Monday, 27 January 2014

Twinkle, Once Upon a Time and Look and Learn

As a child I was something of a NibKid  (Nibkid you ask? I invented the term myself. It means Nose In Book Kid. I'm hoping to see it in the Oxford English Dictionary this time next year!).

The two big highlights of my week were (1) going to the library and (2) the postman delivering my magazine or comic.

When I was just a tiny NibLet (see what I did there?) I started out with Twinkle (with its enticing free gifts including plastic bracelets "just like Mummy wears" and assorted glove puppets) but soon graduated to Once Upon a Time. This was my favourite - packed with wonderful fairy-tale stories and artwork of a style that hovered somewhere between 1970's glamour and Arthurian romance.

My parents seemed to think that Once Upon a Time was a bit lightweight  (looking back, this may have been code for expensive). They thought Look and Learn would be more suitable reading material. As the name suggests it was more of a fact-based affair (a bit on the educational side as Jack would say).
Now, don't get me wrong, I like reading facts (especially anything about brains, mountains, word origins, archaeology or weird sea creatures) but I really wanted stories. When I did a bit of research this morning (i.e. poking about on the internet) I found out that Look and Learn did include fiction, although I have no memory of it. It was, apparently “a treasure house of exciting articles, stories and pictures,” but somehow the exciting stories must have got lost in all that knowledge.

The reason I was reminded of my childhood comics and magazines today is that I've been reading about a new magazine for kids which will feature wonderful stories as well as facts, so you can have the best of both words. It's called Stew.

Which got me to thinking about the other great magazines around. I've recently been introduced to one called Aquila (which contains a reader review of Adventure Island - must be fab!) and then there is Anorak and brilliant Phoenix Comic (their website is amazing too - check out the Blog of Awesome).

I know that Adventure Island readers are interested in all sorts of different things, so might you want to check these some of these magazines and comics out.

Now I just wish I'd kept my copies of Once Upon a Time. I could have put them on my nostalgia bookshelf alongside my Rupert the Bear annuals.

Monday, 13 January 2014

Happy New Year!

Wishing you peace and health and happiness and all good things for 2014.

2013 was an exciting year. Adventure Island  11-14 were published (the last of the series, sniffle, sob!) and I started work on my new series for Orion (yippee!).  That meant that the year was all about Ancient Egypt, and now The Phoenix Code, the first book of the Secrets of the Tombs series is almost ready to go into production (with the copy-editor as we speak). More about this in the next blog post . . .

And what is next?  The year is off to a busy start already . . . a new book to plan, more overseas research travel to book, a language class signed up for, piles of history books ordered . . . where will the next book be set? I won't give it away just yet . . .

In the meantime, here's  the first exciting news of 2014 to share. Adventure Island has now been published by Kluitman in The Netherlands.

Here are the covers of the first two books, The Mystery of the Whistling Caves and The Mystery of the Midnight Ghost.

It's fascinating  to see how different the cover designs are from the UK originals, with their retro feel, and from the wonderful anime-style Japanese versions. The Dutch covers are great too; they have such a fresh modern look, while still having all the mystery elements, and I really love the expressions on the characters' faces on the first cover!

I hope that Dutch readers will enjoy reading these books. Emily, Scott, Jack and Drift are looking forward to meeting you all and inviting you along on their adventures. There is even a Dutch connection in one of the mysteries, but it doesn't happen until Book 14, The Mystery of the Phantom Lights, so there'll be a while to wait yet!