What animals do you love? Do you find yourself writing stories about them, even when you don’t mean to?
I love guinea pigs. And I love books about guinea pigs. I’ve got lots and lots of them at home. (Books, I mean, not guinea pigs.)
My love of guinea pigs started with two pets I had in Year 7. There was a white one called Popcorn, and a little brown and black roundish fluffy one called Bubbles. Mainly they liked eating. And squeaking. And running away. But I really loved them. They died a LONG TIME AGO and yet I seem to think about them almost every day. (I must be MAD.)
When I became a writer, the very first book I wrote was about a guinea pig – actually a GIANT guinea pig. Was it a horror story? No, a picture book for little children! (Maisie and the Pinny Gig” ) (Note – this is NOT from my book!)
The more I wrote, the more I seemed to write about guinea pigs. Sometimes the guinea pig was a big part of the book, but more often they just seemed to crawl into the story for no reason at all. I might be writing a story about a family or an adventure or a mystery or a journey, and suddenly – look, it’s a guinea pig! It may not stay for long, but it sniffs around a bit and then scurries away again, off the page into the bushes.
I’ve been writing books now for over 25 years, but I still can’t get enough guinea pigs. My most recent books are mystery stories, featuring a detective – you’ve guessed it – guinea pig! His name is Coco Carlomagno and he is Chief of Police in the city of Buenos Aires, Argentina, South America. (Did you know guinea pigs come from South America?)
The Missing Mongoose: The Cryptic Casebook of Coco Carlomagno (and Alberta) Bk 3
I have even written a poem “Beware of the Guinea Pig”.
This is about a guinea pig we had a few years ago called King John. We got the name from my very favourite book of all about guinea pigs by Dick King-Smith called “I Love Guinea Pigs”. Look in your library or ask your librarian for help to track down a copy. It’s FANTASTIC. (Even if you don’t love guinea pigs you will love this book.)
Now, I wonder, what stories could you write about YOUR favourite animal?
About the Author
Apart from fiction and picture books, such as “The Terrible Plop”, she has also written the non-fiction “Word Spy” books about the English language. Her latest books, illustrated by Terry Denton, are comical mysteries set in South America, about a pair of guinea pig detectives - 'The Cryptic Casebook of Coco Carlomagno". She has three children and lives in Sydney.
Her favourite book when she was 12 was “The Woman in White” by Wilkie Collins, a mystery story first published in 1860. She still loves mysteries – at the moment she is reading “Lady Audley’s Secret” by Mary Braddon – a similarly SENSATIONAL story that was published back in 1862. These are both pretty old books, but if you like mysteries, you are sure to love them.