Author conjures up the seventh Worst Witch tale
A ST MABYN author behind the bestselling The Worst Witch collection is about to release the seventh book from the series.
Jill Murphy's hotly anticipated The Worst Witch And The Wishing Star will be the first book from the collection in six years and is released on October 3.
Next year Jill will also be celebrating the 40th anniversary of the first title in the series. To date her books have sold more than four million copies worldwide.
"I can't believe the anniversary is next year; it makes me feel about 190 years old," Jill said.
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"I wrote the book when I was 18 and three publishers turned it down thinking it would scare children. A small publishing firm eventually took it on and it just went crazy."
The Worst Witch And The Wishing Star has been described as a new adventure starring the loveable but disaster-prone worst witch Mildred Hubble, who makes a wish on a shooting star which then comes true, but not without its problems.
The project took Jill around six months to complete. "The writing phase is fairly quick but it's the illustrations that take the time," she said.
To celebrate the 40th anniversary, publishers Penguin will be printing the Worst Witch books in full colour illustration, and Jill believes she has an eighth title up her sleeve.
She said: "I think there should be eight books, and maybe Mildred will even become head girl. I won't ever stop writing; it would be like stopping breathing. I'll be writing until I lose my marbles."
Jill recently held a reading session at St Merryn School when teachers and pupils dressed up as characters from the books.
She said: "It was a wonderful day. I still feel delighted that it has such an effect on people's lives, I'm very proud."
In conjunction with the release of the book, Jill will be taking part in the North Cornwall book festival at the end of October, an event organised by novelist Patrick Gale.
Jill moved back to Cornwall at the turn of the century after living in London for ten years, a move she doesn't regret.
"In my opinion Cornwall is the most wonderful place on the planet," she said. "I always longed to come back. If I spend the day writing I can go to the beach in the evening and walk the dogs, it's wonderful."
Nicola Formoy, of Penguin publishers, said: "Her books were, and continue to be, a huge part of childhoods and it's testament to the power of her writing and illustrations they are still so successful today."