WHILE it’s still more than six months to the Essex Book Festival, organisers have organised a special Summer Holiday treat for young readers next week.

Debut Essex children’s author, Lorraine Gregory will be at the Colchester Arts Centre with two very exciting workshops.

She’s the writer behind the Mold and the Poison Plot, the story of an old boy with a unique power.

That’s Mold who is rescued by Old Aggy when his mum dumps him in the dustbin as a baby. But when Aggy is arrested for poisoning the king, it’s Mold’s turn to come to the rescue, to battle enemies and monsters, all with the help of one enormous nose.

Lorraine says: “The idea for Mold came in one of those rare moments of inspiration. I was messing about with my son who was about ten years old at the time and I said, only half- jokingly, that I was going to throw him in the bin, followed by ‘but the bin men wouldn’t want you either’ and as soon as I said the words, Mold sprung into my head, voice and all.

“That image of a baby in a bin was the beginning of everything and the entire plot was developed over the next day or so.”

Born and brought up in Redbridge but now living in Loughton, Lorraine says she was desperate to be an author.

“I just thought I’d never be able to do that,” she adds, “so I did what most people do and went to college and took a whole host of different jobs before I got married and had my son.

“For the last 12 years I’ve been working with the National Childbirth Trust, taking their classes, and I still do.”

But it was thanks to a back injury a few years back when Lorraine started writing again.

“I’ve always written off and on,” she explains, “but when I had my injury I couldn’t do anything and that’s when I started back writing again. Then I would read the stories to my son and he seemed to like them.”

She started Mold and the Poison Plot nearly seven years ago and even when she got her publishing deal it took another two years for the book to come out, which was in May this year.

But when it finally did, as Lorraine says, it was definitely worth the wait.

She says: “When I decided I wanted Mold to be different I came up with the idea of him having a very big nose because most characters with big noses are the villain or the baddy.

“Smells are an area often overlooked but I think it helps stimulate children’s imaginations.”

That’s what Lorraine will be doing on Tuesday at the Church Street venue with a creative writing workshop for budding young authors to get top tips by coming up with their own exotic potions and poisons.

Lorraine will also be hosting a special Super Stinky Pongorific Gameshow where both young and old can test their own sense of smell.

Doors for Putrid Potions open at 10.30am and 12.30pm for the gameshow. For more information call 01206 500900.