Friday, May 01, 2009


The first few months of this year have flown by and, for me, much of the time has been occupied fighting a deadline while at the same time battling an infection and virus. The subsequent pill-induced stupor and propensity to drop off to sleep over my keyboard every five minutes, were not at all conducive to keeping my hero and heroine on track. Nor to meeting that rapidly-advancing deadline. But Luca and Polly finally walked off into the sunset - I can't quite describe the state I'm in!

Fresh panic set in when I remembered it was my turn to blog today. Oh, help! What could I talk about? I was pondering this dilemma when a very interesting discussion came on the radio following publication of a list of favourite children's books, as selected by five well-known Children's Laureates here in the UK. One of the first obvious points to note were the complete absence from the list of writers including J K Rowling, Roald Dahl, Philip Pullmam, Beatrix Potter and A A Milne.

Each of the five writers selected their seven favourite books. The selection is "not meant to be a list of books all children should read, but rather provides an insight into what inspired some of today's finest writers", the Times Online explained. (You can read the piece here )

Anyway, it started me thinking about favourite children's stories of my own. A A Milne's Pooh books are included in my list, as are other classics like The Secret Garden, The Silver Sword, Enid Blyton's Famous Five and Secret Seven, and the superb Anne of Green Gable series by Lucy Maud Montgommery. Featuring most strongly in my memories are all the wonderful pony books by the Pullein-Thomson sisters, including Show Jumping Secret and the Phantom Horse stories, Mary O'Hara's Flicka, Thunderhead and GreenGrass of Wyoming books, Ruby Ferguson's Jill books, the Sue Barton nurse books by Helen Doye Boyleston, and Willard Price's fabulous series of adventure books that shaped my lifelong passion for wildlife and conservation.

I'm not surprised that the most popular writers of today didn't feature in any of the five selected writers lists. After all, it is the books, characters and adventures we embark on and experience throughout our own formative years that shape our love of reading and hone our imaginations. I feel very blessed that my parents actively encouraged my reading, shared with me their joy of books, and gave me one of the greatest gifts of all - one that lasts a lifetime.

That I have been lucky enough to extend my love of books from pure enjoyment and relaxation into what I do for a living is beyond belief, and I never cease to give thanks. My next two Medical Romances set in my fictional Scottish town of Strathlochan, come out as a double bill in May and June in the UK.

First up - and out now - is THE EMERGENCY DOCTOR CLAIMS HIS WIFE, which tells the story of Nathan Shepherd and Annie Webster. The back blurb states:-

"There's a sexy new doctor in town!

Pulses rise at Strathlochan Hospital when a tall, dark-haired, drop-dead gorgeous new doctor strides purposefully through the doors, especially Dr Annie Webster's! Nathan Shepherd is her ex – the very man she's never been able to get out of her system.

It's been five years, and they both have very different recollections of their break-up. Whatever the tensions between them, neither can deny the smouldering passion they still share.

It's clear to Nathan they have unfinished business, and this time he's not leaving without answers ... or his woman!"

Poor Nathan has had a while to wait to be reunited with Annie. I had just begun to write his book when I was asked to stop by my editor and to focus on an exciting new project, which turned out to be the superb continuity series, BRIDES OF PENHALLY BAY, set in Cornwall and

which ran throughout 2008 to mark Mills & Boon's wonderful centenary. Nathan made his displeasure clear, writing his own post here on Tote Bags back in February 2007 as A Frustrated Hero!! Now, at last, his story is told - I hope you will enjoy his and Annie's journey to love.

I'll be back next month to introduce you to the second book of this Strathlochan duet, THE REBEL SURGEON'S PROPOSAL, when Luke Devlin returns with one goal in mind ... finding Francesca Scott.

Whatever your memories of childhood and your choice in genre these days, I wish you all the contiued gift of reading and the lifelong joy it brings.




Donna Alward said...

Great post Margaret! I read all the Anne books as a child - and as well I inherited my sister's hand me downs as she was much older than me. Donna Parker, Nancy Drew and the Bobbsey Twins.

I was also very much into the whole Black Stallion series. There is something about little girls and horses, isn't there!And of course the world of Narnia.

I know when my kids are older the ones they will likely remember most are Harry Potter - we loved the books, all of us - as well as Madeleine L'Engle's and Meg Cabot. And youngest is currently reading a Bobbsey Twin book, and my eldest is reading New Moon. It is interesting to blend the old books that stand the test of time with the new next big thing.

Liza said...

Anne of Green Gables is still one of my favorite books I've ever read. I read pretty much anything I could get my hands on growing up(still do). Some of my favorite authors growing up were Judy Blume, Beverly Cleary, Roald Dahl, Madeleine L'Engle, Laura Ingalls Wilder, and so many more.

I loved the Harry Potter series and even got my nieces and my sister hooked on it. I also got them hooked on the Twilight series.

Helen said...


I have always loved reading and my favourites as a child were Enid Blyton's Secret Seven and Famous Five then moved onto Agatha Christie's books now I read romance and cannot get enough of them I will be looking for your books here in Australia they sound great do you know when they will be released over here.

Have Fun

Margaret McDonagh said...

Thanks Donna and Liza - it's fascinating hearing about your own favourite books from childhood, including a shared love of Anne! Thinking back today has been like opening a treasure box of old memories to rummage in!

Mags xx

Margaret McDonagh said...

Thanks for stopping by, Helen.

I'm an Agatha Christie fan, too. My favourite book of hers is The Murder of Roger Ackroyd. Very clever - and the ending still shocks me!

Thanks for asking about my books. I can tell you that the newest Strathlochan duet, The Emergency Doctor Claims His Wife, (Nathan & Annie's story), and The Rebel Surgeon's Proposal, (Luke & Francesca's story), are out very soon in Australia. You can buy the first one now on the Harlequin website, with the second being available on the site next month. I think they are in the shops themselves in June and July.

If you do give them a go, I hope you will enjoy them, and that you will come back and visit Strathlochan again in future! Details and extracts of books, etc, are available on my website at

Mags xx

EllenToo said...

My favorite books as a child were Nancy Drew, The Hardy Boys, Cherry Ames (which is the story of a mystery solving nurse) and I believe they are being reprinted and put back into the market. I also loved Black Beauty.

Michele L. said...

I absolutely loved Anne of Green Gable's books and movies! The turns of phrases, sentiments, are just lovely! It makes one yearn for friends and to sit on your front porch with a glass of lemonade and chat for a while.

Harry Potter books are just wonderful! I also read the Lemony Snickett books. Fun but weird! I just saw the movie, TWILIGHT. Absolutely loved it! I have to read the books now!

Great post! Have a great week!