A group of published UK-based authors and illustrators of picture books, children's and YA.
As a child, I spent almost as much time living inside book worlds as I did in the real world. Some of those books were newly written, while others had been old long before I was born.
There were the handed down old paperback children’s books on a shelf in my room. I travelled through a wardrobe to get lost in the snowy forests of Narnia, voyaged with a talking mouse on the Dawn Treader, and explored Green Knowe with the ghostly children of centuries ago.
There were the hardcover books that lurked on a high shelf in the hall. I had to stand on a chair to reach up to them, and couldn’t see the titles at all until my grasping fingers had pulled them down. These were science fiction for adults, some of which were totally unsuitable for children, but I read them anyway. I travelled in space ships, survived the apocalypse, made friends with robots, and watched as empires fell.
There was the cardboard box under the stairs, packed with science fiction and fantasy magazines. There was no problem with the single stories and factual articles. The frustrating thing was reading part of a serial story, then failing to find the magazine that had the rest of it. I talked with aliens, ran from monsters, and travelled to alternate dimensions.
There was the bookcase tucked away upstairs with a shelf of fantasy paperbacks. I dined with hobbits, carried the ring of power to Mount Doom, cast spells on the Witch World, and rode on dragons over the rocky landscape of Pern.
There was a plethora of books in the public library as well. I gravitated towards those with the fantastical covers. Some were on shelves in the children’s section, others were labelled as for adults, but I read them regardless. Over the years, I saved my pocket money to buy more books. Some were new. Others were battered volumes found in second hand book shops.
Once I was an adult, the number of books seemed to grow exponentially. Over the years, I marvelled at the Ringworld, went to Hogwarts with Harry Potter, and walked the road to Amber. I met werewolves, vampires and spectres. I explored the Discworld, met the witches of Lancre, and patrolled the streets of Ankh-Morpork with the City Watch. I travelled the stars in generation ships, in ships that travelled at warp speed, and in ones that used solar sails.
With every day that went by, with every book I read, I breathed in magic and the tales of fantastic worlds were absorbed into my blood. It’s not surprising that when I started writing myself, the worlds I wrote about were those of science fiction and fantasy. Those types of story are etched in my bones.
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Janet Edwards lives in England. As a child, she read everything she could get her hands on, including a huge amount of science fiction and fantasy. She studied Maths at Oxford, and went on to suffer years of writing unbearably complicated technical documents before deciding to write something that was fun for a change. She has a husband, a son, a lot of books, and an aversion to housework.