My new book, Sunny Days and Moon Cakes is out next week – exciting. It was great fun to write and even more fun to research.
Sunny, the main character in the book, has a condition called selective mutism which means she finds it difficult to speak. In order to write her story I needed to do a lot of research. I was lucky to meet a mum early on who has daughters with the condition and she was really helpful, reading my manuscript and talking to me about her daughters’ lives. She was really kind to share her family’s stories with me.
I also watched a lot of documentaries about selective mutism and read academic books. An expert in the field, a UK speech therapist called Maggie Johnson was also a great help. It’s amazing how kind people are if you ask them for help with research, especially if they are fascinated by their work and love their subject.
In the book, Sunny’s little sister, Min has a terrible accident and has to be airlifted to hospital in a helicopter. Now, I’ve never been airlifted, thank goodness, so I had to do more research. I wrote to the Irish Coast Guard at Waterford and they arranged for me to fly in their rescue helicopter with my daughter, Amy. It was a remarkable experience and made the cliff rescue scene in the book truly come alive.
I’m working on book three in the series now and it’s all about dolphins and sea mammals. That has been a lot of fun to research too. I can’t wait to share all my newly found animal knowledge with young readers. This photo of a Humpback Whale breaching was taken by Simon Duggan, an old school friend of mine who lives in West Cork – isn’t it brilliant?
People are amazingly kind to writers. Thank you to anyone who has ever helped a writer – we couldn’t do it without you!
What research have YOU done for your books? I’d love to know.
Yours in writing,