When I was invited to write about a favourite stationery item, I was stumped. I love stationery in the general sense. I relish the feel and smell of it, especially when brand new, but I couldn’t think of a particular item that I could call a favourite. I hunted around my desk to see if anything there sparked a particular affection. I eyed my blue Paper Mate® ball points, which I certainly appreciate, as I do my Avery® Jam-Free Laser Address Labels – they fulfill their assigned functions perfectly, though they don’t exactly set my pulse racing or bring a lump to my throat.
Then my eye fell on something sitting quietly on my desk – something very old and unobtrusive that probably predates everything there, even the dustiest paperclip stuck in the back of the drawer, even the desk itself. It’s a stapler, and it’s been my constant companion throughout my writing life and possibly earlier – its origins are so dim and distant, I can’t be sure.
The stapler is small and pleasingly heavy with a rough red metallic surface and a grey rubber base. I use it to bind pages of stories, notes, contracts, reports and sundry other stuff. I love the satisfyingly solid clunk it makes when it shoots out a staple and crushes it into the corner or long edge of a sheaf of pages. There is a quiet violence about the little object that belies its modest appearance. It does its job with elegance and efficiency. It has never failed me, and shows no sign of doing so, despite its venerable age. It’s definitely my favourite stationery item, and I hope it will remain on my desk for as long as I am seated there.
My latest book, which is being published this month by ReadZone, is called The Curse of Castle Cranston, and it’s the fourth volume of my Time Detectives series. The Time Detectives are Joe and Maya, who travel through time solving mysteries and righting wrongs. In this adventure, they travel to medieval times to investigate a mysterious curse that brought destruction to a castle in Scotland. Like all the Time Detectives adventures, this one first appeared as an online story on Fiction Express. Children from hundreds of schools read the chapters as they appeared each week and then voted on how they wanted the story to continue.