I fell in love with magic when I was young. First, it was through the magic particular to fairy tales; fingers pricked on spinning wheels, brothers turned into swans, doors that could but should not be opened. Stories of shoes that danced girls to death, birds breathed back to life with kindness, magical clothes! These weren’t just words, these stories set my heart racing, they gave me tummy nerves, and they filled up my brain with wonder.
I can still remember the ideas I had about magic when I was small. I thought I could go backward in time if I sewed with thread on satin and then unpicked my stitches. True story. It was the kind of thing I tried. I thought if I made my brother spin around with me one hundred times we could open a portal into another realm. He patiently obliged. I had an imaginary friend called Saint Catherine who lived on page five hundred and thirty-three of the Reader’s Digest tome Strange Stories and Amazing Facts. She’d only step from the page if I opened it at midnight. I believed in her, had conversations with her, told her most of my problems.
Fairy tales… weren’t just words, these stories set my heart racing, they gave me tummy nerves, and they filled up my brain with wonder.
Soon after it was the magic of Arthurian legends that captivated me. I wandered in a fog of Mary Stewart’s Hollow Hills and Crystal Cave fantasies. I imagined a wizard trapped in, of all things, our backyard lemon tree. I fancied myself as Morgan Le Fay, dark-haired and seductive, as I clunked to school in my orthopaedic back brace. Enchanted swords, quests, dragons and misty landscapes, all an escape for me and from where we lived; a mining town, smack bang in the middle of nowhere.
But as I grew older I also became more aware of the magic in the landscape around me. There was a place far along the dry Leichhardt River, a stand of gums, so quiet and still that just the thought of it now gives me goose bumps. It can only have been a place of aboriginal significance, a burial ground filled up with spirits. We stood on its outskirts always aware we shouldn’t enter.
Enchanted swords, quests, dragons and misty landscapes, all an escape for me and from where we lived; a mining town, smack bang in the middle of nowhere.
Other places too: rainforest waterfalls with their own mesmeric atmosphere, churches in Europe, places filled up with past history, a millennia of footsteps and doings… and finally the mysterious magic of London that fills the pages of A Most Magical Girl. I fell in love with the magic of London when I was a young woman; its secret rivers that flow beneath streets, hidden sacred wells, and its sprinkling of ancient trees.
A Most Magical Girl
Magical machines, wizards, witches, mysterious underworlds, a race against time - and two most magical girls on an unforgettable adventure.
Annabel Grey has been brought up to be a very proper Victorian young lady. But being 'proper' isn't always easy - especially when you can sometimes see marvellous (as well as terrifying) things in puddles. But parlour tricks such as these are nothing compared to the world that Annabel is about to enter...