Tuesday, 29 July 2014

My Life as a Jellyfish

One of the fun things about writing children's books is that you get to lead to double life.

For months  you are cloistered away in your office planning a book, writing the first draft or wrestling the second draft into shape. You surface only to forage for toast, stomp round the fields with the dogs or halfheartedly harrass passing teenagers into tidying their bedrooms.

Then, there are other phases, packed with school visits or promotional events. You rise, creaking and blinking, from your desk, put on your party dress and venture out into the world.

Or maybe that's just me. I've come to realise that I'm the world's worst multi-tasker. I know of many more balanced authors who are able to, say, write two days a week, and do events, or other jobs on the other days. Or even write in the evenings or before breakfast. Not me. I only have two modes of operation. (1) Writing (nothing else gets done), and (2)  In Between Writing (everything else gets done as quickly as possible before Writing starts again).

This is me!
That's why I'm like a jellyfish.

That Takes the Biscuit

Ta da! Can you spot the cool biscuit logo?
I'm very excited to tell you about a brand new publication that I've been working on for the last few months.

No, I don't mean The Phoenix Code (although I'm pretty excited about that too, of course) and I haven't secretly been rustling up a new Adventure Island mystery either.

This new publication is a brilliant magazine by Coton Primary School newspaper club.

Now, when I say I've been "working" on this publication, I have to admit my role in the process was pretty minor. It's the pupils who've done all the real work.  In the early sessions, I talked about what goes into a newspaper and how to write exciting articles. The children were bursting with so many great ideas, one of my main jobs was to try to filter them down to something that we could actually fit into one copy - otherwise it could have turned into a newspaper fatter than Harry Potter, The Deathly Hallows!  

Saturday, 21 June 2014

School Visit Round-up

I've been very lucky lately to have been invited to some great schools. Last week it was Oakham Primary School in the West Midlands. It was a great honour to have been adopted as the class author for this term by Class Twelve. I was so impressed by all the great literacy work the chldren had done based on the Adventure Island books. There was a display of brochures and leaflets they'd designed for different places on Castle Key Island,  letters from some of the charaters,  fascinating profiles of Jack, Scott and Emily, and beautifully written sentences describing different scenes.
Castle Key Brochures for Roshendra Farm, St Michaels Church, The Lighthous B & B, Westward Beach and more. . .

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

A Tale of Over-Excitement and Clumsiness

I may have been a little over-excited last week. First I sent off the first draft of the second book in the Secrets of the Tombs series. Second, I got to go to Bristol for an author evening organised by the lovely people at Orion Children's Books.

I was one of five authors there to tell the audience of wonderful booksellers a little bit about our new books coming out soon.  The other authors were Marcus Sedgewick, Alan Gibbons, Sarah Moore Fitzgerald and Steve Backshall. As you can imagine, I was a tiny bit star-truck to be in such company.

The goodie bag bursting with books . . .