After writing six novels in six years and already with an idea for a seventh, it never crossed my mind to write a children’s story. But after a chance remark by my daughter, I decided to take a ‘time out’ and have a go.
We’ve all heard young children being urged by tedious adults to use their imagination – whether by writing a story for school homework or finding something inspiring to do other than internet games. Yet it struck me that a child might not know what imagination was – what it looked like, where to find it and, if found, what to do with it.
When my grandson, who always gets up early, came to stay with us in Norfolk one autumn half-term with several holiday homework tasks to complete, I realised I had the makings of a possible story. Particularly if I drew on some of the historical paintings in our dining room and the fact that my grandson much enjoys pain au chocolat – a treat he rarely has at home.
One evening after reading him a bedtime story, I read him a few lines which I had scribbled down earlier in the day. He smiled, made no comment, and turned out the bedside light. Despite barely a flicker of interest, I was not put off.
The story I wrote was short but, after further thought, I decided to make it longer – a story about a boy desperately in search of that elusive thing called imagination to help him with his homework. A year later the complete story was finished, had a title – The King Who Ate My Breakfast – and had been edited by my copy editor, Sue Tyley. I was delighted when Blue Falcon Publishing decided to publish it.
I still intend to write that seventh novel but, as I’ve greatly enjoyed writing The King Who Ate My Breakfast – which has helped me to see this complicated and chaotic world from a child’s perspective – I will before too long write another children’s story. I already know what it will be about.