Is there a single children's writer who doesn't love Susan Cooper's The Dark Is Rising series? If there is, I've yet to meet them. The reaction of every author I've ever mentioned Susan Cooper to is the same - 'Love those books, maybe don't mention the film.'
I immediately wanted to be Will and eagerly sought out the first book. From then on, I read them sequentially, and loved the way he grew through the series, although he always seemed wise beyond his years. More than one female author has told me they were more than a little bit in love with Will Stanton (looking at you, Jo Cotterill) and now I come to mention it, I realise I was too. In fact, I think I wanted to marry him. But more than anything, I wanted to live in that world. In fact, I still do.
So when I heard Susan Cooper had a new novel out and was visiting the UK for publicity, I became ridiculously excited. There are a few of my childhood authors who I can claim, hand-on-heart, inspired my career as a writer and Susan is one. These are authors whose writing stands the test of time - Alan Garner, Robin McKinley, Ursula Le Guin to name but a few - the ones whose books I remember twenty years after I first read them. I immediately booked a ticket to see Susan in conversation with Marcus Sedgwick at Piccadilly Waterstones on 24th October. I can't wait to hear to hear about her new book, Ghosthawk, which is set in colonial New England and sounds very different to the novels most people know her for. One of the very best things about being a children's author is getting the opportunity to meet the people who inspired you (although anyone is welcome at Susan's events so it's not really an authorly thing) - the chance to meet one of your real-life heroes. It's not often you get the chance to say a quiet and heartfelt thank you to an author who made you a very happy child.
For a full list of Susan's tour dates, check out the Random House website. It's sure to be fascinating.