Interview with local author, Carole Smith

Carole Smith is the author of Have You Seen The New Forest Unicorn? This is the first in The New Forest Tales series. We couldn't wait to speak to her about her inspiration behind the book and whether there really is a New Forest unicorn...

What inspired you to write your book?

During lockdown when we were unable to see and cuddle our family as were the rest of the world, I had spent a lot of time with my granddaughter and found it really upsetting being away from her. Pre-lockdown, she always wanted to watch the ponies as they walked past the house, so I began to narrate stories over Facetime to her and The New Forest Tales were born!

Why did you decide on the New Forest for your book setting?

I have lived here since meeting my husband in 1985 and have spent the past 38 years riding and walking in and around the New Forest and quickly grew to love the area.

What do you think makes the New Forest feel so magical?

The New Forest is an amazing place to live and visit. The ponies and livestock roam free and wild within the 467 square miles of beautiful and diverse countryside. There are numerous towns and villages within the New Forest with mystical magic such as Burley with its witches and Beaulieu home of Palace House and the Beaulieu Motor Museum. We also have over 40 miles of coastline making it an excellent place to live and visit.

Was there anything new you learned from this writing experience?

The experience of producing this book has given me a new interest in writing which I had never had time to pursue. It also made me more aware of this beautiful area in which I am very privileged to live.

Where are your favourite places in Hampshire to go for tea and cake?

My favourite places for tea and cake are The Potting Shed at Hyde, Fordingbridge, The Old Farmhouse, Burley, Pantry Barn on Braemar Estate, near Fordingbridge and Stewarts Garden Lands on the Hampshire/Dorset border.

Will you be writing any other Hampshire inspired stories to look forward to?

I am working on the next New Forest Tales book where our characters have more adventures in and around the New Forest in their quest to find the Unicorn.

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