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The latest Riverdale news - and a chance to meet me!

Hello! First off - Happy New Year! I hope your 2019 is filled with happy times, good books and - of course - horses! Here in Kent the winter has been dragging on, and the weather has done its best to scupper my weekly rides on Dobbie. On icy mornings we have ridden in the school, but last week a double whammy of pea-souper fog plus driving rain put paid to any chance of a hack. I'm sure spring must be just around the corner, but I really wish it would make an appearance soon! Two weeks ago, happily, I did get to ride and we did come canter work in the school because the roads around the yard were so icy. Here we are!

The eighth Riverdale book is going really well and I'm definitely on the downhill straight now. I'm still hoping for a February publication date as I would really like the book to be available in time for the half-term holiday here in the UK.

I'm really enjoying writing this one, which I think is a good sign as it's not always the case! When a book isn't going well it's like wading through treacle, but Poppy's latest adventure has been a pleasure to write. So far, anyway! Thanks to the iPad and dinky keyboard the lovely Mr Wills bought me for Christmas, I have even been able to venture out to write in my favourite cafe, pretending I'm JK Rowling!

I have a title for Book Eight in mind, and I have also been thinking about the cover, so I hope to be able to reveal both to you very soon. February promises to be an action-packed month, as not only will I have a new book out, but I am also taking part in my very first literary festival!

My friend and fellow pony book author, Jane Ayres, and I are giving a free children's talk at Faversham Literary Festival. The talk takes place in the Guildhall in Market Street, Faversham, from 3pm until 3.45pm on Saturday 23 February.

Jane and I will be talking about writing, what inspires us and why we love writing pony books. We'll also be signing books and answering questions and if you can make it we would LOVE to see you there. Just click here to visit the festival's website for more details. Oh, and did I mention the event is completely and totally FREE??!!

An exciting parcel arrived in the post the other day - a whole heap of books that I'll be taking along to the festival. I'm also hoping to have some rather nice bookmarks to be able to give away. I can't wait!

In other news our two cats, Minstrel and Fudge, have been keeping me company as I write Book Eight. Minstrel is the inspiration for Poppy's rather chubby cat Magpie in the Riverdale books. She's on a diet and has actually lost a bit of weight, but you wouldn't be able to tell from this photo, taken by my youngest son Thomas while I was at work.

Our cats have never been allowed on the kitchen table - looks like someone forgot to copy Minstrel in when the memo went out! Cheeky monkey!

Fudge prefers to sit on my desk while I'm writing. Usually she lolls on my notebook or my thesaurus, which is fine until I need to refer to my notes or look up a word. But the day I took this picture she decided she preferred my mouse mat. Who needs a computer mouse when, with a simple upgrade, you can have a computer cat?!

The author interviews have been on hold while I have been working on Book Eight, but I hope to be able to send you some more very soon. I just need to find some more willing victims. Sorry, I mean volunteers! Anyway, that's all from me for now. Poppy has just reminded me that I need to get a shift on and finish her adventure. Speak soon and in the meantime... Happy reading! Amanda

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