Saturday, 25 April 2015

A weekend of talks

I don't know about you, but I love going to author talks.

Last weekend was the Cambridge Literary Festival -  a great chance to take a little break from writing (the third book of the Secrets of the Tombs book is keeping me pinned to my desk) and to be inspired by some fabulous authors.

On Friday evening I went along with a friend to see Mary Portas, who was very funny and talked movingly about her childhood. Saturday morning it was a real treat to see the wonderful Judith Kerr - author and illustrator of classics such as The Tiger who Came to Tea, Mog and When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit.

Next came a lovely lunch with fellow writers and illustrators - all members of SCBWI.  What could be better than catching up with all our news over delicious food at a sunny window table?

And then Matt Haig, who talked about his latest book, Reasons to Live, an honest and ultimately uplifting account of his experiences of depression and anxiety.

On Sunday it was my turn.  I gave a talk all about the fun of writing about danger and peril. Chase scenes, stake-out scenes, falling-down-hole scenes and coming-face-to-face-with-wild-animals scenes - these are some of the best bits of being a mystery/adventure author.

No, I'm not sure what I was doing in this picture either!
But note how I've matched my outfit to the wall paint!
It was wonderful to see so many children and their parents there - some familiar faces and lots of lovely new readers. I really enjoyed talking to you and having a chat with everyone at the book signing.

That still wasn't the end of the author talks. I stayed on to see Chris Priestly, who talked about the appeal of creepy ghost stories and read us a rather chilling tale. He also made a great case for short stories for children. Given that young people are all expected to learn how to write short stories at school, why are so few short stories written for them? I hadn't thought of it before, but it's a very good question.

My last talk of the weekend was Louise Stern, who has written a beautiful novel set in a remote Mayan village where many of the inhabitants are deaf; in fact, so many that the hearing population use sign language too. As Louise Stern is deaf, she used American Sign Language and her words were spoken by her translator. There was also a British Sign Language interpreter for deaf members of the audience (American Sign Language and British Sign Language are different languages.) It was fascinating. It almost counted as work too, as Book Three is set in Mexico, so I'm always on the look out for any snippets of information about the Mayan world, both ancient and modern.

Thank you to all at Cambridge Literary Festival for putting on such a fabulously varied programme and for making me so welcome. I'm sure I ate more than my fair share of biscuits and crisps in the Green Room!

Friday, 10 April 2015

More winners . . .

The first three people to send in the correct password to enter the Special Investigations Team area on the new look Adventure Island website were Jed, Hannah and Max. Well done to all of you. A signed book of your choice will be winging its way to you shortly.

If you were too late to enter the competition, why not have a look at the Adventure Island website anyway. You could send me a comment on Jack, Emily, Scott or Drift's blogs or something for the reader page. At the moment there's a survey running to pick Mrs Loveday's silliest saying!

Thursday, 26 March 2015

And the winner is . . .

At last I can reveal the winner of the exciting The Phoenix Code World Book Day art competition. The challenge was to draw a picture in ancient Egytpian style, inspired by The Phoenix Code - the first of Cleo and Ryan's adventures in the Secrets of the Tombs series.

We received lots of fantastic entries. I was so impressed by the creativity and hard work that went into each picture. They were all so good that I wanted to give everyone a prize.

But in the end there was one picture that stood out; it had everything - an original, attractive overall design, an ancient Egyptian style with a modern twist, exceptional attention to detail, clever use of scenes and themes from the book, and even the inclusion of names and messages written in hieroglyphs.

So . . . the winner is  . . .   drum roll please . . . .
Serge Wynne

Monday, 16 March 2015

Adventure Island website and mini-competition

If you pop over the Adventure Island website you'll see it's had a bit of a makeover. The original
design was wonderful, but it's now been simplified so that I can maintain it myself and keep it up to date more easily. 
There is still an area for the Special Investigations Team but there is no longer any need to register and sign up with confirmation by a parent and so on. 
Now all you have to do is answer Emily's test questions and work out the password, which you then use to access the hidden S.I.T. area - where you'll find games, puzzles, quizzes and a downloadable certificate.

There's lots of other information on the Adventure Island website too - including Emily, Jack, Scott and Drift's blogs and a reader page where you can send in your comments and questions.

To celebrate the new-look site how about a mini-competition? The first three people to e-mail me and tell me the password they have figured out for the S.I.T. page will win a signed copy of an Adventure Island book . . .

Have fun!