Seven Stories is a new Roaring Reads feature in which we ask a Scottish children’s author to share some stories about themselves.
Pauline Tait launches the third picture book in her enchanting The Fairy in the Kettle series next month. We caught up with the author as she prepared for a busy May.
1 – NEWS STORY (What’s the story with your new book?)
The Fairy in the Kettle Gets Magical is a beautifully illustrated picture book aimed at 4 to 8 year-olds and it continues the adventures of Leona and her three best friends Tilly, Robbie and Toby.
It’s once again published by the wonderful team at SilverWood Books and illustrated by the talented Debbie Bellaby.
This is the third book in The Fairy in the Kettle series and this time things are getting Magical. When Leona is woken early one morning, she knows something has to be wrong. But as she rushes to meet the elders nothing can prepare her for what she is about to hear. Life in Fairy Glen is about to change…the words ‘fairy dust’ are echoing in the air!
While the first book tells the story of why Leona lives in her very unusual home, all three books can be read independently.
2 – SHORT STORY (sum it up in five words)
Magical Adventure in Fairy Glen
3 – LIFE STORY (what’s your own story?)
I am a married mother of two grown up children, Ross and Rachael, although I am also owned by two Jack-a-doodles.
For over twenty years I have dreamt of writing and getting a book published, but always presumed I wasn’t nearly qualified enough.
After working as a Pharmaceutical Technician for 22yrs and then in Primary Support for Learning for several years Steven, my husband, finally convinced me to send a manuscript off and give writing a go; something I am extremely grateful to him for.
I decided to send off a picture book manuscript, The Fairy in the Kettle, because it was the one I was most sentimental about having written it in draft form when my daughter, who is now 21, was a toddler. I was entering an unknown world but have been extremely busy since its publication at the end of 2016. My family have been extremely supportive from the very beginning encouraging when self-doubt would strike.
I was born in Blairgowrie, Perthshire and moved to Perth when I got married. But, being country folk at heart, we moved into the country and closer to family. We now live between two tiny villages on the outskirts of Dunkeld and I wouldn’t live anywhere else.
I have been taken aback at how busy I have been since my first book came out but also extremely grateful. I had only ever dreamt about getting a book into a book shop but have been extremely lucky to have so many brilliant events within bookshops, schools and libraries.
4 – LOVE STORY (what do you care about?)
Family, obviously is the most important thing, but I am ‘loving’ my writing and all that goes with it. I started with picture books and have a number of draft manuscripts which I would love to work my way through, but I also have something very different coming out in the not too distant future!
I am also loving my events, both bookshop and schools/libraries. After working in support for learning, my drive to write for children was fuelled, and I am especially passionate about encouraging children to read. But it’s reaching out to those less likely to read that is the real challenge and hope.
It is great to be invited into a school to read and chat with children. I love answering their varied questions and hopefully, given my experiences of working in a school, I can engage and encourage children that little bit more.
5 – ADVENTURE STORY (what was your biggest one?)
Bringing Leona’s adventures to life. Getting The Fairy in the Kettle out into the big wide world has been fantastic but to have The Fairy in the Kettle’s Christmas Wish and The Fairy in the Kettle Gets Magical out too is just amazing.
I am just finishing writing the fourth book in the series and once it’s finished it will be given to Debbie Bellaby along with a brief for the illustrations. She has a real talent and I am lucky to have her as illustrator.
6 – OLD STORY (what were your favourite books growing up?)
I had two favourite books as a child and still have them both. When I was very young, I loved The Princess and the Frog, and I can remember learning to read it by myself and then reading it most nights before I went to sleep.
Once older, however, it was Heidi by Johanna Spyri. My version is old and tattered now from Its many readings, but I just love it. During school visits with older classes it’s amazing the reaction Heidi gets when I am asked this question. So many young readers are still loving it today.
7 – BEDTIME STORY
My bedtime reading just now is Just a Little Run Around the World, a true story by Rosie Swale Pope.
The Fairy in the Kettle Gets Magical is published on May 7.
Find out more at paulinetait.com or go along and meet Pauline at the following events:
Muirhouse Library, Edinburgh – Wednesday 8th May
Waterstones, Princes Street, Edinburgh – Saturday 11th May
WalkIn’ Cafe, Spittalfield – Sunday 12th May
Granton Library, Edinburgh – Tuesday 14th May
Waterstones, Dunfermline – Saturday 18th May, 11.30am
Waterstones, Kirkcaldy – Saturday 18th May, 2pm
Benmore Botanical Garden Open Day – Sunday 19th May, 12pm – 4pm
Springburn Library, Glasgow – Monday 20th May, 1.30pm
Waterstones, Oban – Saturday 25th May, 1pm – 3pm