Andy tells us why she writes what she writes...
When I was young the books I loved were based in the real world, but there was usually an element of magic. Books like ‘Stig of the Dump’ and ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ and ‘Mrs Pepperpot’. I loved the idea that in my ordinary and, let’s face it, often boring, every day life, there was always the possibility of discovering something magical. Especially if I kept my eyes open. And along the way, the more I looked - and the more curious I became - the more stories I found waiting for me. Which in itself felt pretty magical.
So I kept this way of looking at the world, and I think most writers have it. They look with their eyes open and with a sense of wonder. And by paying attention we find there are stories everywhere. As Neil Gaiman says: ‘You get ideas all the time. The only difference between writers and other people is we notice when we're doing it.’
But then there came a time when finding the magic in the everyday took on even greater importance for me. I was diagnosed with M.E/CFS and for the best part of two years my whole world became my terraced house, my little garden and if I was lucky the 5 minute walk to the park. I’m not going to go into the ins and outs of M.E here – for one thing it’s so different for each person. But let me just say that it was hard. And actually it often still is, all this time later.
But it was looking for the magic in small moments, noticing the little things and creating stories, which I’ve always found extremely comforting.
It’s good advice to life as fully as possible, to take every opportunity that comes your way and to have grand adventures. But there are lots of times when big adventures aren’t possible, and so through the stories I wrote I wanted to show that magical things can still happen in the most unlikely and ordinary places.
Because we all want to live an enchanted life – one that is full of wonder and magic – but sometimes it’s easy to forget that it can be right here in front of us. I love this quotation from 'The Minpins' by Roald Dahl: ‘And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you, because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.’
Well, I choose to believe. And I’m keeping my eyes wide, wide open – just like Tomas.