While I was writing The Wonderful Doctor of Oz and Legends of Camelot, my mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer. It progressed very rapidly and she passed away before they’d even gone to print. I can’t thank my editors at Puffin enough – Ruth, Pippa and especially Asmaa – for their support and kindness as I stumbled through the remaining chapters.

I’m not going to tell you about Mum, because I’m in no way a good enough writer to capture all that was wonderful about her. Just know that the Twelfth Doctor’s words: ‘Always try to be nice, but never fail to be kind’ feel very right, and I loved her so much. Still do, of course. Love doesn’t just melt away when you lose someone.

Oz was mainly written before the diagnosis, while there was still happiness and hope. Camelot is more mired in grief. Does it show in the books? I don’t know. I hope readers will find at least some happiness and hope in both of them.

Farleigh Hospice, although closed to patients due to the pandemic, gave us invaluable support during Mum’s last days as we cared for her at home. It would have been nightmarish at any time, but the added complication of Covid regulations meant that it was harder in so many ways, and I’m very thankful that Farleigh was there to help us navigate the painful bureaucracy. Not only that, but a wonderful woman called Jenny phoned me every week to lead me through the fear and grief. This is just a tiny way of saying thank you, so Farleigh can provide that help to more people at the worst moments of their lives.

PAUL MAGRS Life on Magrs :

Paul is a wonderful writer. His words just dance and sing and bring happiness. And his art does the same. I’m so grateful for his kindness in providing the artwork for these items.

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