Dear Polly

Last year my agent Clare passed a fat envelope to me at a meeting.

“It’s fan mail,” she told me. “It’s really gorgeous.”

I couldn’t resist pulling out a few letters even though we were in the middle of the meeting. Later, I covered the whole table with them and together with my dad and my husband, looked at each one, reading aloud our favourite phrases, pointing out particular drawings, even though we were in a busy restaurant and there was a queue outside waiting for our table.

The letters were from a class in Scotland.

“Scotland?” Dad said. “I wonder why they liked your book.”

Set in inner-city Camberwell, Boy in the Tower did seem to be quite a departure from Ross-shire but their letters and drawings were proof of their connection and affection for Ade, Gaia, Obi and Dory.

I hesitated about what I should send back and in the end, this is what I made for them, along with a letter to each pupil. After all, each of them had taken the trouble to write to me.

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This was the start of a relationship with a very special class with a very special teacher at a very special school that has had me flying up to Inverness to meet them all and had them writing their own stories since.

It all started with ‘Dear Polly’ but I wonder where they will take the words next.

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