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Jigsaw Chelmsford Performing Arts teacher Lisa is an author!

Jigsaw Chelmsford Performing Arts teacher Lisa has become an author for the very first time and we asked her how the experience has been so far!

What did you do before the book? (Work wise)

My first job was working at a nursery with 3 – 4 year olds back in 2000. By then I had written my first draft of Hexed. It was called Spellbound at the time. I actually fell in love with writing when I was 12-years-old. Rewind back to a time before writing, I still enjoyed being creative. I loved putting on shows for my parents and going on imaginary adventures with my sister. We would create characters and give them silly voices. Our neighbours probably thought we were weird!

Can you tell us a little bit about the book and why you were inspired to write it?

Hexed focuses on friendship, curses and crushes with a drop of horror added in. After stumbling upon an ancient gravestone, 16-year-old Harriet and her friends discover they have supernatural powers. Initially, they enjoy their newfound abilities, but a series of accidents cause fear among the group. Harriet takes it upon herself to investigate the gravestone’s history and uncovers a dangerous centuries-old curse she has unknowingly awakened. She has less than a day to break the curse and save herself and her loved ones. I have always loved anything relating to witches and magic. I grew up reading The Worst Witch series and always wanted to be Mildred Hubble. The setting of Hexed, which is a seventeenth-century holiday village called ‘Bellsbury’ with the characters working as performers, was inspired by a combination of trips to Butlins as a child and my time working at Madame Tussauds in London. I learned a lot about attractions, the customers, the morning briefings. All of this helped shape Bellsbury into the entertainment attraction that it became. I managed to weave all of my passions into the story – performing, history and magic.

Are there any characters you align yourself with the most?

I can relate to both Harriet and Lily. They have very different personalities, but there are aspects of their behaviour that remind me of myself as a teenager. Harriet feels very self-conscious about herself and her looks. She shy’s away when it comes to talking to boys and can’t understand why they would be interested in a girl like her. This was very much me as a teen, although she has more confidence than I did. Lily is extremely friendly and affectionate with everyone she meets. I love that about her and share some of that energy – just not on such a crazy scale!

How did it feel seeing your book in shops for the first time?

It was a real pinch-me moment. I had tears in my eyes. I always thought those Disney quotes about ‘dreams coming true’ were just fantasy. They’re really not. To hold a passion that you worked on for over twenty years is just pure magic. As a child, I always imagined seeing my book in shops. Never did I believe it would actually happen. I have to keep telling myself, “You did it, Lisa. You did it.”

Are there any other books in the pipeline?

I had started a comedy story for younger children, but at the same time, I wanted to wait and see what the reception was like for Hexed. I was overwhelmed to hear that the readers wanted a sequel – which is exactly what I was hoping for! I have already come up with a plot and a setting. All I need to do now is get started! I’m very excited about this one!

Lisa still teaches at Jigsaw Chelmsford Performing Arts School and her students adore their Saturday Mornings together! Find our more about Jigsaw Chelmsford performing arts classes here: https://www.jigsaw-arts.co.uk/performing-arts-school/chelmsford/