Catriona Hoy is visiting today as part of her blog tour to celebrate the launch of her beautiful new picture book, George and Ghost. She’s going to be talking about ghosts in general and about the special Ghost in her new book, which has been beautifully illustrated by Cassia Thomas.

I asked Catriona some spooky questions

Do you believe in ghosts?

I certainly believe there are ‘presences,’ and that there are more things on heaven and earth than we have the wherewithal to understand. I feel sometimes that special people who have passed on keep an eye on me and that’s a comfort. I would love to be ‘fey’ and that might seem to contradict my science background but it doesn’t really. I think that the boundaries of science are continually expanding and the more we know, the more we know we don’t know!

What’s the scariest ghost story that’s ever been told to you?

I’m actually not very good with ghost stories. I never watch horror films as I get too scared, I like to think of the dark as comforting rather than scary. I did however go out once with a boy whose mother was a spiritualist. She believed that their house was full of spirits and I always felt uncomfortable when I was in the shower…I used to wonder whether old Uncle Fred could see me. Of course I’m sure if Uncle Fred was there, he’d be much too civilised to watch me in the shower!

Have you ever met a ghost? If not, would you like to?

No, I haven’t met a ghost. I did love travelling through England and Scotland though, where there were so many ghosty and haunted places. One of the local pubs claimed it’s own ghost and I even booked friends in to stay the night there. Sadly, I think the noise of the Trivia Night chased it away!  I still hope to meet a nice, benevolent ghost one day.

If you met a ghost what would you say to it?

It depends…I might be really, really scared! It might be…’arrrggghhh.’ Or I might ask if it knew my Dad or my father-in law and ask if they were doing okay, ask it to give my mother-in law a big kiss and whether great auntie May missed having a cigarette or a whisky!

Why is this ghost important to George?

Although I’ve emphasised the ‘hidden science’ in George and Ghost, essentially it’s a story about friendship. Ghost is George’s friend and he is sent away, for reasons which may seem justified but really aren’t. I think children will relate to the friendship, loss and renewal of friendship. It’s also a metaphor for that slipping away of childhood things, those questions like ‘is Santa real?’.

Is George and Ghost based on something that really happened or is the story straight from your imagination?

George and Ghost came from my imagination but having said that, there were a lot of influences on me at that time, including where I was living and what my own children were up to. When we first moved to England, we had a loft where we found little bits and pieces that previous people had left behing. We found a note from a little boy and for a little while pretended he lived up there. Maybe that’s where the idea came from.

What made you write about a ghost?

Essentially, Ghost is just a best friend, rather than a ghost. Sure, he can fly through the window and he’s a bit different but when he snuggles down with George in bed on that last page, he’s as cute as any other sleepy little kid. George and Ghost isn’t a ghost story, it’s a friendship story. I know my own Mum had an imaginary friend when she was young, and an only child. True friends come when we need them.

Thanks, Catriona for talking ghosts with us and telling us about your new book.

Don’t forget to enter the competition on this blog to win one of five copies of Catriona Hoy and Cassia Thomas’ new picture book!


George questions his friendship with Ghost, and asks Ghost to prove that he is real.

Think of a hard to answer question that you asked as a child or a hard to answer question that your child or a child you know, has asked of you? The five hardest questions (as judged by George and Ghost author, Catriona Hoy) will win a copy of Catriona’s fabulous new book.

To be in the running to win one of the five copies of George and Ghost, write your “hard to answer” question in the comments section at the end of this post.

Catriona is visiting all these great locations on her blog tour.

Monday March 7

Claire Saxby:  Let’s Have Words

Topic: Art vs Science

Tuesday March 8

Rebecca Newman: Alphabet Soup Magazine’s Soup Blog

Topic: Does a picture book need editing?

Wednesday March 9

Trevor Cairney : Literacy, Families and Learning

Topic: The Writing Journey

Thursday March 10 (Official Release Day!)

Robyn Opie: Writing Children’s Books With Robyn Opie

Topic: Writing George and Ghost

Friday March 11

Dee White: Kid’s Book Capers : Boomerang Books

Topic: Ghosts…Do You Believe? And…a review!

Saturday March 12

Chris Bell: From Hook To Book

Topic: Picture books: Here and Overseas.

Monday March 14

Lorraine Marwood: Words into Writing

Topic: What’s real anyway?

Published by

Dee White

Dee White lives with her husband and two sons in a small rural country town which has more kangaroos than people. She has worked as an advertising copywriter and journalist and has had numerous career changes because until recently, writing wasn’t considered to be a proper job. Letters to Leonardo, her first novel with Walker Books Australia, was published in 2009 to great critical acclaim.