A winter's tale. . .



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Any comments or questions?

What are other writers’ lives like? I seem to spend most of mine NOT writing stories.

   On Tuesday, for example, I began by updating Nick Maland, the artist I hope is going to illustrate Troll Wood, and my agent (Caroline Walsh at David Higham), on what’s been happening on my side. Not that much, frankly, but a good book is a team effort and everyone needs to talk to each other now and then, even when there’s not much to say. With luck, somewhere along the way an author finds a good team to work with: a great editor with flair and courage; I think I’ll find that. Then you need enthusiastic and experienced design and sales departments; I’m hopeful there too. Last but not least, a picture book needs a great illustrator. I’ve been incredibly lucky with mine. I run out of superlatives where Nick Maland. and Chris Riddell (who illustrated Something Else), are concerned. I'm hoping for another unexpected, wildly creative team effort on Troll Wood.

   Then I spent the rest of the day earning my living as an editor. That’s how I’ll spend tomorrow too, and most of the rest of the week, with time off for this blog excepted.

   In the evening I slogged home through the first scattering of snow. A girl was sitting on the pavement outside the supermarket - not begging, just sitting there. I could see others, like me, hesitating as they hurried past. It was very cold and already dark. When I came out I went and talked to her. She was waiting for a place in a free shelter, she said. I wanted to take her home with me, but of course I didn’t: I gave her money instead. She hesitated before accepting it: “Are you sure? Is it OK?” I said it was.

   A man on his way home, bundled up against the cold, thrust some food into her hand - a submarine roll it looked like - and hurried off.

   I walked home thinking aboutTroll Wood, and the family in it who have to find the courage to leave the beaten track and head into the unknown. One of the reactions to the story is that it’s sad. I'm not sure that’s true. The ending (in my mind’s eye, anyway) is blazing with life and hope,  full of the things that make life worth fighting for: warmth, art, music, books, love. Most of all, hope. Good luck to that girl in the snow and to all the people, alone or in a family, struggling to make a home.

   It’s still snowing this morning. And that’s it for blogging today.

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