Tuesday, 30 September 2014

September School Visits

Can I Help You With That? by helenmoss
Storm loves to help sweep up the Autumn leaves
II know some people dread going back to school but I've always loved September and the start of a new school term. It's a time for new pencil cases and shiny notebooks and good resolutions (this term I will  do all my homework the day I get it, share my sweets and wake up early to practise cello before breakfast every day; average time before resolution broken = 2.4 days). Each day, walking home from school, more and more leaves have fallen from the leaves. The first fluttering few soon pile up in drifts just waiting to be scattered by a foot clad in a conker-shiny new-term shoe.

For me, September and school go together like toast and marmite.

That's why I was so delighted to pack my bags and head off on a September school visit tour.

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Books vs Scenery

The thrill of seeing a child reading one of my books never gets old. Thank you to Sally for sending in this great picture of her son reading The Phoenix Code in a very comfortable looking hammock on holiday in Devon earlier in the summer.


It's especially rewarding when they are so busy reading that even the most spectacular of scenery goes unnoticed. My thanks to Richard for sending me this delightful picture of his granddaughter Cecily reading Adventure Island in Italy.


These pictures reminded me that one of my favourite memories of my sons is the two of them, aged seven and ten, totally ignoring a magical 4th July firework display over Waikiki Bay in favour of Little House on the Prairie and Erin Hunter's Warrior Cats.

It was around about that time that I decided I wanted to write for children . . .


Sunday, 14 September 2014

Interview Time






It's always exciting to receive a nice review of a book that you have written - and it's especially joyous when the review has been written by a young reader. I've been really impressed at all the kids out there who'd been setting up their own review websites and blogs - either on their own or with a group of friends - to tell the world all about the books they've been reading.

One young reviewer who has been kind enough to review both Adventure Island and The Phoenix Code (and I didn't even bribe him with a lifetime supply of  Aunt Kate's jam tarts) is eleven-year old Jed Owens. Jed is a massive mystery fan, and also a talented wildlife photographer.

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.