threading through a sky strewn with mackerel clouds. We heard the story parents tell their children: don’t whistle or wave a white handkerchief at the Lights, or they will come down and snatch you away! The whole experience was magical, and I wanted to capture it in a story. Some time later, I wrote Suvi and the Sky Folk, but it languished for ages until I was lucky enough to ‘meet’ (on the internet) an amazingly talented Australian artist, Muza Ulasowski. First, we created an ebook for utales.com, about Tippy the penguin, who was cursed with big flat feet. Muza’s illustrations brought the story to life so beautifully. We called it ‘I Can’t Hear You! I Can’t See You!’ but we are thinking of a new, catchier title. We loved working together, and so I pitched Suvi and the Sky Folk to Muza and her illustrations for it took my breath away! It’s just been published by Tate and I’m eagerly awaiting a consignment of the books. We are now hoping Tate might take Tippy too…all fingers and toes crossed! We’ll have covered both Poles then!

The Hob and Miss Minkin

Have you ever wondered what your dear old cat gets up to when you are tucked up in bed? Snoozing by the fire, or off on an adventure? Alone, or with a small magical companion, invisible to everyone but the cat? I grew up in East Sussex, where tales of magical creatures (known as Hobs) abounded in the old days, and I wanted to write about them and about my memories of a very happy childhood spent in what was then a village high on the Downs; memories of charcoal burners, torchlit carnivals, tales of smugglers, of magical doings on midsummer eve. That’s how The Hob and Miss Minkin came to be written. It’s now an ebook, available on Kindle and other sites.