Two new Billie books for June!
The ideas behind these two Billie stories came from some of my childhood fears. I love swimming now, but didn't learn to swim until I was almost at the end of primary school, which, for some reason, seemed to be long after everyone else. I still remember that moment of panic when my swimming teacher (who seemed brutally cruel at the time) insisted I jump in and doggie paddle to the other side. Hard to believe that something that comes so naturally now could have been so terrifying for me as a child.
And how about scary movies? I still hate them, but as a child was never brave enough to say so when all my friends wanted to watch them. In fact, I never really got that 'being scared for thrills' thing: rides at the show, horror movies, going fast downhill on your bike. I also remember a period of time at primary school when I was plagued by recurring nightmares and worries. I was a very big worrier as a child. Probably even more so than now. Now, I can think my way out of my fears and worries in a way I wasn't able to as a child.
Adults often forget what a scary place childhood can be, we usually prefer to think of it as a golden time, but you only need to sit with your memories for a while to know that this isn't the case. Remembering these things, and remembering them without trivialising them through an adult's perspective, helps me not only empathise and understand the children in my life, but also the young characters I write about.