Can you hear the sound of clattering keyboards? For the writers working on 26 Treasures of Childhood, it’s first-draft deadline day this Friday. Some will be putting the finishing touches to their beautiful prose, others will be scratching their heads in a panic. A select few are sitting smugly, feet up on the desk, job done, just waiting to hear from their editor. So before a tide of beautiful text washes over her, we thought we’d get one of those editors, Emily Bromfield, onto the blog, to answer our now-familiar questions…
What object are you writing about and what were your first thoughts when we told you?
It’s a painting from 1982 of a Conservative Party Conference with Maggie, Dennis and other Thatcherites. And I’m quite delighted, 30 years later, on behalf of my four-year self, to get my own back in a small way on a woman whose face became a regular fixture on my dad’s dartboard. I can still picture him aiming for the forehead.
What lost object from your own childhood would you like to own again, and why?
My Fisher Price car garage: a great home for caterpillars and hiding the Bel Paese cheese that I wasn’t supposed to eat before dinner. It got given to charity without my knowledge a few years ago. I’ve still not quite forgiven my mum.
Hop into my time machine and it will take to you back to one specific hour of your childhood – where and when do you want to go, and why?
On holiday in the Cotswolds aged seven. I had a glow-worm green pyjama-wearing toy that I slept with and one night, turning off its lit face, there were still flickering gold specs in the walls that I thought were real glow-worms. It was only light seeping in from the corridor, but it made me believe in magic for a while.
Can you surprise me with one unusual fact about your childhood?
Not exactly unusual, but I had a really bad lisp until I was about eight or nine, when my mum sent me to speech therapy to correct it. Sometimes now, when I’m very tired, a hint of it comes back and I remember how much I used to struggle with the letter ‘s’.
What’s the earliest thing you can remember writing?
Perhaps not the earliest, but my first proper story was about a field mouse that got tragically killed by a combine harvester. The accompanying illustrations were quite gruesome. I’d clearly lost my faith in magic brought on by my glow-worm and was verging towards Hammer horror instead.