About The Writer

Alexandra Kettles was born in Bradford-on-Avon, a small village on the outskirts of Bath England to an Italian Mother and English Father.

She lives in the North West province, South Africa with her husband and two dogs.

Alexandra founded a Cambridge affiliated centre for secondary school students and ran it for seventeen years. After retiring from education, she has rekindled her interest in writing children’s books.

An avid animal lover she spends much of her time, if not writing then with horses and her dogs.

Story behind the book

It wasn’t a planned story; it just came about through the tumbles and joys of observing life. I’ve never really been a city person and have always been highly aware of the environment. During frequent safaris I noticed dusk left many game animals apprehensive and in search of save hideouts for the night. Simultaneously the younger members of our family were experiencing dusk blues.

What is it about the twilight zone that captures our imaginations? It all started at dusk while closing the windows I imagined a creature which I then sketched. A creature that from the onset may seem scary but in fact is a friendly environmentally aware animal.

On my visits home when hiking the footpaths of the Cotswolds the story plots. Coupled with a wondrous week’s holiday with the children it begins to unfold. In the first book, Out of the Woodland, Charlotte and Thomas unearth mythical creatures in the Woodland. This discovery leads to curiosity and adventures as the children try to work out what the creatures are meant to be.

My love for animals introduced Edward, Eddie the teddy as we call him, and sometimes Jellytot as he is so sweet – and Crackers the pony to Out of the Woodland.

Alexandra and her furry friends

My next book…

In the follow up book ‘Beyond the Woodland, Jersey, Channel Islands’ the Goobies become more individualized with personalities and are identified by name. In this book, contemporary environmental issues such as ocean pollution and the effects of palm oil cultivation, and sustainability, are introduced and presented to the young reader in an exciting and sometimes funny manner.

Alexandra would to hear from you!

About The Illustrator

Stephen Hoffe is an Architect and Illustrator working out of Johannesburg whose main focus lies in community development work and travel sketching.  His time is equally spent between this and rock climbing where he is both a coach and guide.  Out of the Woodland is the first children’s book to be added to his portfolio.

An inside look at the illustration process

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