The Wishing Tree was the working title for my fifth novel The Child’s Secret which is due out in January 2016. It was the perfect name for the book at the time because it was the tree and not the child that I had the clearest image of first, which is hardly surprising given that the tree actually exists.
The Allerton Oak is the oldest tree in Calderstones Park and only a couple of miles from where I live. It’s thought to be a thousand years old and it certainly looks it. The massive trunk has been torn in two and its heavy boughs are held up with metal props, but whenever I stand in front of it, I don’t see it’s gaping wounds. I feel it’s energy and it wasn’t such a huge stretch of the imagination to believe that my favourite tree could have magical powers.
I visited the tree many times while writing The Child’s Secret and I photographed it all through the seasons. I’ve put those photos together to make a very rough and ready time lapse video which you can see here on YouTube.
You’ll have to read the book to see how a little girl called Jasmine came to believe in its magic powers too, but if you’re ever in Liverpool, don’t forget to visit the Wishing Tree and make a wish.