Back when I was a child, in the 1980s, there was nothing more exciting than a trip to Rhyl Sun Centre. But the SECOND most exciting thing to do was a trip to Wrexham Library with its sunken-floored children’s section and its bright boxes of heavenly BOOKS.

I would be allowed to riffle through the collection, pouring over first pages and illustrations, taking my time to choose, while Mum had a well-earned break in the café. And it wasn’t just Wrexham Library I loved; holding the big round handle on the door of Cefn Mawr Library was like holding the hand of a friend; a visit to the bookshop on Rhosddu Road (was it an Ottakar’s? I have a feeling that it was) was a treat. I fell more and more in love with stories on those visits. So, when I was invited to become a Patron of the Wrexham Carnival of Words, I had to say yes. In honesty, it was a carnival I’d been a part of my whole life, even before the festival itself existed.

As a writer, I was made by the libraries and booksellers I visited. And I’m honoured to play a part in encouraging future readers and writers by accepting this role.

These days, I write fiction for children and young people: historical adventures, magical fantasies and real-life dramas. My books have taken me around the UK and even to other countries. But Wrexham is home. My latest book, The Blackthorn Branch is set in an amalgamation of Cefn Mawr, Acrefair and Trevor, and readers who know those villages will recognise their neighbourhoods in the book. It’s a joy to represent Wales on the page, and as a patron of the Carnival.

The Carnival of Words brings together readers and writers over a love of stories – long may it continue!