Joey T’s Memory Lane: Meet The Brilliant Sunburst City Dragon’s Jane Huddleston!


Only a matter of days ago, it seemed like the month of June started. However, as it draws to a close, I have fired up the time machine to head on an exciting journey with the incredible children’s author, Jane Huddleston! Prepare to be reminded of some of the best things that ever happened to us, whilst falling in love with some dragons!

Good Morning Lovelies, 

A few weeks ago, I was sent an exciting email by Jane Huddleston, the author of the fabulous children’s books series, Sunburst City Dragons. Filled with wonder and awe, they are simply gorgeous, having reviewed them previously on the blog. 

After finding myself falling in love with them, I wanted to get to know Huddleston a bit more, so I invited her to step inside my time machine and go on a magical nostalgic journey with me. And it is a pure delight…

Let’s begin by letting you introduce yourself to us? Tell us your name, age and the year you were born! 

I'm Jane Huddleston, 43-years-old, meaning I was born in 1980!

Now, let’s step back in time! What year would you love to go back to and relive all over again? 

If I could go back to enjoy a year again it would be my first year at University. It was so exciting with new freedoms, experiences, amazing people and adventures. I'd always felt like a spare part, so it was a welcome surprise to be at university, where I met so many new people and found a sense of belonging I'd never felt before. I went to a campus university and the social nature of living and studying so close was amazing. It was like our own village and I'd always be bumping into friendly people I knew, which was so uplifting. There were events and interesting things happening all over and the campus had so many huge trees and green spaces to explore.    

Okay, now picture this, you are at school and it’s lunchtime! What foods do you always associate with either your packed lunch or canteen? 

This is an easy one! I'd just started secondary school and had always had packed lunches at primary school. One day I was able to go to the canteen for lunch and, being Lancashire, it was a cold, windy, wet day.  Nervously, I approached the counter and picked something I hadn't had together before, pizza and beans. It wasn't just pizza and beans but a perfectly sized cute mini pizza with beans on top, so the cheese was all melted and oozing. It was a taste sensation, as well as the ultimate comfort food.  I was hooked! On those grotty weather days, when this was on the menu, my heart would leap with joy.   

You’ve got to go into your last lesson of the day! What are you hoping it will be and why? 

Although I lack any natural talent I would say art. The room was amazing, double height and full of messy colours on shelves, which seemed itching with potential. It was a more relaxed space, there were big chunky wooden worktops, all perfectly functional but stained and chipped, so there was no pressure that everything stayed perfect. It was a space to enjoy and a place to try new things.  

Schools over, you have rushed home to watch TV. What are you turning on? Why this show in particular? 

I can't remember the shows as much as fondly remembering some theme tunes! I couldn’t for the life of me tell you any plots or characters from the shows but if I hear any of the theme tunes to Trapdoor, Poddington peas, Inspector Gadget and Round the Twist, I'm whisked right back to feeling happy.

You’ve reached the weekend and you’re going to the cinema! What film do you remember seeing the most when you were younger? Why is this one such a classic to you? 

I was never a Disney Princess kind of girl. Now, I love a lot of the Pixar animations and probably watch those far too much for an adult! I don't think we went to the cinema much, but I do remember watching and rewatching The Water Babies at home. It started as a normal film but then dove into an animation underwater and so see those two styles of storytelling in one film was mind blowing. I loved the idea of this colourful fun world nearby, and I suppose I've loved that idea in other films, so it's no surprise that this is a strong concept in the children's books I wrote.  

You are back home and it’s time to play with your toys! What was the toy you most wanted when you were younger and why? Did you get it in the end? 

I really wanted a slushy maker and I didn't get one! As a parent, I absolutely see this was a fairly pointless piece of plastic and I can totally understand that kitchens rarely have space for such occasional use items!

Is there anything you still own from your childhood that you simply cannot bear to part with?  

Predictably, I have my old teddy, Ted! He's had a broke leg for about 35 years and I've thought a thousand times that I should stitch him up soon.  

What moment in history do you think defined or stayed with you from your childhood? Can you explain why this left such a mark on you? 

I remember learning about space travel and that seeming like the most amazing achievement. It puts a perspective on things to think people have been to space and looked down on the Earth. In my office, I have a photo taken by Michael Collins, the astronaut that went round the dark side of the Moon, when Buzz and Neil were exploring the surface. I think about the innovation involved in such an achievement and the huge team involved but I feel for Michael and the bravery it look to be on his own, without communication and just hoping that everything goes as planned, while doing something never done before.  He bravely and calmly got on with his job, alone, and took a photo of the Moon and the Earth.  I find it fascinating that the picture captures all living people except him as the photographer.    

Finally, would you go back and do your childhood all over again? Would you change anything about it? And how much has it impacted you as an adult and what you do now? 

It would be really interesting to go through childhood again but I'd add some more sass and backbone. I wish I'd had more confidence to get to know more people and the awareness to prioritise time with people that make me feel relaxed, like the art room! I would have liked more warm holidays I think, to get out of the cold and pick up more language skills. The main reflections I have looking back are how I wished I'd been more adventurous around studying and careers. I was too scared to take interesting A Level subjects, as a lot were new, so I stuck to traditional and familiar options at college and university. Now I know more about work and skills, I can see I'd have done well in a role like occupational therapy or a disciplines, such as design and architecture. I'm slightly obsessed with design and try to innovate making things multifunctional, but with no business sense these ideas are likely to stay as ideas that just amuse me!

Thank you so much Jane for coming on this exciting journey with me! If you want to find out more about the Sunburst City Dragons head to their website. You will be amazed at how much of an impact they could make on a child of the future! 

Joey X

You Might Also Like