I was born in 1957 in Suffolk and grew up in a tiny village a long way from anywhere. There wasn't much to do so I spent a lot of time sitting up trees and dropping things on people (usually my sister because there was nobody else around). Sometimes I put on wellies and went for long walks in the ditches that surrounded the fields behind our house.
That was when the weather was nice.
When it wasn't nice I used to read. I read anything I could get hold of: library books, fairy tales, comics, the back of the cereal packet. …. My favourite characters were Alice (from Alice in Wonderland) because she was always serious and never scared, and Denis the Menace's dog Gnasher. Because he was hairy.
I went to primary school in a small town called Saxmundham where my mum was one of the teachers. She taught me in the top class and whenever the room got noisy she used to shout 'Rebecca Stevens! I won’t tell you again!' even though it wasn't always me who was talking. I didn’t mind, though. I knew she was only doing it so the other children didn't think I got special treatment because she was my mum.
The area where we lived was full of strange stories: tales of ghosts and aliens, of silent green children and snarling black dogs who appeared when someone was about to die; of mermaids washed up on the beach, space ships landing in the woods and cities that had disappeared under the waves. There was a nuclear power station on the beach that hummed and glowed in the night and a sinister almost-island off the coast that you weren't allowed to visit and where it was rumoured they tested nuclear bombs.
But it was still a long way from anywhere.
So when I left school I moved to Brighton to go to Sussex University. I studied English literature, which gave me the chance to read a lot more books and then, when I left, formed a theatre company called Cliff Hanger with some friends. We wrote our own comedy shows and performed them in pubs and clubs and theatres, first in the UK, then in Europe and Australia, and then on TV. It was a long way away from the lonely ghost-infested coast of Suffolk where I grew up. Then, after about ten years, when spending long hours in a van driving up and down motorways stopped being fun, we went our separate ways. I worked as an actor for a bit, performing in plays by Shakespeare and Oscar Wilde which was more fun that anything in the world, and as a stand up comedian which wasn’t, probably because I wasn't very good at it.
And then I had my daughter and my son and realised I had to find a way of staying at home in Brighton.
So I started writing for children's TV. And I've been doing it ever since. I've written for lots of shows like Postman Pat, Mr Bean, Byker Grove, Rupert, Noddy, Zig and Zag, Mike the Knight…But my favourite thing to write has always been Little Princess, because she's always serious and never scared.
And now my own books, of course.
The Author's Dog
'This is a beautifully written story…and if it doesn’t make you cry you must have a heart of flint.'
The Daily Mail
'Beautiful and haunting, it will make you smile, cry and fill your heart with joy….a wonderful book' Booklover Jo
An adaption of Jane Austen's classic novel, re-told for younger readers with all the wit, humour and intrigue of the original.
Rebecca Stevens has been a writer for many years, working mostly in children's television and in comedy. Her first job was co-writing three series of PIRATES, a show about a family of pirates who settle in suburbia. Rebecca also performed in the show, playing Grog Blossom Kate, a filthy old misanthropist who spent her time creeping up on people and belching.
Since then, Rebecca has worked on a wide range of shows, from soaps like BYKER GROVE and DOCTORS, to live action drama like SPIRIT WARRIORS and DEAD GORGEOUS and pre-school shows such as BING BUNNY, THE HIVE, OKIDO and TOPSY AND TIM. She has written numerous episodes for much-loved long-running series like LITTLE PRINCESS (based on the picture books by Tony Ross), POSTMAN PAT, MIKE THE KNIGHT, NODDY and MR BEAN, and animated series for older children such as MUDDLE EARTH (based on the novels by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddle), ZIG AND ZAG and the forthcoming Australian science fiction series PRISONER ZERO.
Here you can watch one of Rebecca's favourite episodes of one of her favourite shows, LITTLE PRINCESS: I DON'T LIKE THUNDERSTORMS
Artwork and design for Valentine Joe and Rose in the Blitz, by Helen Crawford-White
Emma cover design and illustrations by Briony May Smith
Thanks to the IWM for the use of the following images:
1. St Paul's Cathedral, December, 1940 © IWM (HU36220)
2. German planes above London, 7th September, 1940 ©IWM(C5424)
3. Londoners sheltering in a tube station, 1942 ©IWM(D1568)
Hilary Delamere at The Agency
Emily Hickman at The Agency