It all started when…

James Blennerhassett wrote “Nibbles”, a tune that was inspired by one of his brother-in-law’s charcoal drawings.

Vitya Malirsh, bored one rainy afternoon, got out his pencil and drew a pair of fierce looking river creatures who were teasing a fisherman trying his best to catch a fish. The drawing sparked James’ imagination and very quickly, the outline for the Todalie Stories began to take shape.

Susan, James’ sister, took on the task of writing stories to go along with the music and Vitya sketched the characters as they presented themselves.

It is a family affair which includes James’ two daughters, Louise and Carla, and his stepson, Shane. With the combined efforts of everyone involved, Todalie and the other characters are looking forward to making their debut into the world.

Susan originally narrated the stories but Humphrey Smellington Smythe (kindly drawn by Eric Kemp) thought he could do a better job, and so he is now (as he calls himself) the main man!

Todalie, the actual main character, is loosely based on Shane, who, like Todalie, goes out of his way to help people even if he doesn’t feel very brave at times. Shane doesn’t have the loveliest, softiest, browniest fur ever, but he has the most wonderful spiky black hair and wears a really cool pair of glasses. He is Susan’s favourite nephew and the reason she found it so easy to write the stories.

Shane’s mum is, of course, the Princess Em who you will meet in the second book and just like Princess Em, she has magic in her fingertips and fills our world with light and happiness.

The characters live in, on or near Lough Key which is close to the town of Boyle in County Roscommon, Ireland - called Lough Tattynoola in the stories - and Todalie himself lives under an old stone bridge at the bottom of Susan’s garden!

We hope you enjoy the Todalie Stories and don’t worry, there’s lots more to follow!