Max’s Christmas Adventure & Max’s Midnight Adventure
by Wendy Leighton-Porter
Max’s Christmas Adventure
A second solo adventure awaits Max the time-travelling Tonkinese cat in this Christmas short story.
Invited to accompany a well-known figure on a whirlwind trip into the past, he sets off on a mission to search for something very precious to his owners Jemima and Joe Lancelot – their missing parents.
The hunt reveals tantalising clues to this mystery and ends with a special surprise for the twins.
Max’s Midnight Adventure
Max the talking Tonkinese cat has a third solo adventure in this seasonal short story.
What happens when the feline hero is trapped in the attic one night?
Will he escape the clutches of the Christmas fairy, a regiment of soldiers and three obstreperous French hens in time to enjoy a holiday with his family?
One thing’s for sure, the Twelve Days of Christmas will never seem quite the same again…
Dividing my time between homes in South-West France and Abu Dhabi, I live with my husband and our beautiful Tonkinese cat. I spent 20 years as a teacher of French, Latin and Classical studies, before a change of career led me to writing books for children instead.
Shadows from the Past is series of time-travel adventures, featuring 3 children and a rather special Tonkinese cat by the name of Max. I’m currently working on the tenth book in the series, The Shadow of the Witchfinder. Max also has a few solo adventures of his own to accompany the series.
As I take my young readers on a magical mystery tour through the past, I’m hoping that my love of history, myth and legend will rub off on them too.
Q&A With Wendy Leighton-Porter:
1. Describe yourself in 50 words or less.
After almost 20 years of teaching of French, Latin and Classical studies in the UK, a change of career led me to writing children’s fiction. A Francophile, with a home in France, I’m currently living in Abu Dhabi with my husband and our Tonkinese cat.
2. What do you love most in the world?
As the question begins with “What?” rather than “Who?”, I think I can safely get away without mentioning my husband here! Everyone who knows me will confirm that I’m a cat lover, but my heart really lies with the Tonkinese breed. I adore them and would happily confess to being a Tonkaholic! A cross between Siamese and Burmese, they are the most delightful cats. I am, of course, speaking from experience – my first Tonk, Bertie (aka Max, the feline hero of my stories), is sadly no longer with us, but his sister is still going strong at almost eighteen years old.
3. What inspired you to become an Author?
I’d always wanted to write but, with a busy teaching career, I never seemed to find enough time. When I stopped teaching I found myself in the enviable position of having plenty of spare time and realised that I could now set off along a new career path. Writing for children seemed the logical step after so many years spent in the classroom and, ever the teacher, I hope that my books are a little bit educational as well as being fun.
4. What is your favorite Winter / Holiday tradition?
I love the Christmas tree, with its twinkling fairy lights. I think it takes me back to my childhood and my early memories of the magic of Christmas. However, I’m also a bit of a mince pie addict. I make my own, using a family recipe, and eating them fresh from the oven while they’re still warm is a real Christmastime treat in our household.
5. What is your trick for getting past writer’s block? And what advice do you have for other authors who are struggling to tell their story?
I’m lucky that this hasn’t really happened to me yet. I hope I’m not tempting fate here and am thinking that I should quickly touch wood or something! However, when I’m seeking inspiration, I usually find that my best ideas come to me when I’m in the bath (and have nothing to write them down with!). So, I guess that my advice would be not to try and force the story, but to take some time out and relax. Close the bathroom door to make sure you’re not disturbed, light a few candles, luxuriate in the warm, scented water and wait for the ideas to come floating into your head!
6. Now that we’ve gotten to know each other, tell me a story. It can be long or short. From your childhood or last week. Funny, sad, or somewhere in between. Just make sure it’s yours. What’s your story?
It happened one Halloween a few years ago when I’d been to a friend’s party, dressed as a vampire with full gruesome face make-up; white face, black-ringed eyes and fake blood dripping from the corners of my mouth. I was the first to leave just after midnight, as I had to go to work the following morning. My friend lived in a rural area with a manned railway-crossing near to her isolated cottage. Late at night, you weren’t allowed to ring the bell to get the railwayman to come and open the barrier for you to drive across the tracks. Instead, you had to climb the steps of the signal box and knock on the door, which I duly did – but there was no reply. I was a bit impatient at having to wait out there in the cold and the dark, so I moved in front of the window and saw the man with his feet up on the desk, seemingly engrossed in his newspaper. I rapped loudly on the window pane and at last he looked up. His face went white, his eyes almost popped out of his head, but he remained seated, staring at me with his mouth gaping. So, I banged harder on the glass and he eventually staggered to his feet and came to the door, looking terrified. ‘You nearly gave me a heart attack,’ he gasped. Then I remembered how I was dressed and felt such a fool, and also a little guilty for having scared him. Apparently, he dined out on that story for years and always told my friend, every time he saw her, that the encounter had probably shortened his life by 20 years! I wonder if it was on his recommendation that the crossing in question is now automated?
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