Walking on Gold

Janine Amos - Walking on Gold

I begin to scoop the earth back into the hole, covering it up, pressing
the soft soil down.

As the first raindrops hit the back of my neck, I think I see something
shining; just a glint of metal.


Effie has to move again, back to the island where Mum was born. But Effie doesn’t want to be there. The rented house has dead flies in the bedrooms, her grandmother is mean and unfriendly – and Mum’s drinking again. On top of everything, Effie’s cousin Luke is keeping secrets. Then Effie stumbles on a secret of her own, which turns into the adventure of a lifetime.

This book started with something that really happened to me.

When I was twelve, I went on holiday to a beautiful island off the coast of the UK. I found out that hundreds of beads from an old shipwreck were lost in the sand. If the tide was out and you hunted hard enough, you could find a bead that had travelled with sailors from long ago.

I wanted one.

Every day I went down to the beach to dig. Every day I was disappointed.

On the very last day of my holiday, I got up before anyone else and went to the beach one more time, wishing hard. I spent hours digging –until I felt something cold and smooth between my fingers. Yes. A brown, shiny bead nearly three hundred years old. It was as if all my wishing (and hard work) had made it appear.

I believe that wishes and hard work can help you get almost anything.

Effie, the girl in my story, believes that too. She travels to an island, goes digging – and finds something extraordinary buried in the ground right under her feet. But that’s only the beginning….

Walking on Gold was also inspired by what I know of the poet Dylan Thomas’s daughter Aeron and the wild and beautiful scenery of Laugharne in Wales, where she grew up in the Boathouse (http://www.dylanthomasboathouse.com/).

When I was at school in Wales, Dylan Thomas was my favourite poet and word-juggler. Every year for St David’s Day, we had to learn a poem to recite on stage to the whole school and I always chose something by him.