About Emma Fischel


My Story

So – a bit of childhood background… Us Fischels were based in Kent. Mum and dad Fischel were efficient and organised at all times – even in the production of children. Five in six years: girl, boy, girl, boy, girl. 

I was girl 2, tucked in the middle – between brothers who spent sunny days playing  cops and robbers, and rainy days playing Subbuteo. Crawling around the floor, flicking tiny plastic footballers around a tiny felt football pitch. This, for some reason, the brothers found gripping. Talk at the dinner table was one subject ONLY. Cricket.

Sisters were MUCH easier to understand. Sister 1 was the source of information on matters of importance to small girls. Sister 2 was a tiny human pet. A round-faced baby, solemn and watchful, with dark bobbing curls and beady brown eyes. I cultivated the round-faced baby carefully. For, once fully mobile – she was to be my playmate, the only one of my siblings likely to let ME be in charge.

As the middle of five, I was under the radar, and happy there. Benign neglect meant a childhood full of freedom – in a rambling old house, with soaring green views. Views of woods, and hills, and the village. A chocolate-box village, with a hump-backed bridge, a river made for paddling, and a sweetshop. Shelves groaning with glass jars, raided every Saturday morning, 9am prompt.


Besides sister 2, there were other pets. Dogs and cats, hamsters and mice, stick insects and silkworms. I had a favourite cat, Kitty (the name – blame the brothers). Kitty never let me down. I told her all my secrets, and she kept them. At bedtime she cosied herself in among my nest of soft toys. I squeezed myself into what little space was left – always, ALWAYS with a book to read. Because bedtime was reading time. Book after book after book, read huddled under the covers. 


Is THIS the moment I reveal all the books I wrote as child? Books stapled together, scrawled writing on narrow-lined paper? Books with interesting titles and fabulous plotlines? Sadly, there ARE none. I was outdoorsy – too busy climbing trees and splashing through puddles to write books. But, while not a writer, I was an inventor


I was an inventor of SHOPS – a natural shopkeeper. I ran a delicatessen, selling the finest mud pies in the county, pies of many shapes and sizes, all priced up and named. I ran a conker shop. At the back, a complex machine, made from bits of hosepipes, old drainpipes, and boxes, all propped up on sticks. Conkers were rolled through, to be sorted by size – small, medium and large – then packed up in egg boxes, ready for sale in the shop front. My mother and sister 1 were MOST reliable customers. And my brothers? Less so…


I was an inventor of EXPEDITIONS – to space, to deserts, to jungles. And to the North Pole, on the hottest day of summer, sister 2 my faithful companion. Both dragging an old wooden sledge across the garden. Sweltering in Arctic explorer kit, backpacks so heavy with provisions each step was a struggle. Then, tucked away in the trees – building a snow shelter. Blankets, more blankets; boxes, more boxes.

And there, sweltering more, I did write… Our final diary entry from the Arctic, a tragic farewell to our loved ones back home.

Home… A house full of things Scandinavian, the presence of my Norwegian grandmother everywhere. In plates and cups decorated Scandinavian-style, in small wooden ornaments and twinkling glass stars that hung off the Christmas tree. And in the BOOKS. Scandinavian tales – of mysterious waterfalls, of mountains thick with snow, of tiny forest children sheltering from rain beneath toadstools. And of trolls, lurking under bridges, and in deep dark caves. Books I poured over again and again. With illustrations I could stare at for hours. Books so full of magic I could almost reach out and TOUCH it…

But what of the DRESS, I hear you say? Your first true love?

Ah, yes… It arrived, a gift from a Norwegian relative, in a brown-paper package. Inside – the Dress, a pale blue check. It was instant TRUE LOVE, and a shock. I had never much cared for dresses. My mother said I should keep it for best – but I begged, I pleaded. We hardly ever wore BEST, I said. We were not BEST sort of children. If I waited for BEST to wear it, I might grow too tall. My mother, in the end, agreed. So all summer long I ran shops, climbed trees, and went on expeditions in the Dress. And that day – the day of the Dress, that my mother said I should keep for best – I learnt something. About the twin powers of persistence, and of persuasive argument. Which, in the end, is what writing is ALL ABOUT.


Three of My Books


…an original story, funny and exciting… and Ned is a complex, interesting character.
Andrea Reece, Lovereading4Kids

…manages to be both funny and moving… a really good story, perfect for those around 8 to 12.
Ruth Ng, The Bookbag


Casts a powerfully entertaining spell… Fizzing with energy and humour…
Daily Mail

… fairly crackles with excitement…
Andrea Reece, Lovereading4Kids

A satirical, imaginative fantasy….
The Sunday Times

The Gorgle