A long overdue hello from a cool and breezy London! I hope that you and your family members are staying safe during this very challenging time, and that books have helped offer a means of escape if you’re at home with little ones. 📚
I’ve been extremely busy over the last few months, working on a new picture book (amongst many other things) and am thrilled to let you know that, after a delay waiting for the proofs, it is finally out today! As you can see, it’s called The Tell-Me Tree and my good friend Anne Swift has worked her magic yet again with the illustrations 😊 .
As with so many of my stories, The Tell-Me Tree was a long time in the making – or ‘brewing’ rather! The initial inspiration came three years ago from a majestic London Plane tree – one of many that stand on the green near the pond in Barnes village, close to where I live in west London.
I must have walked past that tree hundreds of times in the last 25 years, but on that particular evening I spotted a face and nose in its trunk – captured in the first photo on the left below – and thereafter just couldn’t get it out of my mind! From that moment I knew it would feature in one of my stories – and although I had no idea what that story might be, I was certain that the tree would be caring, wise and friendly, and that children would gravitate towards it for that reason.
For me, it’s a case of ‘the best things come to those who wait’ where stories are concerned, and wait I did. Little did I know that it would be three whole years for another moment to make the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end to complete the puzzle! That moment was a chance overheard remark by a parent (whom I didn’t know) whose daughter had come home from school and drawn a picture that made the family realise she wasn’t happy. In that instant I got my special ‘tingly feeling’ and quickly realised that the tree was going to be part of a story that helps children talk about how they’re feeling – be that happy, sad or somewhere in between. (I often tell children about my tingly feeling at school visits when they ask how I get ideas.😊 )
The very next day as I drove the 10 minutes to my usual gym session (remember those?!) the words for the story came to me in such a rush that I had to dictate them into my phone the moment I parked! Here’s a short excerpt. I hope you enjoy…
The Tell-Me Tree intentionally isn’t ‘heavy going’ in nature – rather it gently encourages conversation with friends, family or trusted grown-ups through drawing, writing and conversational activities, whether you’re feeling happy, sad, excited, proud, lonely – and a range of other emotions. It can be used at home, at school, between friends or in any other setting and includes links to a variety of fun download sheets that children can use to create their own Tell-Me Trees and put their friends, or anyone else they wish beneath it. The downloads also include a full colour Tell-Me Tree poster.
There are also links to resources for grown-ups, offering tips on how to encourage conversations with a child if you are worried about how they’re feeling, and where to get more information should you need it.
I do hope you enjoy this very special book. As ever I am indebted to my great friend Anne Swift for interpreting the story so perfectly with her stunning pen and ink illustrations.
From today it’s available in print and as an eBook on Amazon – though I would always recommend print! The eBook version can be read on a Kindle Fire or a tablet such as iPad, or on a Smart Phone using the Kindle App. (It won’t work on a standard Kindle.)
Later next week the print edition should become available in online stores beyond Amazon. It will also become available to order from high street bookshops, though lead times may vary. Covid-19 has meant getting it into the wider world has been a little more drawn out than usual.
Click or tap here to order The Tell-Me Tree on Amazon
Please leave a review
If you order a copy of The Tell-Me Tree please do take a moment to leave a short review online if you and your children or pupils enjoy it! And if there are links you feel I should add to the resources folder please feel free to email me – that document is easy to update.
I have a lot more news to share about The Secret Lake around foreign rights, but I’ll leave that for my next post! With so much now off my task list I plan to blog sooner rather than later next time!
Stay safe wherever you are – and happy reading with the little ones!
Here’s that link one more time.
Dear Ms. Inglis,
My name is Sebastian. I really liked the book ” The Secret Lake.” I got addicted to it and really read it fast. I am 8 years old and I love writing. I started to write my own story, and I was inspired by your writing. I just wish you could make some more “The Secret Lake” books. My favorite part was when I found out […….] Note from Karen — I’ve had to hide this bit as it’s top secret if you haven’t read the book yet!. I was quite sad at the end because .[…]see above!, but at the same time I was happy. And I was also sad because I finished the book and I wanted to read it again. Good luck on your stories! Hope to hear from you!
Thank you so much for writing. I’m thrilled to hear how much you enjoyed The Secret Lake, and how wonderful that you love writing and you are creating your own story! 📚 👍🏼
You may know this already, but one little tip I can offer for stories is to try to make an outline plan in advance. A mistake I made with The Secret Lake at the beginning was just to start writing without any idea of what was going to happen! As a result, I went around in a lot of circles at one point, trying to work out the timelines and where things were going. If I had made a plan I think I would have saved my self a lot of time!! (Even with a plan you can change it as you write, by the way. New ideas often come to you as you write, as I am sure you will have found — and my characters were always doing unexpected things! But I know from my later books that a broad plan definitely helped me finish them sooner, even if the plan changed a bit during writing…)
My apologies that I had to hide part of your review — I hope you will understand — I’ve had to do it before for other reviews, so you’re not the first! This is just so anyone seeing it who hasn’t read The Secret Lake doesn’t find out the ending before they start reading 🙂 But it’s lovely to read the emotions you felt at the end and I know exactly what you mean about feeling both sad and happy at the same time. 😊
Many thanks again for writing and best of luck with your story. I hope you find many more mysteries and adventure stories to enjoy and to inspire your own work!
With very best wishes,
Karen 😊 ❤️ 📚
My class was amazed because I wrote a letter to an author and she wrote me back! I hope you don’t mind but my teachers wanted to share it because they were so amazed and they wanted to use your writing tips for our class this year.
I understand that you had to delete part of my letter because it is not good to be a spoiler. You really don’t want to spoil the story for someone. That would make them feel bored or maybe not like the story as much if they knew what already happened.
Several kids in my class want to read your book and write a response like I did.
Hope we keep in touch. Maybe I will send you a bit of my story soon.
Sincerely from your new friend,
Hi Sebastian — of course no problem at all that your teachers shared my reply to you 🙂 Writing tips are there to be shared!
And thank you for understanding why I needed to hide a little bit of your reply to me to prevent spoilers!
I hope you’re staying safe and getting lost in many more great adventures!
Karen 😊 📚
(PS Apologies for my later reply — your reply to me somehow got lost in the back end of my website!)
Good morning. I teach 6th grade English in the United States. I have tasked my student to write a letter to the author of a book they chose to read; one of my students read The Secret Lake, and he would like to share his thoughts and questions with you.
As I am teaching how to write a business letter, can you please provide a mailing address, so he can properly mail the letter to you?
Thank you for your time and your excellent work!
Hello, Lauren — apologies for my slight delay in replying! The correct mailing address to use is the one shown inside the book on the title page — Well Said Press, 83 Castelnau, London SW13 9RT. It will reach me that way! Hope that helps. With very best wishes, Karen