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About the Author

I was born in 1962 in Coventry (scarily ancient, I know). I wrote my first picture book for my little brother when I was eight or nine. I loved making comics, too - pages and pages of picture stories, features and competitions. I'd sell my homemade comic to a friend for 5p, then claim it back and sell it again to someone else . . . they didn't have photocopiers back then!

I went to Art College in Liverpool, then got a job as fiction editor on the fab and legendary Jackie magazine. Later, I married my boyfriend Liam, went back to college and trained to be an art teacher. I taught in a Coventry secondary school for a few years, which I loved, then moved to Scotland with Liam to start a family. My kids are 11 and 12 years old now, and the four of us live in a cottage in the Galloway hills with sheep and cows for neighbours. As well as writing books, I am the agony aunt on Shout magazine and a couple of days a week I teach art in a bunch of local primary schools, which is great fun and keeps me sane. (Well, maybe!) I've been veggie for 28 years, and was vegan for 8 of them - a chocolate-eating vegan, like Storm! I love old clothes, old toys, cars, books. We have three cats, a rabbit and a mad, hairy lurcher called Kelpie (the model for Leggit in my book Dizzy). I love my family, I love living in the middle of nowhere and I love my work. Of all my jobs, w


Rebellious Scarlett still has not gotten over her father's cheating and her parents' divorce. When she gets thrown out of yet another school, her mother sends her from London to the Irish countryside to live with her father, his pregnant wife and her stepmother's nine-year-old daughter. Scarlett begs her mother, "Don't make me do it," but in her new home, she finds space-both from her family and in the enchanting surroundings-to start letting go of her anger. She also makes a connection with a mysterious boy, Kian, whom she meets by the lough, riding bareback. Kian tells her about a wishing tree, where people "leave offerings, ask for favors." Cassidy (Indigo Blue) weaves in some lovely images, such as Scarlett's ripping up her old red clothes as ribbons to tie all over the wishing tree for her new baby sister. Readers will appreciate that her biological parents are flawed people. When Scarlett injures her stepsister trying to pierce her nose, her father yells, "What were you trying to do? Make her into-into-a freak? Like you?" The only jarring bit here is Scarlett's age; at 12, she seems young for the relationship she develops with Kian, which includes intense conversation and a night spent out by the lough. Readers will be captivated by the wise, wild Kian, though, who disappears when others are around; he adds to the magic that cloaks Scarlett's story. Ages 9-up. (Oct.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Gr 4-7-Since her parents' divorce two years ago, Scarlett Flynn has been kicked out of five schools. After she ignites a food "demonstration" in the cafeteria, her mother has had enough. With her pierced tongue, black fingernails, and dyed tomato-soup-red hair, the 12-year-old is unwillingly sent from London to live with her father and his new family in Ireland. Aghast at her new school and new home in rural Connemara, Scarlett is angry. Her outlet is the lough where she meets mysterious gypsy boy Kian and his horse, Midnight. He allows her to express herself and provides the escape and friendship she needs. Her nine-year-old stepsister also sneaks her way into Scarlett's heart, helping her to adjust. As she grows more penitent about her behavior, she makes the effort to change and becomes an important player in the family. Infused with a bit of fairy-tale magic, this is a fast-paced yet thoughtful story. The heroine is feisty and troublesome, yet quirky and lovable. Her feelings are justified, and readers will sympathize with her. The character develops tremendously as her anger ebbs and flows, transforming into sincere love and acceptance. Cassidy has written a poignant and strong story about love, forgiveness, and resilience.-Jennifer Cogan, Bucks County Free Library, Doylestown, PA Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

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