I like many authors and who could fail to admire the talent and impact today of Jacqueline Wilson and J K Rowling, among many others.
My own literary heroes are from a different generation though and I thrilled to the adventures of errant, freckle-faced schoolboy William Brown, in the Just William series - adults even said that I looked like him at the time!
Then there was my Air-force hero Biggles and his friends who had fought in the First World War and were magically young and able enough to fly fighters in the Second World War and beyond.
Oh the joy of finding one of these books on the shelves of the public library that I hadn’t read, or even unwrapping a brand new edition at Christmas or on a birthday.
So when I set out to write a book for my granddaughter, who was ten at the time, inevitably I was influenced by the stories of my own youth, of the benefits of people working together; even William Brown was a good team player, and Biggles and Algy and the others proved time and again the value of a strong team spirit and dedication to each other and to successful completion of the job in hand.
What could be more natural then than that these qualities came naturally as Lord Ferrister developed as a character and overcame a reclusive streak to win through with more than a little help from his newly found friends from the circus. Doubtless too, his childhood neighbour and friend, Lady Jennifer, had a lot to do with bringing him out of himself and even bringing him into the 21st Century as the stories progress.
Some of my seven grandchildren have suggested that I am in fact Lord Ferrister – but I fear not.
Yes, I live in a rural part of England too and alright I do bear the family name of the Earls of Sefton, but I would like to have his determination and energy and deserve the respect of his circus friends and the villagers of Ferrister Major as he does.
So I will settle for being me and continue to make Lord Ferrister and Ferrister Hall and Ferrister Major more of a reality every day that I write.
That reminds me, I must get more of the new book done tomorrow.
Here is a preview of Book IV As Emma Prince tries the stage for the first time