Friday saw us leaving the flat at 6.30am to walk the short distance to a hotel around the corner to drop off our bags. We were pleased that the rain held off and the morning ran smoothly, particularly as it was bucketing down not long afterwards. We met Tilda Johnson at Marylebone Station - although I think we walked past each other several times and at one stage I commented to Ian that perhaps the lovely red haired girl who'd just walked past us was Tilda but as we'd never met before I was reluctant to say anything until the appointed meeting time!
Tilda is an editorial assistant and has up until recently worked for David Fickling in Oxford. She is a gem - and very knowledgeable about publishing. It was a delight to have her with us for the day.
We were met at the station in Rickmansworth by Sheryl who we'd met in February. She drove us the short distance to Charlotte House Prep School where we were again greeted by the lovely Sallyann O'Dell and Headmistress Jane Mitchell. Jane has done amazing things increasing enrolments in just her first year and the school is one that has such a lovely feel, I could work there in a heartbeat.
The girls were just as gorgeous this time as on the previous occasion. It was so much fun talking to them and there were lots of great questions about the books and writing in general. The muddy boots were still as I remembered them in the cubby holes in the corridors - I love that the girls play outside whatever the weather!
It was wonderful to reconnect with girls who had been introduced to Alice-Miranda earlier in the year and it was clear that a number of them had become ardent fans. Benedicta told me she had read all four of her Alice-Miranda books eight times each. She recorded a wonderful request to Random House UK, which I will try to upload to the blog.
We left Charlotte House with Morag who is Sheryl's partner in the shop and went to Chorleywood where we had time for a coffee and a chat before having a look around their gorgeous bookshop. It's a really sweet village. We loved that there are life sized cut outs of some of our most favourite Downton Abbey stars in the shop at the moment as part of a promotion - Tilda and I had some fun having pictures with them. I think Tilda was far more successful with her Downton look than I was!
Morag dropped us off at a lovely pub where we had lunch before going to Cadogan House, the Junior School at Royal Masonic School. We were greeted by Shirley Drummond, who I had met previously. It was so lovely to see her too. Cadogan House is another of those gorgeous schools you'd just love to work in. The girls were extremely excited about the visit and meeting Clementine Rose and I loved that even the tiniest children - Prep (who are mostly 4 and 5) came along with the intention of staying for a little while - but they stayed the whole time. There was only one small hiccup when a little one right in front of me nodded off - we were more concerned about her hitting her head on the floor. The children participated in the drama activities with great enthusiasm and the book buying line at the end of the day wound the full length of the hall and some. Girls were bringing their parents back in at the end of school to add some more books to their collections. I'm so thrilled that I will get to go back to the school in a couple of week's time to work with some of the students on writing projects too.
A Bookish Adventure
I started this blog to document an extended trip to the US and UK in 2012, introducing children to my Alice-Miranda series. It's hard to believe that it's just on four years since we launched the first Alice-Miranda title - and now there are nine books out in Australia with another five still to come. When I first came up with the idea of this precocious seven and a quarter year old, I had no clue that she would take me on such an amazing journey, not only in Australia but also across the world. I visited 37 schools while we were away in 2012 and gave over 80 talks - it was fantastic. In 2013 I've been on lots of new adventures in the UK - visiting schools from London to Southampton, Lancashire, Scotland, Newcastle and back to London again. After that I headed off to meet readers in Singapore. In Australia I've been to Melbourne, Perth, Albany, Alice Springs and Brisbane. There's a new series too - about a gorgeous little girl called Clementine Rose. She and Alice-Miranda don't know each other yet, but they will soon.