Today I am excited to be taking part in the Return to the Secret Garden blog tour. Having joined in with the re-readalong for The Secret Garden, I was really excited to receive a copy of the book and get the chance to interview author Holly Webb on influences and decisions on writing a sequel to a classic children’s story. Plus keep reading until the end to find a giveaway where you can win a copy of The Secret Garden and Return to the Secret Garden!
Hi Holly and welcome to my blog. First off I’d like to ask, was it daunting to write a sequel for such a well loved classic?
Yes, very! I’m still quite surprised that I dared to do it…
Despite being sour and unpleasant, Mary and Colin are very lovable character. What do you think makes them so well liked?
Perhaps that they’re so believable? And you can hardly blame them for being horrible, when you think how lonely they must both have been. They work so well together in the book, too, they spark off each other brilliantly.
What was the hardest thing about writing Return to the Secret Garden?
Making decisions about what was going to happen to characters from the original book. I didn’t like some of the decisions, even though I knew they were right for the sequel.
Do you have a favourite classic children’s book (aside from The Secret Garden?)
Oh, lots. I really love A Little Princess, though.
What made you want to set the book at the outbreak of WWII?
When I first thought about a sequel, I realised that Mary, Colin and Dickon would have been in their teens at the outbreak of WWI. I didn’t want to continue their story so directly, but I realised that the war would have had a such a huge effect on their lives. So it would be particularly tragic for them to face another war. Also, making Emmie an evacuee was a very useful way to get her to Misselthwaite!
Does the ‘Magic’ of the garden make a return in this book?
There’s not as much emphasis on it as there is in the original – it’s mentioned in Mary’s diary entries, and Emmie wants to believe that the garden is magic. I felt it was there, and I so hope readers do.
What would be in your own secret garden?
When I was about eight or nine, we went to the Royal Horticultural Gardens at Wisley, and there was a summer house with wisteria growing all round it – so you could sit inside a curtain of wisteria. I would have one of those. In the book, Emmie daydreams a honeysuckle house for herself and Lucy, her cat. And I would have auriculas – they’re strange little relatives of primroses that come in amazing colours!
And here are my quick fire questions to round off with:
What are you reading at the moment?
The Cricket Term by Antonia Forest
Favourite book as a child?
Hmm. Most re-read book was probably A Little Princess.
Favourite writing drink and snack?
Coffee and chocolate.
5 desert island books?
- Deep Secret by Diana Wynne Jones
- Night Waking by Sarah Moss
- Lirael by Garth Nix
- Traitor’s Purse by Margery Allingham
- Murder Must Advertise by Dorothy L. Sayers
Favourite place to read?
Any hidden talents?
I can bend the top joints of my fingers. (Useless but fun.)
What fictional world would you love to live in?
About Holly Webb
Holly Webb was one of the World Book Day authors for 2012 and has received high praise for her previous standalone fiction Looking for Bear, A Cat Called Penguin, The Chocolate Dog and A Tiger Tale. She published her 100th book, The Truffle Mouse, in August.
About Return to the Secret Garden
It’s 1939 and a group of children have been evacuated to Misselthwaite Hall. Emmie is far from happy to have been separated from her cat and sent to a huge old mansion. But soon she starts discovering the secrets of the house – a boy crying at night, a diary written by a girl named Mary and a garden. A very secret garden…
Title: Return to the Secret Garden
Author: Holly Webb
Release Date: October 1st 2015
Genre: Historical MG
Publisher: Scholastic UK
Format: Hardback and E-book
Scholastic are giving away a copy of The Secret Garden by Francis Hodgson Burnett and a copy of Return to the Secret Garden by Holly Webb to one lucky blog tour follower! [UK AND IRL ONLY]
Follow the Tour
To keep up with the blog tour for the rest of the week and catch up on any you might have missed, check out the tour poster and follow the links below.
Monday 5th October
Tuesday 6th October
Wednesday 7th October
Friday 9th October
Saturday 10th October
Sunday 11th October