Isolde Martyn’s post on how to write book reviews (and not be a troll) is my last Monday guest post for this year – and my post today comes with an invitation to let me know what topics you’d like to write about or see covered in future guest posts next year. And here, to kick off ideas, is the photograph of a wonderful tree encountered while walking with my friend Sandra Matthews near Croyde in Devon, while I was over in the UK researching and writing The Once and Future Camelot, sequel to I, Morgana. My first thought (given what I was researching) was that this could be the tree that blocked the entrance to Merlin’s cave after Morgana’s enchantment. But trees have played a major role in mythology through time, and so the possibilities inherent in trees are endless. Yggdrasil was the cosmic ash tree in Germanic mythology. It is said that Odin hung himself on Yggdrasil for nine nights in order to learn wisdom. Odin’s story is paralleled by the story of Jesus, and the ‘Jesse Tree’ traces Christ’s lineage back to the time of David. The Druids revered oak trees and imbued them with many magical properties. Oaks became particularly sacred if there was mistletoe growing on the tree. Merlin’s wand was said to be made of oak, and the spirit of Herne the Hunter is believed to still inhabit an ancient oak. (For more fascinating information on trees, have a look at A Tree in Your Pocket by Jacqueline Memory Paterson.) Trees today, like the sad stump remnant of Joseph of Arimathea’s Holy Thorn, or the tree I saw commemorating Bride’s Mound (St Bridget) outside Glastonbury are also hung with ribbons and prayers (see below.) But my favourite tree, the one that has provided the inspiration for just about everything I’ve gone on to write as an adult, is Enid Blyton’s The Magic Faraway Tree – the embodiment of all my hopes and dreams as a child.