It's 1893 and for Cissy and her family, a new life beckons on the prairies of Oklahoma. Along with other settlers, they travel to Florence - a town yet to be built - and prepare for business alongside the Red Rock Railroad track. But the railroad company has other ideas. It wants to buy the land for itself - and when the settlers refuse to sell, the railroad boss swears his trains will never stop in Florence again. Without the train, there is no way the town can survive. So Cissy, her friends, family, and neighbours resolve to stop that train, come what may - by fair means or foul...
It's 35 years now since I first got published, and 50 since I found out how writing let me step outside my little, everyday world and go wherever I chose - way back in Time, to far distant shores, towards my own, home-made happy ending. Not that all my books are an easy ride. I write adventure, first and foremost, because that's what I enjoyed reading as a child. But since I have published over 160 books now, there are all manner of books in among that number - gorgeously illustrated picture books, easy readers, prize winners, teenage books and five adult novels.
The White Darkness won the Printz Award in the USA, which, for as Englishwoman, was the most amazing, startling thrill.
Then there was Peter Pan in Scarlet - official sequel to J M Barrie's Peter Pan, written on behalf of Great Ormond Street Hospital for Sick Children. I won the chance to write that in a worldwide competition, and because Peter Pan is loved everywhere, my book sold worldwide too. I can't say I expected that when, as a child, I dreamed of being like my older brother and getting a book published one day.
These days I have a husband (good at continuity and spelling) and a daughter who is an excellent editor. But she's an actor. So, naturally, I have turned my hand to writing plays. (So many actors, so few plays!)
My Mum told me, "Never boil your cabbages twice, dear," which was her way of saying, "Don't repeat yourself." So I have tried never to write the same book twice. You'll find all my novels quite different from one another. The only way you can find out which ones you like and which you don't is to read them, I'm afraid.
I have also done lots of retellings of myth, legend, folk and fairy tales, and adapted indigestible classics such as El Cid, the Epic of Gilgamesh, The Odyssey, Moby Dick, Shakespeare and the Pilgrim's Progress.
Something for everyone, you see, my dear young, not-so-young, eccentric, middle-of-the-road, poetical, sad, cheerful, timid or reckless reader.
All they have in common is that they all contain words. If you are allergic to words, you'd best not open the covers.
Geraldine McCaughrean has written 167 books and plays for both adults and children. The books include Peter Pan in Scarlet, one of the most talked about and successful children's titles of 2006.
Geraldine McCaughrean has won the Carnegie Medal, the Whitbread Children's Book Award (three times), the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize, the Smarties Bronze Award (four times), the Blue Peter Book of the Year Award and the Blue Peter Special Book to Keep Forever Award. She has also had more titles short-listed (six, including one winner and one Highly Commended) for the Carnegie Medal, than any other author, the latest being The Death Defying Pepper Roux.