Author’s notes for The Treeman

I have an infuriating habit of coming up with new ideas in the middle of trying to develop a previous one. My musical collaborator, Kaye Tompkins, usually rolls her eyes and nods until I've finished ranting. Then we get back to work.

The Treeman was one of these. The first imagining was as a stage show, a musical. I said "How about a man living rough in a tree outside a girl's window? He lives rough and they hate each other, but at the start of Act 2, she's softened and his tree is festooned with all the mod cons of modern life." Kaye T smiled sweetly and returned to the opening number of the musical we were writing.

The Treeman was originally a story about a reclusive tramp and an anxious girl. They both learn from each other and find a way back into the world. Soon, other characters wanted in. This always happens - I have no control over the cast list, they decide for themselves. Sometimes the voices are so loud the only option is to write them down or I get no sleep.

As the characters increased, it no longer seemed feasible for stage and I began to write a TV script. The entire story of The Treeman emerged in its first form as a highly visual, music inspired, 3 part TV series. It still didn't feel broad enough.

Finally, I set about the novel instead. It settled. I could fully explore the lush story of Izzy, Jay, Jules and Jodie in these pages, where romance and suspense could gradually twist the characters in their grip. Hanningdon became real and the characters became lifelong friends. And although it had always been a single story, I now saw pathways for these people to continue.

A trilogy took form and The Hanningdon Magic Series emerged.

They still keep me awake nights.