May I call you Kathleen? In my head you will always be KM. I discovered you first through the TV series of Flambards, back in the early 80s. I’d recently moved back to NYC from London, and missed everything about England. Flambards had all that I longed for in a drama — the countryside, the romance, the history, and most important, the horses. Not to mention the most wonderful heart-wrenching theme tune, which still makes me feel all emotional, twenty something years later.
I only read the book afterwards (it was wonderful), and discovered the rest of your horsey books much later — which is a source of great sadness to me, as I would have adored them as a 12-year-old. A wise bookseller put me on to Fly-By-Night, I found The Swallow Tale for 20p in a charity shop — and was so enthralled that I then paid £12 for the sequel to Fly-By-Night from Daunts. Others I’ve ordered from Amazon or Abebooks, though I particularly love finding them unexpectedly in independent or secondhand bookshops.
Ms Peyton, I am now 53, and am not ashamed to say that I still adore reading your pony books, which are so beautifully written and so emotionally true, that even the simplest is as suitable for adults as for children. You, I see from Wikipedia, are my mother’s age, 80, but there are pictures of you on your website with various horses, and you look a great deal younger. I have begged your address from David Fickling, who says you would be happy to meet me — at which occasion I will try not to stammer and gush.
I began my very belated writing career thinking I could write horse books — my very first (unpublished) novel was called Horse Therapy — and I would secretly like to write five or ten more. But to be honest, you’ve put me off. They would never be as good as yours.
Yours, in admiration,
p.s. As an aside, it was only while rereading Flambards that I realized the story had some familiar elements: a girl is sent to live in the countryside with her cousins, one of whom she falls in love with. Did anyone ever complain about Christina and Will (and, later, Christina and Mark) being cousins?