Dear Young Readers,
This is a letter of thanks and celebration. Over the last month or two, I have been lucky enough to do lots of events, readings and book signings, and the best part of doing this sort of thing has been meeting lots of YOU.
You ask the BEST questions – not just the obvious stuff about where I get my ideas from and so on, but unexpected questions too, like ‘What do you wear when you’re writing?’ (Answer: Usually pyjamas.); ‘Do you ever scare yourself or make yourself cry with your own writing? (Answer: Yes – both.’); or ‘Do you ever make your characters eat food that you don’t actually like?’ (Answer: There isn’t much food I don’t like . . . but I did make Doctor Hardy smell of burnt lard . . .).
You are often brutally honest. I love the fact that when it comes to books, you tell the truth about the things you like and the things you don’t like . . . Your reviews take no prisoners, and this is a good thing.
You make it all make sense. It’s interesting that young readers have responded to the book so differently from the adults who were part of the editing process. Responses from younger readers have shown me what you truly value in a book, from a central character you can genuinely identify with through to a suitably nasty villain, a bit of pace, and a generous dollop of adventure along the way. It seems a really satisfying ending is also crucial.
You are the future of good writing. At some events, I have led a creative writing workshop based on characters in The Secret of Nightingale Wood. Some of the creative writing has been STUNNINGLY good – seriously inspiring stuff and much better than my writing was when I was your age!
So my message to you, dear readers, is this: keep reading, keep writing, keep being honest, and keep asking interesting, thoughtful questions – not just of writers, but of all adults, and the world in general.
Love and very best wishes,