Children's book, Poppy Loves Devon is out soon.
After scribbling down ideas, the light-bulb moments, the edits, the zoom meetings with fellow Author School Society members (which have been a highlight of my week), discussing cover designs with my son who's also a fantastic graphic designer, drawings and sieving through which to keep and which to leave out, proofreading and meetings with the publishing team, it's nearly time to announce the arrival of book #2 in the Crazy Cream Adventure series.
The typesetting has been done, and the front cover is approved. I've just been given the full cover draft for approval and then it's off to the printers.
Poppy Loves Devon is the sequel to Poppy on Safari. For those of you who don't yet know who Poppy is, let me introduce you.
Poppy, the crazy cream retriever.
Poppy is a six-year-old golden retriever. She's also a very special girl in that she helped me back onto the road of recovery following a battle with cancer. She is a therapy dog in disguise.
During my recuperation, Poppy kept me smiling with her funny antics. This is what got me thinking about fun-filled stories instead of the worries and fears of life threatened with cancer, job loss and all sorts of other curveballs life throws at us.
Stories of Poppy were a fun distraction and one which I wanted to share with the world.
She is a very greedy girl. Food comes first in everything including walks. She loves everyone and everything. Life is one huge game for her - what a lovely way to be! Poppy is basically a big puppy - she's never grown up.
Here are some of her favourite things:
belly, chin and bum rubs
And here are a few of the things she doesn't like:
Water - except to drink.
In a nutshell, Poppy is a big, fluffy, energetic, crazy and boisterous girl. The only problem is, that not everyone enjoys such a full-on excitable greeting - especially other animals such as rabbits, squirrels and other dogs. This is basically why she's kept on the lead when there are others around - but also why she is loved by so many.
Poppy's first adventure called, Poppy on Safari, was a big success and is a book I am so proud of. It was a joy to write and helped me stay focused and positive during some terribly dark days during post-cancer treatment. Writing about Poppy's encounters with wolves, elephants, African wild dogs, tigers and much, much more was enough to take my mind off crippling health issues and the trials of real life. This was pure escapism at its best.
When I was asked to write a sequel, I didn't hesitate!
So, how did Poppy Loves Devon begin?
It all started during lockdown. The long, solitary walks around the forest. Just me and my dogs - or the girls as I like to call them. The sun was shining, the birds were singing and the squirrels were scuttling up and down the trees. It was peaceful and seemed a million miles away from the chaos which surrounded the covid-infected world.
While the girls chased each other - and the squirrels - around the forest, I became lost in my thoughts. It's a great place for thinking through plot lines and ideas. On one such beautiful summer's day, I thought about a holiday enjoyed a few years ago. It had been Poppy's first holiday and, being as she's a retriever, we couldn't wait to take her to the beach. All retrievers love the water, right? Poppy was going to be beside herself with joy splashing about in the sea, right? Wrong. She hated the sea - and still does! She refuses to even step foot into the paddling pool back home.
But we still had a fantastic holiday. We stayed at a place called Biteford Farm in North Devon. It's surrounded by breathtaking countryside and yet a short drive from the long beach at Widemouth Bay. My children loved getting to know the farm animals - almost as much as Poppy did. And it was while I was thinking about this wonderful place, that I had the idea of the setting for my next book.
Devon is a place we visit every year and never grow tired of. Poppy loves her holidays too and gets very excited when she sees us packing the suitcases. She knows where we're going and will run around the house throwing her head back and howling while her tail beats from side to side. If she could talk, then I'm sure she'd be saying: 'I LOVE DEVON!' and there is was, the title and the setting for my next book.
As usual for Poppy, nothing is straightforward. In Poppy Loves Devon she joins her family for yet another great Devonshire holiday but things don't go according to plan.
Firstly, she is forced to accept a newcomer in the form of a cute little puppy. Does Poppy want to share her family's attention? No.
She meets a tall and handsome border collie who, in her opinion, is everything she isn't; obedient, clever, athletic, agile and so very, very good looking. She would love to catch his eye, to be his friend. Poppy tries very hard to make herself noticed, but does this super-hero dog notice her? No.
There are many animals on the farm that Poppy is pleased to meet. There are pigs, goats, the scary cockerel called Olde Red and the owner's dogs, a french bulldog called Oliver and a pug called Olive. Unfortunately, not all of them are willing to accept Poppy's exuberant greeting of teeth, slobber and oodles of cream floof.
But Poppy does make friends and has lots of fun and yummy Devonshire doggo ice cream too. All this takes place while a huge mystery surrounds the nearby wood. A mystery that Poppy must uncover.
Sound any good? If you think so, then you can pre-order your copy on the link below.
Poppy Loves Devon will be released in June, but you can pre-order a copy now from Waterstones by clicking this link:
If you'd like to read Poppy on Safari, you can order a copy here from Waterstones by clicking the link below.
Stay tuned for more Poppy crazy cream blogs and more about books and stories and all other subjects that take my fancy and would like to share with you!
If you'd like the find out more about Biteford Farm, go to their website: http://www.bitefordfarm.co.uk/