My Alter Ego Is A Children’s Writer

She stopped my criminal career in its tracks — but only temporarily

Penny Grubb
ILLUMINATION
Published in
3 min readSep 8, 2021

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Book cover reproduced with permission from Fantastic Books Publishing

When I took a break from crime (writing about it, I mean) to create a children’s book, I had no idea who I was about to meet. I was still wrestling with the swap from 21st century policing to the angst- and dilemma-ridden life of the pre-teenager in the modern world, when my publisher told me:

“You’re a crime writer. You can’t leave your lane.”

Secretly pleased to find I had a lane — after a lifetime of being all over the road — I asked what the consequences were for the book, and was introduced to my alter ego.

“Meet Melodie Trudeaux, author of Horse of a Different Colour.”

I shook hands with myself — not the easiest manoeuvre but I’ve weathered worse.

“How do you do, Melodie. I’m Penny. I have a lane.”

And so Melodie Trudeaux entered my life. She’s a fantasy and sci-fi fan who would love to visit the International Space Station. She has a website, and blogs regularly about space travel and horses.

Horse of a Different Colour was published in 2016, which immediately spawned the problem of the sequel. It needed one. Melodie and I had plans but here’s the problem — it’s busy in my lane. And when I’m busy, Melodie can’t find time to write.

Cover reproduced with permission from Fantastic Books Publishing

Although she never gave up on her writing — dabbling in short sci-fi and being prolific enough on her blog to be detrimental to mine — getting that second novel off the ground remained troublesome.

However, waiting for time to make itself available doesn’t work. Drastic action was needed. It came unexpectedly out of the covid pandemic. A friend, who’s a riding instructor, was looking for ways to occupy the hundreds of children who had counted on spending Spring of 2020 in the saddle and who were now locked down at home.

She decided on a creative writing competition. Would I like to donate some books as prizes? Of course I would, but only Melodie’s book was suitable. Inspiration! What if Melodie…

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Penny Grubb
ILLUMINATION

An award-winning crime novelist & long-time amateur poultry keeper, who specialised in teaching methods, healthcare & software engineering as an academic.