I write because…

I’ve just uploaded a very brief video on You Tube which gives a small insight into why I write..It’s part of a project called #Iwritebecause, an initiative of Reedsy for the benefit of the fabulous charity Room to Read, for which I’m a Writer Ambassador.

It will be on the Reedsy blog too.

 

Five Favourites 20: Pamela Rushby

Today, Pamela Rushby writes about her five favourites.
The Borrowers series by Mary Norton. Four-inch high people living secretly under the floorboards and in the walls? And scurrying out to ‘borrow’ things? You can’t scare me!
The Sword in the Stone,  T.H. White   I loved this for the use of old English expressions (eg where the hunting Tally-ho! comes from) and for strange facts such as the ‘monsters’ that people believed lived in far-away countries.
I Capture the Castle, Dodie Smith   My favourite book of all time. So romantic- girls living in poverty in a ruined castle. And then the rich Americans arrive. Sigh …
The Bastable series by E.Nesbit  eg The Story of the Treasure Seekers.  The children are so real – and the stories so clever.
The Marlow series  by Antonia Forest   eg Autumn Term, Falconer’s Lure, The Attic Term,   Sisters at Boarding School, and In the Holidays. You’ve got to love an English boarding school story! Again, the characters are so real, and the situations they’re in very realistic. I also adored the way Antonia Forest started the series off just after WW2, and it finishes in what appears to be Swinging London times – but the characters have only aged a few years. So what? It’s fiction, isn’t it!
One more … The Little White Horse  by Elizabeth Goudge. I loved this as a child, and I was shattered to re-read it recently, and find that it now kind of made me want to vomit. Oh well …

Five Favourites 19: Yvonne Low

 

Today Yvonne Low is presenting her five favourites.

 

 

The Little White Horse
Author: Elizabeth Goudge
Illustrator: C Walter Hodges
Orphan Maria Merryweather arrives with her governess Miss Heliotrope at Moonacre Manor to learn she must resolve an age-old feud. I loved the beautiful illustrations and
period fantasy which includes a castle, a secret home cut into a rock-face and unusual characters such as a mysterious white horse, an enormous lion ‘dog’, the menacing Monsieur Cocq de Noir, an unconventional fiddle-playing parson and a cook whose best friend Zachariah the Cat communicates by drawing with his paw.
A wonderful mix of courageous humans and animals helping each other.

Doctor Dolittle (series)

Author/Illustrator: Hugh Lofting
Doctor Dolittle’s many adventures with his trusty family of two and four-legged animals
including Dab-Dab the Duck, Jip the Dog, Polynesia the Parrot and Tommy Stubbins.
I especially enjoyed the tales from the Rat and Mouse Club and the Home for Crossbred
Dogs and longed to be able to communicate with animals just like the Doctor.


Chronicles of Narnia
Author: CS Lewis
Illustrator: Pauline Baynes
The magical world conjured up by Lewis, with all his memorable characters, a favourite
being Mr Tumnus the Faun. The evocative and detailed black and white illustrations
completed the enchantment of the series for me.

Le Petit Prince
Author/Illustrator: Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Part of my passion for all things French, starting with school-girl French lessons and the
gentle anarchy of Le Petit Nicolas (Goscinny/Sempé), leading onto the subtle reflections
on life from Le Petit Prince. A foreign contemplative world created in both story and
pictures.


The World’s Best Fairytales (A Reader’s Digest Anthology)
Grimm/Andersen/Perrault and others
Illustrator: Fritz Kredel
I loved this Anthology, which has a wonderful collection of 69 fairytales, both famous and
little known. Amongst my favourites, The Princess on the Glass Hill, The Nightingale,
The Frog Prince and with my passion for ballet, Twelve Dancing Princesses.
The illustrations of medieval ladies with tall conical headdresses and peasant boys
becoming princes no doubt encouraged my love of history and all things medieval.

Five Favourites 18: Belinda Murrell

Today Belinda Murrell has selected her five favourites.

As a child I was a voracious reader, borrowing piles of books from both the school library and our local council library. I was the sort of kid who would stay up half the night reading under my doona with a torch, or bumping into a light pole on my way home from school with my head in a book! So it is very hard to choose just five childhood favourites, which is why a few of these are favourite series! Here goes:

I absolutely loved The Famous Five series by Enid Blyton. I desperately wanted to be George Kirrin, who dressed up as a boy, and together with her beloved dog Timmy and her three cousins, Julian, Dick and Anne, had the most amazing adventures. Like all good children’s books, the parents were always absent, leaving the kids to get on with apprehending criminals, solving mysteries and eating fabulous feasts. The books were laugh out loud funny and full of politically incorrect quirky characters. George even had her own island!

 

As a child, the book that most fired my imagination was The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis. I loved its enticing mixture of adventure, action and fantasy. My sister and I would dress up in silver chain mail, with swords and bows and arrows, and pretend to be in Narnia. I was enraptured by the idea that it might be possible to pass through a secret door into a magical world, full of talking animals and adventure.

 

Seven Little Australians by Ethel Turner is a lively, colourful story about the mischievous Woolcott children growing up in 1880s Sydney. I loved its historical setting as an insight into nineteenth century Australian life.  The children had a stern father, an army captain who tried in vain to maintain order. Their stepmother was very young and lovely, with her own baby ‘The General’, so struggled to keep her step-children in line. I loved the naughty pranks and mischievous antics of the Woolcott children, especially tomboy Judy, who together with her brother Pip, was always leading the others into trouble.

As a child I had my own pony, so I was horse obsessed! Like many girls I loved pony books, especially the Jill series by Ruby Ferguson. The Jill series of nine books, take the 12 year old Jill Crewe from a complete novice who has just moved to a small English village, to owning her first pony, then learning to ride and becoming a proficient rider, competing at gymkhanas. I loved the character Jill because she was lively, active, independent and funny, working hard and earning her own money to achieve her dreams.

The Nancy Drew series by Carolyn Keene, was about a feisty amateur teenage detective with red-hair called Nancy Drew. Nancy was an inspiring role model as she was strong-minded, independent, intelligent, confident, outspoken, poised and beautiful. Sixteen year old Nancy was an amazing talented heroine – a fabulous horse-rider, expert driver, swimmer, sailor, gourmet cook, rower and sportswoman, with a fabulous sense of style. Together with her best friends Bess and tomboy George, she solved a series of baffling mysteries, helped those in need and outwitted dangerous criminals.

It was these beloved books which inspired me to start writing my own stories when I was a child. When I look back I realise that my favourite books all had a common theme. They all had girl heroes, often tomboys, who were bold and brave, feisty and adventurous, unconventional and independent, and very inspiring to me as a young girl. Perhaps that is why I write books now which focus on girls who are bold, brave, strong-minded, feisty, hard-working, clever and adventurous.