Well, first. I don’t know what to say. Entirely because of you, the book continues to do very well. Thank you. Four months after a very healthy initial run, it’s leapt into a second printing. Did I say thank you? Let me say it again: thank youthankyouthankyou.
So in an interview this week with a reporter in Indiana, I was asked what people learn when they come to my book talks. Well … I sighed, as my mind raced through talks I’ve given. People hear stories-behind-the-stories, I told him, as well as research tales that didn’t go into the book — some of which I have to say are very funny. People ask me a lot of questions about history, childhood and literature, often for an hour or more, and — because in the book I muse on differences between A. A. Milne’s childhood and modern childhood — they have strong opinions about more freedom for children today. I am often asked, as the reporter did, which country provides more freedom for children: England or America? (Come to a talk to find out.)
There’s also the experience of hearing an author’s live voice rather than just reading the words on the page. I certainly like to listen to my favourite authors talk. As I am taking people on a journey through a literary landscape in the book, I am an amiable field guide with a penchant for quirky facts and yes, a bloodhound tenacity for following new trails in landscape history. I don’t know if this dispels any magic, but I do have the same voice on page as I do in person.
This week I received a wonderful letter from the owner of Cotchford Farm, where Alan, Daphne and Christopher Robin Milne lived for decades. He wrote, “Your book has been a constant delight to me and I have given copies to any people I thought might appreciate it and without exception they have all commented on how beautifully written it is and how well researched. I must admit when reading it on occasions I can hear your voice actually saying the words, which I always think is the hallmark of a well written book.”
I’m often unaware of these things, because, well, I am me. But do consider coming to an event. They are a lot of fun — entertaining and informative — and I’d be delighted to meet you. And if you don’t see an event in your area, drop a line to firstname.lastname@example.org and perhaps during this special 90th anniversary year of Winnie-the-Pooh, we can make that happen.
A spring woodland in Ashdown Forest.