I have just returned from the most amazing and moving school visit, Westquarter Primary on the edges of Falkirk. Audra McKee, their teacher, had contacted me to say how much her class were enjoying CHILL, and asked for a visit. When I arrived, they were busy still making their own maps (showing the setting of the books), and their own Ebony Boxes containing the worn leather bag, piece of tartan, ring and silver dagger which Samuel and Fiona discover in CHILL. I signed each of their maps before I left. But what amazed me more than anything was that they had wanted me to visit their school so much that the pupils themselves raised the money for the visit. I didn’t know this till it was time to leave. They had a cake sale to actually pay for the workshop, and to enable them to buy copies of CHILL, SHIVER and DARKER ENDS. When I first heard from Audra and she told me that the pupils loved CHILL so much that they wouldn’t let her stop reading at break-time, I didn’t quite believe it, but when I walked in the door of this quiet classroom, I knew she had meant every word. They told me things about CHILL that I hadn’t thought of it in years, and explained that what they loved was the sense of injustice, that Patrick – a poor boy – was not allowed to be friends with, or marry, the wealthy daughter, Catherine Morton. They felt they knew and had met all of the characters. I think a lot of this must be down to their excellent teacher, who knew how to use the book. I was able to show them pictures of the real place where the books are set, and to explain how I lived there myself, how I was trapped by blizzards, and was then inspired to write the story because I missed living there so much afterwards. So a massive thank you to those wonderful pupils of Westquarter Primary. I left there with tears in my eyes, and drove home smiling. They have promised to send me their own Ebony Box, with treasures or relics inside, which I will keep in my writing room with pride. If these pupils do not deserve libraries and access to books, then I don’t know who does… because their teacher has spent weeks enthralling them on several levels, just through studying one book.