December has been a good month so far. During the first week I visited Stratford-upon-Avon School twice for two lively historical fiction workshops with students in the Green Group in Year 8. Together we discussed the kinds of books which might fall within the genre of historical fiction, and the kinds of true stories and events which lend themselves to a good, page-turning novel. I then shared the inspiration for One Day In Oradour, before the students broke out into small groups to begin thinking about how they might re-tell the true story of Oradour-sur-Glane.
It never ceases to surprise me how hooked young people seem to get on this story. It’s rare to find someone who has heard of Oradour, and what happened there during the Second World War, and it’s undoubtedly a sad and serious story (although it was great to hear that one of the students had visited the village, as he was able to share his reactions to it). But in spite of this, students quickly become caught up in the story, wanting to know exactly what happened to those in the village that day in June 1944 – and to those who escaped – and asking plenty of searching questions about why the event took place at all. That was certainly the case at Stratford, where there were lots of great points being made and some very intelligent questions being asked. Well done kids! And thanks to your school’s brilliant marketing department, we made it into the local paper. See the article in the Stratford Herald.
Last week I also travelled down to London for the Bloomsbury Children’s Christmas drinks evening. It was lovely to see where all the magic happens and to meet the talented team who have been working hard to make my books a reality. Thank you everyone and merry Christmas!
So now that I am in the festive mood, and with just a few days to go before the children finish school for the holidays, I’m busy tying up some loose ends and clearing my desk so that I can begin my first draft of my third novel in the new year. I can’t wait to get started!