Suzie Sparkle thought she was going on holiday with her mother.
That was the plan, anyway.
But then she met a girl on the plane who managed to maroon her on an island full of man-eating dragons.
And that was only the beginning of an adventure that took Suzie to a secret kingdom which was threatened by earthquakes and creatures from the distant past.
The only person who could save them all from a terrible fate was the Dragon Princess.
And she hadn’t been seen for nearly a thousand years……
Join Suzie Sparkle as she crosses the world to save a kingdom she’d never heard of, and finds an unusual use for her dog-training skills……
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
Suzie Sparkle was a character I’d already created in the book, “Suzie Sparkle and the Magic Book.” I’d wanted to write another book about her, but I felt that the mood of the first book was so strong for me that I’d have to do something really drastic to create a completely different storyline. So I thought of an opening line that would be impossible to follow, and then proceeded to follow it!
It enabled me to take Suzie into a brand new world with fresh characters, which allowed her to show sides of her personality that hadn’t appeared in the first book.
And what was the first line which was impossible to follow?
It was this:
“Suzie Sparkle looked out of the window. She couldn’t be certain, but as far as she could tell the plane was flying backwards.”
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
I don’t really come up with characters. The characters come towards me. Once I’ve embarked on a storyline that feels authentic, the characters appear much in the same way as you might meet people as you walk along the street. They’re just there! If they don’t appear to fit my story, it’s usually because I’m not listening properly to where the story wants to go.
Listen to the story – it is the master, and not the author!
Suzie Sparkle looked out of the window. She couldn’t be certain, but as far as she could tell the plane was flying backwards.
It was only the second time she’d ever been in a plane, so she didn’t consider herself an expert on flying, but even so, the clouds below seemed to be moving forwards. Which meant that the plane must be moving backwards.
She sat up and looked around to see if anyone else was looking out of a window, someone she could ask. But everyone was busy reading, including her mother, who was sitting next to her.
“Mum?” she asked.
“Yes, dear?” replied mum.
“Do you think that planes can fly backwards?” she asked, tentatively. She knew this was a silly question, but she had to ask it anyway.
“No, dear,” replied mum, without even looking up from her magazine. She was a voracious reader, especially of free in-flight magazines, which this one was. “They’re built to fly forwards,” she said, in an isn’t-it-obvious kind of voice.
Now normally mum would have wondered why Suzie was asking such a ridiculous question and pursued the matter, but ninety-nine percent of her mind was occupied with reading an article about beach holidays. She was only giving Suzie one percent of her attention. And if she’d been giving Suzie all of her attention – or even half of it – then probably none of what followed would have happened. As it was, she remained glued to her free magazine and gave no more thought to Suzie’s crazy question.
Suzie said “Oh,” and looked out of the window again. She carefully studied the clouds far below, and through the gaps in those clouds she could see the sea, and an occasional island. And, as far as she could tell, from looking at all those things, the plane was indeed flying backwards.
She was more confused than ever.
“Mum?” she asked again.
“What is it now, Suzie?” mum snapped in reply, without even looking up from her magazine. “Can’t you see I’m trying to read?”
“Oh, it’s nothing,” replied Suzie, glumly. “It’s just – oh, nothing.”
She knew better than to pester her mother when she was in that mood.
“Why don’t you read something as well?” queried mum. “We’ve a long flight ahead of us and you really should settle down.”
“Yes, all right,” Suzie replied. She had a bag full of books and magazines, but she didn’t feel like reading any of them.
“Well? Do it then,” instructed mum.
So she did.
Or at least, she pretended to.
She pulled a glossy magazine out of her bag and studied it. It was a tourist guide to Hawaii, which was where they were going.
Dad had brought them all – himself, mum, Suzie, and Sam, her younger brother – to a book convention in San Francisco. He had a bookshop back home in England, where he dealt in rare and antique books, so travelling to book fairs with the family was a way of combining business and pleasure. He got to buy and sell some books, and they all had a holiday.
Except that now they were splitting up and going in different directions.
Dad had taken Sam on a camping trip to Yosemite National Park – because he hated beaches – and mum was taking Suzie on a beach holiday in Hawaii – because she hated camping.
So here they were, mum and Suzie, on a plane over the Pacific Ocean, halfway between San Francisco and Hawaii.
Except that, as far as Suzie could tell, they were flying backwards.
She put the glossy magazine back into her bag and looked around the plane once more.
She had to sit up straight and stretch her neck to see above the high-backed seats. Mostly, all that was visible to her were the tops of people’s heads, which were bent over their books and magazines, doing the same thing as mum – reading to the exclusion of everything else.
This was boring for someone who didn’t feel like reading.
She had to do something else.
Now if there was one thing Suzie liked to do, it was explore. Back home, after school or at the weekend, she would fill a small rucksack with snacks, raingear, a notebook and a compass, and set off with her brother Sam, or with Harry or Elsa from across the road. Together they would go exploring. Even though she knew every street, path and alley for miles in all directions, her imagination would transform each corner they turned into a new world of adventure.
It was time to do the same thing on this boring old plane.
