Charley (Charlotte) King was born on the 14 April 1967 in Buckinghamshire, England. As a child she was an enthusiastic amateur gymnast. She loved books and her favourite three were ‘My golden book of animals’, ‘Tim Mouse’ by Judy Brook and ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ by Roald Dahl.
After leaving college she worked as a PA during the cold war for the Ministry of Defence, and carried on working as a secretary until she left work in 1993 to look after her adopted son. Charley’s imagination started to grow when she created her own kitchen garden and noticed all the little creatures in her vegetables and flowers. The first story she wrote was about a ladybird that lived in her garden. Since then in her everyday life stories spring into her mind and she can’t wait to get them down onto paper.
The initial inspiration of Mr Blinking came from her partner who used to say “blinkin’ this and blinkin’ that” all the time. She wanted to tell a story that had meaning with emotional intelligence. Kindness is very important to her and being happy too. She felt that she could tell the story as long as it had some funny parts in it and she could show the main character learning from his selfishness.
Mr Blinking’s tower came from a visit to Warwick Castle and the location of Blinkingstoppe initially started when she was on holiday in the Yorkshire Dales in 2017 visiting Pen-y-ghent fell.
Coming across Cressbrook Mill (which used to be an orphanage and workhouse for the expanding eighteenth-century cotton industry) whilst cycling along the Monsal Trail in Derbyshire gave Charley the idea of the orphans in the story, where they lived and worked. She has since learnt that Charles Dickens had the same idea when he saw Cressbrook Mill for his famous story of Oliver Twist. She wonders how many other people have thought the same thing?
Charley read that one of Roald Dahl’s tips was to use three characters that would be unlikely to mix and make a story from them. Hence Mr Blinking a wealthy businessman with a football team, orphans and Molly the mouse.
To Illustrate the book Charley has used watercolours and explains her method of drawing and painting on her website: charleykingcreative.com.