Have you ever been so inspired by an author’s work that you wish you could tell them exactly how much they have impacted your life? In this series, Literary Love Letters, we do just that – share open love letters to inspiring authors. Today, Game of Scones author Samantha Tonge writes to Enid Blyton.
I’m not sure where to start, in thanking you for inspiring a life-long love of books. Nor could I mention just one of your many stories. I grew up devouring tales of the Famous Five, Brer Rabbit and St Clare’s … I still have many of these novels in my loft, brown and warped from the hours, as a child, I used to read them whilst soaking in the bath. Sometimes they would fall in and I’d dry them in the airing cupboard.
Many of my happiest times were spent reading and re-reading my library of your books. You created a colourful, warm-hearted world that appealed to all my senses – I recall the descriptions of food and nature, plus the distinct voices of many characters. Again and again I would read the same stories and many of them I would class as my favourites – it would be impossible to pick just one, although one series that stands out is The Wishing Chair. I found the concept of travelling to far-flung places in this antique piece of furniture wildly exciting and in a way, it taught me that anything is possible.
My GCSE English teacher once said I wrote like Enid Blyton and I don’t think she meant it as a compliment. However, I couldn’t be happier and am convinced that my love of your work is one reason I enjoy writing feel-good fiction, full of well-meaning characters that hopefully put a smile on the faces of readers. In fact, I’m convinced that is why I’ve succeeded in selling over 50 stories to the cosy, traditional People’s Friend magazine. As I progressed onto your boarding school stories, such as Malory Towers, whilst relatable, the feisty girl characters also seemed exotic. Every book was a page-turner and no doubt, as a result of the pleasure I derived from that, I strive to make my stories equally fast-paced – and good-hearted.
So thanks so much for making that young girl so happy and offering her an escape into vibrant worlds where good won against evil, friendships meant everything and there were laughs along the way.