Jan and Sara's blog

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Tales of Robin Hood
Monday 19 March 2018

Isn’t the legendary hero Robin Hood a brilliant subject for an adventure story!

So far we’ve written two - Ambush and Stolen - for Fiction Express, and our research has taken us to Newark Castle, Nottingham Castle and into Sherwood Forest where Robin and his Merrie Men were said to have lived. They’re all great places to visit. Sherwood Forest has a very good exhibition all about the myths and legends of the man who stole from the rich and gave to the poor – and always got the better of the Sheriff of Nottingham. Deep in the forest stands the ‘Major Oak’, a huge, ancient oak tree where it’s said that the outlaws had their camp. When the oak is covered in snow, the image of Friar Tuck appears!

Well, we were convinced. What do you think? When we visited there was no snow, but we think it’s still just possible to pick out the image of the plump monk.

According to all the stories, Friar Tuck was a rather unusual monk. Most lived quietly in abbeys. Tuck, on the other hand, fought Robin Hood when they first met, and poisoned the sheriff of Nottingham at Newark Castle!

Scary Monsters!
Tuesday 16 January 2018


Introducing the monster Frankenstein . . . or is it?

Two hundred years ago Mary Shelley wrote a book called Frankenstein. Now lots of people think that Frankenstein is the name of the monster in the story. This isn’t true. It’s the name of the scientist who created him - Doctor Victor Frankenstein. The poor old monster hasn’t got a name. He just gets called "creature", "monster", "demon", "wretch" and "it". Since that book was published, the monster has appeared in films and cartoons all over the world.

And now it’s our turn. We’ve changed the name slightly – our heroine Frankie Stein is going to have an adventure with her monster. We’re doing this for Fiction Express so it will be the readers who decide how the story is going to go. So exciting for us!


World Cup Draw!
Friday 01 December 2017

We've now had the World Cup Draw for 2018. We can’t believe that it’s 20 years since we wrote a football series especially for the 1998 World Cup. Billy Bright and the Tigers are an under-elevens side who have something that no football team has ever had – as far as we know! Their coach is a ghost. The problem is that only Billy can see him!  We love writing about football. Fifteen of our stories so far are about the beautiful game.

As well as phantom footballers we’ve written about superhero footballers, fairy football godmothers, ballet training for footballers, football snacks (twice) and a 109-year-old winger.  

And we haven’t finished yet. We have another football story bouncing about in our brains. But that’s all we’re saying for now . . .


The Best Laid Plans
Tuesday 10 October 2017

Stories don’t always finish as they started out. Our series ‘Little Terrors’ was originally an idea from our publishers about puppies. It turned out to be a fun ghost adventure!

Another change came when we were planning a new Little Terrors story about a ‘ghost in the past’. But it was mistyped and became Ghost in the Post – and so the next spook to arrive at Little Frightley Manor came through the letterbox. 

When we were discussing a school series, Jan mistyped Sports Day as Sprot’s Dad. Sprot hasn’t found a home in any of our stories yet but he and his dad will do one day. Some ideas change and evolve when you least expect it. A few years ago we agreed to do a pirate adventure with Orion Children’s Books. It would feature a nine-year-old boy from the eighteenth century who joined a pirate crew. This was all sorted and we went off to have lunch with our editor. Over our sandwiches she suddenly had the brilliant idea that our hero should be a boy from the present who time travels back to the pirate ship. And so Sam Silver, Undercover Pirate was born!