Is Coco Franks a real person? And other questions about Love and Muddy Puddles

Photography by Coco Banks

Photography by Coco Banks

This week, I loved getting an email in from B, a middle schooler. 

She said, "I read "Love and Muddy Puddles" and I loved it! I liked it so much because it was about horses, and I own horses. I also liked it because Coco had to go through some hard times but always seems to find a way to make it better. I love that in a person."

"My favorite part of the story was when James told Coco that he thought she was beautiful and also when Coco started to love Cupcake and they became friends. I liked those part because it was so sweet and made Coco happy to know that someone liked her and that she had a friend to trust."

She also had two questions for me about the book, and maybe they are questions you've had too. "I have two questions. The first one is how did you come up with Coco? Was she an actual person or made up? Also, why did Coco go back to Sydney and not stay? Why did she want to be friends with those mean girls... they had to have auditions to be friends?!"

Let me answer the questions:

First, Coco is based on an actual person. She and her twin sister and their family actually moved from Sydney to Budgong (which is a real place) near Kangaroo Valley (which is where I live in real life).

Their family started coming to our church and I was talking to their mum  and said, "So, how did the girls settle in moving down here?" She answered, "Well, one likes it, but the other one doesn't."

That was when I thought, this could make a really good story, and the seed for the book was planted. 

Now, of course, the real Coco is not nearly so much of a brat as the book Coco, and they didn't have to build their house and there is no real life James or Tessa (although Ness is real), and I have no idea if she was in a popular group in her Sydney school, so all those details are made up for the plot, but the basic idea is based on reality.

If you go to kangaroovalleyhorses.com you'll see the property they live on. Yes, that's a picture of it above, and one of their horses. 

Your other question: why did Coco want to be friends with those mean girls?

Well, I think the reason is that Coco was looking for something to be good at. Charlie is so good at everything (or at least Coco thinks she is) that Coco sometimes feels a bit like the 'second' twin, who follows along.

When she got a chance to be the 'best' in popularity, she took it. And she felt a bit special, and a bit exclusive, which she liked. Also, she really likes clothes and fashion stuff, and when she got to the farm she was so angry with everyone that she almost didn't want to be happy there on principle, so she kept it in her head that 'Sydney is the place for me'.

Also, no one wants to be dropped and become unpopular - sometimes we do anything to stay in a group of friends rather than be dropped, even if we don't like the friends that much - which is a bit silly of us really. (:

Thankfully Coco learned her lesson, although it was the hard way. But that is sometimes the fun way, at least for authors because you get to make your characters go through some terrible and embarrassing things - ha ha.

Check out Love and Muddy Puddles for free right now on Amazon. 

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