I spent my childhood in South Africa, surrounded by great storytellers, vast landscapes and wild animals, baboons stealing from our veg patch whilst a pot-bellied pig took residence under the kitchen table and Dolly the duck wandered around.
Storytelling runs through my blood and my heart beats to the story writing tap tap tap of my grandmother on her typewriter. My father, too, would entertain us and whomever else was around, with daring tales of bravery and adventure, of saving wild animals, and capturing poachers; my mother would chip in, the two of them blending fact with fiction and, of course, embellishing the story each time.
From a young age, I was encouraged to express myself through drawing. I was surrounded by technical illustrations of my father’s clever inventions scattered around the house and whilst waiting for the school bus, my mother and I would draw in the sand – a fantastic first canvas as it’s so easy to erase and start again! As an artist, I felt free, unrestrained and, well, me.
I’ve had seeds of stories sprouting in my head since childhood and when I became a mother, I combined them with illustrations on paper and brought them to life. My inspiration comes from people watching, snippets of conversation I overhear, and my own daydreams pollinated with characters from my childhood, both human and mammal.
My hope is that children find my books funny and thought-provoking and that they ‘feel’ the stories, the characters and the emotions running through them. I would love it if they sparked conversation and maybe even an idea for a child’s own story. My childhood was filled with stories and fuel for my imagination and I feel privileged to be a part of the lives of the children reading my books.
The dirt of South African soil is forever under my fingernails despite my move to England but these days, I have replaced the South African bush with my beloved allotment, wrangling weeds rather than wild animals; my daughters hands forage in the dirt, capturing bugs whilst listening to my childhood tales …. with a few embellishments of course.
"The book creates a touching journey of love, friendship and finding where you belong.
Thank you for creating something we will treasure as a family." - Emma