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Of Pipes and Potions

Rachael Lindsay

The winter is a cruel one. Snow prevents transport and trade; boats remain in the harbour, sheltering from the jaws of the sea. The Big People are hungry and desperate. Two sister-trolls, Grimhildr and Dotta, live deep in the forest where they care for all kinds of animals in need. When they rescue a chocolate-brown dog they also make a loyal friend: Halvor. Unlike other Big Men, he understands the trolls' way of life and promises to help them in times of trouble.Trouble arrives unexpectedly in the form of a young minke whale, trapped in an inlet. The trolls are alarmed. Small forest-dwellers that they are, how can they turn the whale back to sea? But worse is yet to come.Sly-Erik and his crew are planning a hunting expedition.And time is running out…“Of Pipes and Potions” is a warm and wonderful tale of overcoming fear and inhibitions, of working together to help those in need.

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As a child, growing up in Cheshire, I was an avid reader. J. M. Barrie was my hero but I also revelled in J. R. R. Tolkien, Lewis Carroll, Rudyard Kipling, C. S. Lewis and A. A Milne. I loved Kipling's asides to his audience (dearly beloved), the landscape of Narnia, and nonsense poetry. My young mind was full of mythical creatures and places; I still have my copy of The Sentimental Dragon by Grace Cox-Ife, pages now falling from their binding and signed at the front in my childish hand.
I spent many happy weeks in Switzerland when I was young, as my father worked there for periods of time. Those breath-taking mountains, lakes and waterfalls joined forces with the fjords and forests of Norway, creating a backdrop to much of my writing. Who could not be inspired by all of these influences?
As a result of my happy experiences in both real life and fantasy, I always wanted to write stories, from about five or six years old. Of course, I had to be a serious grown-up for a while - teaching all ages from four to fifty-four year olds, earning money and bringing my two wonderful children into the world - but then I decided the time was right for me. And my stories.
Now I use my background in education to inspire children in schools up and down the country. Their enthusiasm, as they listen to and read my books, is a constant delight to me. They begin to write with greater imagination and flair.
I see parts of my young self in them.