One autumn day I was sitting on my sofa looking out the window, thinking: what do I want to do with my life? And I thought: I want to be a writer! Because I’ve always wanted to be.
And so Fish Boy began on Ann Coburn’s wonderful writing for children course as part of the MA in Creative Writing at Newcastle University (where I won a lovely AHRC studentship to study) and when I went back to my sofa and dreamt up an image of a boy, deep in the sea, face to face with a fish and a light shining out of him. Strangely enough that image passed through to the editor, publisher, designer and illustrator with none of us actually ever discussing it and now is the cover of this book!
Fish Boy is a story set in a fictional town in the North of England about Billy Sheil – a lonely boy, Fish Boy, who loves swimming in the sea and who’s struggling to come to terms with his Mum’s mysterious illness till one day he meets a talking mackerel and his whole world changes. I hope you find it a quirky, fun and magical story about fish, facts, friendship and Sir David Attenborough, with a love of the deep and mysterious at its heart.
As a mum of two it’s also a book that got written thanks to a Northern Writers’ Award which gave me the time to write it and helped me to meet my agent and subsequently my publisher who, in the middle of an auction, made me a pair of lovely fish shoes and I thought YES! You have won my heart! It was one of my happiest and most surreal times.
I think writing is the best way to enter the deep and mysterious and I love what I discover down there when I’m lucky enough to go exploring.