“Once upon a time, in a beautiful green valley, in a little storybook cottage, there lived an extraordinary character whose books enchanted children all over the world …”
So begins a new article about me in the Hope Valley Journal, ‘a celebration of people and places’. This beautifully produced journal contains over a hundred pages of interviews, articles, poetry, sketches and photographs by, and about, the people who live in this area of North Derbyshire; artists, photographers, craftsmen and -women and writers. It’s not unusual for an area of rich natural beauty to attract creative people, of course, but to have their work displayed in such a collectable format probably is. The journal, now in its seventh edition, is itself a work of art. Its creators are Kate and Ben Plumridge.
What is particular about this article, written by Kate Plumridge, is that it concentrates, not on my writing as a whole, but on the inspiration I’ve derived from the Hope Valley area. Several of my children’s books are set here, including Children of Winter, Jeannie of White Peak Farm, Blue John, Deep Secret and my forthcoming book The Haunted Hills.
To quote from the interview: “Exploring the landscape has been a feature in most of my books, but it’s also the best way to free your mind and let thoughts percolate … It’s no surprise that the things I see and the things I feel on those walks get into whatever I’m writing at the time. I find it curious and wonderful that the landscape invades everything.”