A couple of years ago, as I was walking with my two cairn terriers beside a little local river, we met some tourists, a mother and her son, aged about 7 or 8 yrs. The dogs were keen to greet him, and his mother obviously wanted a chance to chat – and I sat beside them.
The boy seemed young for his age – very shy and withdrawn – definitely not a reader of books. His mother noticed my dragon jewellery and drew his attention to it, explaining that he was interested in dragons.
So I told him the story of the crystal pendant from the first chapter of my book, Tales of the Tintagel Dragon. It is quite a long story but he seemed interested, in a quiet sort of way.
A couple of months ago an email arrived from his mother. After hearing the story, she and the boy had gone straight into Tintagel to find all the places I had mentioned and to see if they could catch a glimpse of the dragon. (The story is based on real places and events!)
They bought a copy of my book in a local shop.
Now, two years on, he had to create a presentation for school about ‘My Favourite Book’ – and had chosen my Tales of the Tintagel Dragon. They would be coming down to Tintagel for Easter and wondered if I would agree to do an interview so that he could ask me questions.
Of course I agreed! So many times I have read of people visiting their favourite authors and of the powerful effect such a meeting can have – so I felt anxious/honoured/confused. I invited them to come to my home so that we could meet in my story-room that is so full of books, toys, puppets, pictures etc.
They arrived bearing flowers. He was still very quiet and withdrawn but he had clearly worked hard on creating a list of questions. His mother filmed us as he interviewed me.
At the end he asked if I was going to write a sequel as the last line of the book is ‘The adventure was just beginning…’
I explained that I was hoping that the reader would be inspired to write the next part of the story – either just in their heads or in writing.
Now I have had another email, with a picture. He has created a beautiful wall-hanging, based on an illustration in the book, to be a backdrop for his presentation.
His mother says,’He has worked so hard on it and I’m the proudest mom ever at the minute.and he did a book containing pictures of when he met you, he’s done a book about the post office [where the dragon sits most days] and also sent in the DVD of your interview with him. What I’m most excited about is that he listened when you said you had left the book open for someone like himself to write a further story about the dragon. He has wrote [sic] a lovely little story and made it into a book , I’ve promised him that I will get it copied and then we will send one to you. He has done so well with it so once again can I thank you for taking the time to spend with us x’
So much – just because I sat down by the river and told a shy little boy one of my favourite stories.