We all do it, y'know - tell stories.
Oh, you might think you don't, because you're not a writer. But you tell stories every day.
It might be about something which seems quite ordinary, like your trip to the supermarket or a visit to a friend.
Or you might be telling someone about the time one leg disappeared down a broken man-hole cover and you were so slight that if you'd been walking a foot more to the right, you'd have gone right down it and been sucked into the nearby canal. Or the time you and your friends turned up to a 70's night and were mistaken for the tribute band because you were the only ones in fancy dress. Or the time you tried to give a baby hedgehog the kiss of life 'cos it had unfortunately drowned in your pond. (All true, folks!)
Sometimes we might be desperate for the story to be finished, it's so convoluted and - frankly - boring. My kids roll their eyes at Mr Squidge whenever he says 'when I were a lad...'
Other times, we get drawn in so deep, we're gasping and our eyes are wide with surprise, we're hanging so tightly onto every word.
Those kind of stories are the best. To quote the late, great, Frank Carson: 'It's the way I tell 'em!'
Personally, I enjoy telling stories. I would always read to my kids, even when they were perfectly able to read for themselves. In fact, one particular holiday we took a Harry Potter book with us, reading it in the car as we drove round Sardinia. I seem to remember having to sit in the car in almost 40 degrees, as we weren't allowed to go to the beach before we finished the chapter. I'd always offer to do storytime when I was helping out in classes at school - not just 'cos it gave the teacher a break, but because I loved doing the voices. I'm sure there's a closet actor in me who's desperate to get out...
Well, hopefully I'm going to be doing a fair bit more storytelling in the near future.
I approached my local library and just this morning have had some very encouraging discussions about becoming an official library volunteer for storytelling sessions with 6-9 year olds! How cool is that? I need to talk to Mr Squidge first as we've not finalised our summer holiday plans, but the idea is that we'll give the storytelling sessions a go from early July, which coincides with the launch of this year's Reading Challenge (a mythical theme this summer). Then we'll see whether there's any interest in continuing sessions in the autumn term, perhaps on a fortnightly or monthly basis.
(Incidentally - as our library services experience further deep cuts to resources, do please consider helping out as a volunteer. Contact your local library to see what you can do for them. Who knows - it might be the difference between having a local library or losing it.)
Anyway, I'm really excited by the whole thing. Yes, I write. Yes, I've been published and yes, it would be great to sell a few more copies of Granny Rainbow.
But first and foremost - as my strapline says - I'm the short author who tells tall tales. Not 'the little lady who sells books'.
I am first and foremost a storyteller. And delighted to be able to share it with children.