Thanks to my stepdad, I’ve gained two brothers, a sister, and five nieces and nephews—in my (totally objective) opinion, they are the five BEST nieces and nephews in the whole entire world.
My stepsister lives in Lancaster, PA, where I happened to have a school event last week—the first event for book #4, A CASE OF THE MEANIES.
The icing on the cake was that my nieces, Sara and Tesa, would be visiting from London, and they’d get to come.
They’ve never seen me read before, though Sara is the reason the STELLA BATTS series exists. She’s nine years old now, but back when she was six and I was visiting London, she complained I’d never written anything she could read; up till then, everything I’d published had been for older kids. So I started a book for Sara, and put all her friends’ names in it. It wasn’t until later on that I thought maybe it could be a book, too. (Sara herself has no recollection of my visit, or her request, but I swear both things happened.)
Here I am, a few days ago, at the Lancaster Montessori Academy. My nieces are the two sitting next to me:
Back home that evening, six year old Tesa sat on the steps with her copy of A CASE OF THE MEANIES and read a few chapters out loud. It was exactly what I’d dreamed of—more than I’d dreamed of—when I started writing the first book. I started crying. “You always cry when you’re happy,” her sister observed. Yup, that’s right, I do.