Cover reveal. The Tiger Who Sleeps Under My Chair. Hannah Foley. Zephyr Books. Lucy Rose. All rights reserved.

Just after I signed off from the blog I had news I could reveal the cover of my latest book, The Tiger Who Sleeps Under My Chair, so here it is in case you missed it on Twitter and Instagram. The cover illustration is by Lucy Rose and the cover design is by Jessie Price. They have done a fabulous job. I’m so pleased. The Tiger Who Sleeps Under My Chair will be published in Feb 2023, coinciding with Children’s Mental Health Week, which is very apt as mental health is one of the themes. It’s set along the Jurassic coast here in Devon. I hope you will find it a beautiful and inspiring story. I received my proof copy in the post over the bank holiday weekend, which was super, super exciting! More news to come in the Autumn!

Cover reveal. The Tiger Who Sleeps Under My Chair. Hannah Foley. Zephyr Books. Lucy Rose. All rights reserved.
Receiving my proof. Cover reveal. The Tiger Who Sleeps Under My Chair. Hannah Foley. Zephyr Books. Photograph by Hannah Foley. All rights reserved (

Hasn’t it been a strange summer? Although I took a break from social media through August it was hard not to catch glimpses of people’s gleeful summer pics, delighting in the hot weather. For many of us, the drought has been accompanied by a deep and unsettling uneasiness. The team at Riverford wrote an article about how they were going to run out of water despite the huge investments they’ve made in water capture and irrigation systems. A local farmer to us, wrote of her despair at seeing fields of crops shriveling in the heat, the loss of this produce only likely to add to the cost of living crisis. The irony is we’ll be wishing we could have bottled the warmth when winter comes. And that was all before the horror of water companies releasing sewage on to beaches where families were holidaying.

Bee on allotment cornflowers. Photograph by Hannah Foley. All rigths reserved (

In the grand scheme of things, my little allotment doesn’t matter much but tending my plot brings me closer to what is going on in the soil. I’m glad I opted for more perennial veg this year. My tree cabbage isn’t the slightest bit phased by the heat. I’m also glad my haphazard approach to companion planting meant many of my veggies got some shade from jumbling nasturtiums, marigolds and cornflowers. But still things struggled. My beans needed desperate watering to stop them withering on their poles. Leeks and winter greens, which should have been happily getting going this month germinated or were transplanted then, did little more than hang on for dear life. We were picking blackberries at the end of July, for goodness sake! Flowers have bloomed and faded in a matter of days. Everywhere, everything is going to seed. I worry for the pollinators. And of course, in my day job, I’m on the end of the line for the sick, the elderly and the economically disadvantaged, who have not found this heat fun in the slightest.

Allotment flowers. Photograph by Hannah Foley. All rigths reserved (
Flowers on the plot

One salve to this gloominess has been a book I read over the summer by Claire RatinonUnearthed, charts Claire’s personal journey into growing from an urban, Black, working class background. She has no easy answers but what spoke to me most was her gradual unpicking of the habits and behaviours she had developed in response to society’s perception of her and her family history. Gently and methodically she pioneers her way into new territory, retreating when the forces of inequality become too ferocious to bear so she might live to grow another day. Set against the backdrop of the historical and ongoing environmental destruction wreaked on her parents’ home country of Mauritius, this book felt profound in many ways. It gave me new impetus to feel that one of the biggest things I can do about the climate crisis is to grow as much as I can for my own table, but most of all, to be here, not jetting off on holiday, here, engaging with the realities of this place, summers of sewage and all.

Allotment beetroot. Photograph by Hannah Foley. All rigths reserved (
Home grown beetroot!

Claire’s book was also a tender reproach to me. Despite my best resolutions at the beginning of the year, I’m too busy, doing too much (again!) and sinking fast! Rashmi Sirdeshpande shared on Twitter the other week:

One of the hardest (non-financial) things about being a children’s writer is the lack of visibility when it comes to your schedule. You pitch things, you wait, you have nooo idea what the future looks like. Will you be freee? Will you be smashed to pieces by deadlines? Who knows?

I’m thinking of traditional publishing here. Sometimes it’s pitch wait pitch wait pitch wait wait wait OH NO EVERYTHING IS HAPPENING AT ONCE… Or everything is ALMOST happening at once (so many ‘Nearly There’s in publishing as publishers think about whether to take you on!). I should also add that personally I neeeeed routine and certainty. I feel dizzy and restless without it. The relief when a schedule is pinned down is immense! So it’s a tricky industry for me!

I’m not a full-time author, so the ‘pitch and wait’ thing isn’t quite my experience but I do work a full-time job and have three children, so that horrible feeling of dizzying uncertainty as you may or may not get “smashed” by deadlines while trying to keep the usual plates spinning is something I can really relate to. All the while, you know you had to put in place the things you did because you needed to know you could pay the bills. This is mixed in with a disorientating sense of gratitude and relief because my work is being published, which is wonderful. Holding the proof of my book and chatting with schools and bookshops about potential visits for when it comes out is very special. Claire Ratinon’s thoughtfulness made me look at where I’m going wrong… again! We had a wonderful week at our friend’s cottage in North Wales, which gave me a bit of space to think. It’s in the middle of nowhere and, appropriately given Claire’s book, was originally a squatters’ cottage on marginal land. We climbed mountains, visited castles and played in the woods. It was very cathartic. There’s nothing like the view from a Welsh mountain to blow away some of the capitalist cobwebs we all unwittingly internalise. So, fresh resolutions made, the new term awaits…!

Llyn penisula. Photograph by Hannah Foley. All rigths reserved (
Welsh mountain views

A final short note on comments on this blog: I switched comments off over the summer to avoid having to go through and label the spam. Honestly, there’s reams of it and the content is awful. So, I’ve decided to keep the comments off here permanently. Many of you are kind enough to follow me on Twitter and will reply to my tweets letting you know there’s a new blog post. I love hearing from you and that seems to work well, so please do comment there 🙂

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