top of page

It's only natural there should be magic in the air

Vicky Woodgate is the author of a series of books whose title begins with the words The Magic Of… and each title encourages readers to “explore the fascinating world…” I had no idea there was so much to explore and was thrilled when Vicky agreed to share with us some insights into the books, into her work behind the scenes making them come to life. Read on for some very special magic and a treat when you get to the end!


What makes your chosen subjects ‘magic?' The first book in the series is about SLEEP, and because we know so little about sleep, I found that mysterious and magical. With so many fascinating tales, myths and legends surrounding sleep and because we mostly sleep at night, the darkness makes everything seem so much more eerie, mythical, and sometimes even spooky.


When I went on to write SEASONS, that subject also lent itself to being magical, after all seasonal changes bring a certain amount of magic to our lives. And the world is FULL of wonderful seasonal stories and customs that really needed to be shared along with some incredible science, like the world being on a tilt, thus causing our seasonal changes, and the CHANCES of that happening in the universe are so small that really is absolute MAGIC!


My latest book FORESTS was a no brainer, forests are just a wonderful world to enter. Not only was it fun to discover the history of these habitats, but who lives in what type of forest, and to be able to share the incredible stories passed down through the ages by our ancestors. Unicorns anyone? The world is FULL of amazing forest fairy tales, now that’s what l call magic.


What do you think is key to a subject being fascinating? I think any subject can be fascinating, it’s the way you present it that makes a difference to who finds it interesting. Everyone out there has a fascination about something, for example I am OBSSESSED with moss and lichen, I LOVE the patterns and colours, many people would not even notice a piece of moss on a wall, or incredible lichen pattern hanging onto a branch, but if you can show other people their beauty and appeal, they may to find it fascinating too.


Do you have a list of research questions that you use as you prepare the books or another way to guide your research? This is my favourite part of the process apart from coming up with the book idea to start with. Usually something piques my interest, it could be an image, a cool fact, or a story. I start looking further into the subject, finding an angle that could make it into an interesting book that people would want to read. That then lays the foundation of what I want to cover in the book. From there I research any facts, making sure everything is correct and true if it is nonfiction. I try to find the funny, absurd, and positively silly as well as the WOW! I also want it to be for a global audience, for every child to be able to relate to it or find it interesting to them wherever they live, so I look for material that comes from all over the world and from different cultures. I have had the pleasure in the past to interview specialists and I have read many research papers.


How do you gauge the level of detail your readership will be comfortable with and what to include? I can imagine it must be tempting to include everything! Oh yes, this is where it’s difficult, leaving out things because there just isn’t enough space or is maybe a little too difficult to digest. I also believe bit sized chunks of information can be more helpful to many readers who may be daunted by a huge passage of text, this is where my skills as an illustrator help, I use both the words and the pictures to pass on the information. I hope this will then reach many more children to pick up the books and enjoy them whatever level they are comfortable with. I also think it makes them a better sharing book with the whole family, younger members can look at the pictures and older children can read the text too and adults can learn a thing or two as well!


What is the most fascinating fact you have learned in your research for these books and what do you do it? I think it must be from my latest book FORESTS. It’s just how good a forest can be for our mental and physical health, that they can help with anxiety, bird song can make us feel relaxed and that PINE trees release a vapour called terpenes. These smells can help with inflammation (swelling) so when we walk through a pine forest and breath in, it can help our airways and make you feel refreshed. I created a Mind and Body page, which is a theme in all the magic series, how our mental and physical health is affected by the subject of the book. This was the perfect place to cover these amazing discoveries.


Each of your books makes great use of timelines. Why do you think these are important? It is because I LOVE creating a timeline. I find them visually exciting, easy to follow and shows the passage of time. They are a great way to show an overall picture.


Your style of writing makes each book feel as though addressed personally and directly to the reader. Do you find that this encourages engagement? Absolutely, I just want to have a good chat ….

You write and illustrate your books. How do you decide on the balance between or does it come naturally? Yes, it does come naturally. Being a visual person first and foremost. I draw out the page and add the text at the same time. It then becomes more organic and at one, the text almost becomes part of the art of the page.


What is it about illustrated books, particularly non-fiction books with illustrations, that you think appeals to readers? Because both words and pictures tell the story. It’s very powerful. Visually exciting – even if the subject matter can be a little difficult to understand, be of interest or hard to take in. A fabulous image can make all the difference!


Your books include activities, quizzes and tips, encouraging further engagement them further. Do you create them after the contents of the books have been completed? I adore a craft project, and who doesn’t love a quiz. I HAD to put those things in my books, and yes, I do all the activities first. I create them at the end of the books after all the information has been collected, giving me ideas of what to include in the quizzes and what activities and crafts we can do and make. It also means I can so some of these things at author events when the books come out!


As a writer have you always been curious? Can you remember your earliest curious questions about the world? I love maps, l would pour over them as a child, wanting to discover everything about all those fascinating faraway places. Those old-fashioned encyclopaedias were great too, although they could be a little boring. I am so jealous of the books that are out today I would have LOVED them as a child. But no fear I read them all now. I loved the fact you could float in the Dead Sea because of all the salt. I finally visited it years later and yes, I DID float.


Do you have a favourite fascinating fact or magical natural event you can share with our readers to inspire their curiosity? YES! Did you know a cat purr can lower your stress and worry levels! I love that. And so does Mimi our cat guide in the magic series. Meow!


You can see all Vicky's books and more on her website and of course they are all available from good bookshops. Here are some links (click the images) to the books we talked about for this Blog ~

And that treat? A link to a free activity sheet bundle PLUS a five day sleep project activity and a quiz complete with downloadable mask!

PLUS we have a set of books to giveaway to one lucky reader. Leave us a comment telling us which of these books you think is the most magical. All replies need to be received by Friday 22nd March - Good Luck!

Our thanks to Vicky and her publisher DK for making this all possible!




Featured Posts
Recent Posts
Search By Tags
Follow Us
  • Facebook Basic Square
  • Twitter Basic Square
  • Google+ Basic Square
bottom of page