I thought I’d take this opportunity to tell you a little bit about myself, and some of my reasons for writing the books. Much of what is in Book One uses names and places from my childhood. Urban Road was the school I went to, and Miss Penlington was. the Headmistress. Gillian is based on a girl in my class who was rich and spoiled, and got everything her own way, much like Gillian in the book. Betwys-y-Coed is a lovely place in North Wales.
To a point, Penelope is based on me as a child; I was very much a square peg in a round hole, and I saw things no one else did. I’m sure my mother was worried about me! One time, when she called me Susan, I told her my name wasn’t Susan, it was Jenny. Where that came from I don’t know, as I was about three at the time. I saw the soldiers that guarded our house, and later, I realized they were dressed like the Queen’s guard, who I had never seen, as we did not have television. The first time I ever saw and watched television was when the present Queen was crowned.
When brainstorming the first book, I wanted to have a girl as the protagonist, not a boy, which seems to be most common. I wanted her to have magical powers, and have them cause no end of problems, and lead into the adventures she is now having, albeit not necessarily fun adventures! The only males so far, are Penelope’s father, Gwyddion, Gillians father, Marcus, Jacob, and Paddy. Penelope’s Familiar is a female cat, but Gillian’s in the first book is a male rat, while in the second, it is a male fox.
At the time I was making notes for the book, I had never even heard of Harry Potter, but some people have said I based Penelope on him. Not so! The school she ends up going to is P.A.W.S., the Parker Academy of Witchcraft and Sorcery, run by Gwyddion’s sister, Matilda. The rest of the characters came to me at night, as I was going to sleep, or at least, trying to! That seems to be when my best ideas come to me, and I have finally invested in a little recorder, so I don’t have to turn lights on and poke around for pen, paper and glasses. It means I don’t really have to wake up; I can just mumble what’s in my head and go back to sleep again, at least, until the next idea comes!
For me, when I write, it’s almost as if someone in my head is dictating the story, and I’m just writing it down. many times, when I go back and read, I don’t remember writing what I did.
Anyway, that’s probably enough about me for now. I hope you enjoy reading!