Warning: shameless book plug ahead. (Hey, it’s Christmas!)
Now that December’s here and sleigh bells are jingling, I wanted to tell my loyal readers (including my lovely new followers) about my Christmas-centric book series, The East Pudding Chronicles — in case you’re looking for some quirky Christmas reading for your kids!
These books, which are beautifully illustrated by Emily Harper, have two main influences: Tim Burton and Roald Dahl. Neither of these creative geniuses have ever shied away from darker elements in their children’s stories.
Specifically, it was Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas (a story once considered so dark and risky that Disney wouldn’t put their name on it; now it’s one of the Mouse House’s most popular films) that served as an influence for the mood, style and Christmas setting of The East Pudding Chronicles. The rest came from my own love of the season, and in particular, my curiosity about all the different traditions that are such a crucial part of it.
I therefore came up with my own slightly weird, occasionally wacky, often heartfelt origin stories for why Santa Claus visits us, why we kiss under the mistletoe, pull Christmas crackers and put up Christmas trees, and what Christmas ‘really’ means.
Last year, I released the fifth and final book in the series, The First Christmas, which means all five books are now available to buy from Amazon and Lulu.com.
Here’s a book trailer I had made for the first book in the series, The Christmas Monster…
And here are some little blurbs for each book and links to where you can buy them…
The East Pudding Chronicles: The Christmas Monster (2011)
In the first book, we meet sworn enemies Mumble and Murmur and learn why Santa Claus visits us on Christmas Eve and leaves presents for us in our stockings. It all kicks off with Murmur’s ultimate plan to wipe out Christmas in East Pudding, which involves an evil elf called Atnas and some nasty little creatures called Toe-Eaters… You can buy The Christmas Monster from Lulu, Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com.
The East Pudding Chronicles: The Merry Mrs Mistle (2012)
Mrs Mistle is half-human, half-plant and charms the village of East Pudding with her Jolly Holly Pudding and raspberry kisses. That is, until Murmur vows to bring her reign of happiness to an end, and we discover the real reason why people kiss under the mistletoe at Christmas time… You can buy The Merry Mrs Mistle from Lulu, Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com.
The East Pudding Chronicles: Tale of the Twinkles (2013)
Murmur hatches an evil plan to rid East Pudding of Timothy Twinkle, the village sweet maker and joke teller, and Tiberius Twinkle, the village toy maker. First she tries to dispose of them using her ‘Ultimate Blender’. When that doesn’t work, she resorts to drastic action, which leads to the creation of the first ever Christmas cracker… You can buy Tale of the Twinkles from Lulu, Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com.
The East Pudding Chronicles: Plight of the Witch Watchers (2014)
Discover the ‘alternative’ origins of the Christmas tree. It all starts when Mumble decides to spy on Murmur with the help of a team of ‘Witch Watchers’. He visits Troglup the Dragon Queen of Crumple Dimples and recruits the fairies, but what he doesn’t count on is Murmur having spies of her own… You can buy Plight of the Witch Watchers from Lulu, Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com.
The East Pudding Chronicles: The First Christmas (2015)
In the fifth and final book in the series, we follow three sisters, Mary, Maz and Chris, who journey up the Sky Tree to find out why it won’t stop snowing. They meet the Lady of the Skies, a magical creature harbouring a sad secret about the village of East Pudding. What the sisters do next is the ‘real’ reason why we celebrate Christmas… You can buy The First Christmas from Lulu, Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com.
Next week: an interview with filmmaker George Clarke about the ‘Charlie Chaplin Time Traveller’