Getting to know Bridge’s children’s author Anne Booth

Anne Booth is a children’s author, ranging from ages 5-12, with over 23 titles to her name including her debut novel Girl with a White Dog which was shortlisted for the Waterstones Prize.

Residing in Bridge with her husband, four children, and dog Barney, CommunityAd caught up with Anne Booth to talk about her favourite works, being part of the prestigious Blue Peter badge club and upcoming books that she is working on…


What are your earliest memories of writing and when did you realise that you had a skill for it? 

I can remember writing a story at school when I was 5, and loving doing it, although I remember holding the pencil and getting VERY tired and wanting to get to the ‘The End’. It probably was only a few words, but I thought it was very long! I think the enthusiasm and the love for telling stories came first, and I was encouraged by my family and my teachers, so that helped me realise I had a skill.

I have found an example of work I did when I was little – it’s non-fiction rather than fiction, although the television I drew is rather imaginative!


Who were your biggest influences growing up? 

I think my parents were great storytellers. I had asthma and had a lot of time off school as a child, but I would read and draw all the time, so I think wonderful authors had a great influence on me. Encouragement from teachers really helped too.


Can you tell readers how you won a prestigious Blue Peter badge? 

Sadly, I have never been on Blue Peter, although I would love to! I won my Blue Peter badge for sending in poetry when I was 6, when John Noakes, Valerie Singleton and Peter Purves were the presenters! I am 56 now, so I am shocked to think that was 50 years ago! Sadly, I have lost my badge!


Would you say this isolation period has been good or bad for writers?

I know lots of writers who have been so anxious about the pandemic that they haven’t been able to write much at all, and some, of course, have been ill themselves or have had family who are ill. Illness, anxiety and stress aren’t good for creativity! I was lucky because somehow, even though I was, and am, very worried about the pandemic and worry about and miss friends and family, I did manage to keep writing, and I was able to go for walks around beautiful Bridge.  


How have you been able to find inspiration in every book and keep your stories new, fresh and fun? 

I don’t know exactly! I get ideas from everywhere – from my own experiences as an adult or a child, or things I read or see on TV or hear. I am very inspired by the children I meet, and I like to tell stories that I would have loved as a child. I still read lots of children’s books by other writers and illustrators, not just to find out what is in the market, but because I really love reading them.


Is it true that children can be the harshest critics?  

I have found them to be lovely – they tend to be very open and honest and enthusiastic and come up with brilliant questions, and they have so many ideas themselves!


From the many publications that you have printed, is there a particular favourite and why? 

That’s such a difficult question because I write across the age ranges and I try to make each one the best I can! I am very proud of my most recent books ‘Bloom’ and ‘A Shelter for Sadness’ because both Robyn Wilson-Owen’s and David Litchfield’s illustrations are beautiful, both books came out in lockdown during a difficult time, and lots of teachers across the country have used them to help children in, and coming out of, lockdown.


Do you have any future books in the pipeline for 2021? 

‘A Shelter for Sadness’ is my only book out in 2021, but in May 2022 my first novel for adults, ’Small Miracles’, about three elderly nuns who win the lottery, will be published by Harvill Secker, part of Penguin, and I am working on the sequel at the moment, so that is very exciting. I also have more children’s books on the way.


Away from writing, what are your other hobbies and interests? 

I love walking in the beautiful countryside here and being with, or Facebook messaging or Zooming with, my family and friends. I love music and I love reading and watching interesting and warm and funny books and films and TV and have been so grateful for them during the pandemic. I am very interested in Theology and Spirituality; I pray and am involved with my local Anglican and Roman Catholic churches.


You can find Anne Booth’s newest book ‘A Shelter for Sadness’ on Amazon, along with Bloom and other books by the brilliant Bridge author.

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