Hello from a cold and crisp London, where the Christmas season is upon us. I hope your holiday season plans are well underway and that you’re all staying safe.
The Secret Lake: Sequel 😊
After much plotting and planning, and following many requests from children and adults, I’ve had my head down for the last three months writing the sequel to my bestselling middle grade novel The Secret Lake,
I’m thrilled to say that I finished editing the final draft two days ago (you can see the printout on my desk below!) and it is now with a small number of beta readers before, no doubt, further polishing, then on to my professional editor. Coming in at 50,000 words it will be approximately twice the length of the first book.
As you have guessed, writing a children’s book takes a lot of time, and effort — children are always surprised when I tell them just how long! Luckily this time around I had an outline plan before I started, which made life a lot easier than first time around when I had no plan and went round in circles with the plot for many many months. I do not recommend writing this way!
Why did it take so long to write The Secret Lake sequel?
Many children and adults have asked me over the last few years why I hadn’t written a sequel. The reason is that I had promised myself I would only ever do so if I thought any new story would be as magical as the first. Also, I tend to have to wait for stories to come to me… and that can take time! That apart, with so many other projects to juggle, it had been difficult to sit down and find the time and space I needed in order to let my imagination run wild, then plan and research. This summer, I finally had that time.
Going back and spending time with the original characters — and meeting a couple of new ones — has been an absolute joy, with scenes unfolding that I hadn’t planned, and new characters popping up unannounced, as happened the first time around!
I’m hoping for a release date in spring 2022 and, of course, will keep you updated via this newsletter. In the meantime, if you’d like to apply to join my advance reader team to help make the launch a success, please email me via my contact page with the subject line ‘The Secret Lake 2’ and I will send you details of how it works closer to the time.
Teachers — I will be creating some interesting lesson plans to go with the book. More on this in a later newsletter! 😊
In other Secret Lake news, I have just sold foreign rights to Romania, meaning it will soon be in translation in nine languages!
Also, I couldn’t resist the gorgeous little mole, seen sitting on the shelf in the first image above. I found him in one of the gift shops where I live in Barnes village and couldn’t leave without him! As readers of The Secret Lake know, moles are integral to the magic of the story. ❤️
The Christmas Tree Wish: A heartwarming tale for ages 3-6 🌲
Back to the holiday season — if you’re looking for an extra special gift for your younger children or grandchildren, please do take a look at The Christmas Tree Wish.
This heartwarming tale about hope, friendship and being different was inspired by a small, bedraggled Christmas tree I saw one dark and wet Christmas Eve, unsold and looking very lonely. As is usually the case with my stories, I couldn’t get this little fellow out of my head, and knew I had to give him a happy ending!
The Christmas Tree Wish comes with links to free downloadable colouring sheets of the tree characters to keep children or grandchildren occupied in the run-up to Christmas, using Anne Swift’s stunning illustrations. Hopefully, the reviews speak or themselves! 😊 🌲
Click or tap below to watch a short video about The Christmas Tee Wish.
The Tell-Me Tree — continued praise from teachers and parents ❤️
Thank you so much to all of you who have bought The Tell-Me Tree and shared with me how it has touched children’s lives, or how you have been using it in schools to help children open up about feelings. Below are a few examples. I’m also bowled over that a simple Facebook promotion has been shared and commented on over 1,000 times!
With the uncertainties all of our children are living with these days, The Tell-Me Tree aims to help ease worries through encouraging a habit of regularly talking about feelings, whether happy, sad or anywhere in between.
This story and activity book comes with free download templates to help children draw their own Tell-Me Trees and copies of activity sheets from inside the book to encourage them to draw or write about how they are feeling as often as they would like. Available everywhere online, or via your local bookshop or your school ‘s usual channels.
If you have used The Tell-Me Tree and found it useful please feel free to send me pictures, or tag me if you post about it and I will share.
📚 Eeek! The Runaway Alien discounted to £3.95! ⚽ (RRP £6.99)
Finally, a quick heads-up for my UK followers looking for stocking fillers to let you know that Amazon UK has just discounted Eeek! The Runaway Alien to £3.55 (RRP is £6.99).
Eeek! is perfect for girls or boys aged 7-10 looking for a fast and fun read, and a good laugh! (It’s also available as an audiobook and eBook.)
It was voted book of the month by LoveReading4Kids UK at launch, and favourite book club read three years in a row in one London primary school, and now comes with a shiny new cover! It is also fantastic for reluctant readers, and comes with fun black and white illustrations throughout. 😊 👽
That’s it for now. I hope you have a wonderful holiday season and I look forward to providing you with updates on The Secret Lake 2 soon 😊 .
With very best wishes,
PS: Remember, if you’d like to know more about joining my launch team for The Secret Lake 2, please email me via my contact page with ‘The Secret Lake 2’ as the subject line, and I will send you further details in due course.
PPS: Remember, if you like to share picture books on an iPad with little ones, The Christmas Tree Wish eBook is free on Kindle Unlimited worldwide. Also, Amazon UK has just reduced it to 0.99p for December. 🌲