Like the rag dolls she brings to life in The Mennyms, author Sylvia Waugh (sounds like cough) believes she was born knowing certain things. ”I always knew I could write,” she says. ”I remember thinking when I was 21 that I live more slowly than other people, so it just took me a bit longer!”
Some 30 years later, Waugh’s first published book is a huge hit in her native Britain and is now being released worldwide. It’s being compared to Mary Norton’s classic, The Borrowers, which delights Waugh.
”I created the Mennyms because the world is too cynical, too lacking in magic,” Waugh says. ”People with dreams are an endangered species, and I wanted to write for them. I don’t want the nastiness-the stuff I see on TV.”
A grammar school English teacher for 17 years in the northeast part of England, Waugh finally got a chance to do her own writing after her three children had grown up and she was offered an early retirement. ”I bought some notebooks and said to myself, ‘You will fill these pages, even if it’s utter nonsense,”’ Waugh says. Well, she filled them-and then some.