All this time I have thought of my new book as being set in a snowy landscape, but I find I have been picking up red leaves, and dark sticks decorated with ravishing shades of lichen, and thinking these are the colours I want in the book; and this is telling me that the book is autumnal, shading into winter. There can be flurries of snow against autumn trees, but not thick snow on the ground. How strange that the spirit of a book, and one’s own spirit, sometime spring surprises.
I had a mysterious hat appearing on a snowman, but I think instead there can be a stone girl holding a bird bath in her arms, and the hat can appear on her head instead. This girl with the bird bath was in my Granny’s garden, in Chailey, many years ago. We called the stone girl Lizzie. I looked up this house. It is still called Moorings. So much of Sussex has been built up, but this part of the world still seems to have wooded areas, and the expanse of Chailey Common, where I went looking for autumn gentians with my grandfather.
Autumn does seem to be creeping into this new story.
The illustration above is out of a book written by Jennifer D Doherty and Gerald Golding called The Fierce and Gentle Wolf, published by Serafina Press, a book which I illustrated a few years ago. Not nearly as many years ago as Moorings, and Lizzie, and the autumn gentians.