Small Blue Thing is my first novel, and I didn’t expect to publish it. It was written as a birthday present for my daughter, Ellie; she is a fanatical reader, and I thought it would be fun for her to have a book which reflected all the places she knows, so that’s what I produced!
The story is about a schoolgirl, Alex, who lives in South West London. It starts at a little beach by the Thames in Twickenham where we used to feed the ducks when Ellie was small, and the action is all around that area, including Richmond, Hampton Court and Shepperton, or in central London. She was born in Twickenham, so knows the town and the surroundings really well.
I wanted the book to be about an ordinary girl who has to deal with some extra-ordinary things. It was important to me that the way Alex reacts to the strange situations was the way that Ellie herself might react when she’s a bit older. I wanted her to believe that it could happen, and to be able to relate to the character of Alex as the story unfolds.
Every place means something to Ellie: from the cinema in Richmond, to the restaurant in Chertsey where Alex goes for her first date with Rob, the (unnamed) school where Alex studies, to the Golden Gallery at the top of St Paul’s Cathedral. Every location in the book is a place both she and I have been. Everywhere, that is, except the River Fleet. No-one really knows the River Fleet well these days as it is almost entirely covered over, and that made it perfect for my plot. Every scene in the book is set somewhere real, so picking just a few pictures is really hard. Hopefully these will give you a flavour!
The beach at the White Swan pub in Twickenham by the Thames, where Alex finds the amulet.
The White Swan pub.
St Paul’s Cathedral, London, home to the Dirges.
The mosaic star directly under the dome in St Paul’s Cathedral. Lots more photos of St Paul’s can be found here.
The Old Town Hall in Chertsey (actually called Bar 163) where Rob takes Alex on a date.
The footbridge over to Sunbury Lock Island (article).
The River Fleet as it is now, courtesy of Peter Watts (article)