Hi, I’m Lauren St John, and I’m very, very excited that my book, The Snow Angel is going to be published by Head of Zeus and my amazing editor, Fiona Kennedy. The Snow Angel is about eleven-year-old Makena, who lives a very happy life in Nairobi and she has two amazing loving parents: her science teacher mum and her mountain guide father. Makena has one dream in life, and that’s to climb Mount Kenya. She’s in love with mountains, who she thinks of as her friends. But when her life is shattered Makena finds herself alone in dark corners of Nairobi that she had no idea existed. The Snow Angel is about how far children can fall in this world. But also it’s about redemption and the healing power of love. The Snow Angel was inspired by a series of things that happened over a number of years. One was reading about Emma Thompson and Greg Wise’s adoption of their amazing Rwandan son who came to Britain as a refugee. They adopted him when he was sixteen. I was inspired by the amazing ballet dancer Michaela Deprince and her story. She was a war child in Sierra Leone. But also I’m Zimbabwean and right now in Zimbabwe there are million orphans. And within a 10 kilometre radius of Harare, the capital city, there are 60,000 child-headed households. When I heard that figure, that actually blew my mind. I couldn’t fathom that just within 10 kilometres of a city where I spent a huge number of years, 60,000 homes were run by children. We sort of think in places like India and areas of Africa, oh well, slums have kind of always existed. And with those things, quite often we turn a blind eye to them and we focus on what’s in the media and we forget that every single day, more and more refugees, war children, children fleeing disease, children abandoned for all numbers of reasons are ending up in these places utterly and totally alone. People often sort of talk about how the opposite of love is hate or think of the opposite of love as hate. To me the opposite of love is indifference. If we forget about these children’s it’s like they don’t exist. I was fortunate enough to grow up on a farm and game reserve in Zimbabwe and I had a pet giraffe and all sorts of orphaned wild animals when I was growing up and I’m now an ambassador for the Born Free Foundation. I believe a huge amount in the healing power of nature, and so Makena’s relationship with the mountains become a key part of her relationship with her father. I’m incredibly excited that Head of Zeus is publishing The Snow Angel. But no book can be successful without booksellers and the sales team. I am so indebted to all of you. Thank you. I hope you enjoy my book.