Tales Q&A with Holly Webb


Today I am joined by the wonderful Holly Webb! 

I jumped at the chance to be part of this blog tour when the lovely Faye Rogers asked!  The Secret Garden was always a childhood favourite of mine so a chance to Return To The Secret Garden…..yes please!  I cannot wait!


Return To The Secret Garden was released on the 1st October 2015 published by Scholastic and is set to be a magical read!

Check out my review of Return To The Secret Garden here

Today I chat to Holly about all things Secret Garden!

*settles down with a nice cuppa*

There is also a giveaway at the end of the post!

Return to the Secret Garden


Hi Holly! 

Welcome to Tales Of Yesterday.  I’m so happy to have you here!  Thank you for returning to a treasured classic of mine!

Can you tell us a little about Return To The Secret Garden?

Return to the Secret Garden

It’s about Emmie, an orphan whose children’s home is evacuated to Misselthwaite Manor at the outbreak of the Second World War. She’s lonely and unhappy, but then she finds a diary, written by another misfit child, and discovers that somewhere in the grounds, there is a secret garden.

 What made you want to return to the Secret Garden?

It was one of my favourite books as a child, and I still love it now. I loved Mary’s bad-tempered stubbornness, and the descriptions of the garden and the moor. Frances Hodgson Burnett was amazingly good at picturing scenes.

 Can you tell us a little about the main character Emmie?

Emmie is quite like Mary – she feels unloved and friendless, and she’s been torn away from everything she knows, even the bedraggled stray cat she’d befriended at the children’s home.

 How important are names to you? Did you pick the character name Emmie for a reason?

I love choosing names. I wanted something unusual – Emmie is short for Emmeline – but I liked the way the shortened form is so short and plain-sounding.

 What was your favourite scene to write?

When Emmie first gets into the garden, and she’s spinning round and round in the sun. I remember doing that as a child.

 Who was your favourite character from Frances Hodgson Burnett’s The Secret Garden?

Mary – but while she’s still grumpy! I love her fight with Colin.

 Do you see yourself in any of the characters in Return To The Secret Garden or have you used any of your own experiences in the story?

Emmie imagines changes to the garden, including a summerhouse with walls of roses and honeysuckle. I based this on a wisteria house I saw as a child at the RHS Garden Wisley in Surrey – it was in full bloom when we visited, and you could sit in it and be surrounded by flowers.


[Picture credit: https://www.rhs.org.uk/gardens/wisley/gallery ]

 If you could cast your characters from Return To The Secret Garden in a big Hollywood film adaptation who would you choose?

This is so tricky – in an ideal world, I’d have Asa Butterfield (Hugo, Ender’s Game) aged 10 as Jack, and Georgie Henley (The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe) aged 10 as Emmie!



We would love to know a little bit more about you!  Can you give us 5 random facts we don’t know about Holly Webb?

I’m terrified of spiders. (So are most of my characters…)

I can bend the top joints of my fingers.


I have three Bengal cats.

And three children!

I run a Guide unit in Reading.

 Can you tell us a bit about some of your other books?

I’m most well known for my animal stories, but I also write a lot of books with magical characters – which is great because then the animals get to talk.


 Which of your characters would you most like to spend the day with?

Always the ones I’ve just been writing about and thinking about – so, Emmie. Particularly because we would be at Misselthwaite.

 Growing up who inspired you into writing?  Are there any Authors or books that inspired you?

I loved the Narnia books – they had a huge effect on my writing and the number of talking animals in my books!


A Little Princess – also by Frances Hodgson Burnett – gave me a love of London as a setting, it felt as though the city was almost a character in itself.


 Are there any recent works or authors that you admire or books you wish you had written?

I’ve just re-read Five Children on the Western Front by Kate Saunders, as we’re doing a panel event at the Cheltenham Literary Festival – it’s really beautiful, and it made me cry!


 Are there any authors you would like to collaborate with?  Who?

No. That sounds awful, but I’m too possessive.

 When starting a new book or idea what does your writing process look like?

I have a notebook and I scribble things. I find trains are a great place to plan, actually. I wrote most of my first book on trains while I was commuting, and the plot for Return to the Secret Garden really came together on a train to Edinburgh in 2014.

 Do you have any strange writing habits?

I twist my hair round my fingers when I’m thinking, it’s a terrible habit.

I do this too!

 Recently I asked some lovely authors their thoughts about does music influence their books or their characters.  Did music have any influence the story of Return To The Secret Garden?

Actually, I’m so easily distractable that I don’t listen to music while I’m working – it’s hard enough to make myself concentrate on work as it is!

 Are there any exciting plans for the rest of 2015 or 2016?

I’m just starting to plan another sequel. But I’m not saying what it is!

Ohhhh sounds intriguing!

 And finally can you tell us a favourite secret garden of your own?

I’d love to be able to go back to that house made of scented wisteria at Wisley – I wonder if it’s still there!

Return to the Secret Garden

About Holly Webb


Holly Webb_RTSG2

Find out more information about Holly on her website here

Or why not follow Holly on twitter using @HollyKateSkeet or Facebook here

You can buy Return To The Secret Garden here

Or why not add it to your Goodreads wish list here

Check out my review of Return To The Secret Garden here


Scholastic are giving away a copy of The Secret Garden by Francis Hodgson Burnett and a copy of Return to the Secret Garden by Holly Webb to one lucky blog tour follower!


a Rafflecopter giveaway


Blog Tour

You can catch up or follow the rest of this wonderful Blog Tour at any of the stops below!

RTSG Blog Banner FINAL

Monday 5th October

Ya Yeah Yeah

This Fleeting Dream

Tuesday 6th October

The Little Munchkin Reader

Powered by Reading

Wednesday 7th October

Serendipity Reviews

Maia and a little Moore

Thursday 8th October

Pretty Books

Tales of Yesterday

Friday 9th October

The Bookish Outsider

Big Book Little Book

Saturday 10th October

A Daydreamer’s Thoughts

Sunday 11th October


YA Under My Skin


I would like to say a huge thank you to Holly for answering all of my question and to Faye and Scholastic for having me on the tour and for sending me a copy of the book to read and review!

Have you read The Secret Garden?  Was is a childhood favourite?  Are you excited about Return To The Secret Garden?  I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of the page or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy !

Happy Reading and discovering secrets!




Written by

I am often known to be a bit clumsy and a little loopy! Book loving (obsessed), theatre loving, slasher film loving csi geek! Winner of UKYABA Champion Newcomer 2015 and nominated for Champion of Social Media 2016 and Blogger Of The Year 2016! © 2014 - 2021 Michelle Toy All Rights Reserved

You may also like...

2 Responses

  1. October 15, 2015

    […] – Guest Post Maia and a Little Moore – Author Interview Pretty Books – Guest Post Tales of Yesterday – Author Interview The Bookish Outsider – Guest Post Big Book Little Book – Guest Post A […]

  2. November 13, 2015

    […] Check out my previous Q&A with Holly Webb here […]