Recently I discovered Robin McKinley's blog which I've enjoyed immensly.
Her name was familiar to me with a far-away type of feeling that comes from it having been important to me in the past. It triggered memories of standing between high shelves of untold treasure at the library in Brackley.
One of my favourite things as a girl was when my Mum used to take me to the library. I could spend endless amounts of time there choosing my six books, finding new authors, discovering new works by familiar ones or re-reading old favourites.
I would always finish my books before it was time to go back.
I learned names of authors by heart, so that I would be ready to find them again.
Robin McKinley was one of those names. I don't remember what I first read of hers, but I do remember that I loved Beauty. I also know that it came out of the library with me on more than one occasion.
There was also a short story of hers, that haunted me for years, I could only remember fragments of it, and that it was part of an anthology with a cover illustration involving bubbles in a field. (Amazing the little things that stick in the mind after all these years) I remembered that it had been unlike anything I'd ever read before.
I could hardly believe it when I scrolled down the books section of her website and saw that very same book cover (It was an anthology called Imaginary Lands, and the short story was "The Stone Fey").
It felt like seeing an old friend.
"Stories have ideas of their own; the writer is their biographer"
- Robin McKinley