She had a pouch attached to her belt which was just the thing for explorers. It did have a notebook and pencil in it when she got up that morning, but Sam had hidden them somewhere else just to annoy her. That meant the pouch was empty, so now she filled it up with cookies. Mum had a bag full of things to eat, so Suzie picked out all her favourite cookies and crammed them into the pouch. “I must be careful with these,” she thought. “I mustn’t crush them!”
At last she was ready.
“Mum?” she asked again.
“What now?” snapped mum sharply in reply.
“Can I go for a walk around? You know, just to explore.”
“I suppose so. At least I’ll get some peace. Don’t forget your seat number.”
Suzie looked up. It was 32A. “OK, I won’t.” She stood up, squeezed her way past mum and past the man in the outside seat, and was finally in the aisle.
Free! At last!
She felt like running, but she knew that would only get her into trouble. Instead, she walked slowly and innocently down the aisle towards the back of the plane. The Cloudliner was huge, so she had quite a way to go. This suited her, though, because it gave her plenty of opportunity to observe all the different kinds of people on the plane.
There were people of all ages, shapes and sizes, each in their own private world. Sleeping, eating, talking, arguing, and mostly, reading.
No-one was paying any attention to her.
She could have been invisible.
The inside of the plane was like any other, but with one difference. The walls, the ceiling, the carpets, the seats and even the uniforms of the hostesses were all rainbow coloured.
“I know this company is called Rainbow Airlines, but this is taking it a bit far,” she thought. Still, she liked the bright colours, and maybe that was why she noticed the strange people. Well, they would have been strange anywhere else, but here they fitted in quite well. Scattered amongst the passengers were mysterious-looking characters wearing rainbow-coloured cloaks. These cloaks had hoods, which they were wearing pulled up over their heads. “Maybe they’re monks,” thought Suzie. “Either that, or they work for the airline.”
None of them moved. They all appeared to be sleeping.
The nearer she went to the back of the plane, the more of them there were. In fact, they filled the last few rows completely!
As she went past one of them she heard a noise.
She looked around.
“Pssst! Hey, you!”
It was a girl, sitting in an aisle seat. She was buried in one of the cloaks, but Suzie could see a cheeky-looking face grinning at her from inside the deep hood. She was delighted to have someone her own age to talk to. Grown ups were so dull.
“Hi,” said Suzie.
The girl waved in reply, a small hand sticking out of a huge rainbow-coloured sleeve.
A tall hooded figure sitting beside her bent down to speak. “It is nearly time. Do not start anything now.”
The girl pulled a face at the annoying grown-up. “I know,” she said. “Leave me alone.”
She looked at Suzie once more, and beckoned her to come closer. Suzie bent down to hear what she had to say.
“What’s your name?” asked the girl.
“Suzie,” replied Suzie. “What’s yours?”
“Allaya,” the girl replied. “Do you like to play, Suzie?” she asked, looking at her with that cheeky grin again.
“You bet I do!” said Suzie. “I’m bored out of my brain here! There’s nothing to do!”
“I’ve got an idea,” said the girl. “Come with me.” She stood up, took Suzie’s hand and led her down the aisle towards the back of the plane. Out of the corner of her eye, Suzie noticed that the other hooded characters were standing up too.
“Where are we going?” she asked, as they reached the end of the aisle. There was nowhere else to go.
“On an adventure!” said the girl. Then, she opened the toilet door and pushed Suzie inside.
“What the…” began Suzie.
There was no floor in the toilet.
She fell out of the plane and plummeted like a stone.
I can remember looking at picture books when I was a very small child. Anything colourful captured my imagination. I also loved to look at Rupert the Bear and Noddy books, although I couldn’t read the text.
Then, one day, I asked my older brother – who already knew how to read – if he would read me a bedtime story. Not surprisingly – knowing older brothers – his reply was a resounding “No,” followed by “Why don’t you learn to read yourself?”
I was only four, so this was quite a challenge! Nevertheless, this was the goal I set myself.
When I finally achieved it – and I couldn’t tell you when it was – I started my own reading journey, which continues to this day.
I can remember when we lived next door to the local public library. In those days we were allowed to take out only two books at a time, so, on a Saturday morning, I would go and take out two books. I would sit down and read them all morning, so that at lunch time I could go back and change them for two more. Then I would sit down and read these all afternoon, so that I could go back and change them for two more just before the library closed at 5.30pm. Then, at least, I would have two new books to keep me occupied on Sunday!
My fascination with books has never faded, and I always have one with me – sometimes two or more! I love the world of imagination they open up to me.
I love it so much that I decided to cross the bridge from reader to author so that I could create my own worlds of imagination, and share them with you!
And so here I am!
The stories I like to live in are ideal for children in the age range of 8 years to 12 years, and for those who love children’s stories, whatever age they may be!
I hope you enjoy reading my books as much as I enjoy writing them!
Links to Purchase Print Books
Link to Buy Suzie Sparkle and the Dragon Princess Print Edition at Amazon
Links to Purchase eBooks
This book is available in Kindle Unlimited: Yes
Author Interview on BookGoodies
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