Jan and Sara's blog

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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!

We love reading schemes
Tuesday 29 August 2017

Reading schemes have changed a lot since we were little!  Sara learned to read with ‘Janet and John’.


Jan learned with 'Dick and Dora'.



We didn’t worry that the stories weren’t very exciting. We were just loving learning to read and we knew there were adventure books waiting in the library as soon as we were ready.

But we think that the new reading schemes are much more fun – and we love writing them.




Attack of the Snails
Thursday 03 August 2017

Attack of the Snails is out in September. It's part of Oxford Reading Tree Story Sparks and has wonderful illustrations by Shahab Shamshiraz.

This book was inspired by Sara’s husband John and his battle with the snails in the garden. John likes to grow runner beans. He likes to eat runner beans. But snails like to eat the blossom, leaves and stalks of a runner bean plant which means no runner beans for John to eat.  And snails come at night when John is asleep.

First John tried sticky bands around the pots but the snails managed to get past these. Next he tried a net but they slithered through. Then he read that eggshells always stop snails. They don’t! Finally he dug a moat and put the pots of beans on an island. At last his runner beans were safe! Yum!

Clever Children
Monday 26 June 2017


We love meeting our readers and seeing how much fun they get from reading.  They certainly keep us on their toes with their questions and comments. It’s great. Here’s a selection from our school visits.

One parent told us her son had been very excited to meet the ‘book orphans’!

When we were chatting to a class, a pupil asked us how old we were. The teacher told him it wasn’t polite to ask that question. The pupil thought for a moment and then asked Sara how old she was when she started writing children’s books. On hearing the reply, he then asked, ‘How long ago was that?’

We’d had a wonderful session with one class and we congratulated them on their amazing ideas. We said that if we came back in ten years, we’d bet that they’d all be writers. One pupil piped up – ‘But you’ll be dead then!’