Inspiration comes from many sources, as any writer will tell you. I’ve only to look through “Tales from the Woodpecker Tree” and I will find a story inspired by a simple box, (Koji’s Tale); a true story, (A Duck for Dinner); a holiday, (Wilberforce learns a Lesson); and a childhood memory, (Elizabeth’s Eyes)

In the next few months I am proud to say I will be publishing two new stories. Both will be published as picture books, aimed at 3-6 year olds.

The first, “Jojo’s Star” is about our much-loved family pet, who we lost just before Christmas. Already famous for his exploits recorded in “A Duck for Dinner”, Jojo was a special cat. and his death hit us hard. Yet, as we left the vet’s that November afternoon, out of nowhere it seemed, a small tortoiseshell butterfly alighted on the wall in front of us, making the most of the Winter sunlight. The same thought struck us both as we sat there, numb and a little lost:

“He’s still with us.”

That moment stirred an inkling, a germ of an idea, that if we could be cheered by believing that, why not something similar aimed at children, who have lost a family pet?

It was a couple of weeks later that, sitting in a hotel room one afternoon, I wrote the first draft of “Jojo’s Star.” Yes, our loved pets are up there, keeping a close eye on us all…

The inspiration for “Monty’s Blackbird” was completely different. A brief Facebook post by my aunt showed a cheeky blackbird hopping into her kitchen, under the watchful eye of her dog Monty. Well, why did the blackbird do this? What was Monty thinking about this interloper? It didn’t take long for a story about friendship and sharing to take root.

So, you never know where the next story will come from. It’s just a case of watching, listening and harvesting memories. What next? We will see!