We’re really excited here at GHB Towers. Helen Peters, author of ‘The Secret Hen House Theatre’, has written a blog for us. Helen spent most of her childhood reading stories and putting on plays in a tumbledown shed that she and her friends turned into a theatre. She loves stories and writes the sort that she loved to read as a child. Welcome to GHB, Helen.
I love a book festival, so I was very excited to be invited to speak at the Hay Festival about my new book, ‘The Farm Beneath the Water’, the sequel to ‘The Secret Hen House Theatre’.
I’ve done plenty of school visits, but Hay is a different matter, and I found myself getting more and more nervous as the morning went on. And then I was taken to the Starlight Stage, past the queue of people waiting to come in to my event! The big difference between school visits and festivals is that you have no idea who your audience will be, so you have to try to entertain everyone from grandparents to toddlers. Luckily, I had cute photos of baby animals to show them, and everybody likes those.
I talked about how the farm where I grew up and my family inspired the books, and read a few extracts to give a flavour of the stories. The audience was lovely and responsive, and gradually my nerves disappeared. They had plenty of questions, too, ranging from “Is your dad proud of you?” to “What are your guinea pigs called?”
It was especially lovely to meet people at the signing afterwards. There were children who had read the first book and come to hear about the new one, a girl who thanked me for the reply I’d written to her fan letter, and even a girl who asked me to dedicate the book to her school, as she was giving it to the library as a leaving present.
All in all, it was a very special day, and I felt extremely lucky to be part of this fantastic festival.
Glad you had a good time, Helen. The new book sounds brilliant. Helen and her publisher, Nosy Crow, are giving away TWO copies here, at GHB. Follow the link now to enter the free giveaway.