This excellent feature article about K. M. Peyton appeared in Guardian Review on Saturday
"Flambards has been my old warhorse, it made me a lot of money because it sold a lot of books. It’s funny because I’ve written better books, but that’s the one that keeps on going. Most of my others are out of print now."
So it’s an irony that Peyton did not actually intend Flambards to be a children’s book, but the first in a series of romantic novels. "The first one was definitely an adult book but it started with the girl at about 13, that was my mistake, and then carried on with her love life later on."
She recalls a tussle with her publisher at the time over how it would be published. She didn’t want it to go out under a children’s imprint. Her editor offered to give it a more adult cover, but the disguise didn’t work. "I got the most vitriolic letters from mothers saying they knew what my work was like, and they were shocked at this book," she says. "It was quite sexy actually."
Nowadays Peyton’s stories of adolescent romance would be published as teenage or young adult fiction. As these didn’t exist as separate categories in the 1960s, the books were addressed to girls of indeterminate age, their burgeoning sexuality sometimes more or less buried in their passion for horses and at other times exploding out of the stable yard and into romances with a series of dashing young men.