|Mia, Mackey and the Outside Cats|
It's always lovely to receive a letter or email in praise of one's work. A writer only truly knows how his efforts are going down when appreciative readers get in touch to tell him.
Some years ago, I saw children's TV magazine programme Blue Peter editor/producer Biddy Baxter interviewed and she said that as a child she'd written a fan letter to Famous Five author Enid Blyton--and was deeply disappointed when Ms Blyton never replied. When Biddy joined BBC children's television, she vowed that every child who wrote to the programme would receive a personal reply from her. In 1986, I was such a recipient. Around the same time, I also had replies from Doctor Who actors Colin Baker and Nicola Bryant, as well as producer John Nathan-Turner. They made a lasting impression on me.
Now, as an author myself, I always reply to every fan who makes contact, and will do so until it becomes physically impossible.
This week I was the recipient of this message:
"Hi Will, just asking did you write a follow up to Mia and the Woodshed Cats ? My daughter is going mad for a follow up. She can't put the other one down at the moment x"
Thankfully, there is indeed a follow-up. It's called Mia, Mackey and the Outside Cats (pictured). The stories are based on the real life antics of a stray cat who moved into the family home. My wife used to call out "Meow, meow!" to let her know she was going to feed her! Meow became Mia, and we found she'd had kittens in the woodshed next door. Then, after moving into our house, she had a second litter!
Our new feline family were the source of merriment and free entertainment for some months, and I noted down the escapades that really touched me. These notes were then fictionalised as the two books. They are beautifully illustrated with full colour paintings by Owen Claxton.
There is a third volume in the works. Fan mail serves as a boost, it motivates--there is demand! I really must get on with it. The final instalment will be called Mia and the Farmhouse Cats.
Personally dedicated copies of Books One and Two are available to order from www.fbs-publishing.co.uk. The books are also available on Kindle.