THE MILO ADVENTURES
Some years ago local historian George Cunningham told me about an amazing garden some miles from Roscrea where there was an extraordinary collection of stones and rocks that I should see. I was warmly welcomed by the Dempsey family and I was astounded by the naturally sculpted stones standing all over the large garden, some almost human in appearance. My imagination was immediately fired up, especially when I was told how they were accumulated many years ago by an eccentric, reclusive old man who paid farmers a few pennies whenever they dug up these rocks and delivered them to him. I was determined to write some story which would do justice to the man who had collected them.
I toyed with the idea of somehow including the whole collection in a children’s story but eventually concentrated on just one unusual shaped stone. The fact that this was obviously part of a larger stone made me think ‘What if this stone had some mystical significance, and more importantly, where is the other part of the stone?’ Thus the idea of The Druidstone came about. When I presented the idea, with a summary of the story, to O’Brien Press they were enthusiastic, especially as the main characters were boys. My ever helpful editor, Susan Houlden, asked for a change of title as they wanted this to be a series - and so The Milo Adventures was born. The word ‘druid’ was kept in the title however, and even though I knew little about the antiquarian collector, he features prominently in all four adventures. I have so much enjoyed writing stories with boys in the limelight as many of my novels have been peopled by feisty girls.