Thank you, Enid Blyton

I'm often asked who inspired me to write and there can only be one answer to that question: the late and very great Enid Blyton.

Coming from a non book, working class household if it hadn't been for my local library and Enid Blyton I would never have discovered the joy of reading and then writing. She allowed me to escape into another world so far removed from my own. I didn't care that the children in her novels were middle class, that's what made them special to me along with their wonderful adventures, of course: The Famous Five, The Secret Seven, The Pole Star Family. Now, as an author of six crime novels, and a new one to be published next year both in the UK and the USA, I owe her an enormous debt of gratitude.

Enid Blyton, died aged 71 in 1968.  She has sold 600 million books which are still selling and despite the middle class establishment of her day, the BBC and the so called 'educators' belittling her work she gave pleasure to millions of children. After training as a teacher, she got her first break thanks to her husband Hugh Pollock, who worked at the London publishers George Newnes and helped her publish her first stories in 1924. She was fortunate to have an in, and being a businesswoman she exploited it mercilessly. I can't say I blame her, others have done it and still do. 

Her business acumen, including an awareness of marketing, publicity and branding, helped her become the most popular children’s author of the era, who is still hugely popular today. She used the launch of her own magazine to help spread her fame,oversaw the design of her books and developed her own unique symbol of her signature on every cover. No doubt if the Internet and social networking had been around in her day she would have found ingenious ways to capitalise on it.

She was a workaholic, with an incredible drive to achieve. A true Type A personality even down to her lack of maternal instinct. But she gave us great stories and the joy of reading and for that I will always love her, and be grateful to her, despite what anyone says, writes or screens on television.

Thank you, Enid Blyton.

The full archive on Enid Blyton can be seen at www.bbc.co.uk/archive

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