Dispite the family difficulties, my childhood was a largely happy one. I moved house when I was 5, and moved into a new area, at first this really scared me, but it was for the best. I met my best friend who I am still friends with to this day, and the new school really encouraged my imagination. I went horseriding every week, which I loved and I was doing well at school.
However, things changed when I was 9. I'd always been strange and I only had 3 real friends at school, but it never really bothered me, but when I was 9 the other kids at school turned nasty, they started to call me names and pick on me constantly, whispering things behind the teacher's and my friends' backs. It got even worse a year later. 2 girls in my class started to belittle everything I did, their favourite name for me was 'fat' and I started to really struggle with my appearance, something which had never seemed particularly important to me before.
I was really interested in nature as a child, and I found the Amazon rainforest and river really interesting, so when my teacher said we had to do a presentation on an interesting natural place of the world I jumped at the chance and, of course, chose the Amazon. I'd never really liked presentations as I was (and still am) very shy, however, because it was so interesting to me I was actually excited about it and looking forward to sharing this fascinating subject with the class. But when I came to do the presentation the 2 girls immidiately started giggling and whispering, they made me feel embarrassed and awkward, I started stuttering and just wanted it to be over, afterwards they continued, they kept telling me how my presentation was stupid and that I, too, was stupid.
The whole thing made my shyness even worse and made me more and more anti-social. I retreated into my imagination and I would constantly be making up stories in my head about witches, demons and fairies to escape it all. This is also the time that my passion for reading developed as it provided a further escape from the real world.