Newshound’s tale of canine capers

Miriam Payne's pet dogs wearing the elf coats which inspired her first children's book
Miriam Payne's pet dogs wearing the elf coats which inspired her first children's book

An award-winning journalist who has made her home in the borough has moved into telling a very different type of story with her first children’s book inspired by her pet dogs.

Miriam Payne, who won an Emmy award in the States for her work as foreign news editor at NBC, is publishing A Greyt Christmas Tail.

The book, which tells the story of the night Santa’s sleigh crashes in the back garden and the two dogs have to volunteer to help deliver all the presents, was inspired by the sight of her lurcher Ramsey and greyhound Blue wearing festive elf outfits.

Miriam admits writing for a young audience is a far cry from her previous work bringing the hardest-hitting news stories to TV screens around the globe, with her biggest accolade coming for covering the Malaysian Airlines plane shot down over Ukraine.

However, the Aspull-based writer is enjoying the new challenges and now has further canine adventures to set down in print.

Miriam, 42, said: “The idea for the story is a bit random but we got the dogs Christmas elf coats last year. I was walking them and one of them pulls a lot at the lead so I said; ‘If you continue pulling you could pull Santa’s sleigh’.

“I was then making up stories about them as I was walking and it just went from there. I had it in my head for a few weeks before I wrote it down, and when my husband read it he said I should send it off to get it published.

“It’s very different from what I used to do. I had 16 years working in TV news and at NBC I did all the hardcore breaking news, dealing with all the horrible stuff that’s going on all day every day.

“Writing a children’s book makes a refreshing change and it’s nice that I’ve written something our nieces and nephews will be able to read.”

Miriam says she already has a second manuscript ready to be sent to the publisher, this one having a Wigan setting as it is based around a pond at the back of her house.

Miriam, who now works in PR for Eccles-based law firm Elas, moved to the borough with husband David, 40, to escape the high cost of living in their previous home of High Wycombe. Originally from Macclesfield, she has also lived on the other side of the pond, including in Atlanta, Tennessee, Baltimore and Las Vegas.

However, after all her travelling she says she and David are delighted to have made the move north and are settled very well into the borough.

She said: “We absolutely love Wigan. We knew we wanted to make the move up north for a better quality of life because we were working to pay bills and that was it. David is a London boy and hadn’t spent a lot of time up north but we both want to stay up here.”

A Greyt Christmas Tail by Miriam Payne is out now. For more information visit www.miriampayne.co.uk