What if a packet of Surprising Seeds made a head sprout?

27th March 2019

A beautifully written, incredibly original and wickedly funny novel for readers of 10 and older, Bloom is for everyone who has ever felt like they didn’t fit it, and for anyone who has ever wanted a little more colour and wildness in their lives.
Nicola Skinner introduces her debut children’s novel Bloom:

I owe Bloom to a powerful trio: a dead Welsh woman, my daughter, and a dandelion. A few summers ago, the only writing I was doing was marketing emails for a charity. When not in the car or on the motorway, I was in the office, or picking up my daughter from after-school clubs. Our collective captivity, and my unconscious yearning to escape, was the atmosphere the book incubated in, long before I even knew it was there.

‘Didn’t you ever hear of the woman who grew a dandelion out of her head?’

And then I visited a friend who’s bought her first house. The previous owner, an elderly women, had recently died, yet her legacy was very much alive; her garden. It was so unlike the M32 it made me giddy. It was rampant with colour. It had secret paths and glades and huge towering flowerbeds. It was so beautiful, I thought I was hallucinating. Later, my daughter plucked a dandelion and, like any normal four-year-old, blew it at my head. As a joke I said: ‘Careful where you blow that – didn’t you ever hear of the woman who grew a dandelion out of her head?’

I couldn’t stop thinking about this idea. What if a packet of Surprising Seeds made a head sprout? What if this happened not just to one person, but a community – one too busy to like nature? I didn’t have to look too far for inspiration – that was my world already. All I had to do was figure out how to write a book. Was writing a book basically like writing one very long marketing email?

It was not. It was hard.

But that was when Agatha Strangeways appeared, who could ‘make thing grow just by looking at them’. And I know who was behind her; the creator of that unrestrained, boundless wild place, whose presence was everywhere, who inspired me to finally break free.

Nicola Skinner, Bloom

Order your copy of Bloom now: po.st/LetItBloom

Article originally from HarperInsider.


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