In the run up to Christmas, the Madeleine Milburn Literary Agency will be posting an entry from one of our authors each day, offering anything from writing tips and their inspiration, to Christmas memories and their wishes for the year to come.


Lara Williamson

Sometimes a little bit of hope can go a long way… For me, Christmas is a time of hope. It’s a time for believing that anything is possible. When I was little I believed in magic so intensely that I was forever checking the back of our wardrobe. Would I have been surprised if I’d stepped into a snowy kingdom and been plied with rose-flavoured sweets – nope, in fact, I would have put on my big winter coat in a nanosecond and been ready for the adventure.

The magic of Christmases past would always kick off from the moment the first tree sprouted up in a window, its rainbow coloured lights shining like tiny beacons of hope. I was transfixed by Christmas trees, by glittery baubles, by fairy lights, by hopes and dreams, by the angel on the tree, by everything. Seriously, it was like a spoonful of magic medicine to a child. Nothing could touch it and, what’s more, it happened every year. At the time I believed that one day I’d find some magic of my own. I didn’t know what sort of magic it would be and, although I suspected I wouldn’t find a kingdom at the back of the wardrobe, I still hoped I’d find something.

Many years later magic did happen at Christmas and it happened in a way I least expected it to. I had been submitting stories for years, without success, but eventually I’d written a paranormal story which was longlisted for Undiscovered Voices 2012. While it was on submission I thought I’d write something completely new – mainly for myself. It was the beginning of December and I remember thinking I had nothing to lose in writing another story. And although I wasn’t writing about magic in the paranormal sense I felt there was a little bit of magic inside the eleven year old boy I was writing about. It was a quiet sort of magic – the type that comes from being rejected but always believing and always hoping. In fact, it was exactly the sort of magic found in real people up and down the country.

I spent the entire Christmas holiday writing about a boy I called HOPE. And his story was the one that got me the publishing deal I’d been dreaming of. In fact, it was the Christmas magic I’d been waiting for. I still believe in Christmas, and I still sometimes knock the back of my wardrobe. But most of all, I still have hope. And that’s the only advice I can offer, and what I live by. Keep hope alive and you can’t go far wrong.

HOPE you have a magical Christmas too!

Lara Williamson A BOY CALLED HOPE

Usborne’s Christmas tree

A Boy Called Hope by Lara Williamson Lara Williamson‘s debut novel, A BOY CALLED HOPE, is the story of Dan Hope and his quest to find his dad and make him love him again. Published by Usborne Publishing in March 2014.