I love a good map. A real one, something crinkly and mostly green with those yellow and red lines that until Google Earth came along were just tantalizing suggestions of journeys. They send you to villages that when you reach them look nothing like your imagined destination. They are drawn out by someone fearsomely accurate at the Ordnance Survey Office using theodolites and measurement and NO IMAGINATION.
But long before I fell in love with useful maps I met The Hobbit. Not only was the cover utterly fantastic – Tolkien drew the maps inside himself. Drawing into mine and millions of others his exact and exquisite version of Middle Earth. I laboured over those maps. and then searched the rest of my bookcases for more. I remember maps for the Moomins, and I think, maps for Narnia, and other books – faint in my memory with careful pen and ink drawings of journeys and mountains.
So when I’d finished writing the third in the SHRUNK! series, I asked my editor, Sara O’Connor at Hot Key Books, if I could put in a map. ‘Um – er – awesome!’ came the answer.
So here it is – my very first published artwork – the original of the map of Bywater By Sea – which will appear, tidied up, in January in ‘SHRUNK – GHOSTS ON BOARD‘
The very tiny A, if you can find it – is the Model Village, B is the castle, C is School, D is the Beach, E is the Seawater Baths, F is Mr Burdock’s Donkey Field, G is the Edge of the Village, H the town hall, I is the nature reserve.