I am delighted to have been invited by Authors’ Lounge to share my feisty fairy with you. Nine years ago, I had a particularly bubbly class of pupils. Pencils were always going missing, and things were never put back where they belonged, so I glibly blamed it on the ‘naughty fairy’. The children loved the idea, and so Twigs was born. She had a reputation for mischief, which endeared her to the children even more, and she had great fun messing up my classroom to cheer them up. As time passed by, her presence became felt even more when she began leaving little broken sticks upon the chairs of the children who were feeling particularly sad or lonely. It was Twigs’ way of telling them that they were visible, valued and loved. Even to this day, children covet those sticks as pieces of magical treasure and, for a few hours, they bring their recipient a well-needed fairy hug.
Over the years, the children would ask me what Twigs was doing when she wasn’t with us in the classroom, and I began to tell them tales of her adventures. This then fed into my own aspirations to become a published author: this I had dreamed of for years, and Twigs gave me the context I was looking for. I published the first book in the series Broken Twigs: Farewell to Faerie Forest in October of 2020. It has received lots of amazing reviews, for which I am incredibly grateful. The second book, Broken Twigs: Realm of the Thunderbird, is in the final stages of editing and illustrating (my wonderful illustrator is Kezzia Crossley), and I am hoping that it will be ready to publish in the summer of this year.
The inspiration for the series title came not only from the broken sticks that Twigs leaves for the children as a gift, but also because she is a very broken character when you meet her in Book 1. Through her own insecurities, she presents to others as very temperamental and feisty, and her behaviour eventually leads to chaos occurring. She then finds herself banished from her home. Over the course of the twelve books, she must face many different legendary creatures from around the world (Icelandic trolls to tokoloshes, kelpies to bakus, and unicorns to Irish pookas). Whilst this occurs, she must also learn each book’s intended value: friendship, empathy, forgiveness and courage, to name but a few. In a nutshell, Twigs must venture on a quest to become the best version of herself that she can be. My intention is that this will allow readers to look within themselves to see how they, too, can manifest and nurture these positive qualities, which will set them up well for life.
Of course, no great quest is complete without the menace of lurking evil, so enter stage left Narcissa and her army of Silvamors (wooded monsters), who are hot on Twigs’ trail and determined to capture her for reasons that become apparent as the series develops. Poor Twigs! She truly believes that she is the unluckiest fairy in the realm! However, this forces her to self-reflect during her journey, in a positive way, as she ruminates on poor choices she has made and where these have led her.
Twigs has come to be loved by people of all ages, although the target audience is children between 7 and 12 years of age. As a teacher, I also couldn’t resist the urge to bring this incredible fairy into classrooms around the world, and I created a curriculum map for a 6-week reading unit, where the educator (at home or at school) can explore the text more deeply with their child(ren) in fun and creative ways. In addition to this, the instructional guide offers 6 weeks of planning linked to the value of friendship, where children can explore the different areas of this fundamental aspect of their daily lives. There are also linked writing opportunities.
Whilst this curriculum map has been created with The National Curriculum for England (2014) at its core, the skills enabling children to become happy and fluent readers with a genuine love for reading are globally accessible, and so this planning can be used seamlessly in classrooms everywhere. It is a pick-up-and-go resource to enable teachers to get some time back with their own families, safe in the knowledge that the planning is of a high standard. It is my endeavour to create these planning guides for each of my books. The guide to Broken Twigs: Farewell to Faerie Forest can be found on Amazon following the link:
Furthermore, I am passionate about older children having access to picture books written specifically for their age-group. For that reason, I will also be publishing picture books based on each of the legendary creatures that Twigs discovers on her search to find her way back home. The Thunderbird’s Fury will be published in the autumn of this year. I am really hoping that this will also inspire young readers to develop their cultural curiosity of different, rich and incredible heritages from around the world.
I am lucky enough to live in the beautiful Forest of Dean, England, where I am surrounded by inspiration for my stories. I live with my husband, 3 beautiful daughters and a menagerie of furry and feathery animals. I am so grateful to be given this chance to share my world with you, and I really hope that you allow the magic of Twigs into your lives. I am always delighted to connect with others on my social media pages, and you can find me on Twitter @BrokenTwigs2020 and Facebook @bumbleHQ.