We writers must accept that we cannot please all book lovers with our work, no matter how great we think it is! Each and every one of us has our own particular taste and idea of the kind of story we like; how it should read, sound, develop and end.
With this in mind, write from the heart. It is your story, your creation. As a reader yourself, think what kind of book you would like to read? Whether it be fantasy, drama, comedy, biography or romance, how would you like it to be told?
We have all been through the happy, sad, difficult process of childhood and as a children’s writer, I write for the child that still lives in me. Though I’m getting on in years and may sound rather old-fashioned, there will always be a ten year old tomboy buzzing busily around in my soul, for I have never completely grown up. It is for this child of my youth, the child who laughed and played, grazed her knees and banged her head, sang, danced and dreamed long ago, that I write my stories.
Frances, a gentle, loyal and loving, rather dizzy German Shepherd Dog and inspiration for Guard Dog, Constable Frances de Wolf, of the Pusska Moggyinsky Ballet Company.
Following our sad parting with Sherry, a dearly loved, eighteen year old Springer Spaniel, a deep, empty chasm had opened in our hearts and lives.
The local paper carried an article about a litter of orphaned Border collie pups at an animal rescue centre nearby. With great excitement, our young niece Catherine and her brother Ian scrambled into the car. But on arrival at the centre, the thrill of a new puppy, glowing radiant in their eyes, was quickly snuffed out. The newspaper had done well; all six pups had already found their forever homes.
“What type of dog were you hoping for?” asked the kindly woman.
“A puppy,” sniffed the disappointed children.
“We were hoping for a collie or spaniel,” replied my husband.
“I’m afraid I can’t offer you either of those,” she said, “but there is one dog I think you should see.” Going to a shed at the back of a wired yard, she opened the door. Standing aside, she called softly, “Frankie!”
For a few seconds nothing happened, then first a long brown nose, then a pair of sad, hopeless brown eyes, followed by large, laid back ears and a painfully thin, weak and wobbly, black and tan body crawled out.
“Nobody wants her.” There was desperation in the woman’s voice. “Her two weeks are up tomorrow. I’m afraid we can’t keep stray dogs any longer than that.”
“What?” we all chorused, looking in concerned confusion at the pathetic creature, our hearts immediately reaching out to her.
The woman clipped a short lead to the dog’s collar. Taking it, I gently coaxed the reluctant Frankie to walk a circle around the concrete yard to where our car was parked. Nervously twitching and with eyes rolling, she began, very slowly, to respond to my voice.
But what was I thinking! We had no experience of the breed. A German shepherd with an unknown temperament and obvious history of terrible cruelty and neglect would be a great risk, especially where young children were involved. My husband called encouragement to the dog, but the children, smiling nervously, retreated to the car.
Then before I had time to return her to the woman, the lead jerked from my hand and Frankie, with one enormous bound, was in the car, huddled down and panting anxiously between the two astonished children sitting on the back seat.
The decision had been made; Frankie had chosen her family and it was a decision that none of us ever regretted. Not wishing her to be reminded of the horrors of her past life, we renamed her Frances.
This darling dog lived more than fourteen years, and though she had many problems to overcome, she was one of the most wonderful canine companions and fun-loving friends.