Storm

Funny, moving and surprising, told with real wisdom and heart.

The Bookseller

The story

“You were born raging, Frances Frida Ripley. That’s what happens when you’re born in a storm.”

Frankie’s parents were not prepared for her birth: they had a blanket and an easel and some paint, but not anything useful, like a car or a phone. So it’s no wonder Frankie has always had a temper. She was born on a BEACH, in a STORM.

What Frankie herself was not prepared for was unfortunately actually dying in a freak natural disaster that wiped out her whole town.

Waking up 100 years later, Frances finds a whole load of new things to be angry about. And that’s before the visitors start turning up, treating her home like it’s a tourist attraction. Which it is.

Only there are worse people out there than tourists… and they’re coming for Frankie.

Frankie is about to discover that there are things more important than herself – and that anger has its uses. Because when you have a storm inside you – sometimes the only thing to do is let it out.


What inspired Storm?

Standing at the kitchen sink one day, I had a sudden vision of an unseen child – a girl – observing strangers wandering around her home. The strangers were looking at her belongings as if they were museum exhibits. This started me thinking. Why would the strangers not see her? 

I suppose, answering myself, they wouldn’t see her if she was dead. Why would the child see them, though? Oh, if they were a ghost. And how would that ghost feel about people poking around her home?

Well, I thought, hugely enjoying this conversation with myself, they’d feel pretty angry. So I started thinking about an angry ghost, and what her story might be. 

But perhaps it started earlier than that. When I was a child I had a godfather who lived in Castle Drogo, Devon. It’s looked after by the National Trust now, but when I was little, it was his family home. After he died, looking after the castle (and its leaky roof) was too much work for his widow, so the National Trust took over. The castle became two places at once; a home for her, and an exhibit for others. She had her private quarters but the rest of the castle was open to the public. 

I was about ten when I last visited Castle Drogo. It dawned on me that a family home would one day belong completely to the tourists. And that’s what happens to my heroine – and angry ghost – Frankie Ripley. Except she doesn’t live in a castle, because I’m trying to make stuff up here.


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