Annabelle Franklin, Author:
Messages from Millie
Annabelle Franklin lives in an area of outstanding natural beauty on Wales’s stunning and magical South Gower coast. She shares her chalet home with Millie and Pearl, two beautiful rescue dogs who allow her to see the world through their eyes.
Since leaving school Annabelle has worked in an artificial limb and appliance centre, studied radiography and music (not at the same time), played in two bands and taught children to play the piano. During her time with a local drama group she wrote and performed in plays and made a short film, all of which gave her the chance to try on different characters for size.
You can contact Annabelle on firstname.lastname@example.org
Annabelle gives us something called ‘kibble’, and makes all sorts of claims for it which can’t possibly be true. She says there’s chicken in it, but we’ve examined it closely and can find no evidence. She says it’s good for us and of greater nutritional value than the food she eats herself. (Actually, I can believe that – Annabelle is a disastrous cook.) She also claims it keeps our teeth clean. If that’s the case, why does she have to add weird seaweedy stuff to our food to get the plaque off our teeth?
Kibble is boring and hard work to eat. Annabelle tries to liven it up by adding dog meat, but that doesn’t work because the dog meat is dull as well. Even the word ‘kibble’ is boring. Interesting food words for dogs are ‘meat’, ‘chicken’, ‘rabbit’, ’fish’, ‘cheese’, ‘egg’, and ‘cat’. ’Kibble’ is meaningless.
For a long time we’ve accepted this substandard fare on the assumption that all dogs are in the same boat. But now we’ve discovered this is not so. When Annabelle was reading WAG! (DogsTrust magazine) the other day, I ‘listened in’ and picked up that certain dogs – dogs who belong to CELEBRITIES – get to eat delicious, dog-friendly food prepared specially for them by a proper chef at a private members’ club in Mayfair!
This situation is bang out of order. I may not belong to a celebrity – yet – but I am a celebrity in my own right. Did I not feature prominently in the Pets At Home 2010 Greyhound and Lurcher calendars?
And NO, Pearl, I am NOT a ‘has-been’. My stardom lives on. Just last week, we were out on a walk and some German tourists asked if they could take a picture of me. That’s as good as asking for my autograph!
The point is, I should be getting gourmet food. I don’t even need to go to some posh London club to eat it – I’d be more than happy to have it served at home. I’d even be happy to share it with Pearl. She may not be an A-lister, but I can’t bear to watch her chewing live wasps in an attempt to spice up her diet.
The hero of Gateway to Magic is 11 year old Steven Topcliff, a sensitive and imaginative boy who has learned to hide these qualities in order to ‘fit in’. An only child, he lives in a well ordered home with a loving family. His Mum is a bit of a worrier, and some of her anxious nature has rubbed off on him.
At the beginning of the book, it’s the summer holidays and Steven is spending most of his time in his bedroom, glued to his games console. He doesn’t want to think about the coming autumn, when he has to start Comp – he’s heard all sorts of horror stories about rampant bullying and ridonkulous amounts of homework. The gaming world is a world he can control, where he can be a powerful hero.
Steven doesn’t believe in fairies or magic – that stuff is strictly for girls – so he’s horrified when he actually finds himself in Fairyland. He’s even more horrified when he discovers there are no video games. He has to learn to fit in all over again, in a place that’s far more dangerous than any school. If he wants to get back to his own world, he’s going to have to wake up that rusty imagination and use it for all he’s worth.
- A video game called McDivott (it’s his favourite)
- Chicken nuggets and chips
Fruit and vegetables
Fungus (he’s allergic to it)
His cousin Tracy