Congratulations to the four winners of the Fire Storm competition – Ciara Savvides, Hannah Wilcox, Abigail Wright and Hannah Laffan. There were supposed to be just two winners but the standard of entries was so high it was impossible to choose! Thanks to everyone who entered. Please enter the next competition if you didn’t win this time.
I recently returned from Zimbabwe, where my birthday present from my sister was a visit to Imire, an amazing wildlife sanctuary near Marondera. My sister and I spent an hour walking with eight-year-old rhinos which had been hand-reared from birth. It was bliss.
Here’s an encounter with an elephant. She is the matriarch of a buffalo herd and has rejected all attempts to place her with her own species. It was a privilege to meet her but a little scary. She’s boisterous and temperamental and has a habit of swinging her tusks about. But like the rhino, she has long-lashed, gentle eyes. Unforgettable.
The Obituary Writer, my first adult novel, is out in hardback now. Part thriller, part romance, it is set in London and Cornwall and is about 38-year-old obituary writer Nick Donaghue, whose life is derailed after he is caught up in one of Britain’s worst ever train crashes. For me, at least, it’s a novel about faith, hope and true love.
It’s interesting to see how a successful children’s writer makes the transition to adult fiction, and St John pulls it off brilliantly.
What a treat. Children’s author St John brings her masterful story-telling to the adult market … Engaging, original and charming.
If you’re wondering what inspired me to write the One Dollar Horse series then the answer is Morning Star. Growing up in Africa I was desperate for a horse. When I was 11 we moved to a farm called Rainbow’s End and my dad promised me the first foal born to his mare Cassandra. That foal was Morning Star and when I was growing up he was my best friend. I had him for 22 years and still miss him. Now I live in London and can’t have a horse so writing The One Dollar Horse was my way of riding at Badminton vicariously!
One of the most critical conservation issues today is rhino poaching. Gentle, shy rhinos, like this beautiful one I saw at Shamwari Game Reserve in South Africa, have their horns hacked off by unspeakably cruel poachers, who leave them to die horrific deaths. Get your school involved in saving these wonderful animals before they’re gone. Lend your voice to Voices of Conservation. Watch this video and see how you can make a difference.
I get so many letters from children asking for advice on writing that I thought I’d summarise a few tips in a blog. Grown-ups usually ask me how I manage to stay disciplined when I work at home. I tell them it’s easy. I have cat food to buy and that’s a powerful motivator. Meanwhile my Bengal cat, Max, pictured here, just relaxes and let’s me take the strain.