Sunday, 25 September 2011

The 5th Bath Children's Literature Festival begins...

The fantastic Bath Children's Literature Festival is underway...

Take a look at the brilliant line up of authors and illustrators on

On Friday 23rd, Prize-winning author Roddy Doyle (he who wrote The Commitments! I can't believe I've only just made that connection) gave a great talk about his new book, A greyhound of a Girl, and about his upbringing and family life and how it influenced the story. He talked about writing humour for adults for children, and how children are far more honest in their appraisal. 'If they find it funny, they find it funny. If they don't, they don't...and they'll tell you too. They're not going to say they like it because they don't want to hurt your feelings!'

When asked the favourite character he'd written...he said it has to be Rover, from the Rover stories. I bought a book for my eight year old, who's loving it...even our dog loves it too!

On Saturday, I went to hear Nicola Davies talk about the inspiration behind her new fantastic Silver Street series...about children starting up a city farm. Nicola had us all in stitches describing her own 'technique' of sheep shearing, the pet chickens of her childhood and pig catching in an orchard! All the animals and antics she described are in the series...with lovely illustrations too.

Nicola Davies book signing

So take a look at the program of the festival, and if you live near Bath...or even if you don't, it's well worth a visit. 

Thursday, 22 September 2011


Just received my Catalan copy of Sky Hawk...fabulous cover!

YLG conference

It was a great day at the Youth Libraries Group conference at Goldsmiths in London. A truly magical mix of librarians, authors and publishers.

"Opening doors...the power of the story....the importance of stories and storytelling in empowering librarians and young people to develop."

My only regret was that I couldn't make it to the whole conference. There were some amazing speakers. Baroness Greenfield spoke of the importance of imagination, and how allowing our imagination to develop will develop our mind. In an experiment of 3 groups, Group one was told to stare at a piano for 2 hours a day for a week. Group 2 was told to stare at the piano, but imagine their fingers were playing on the keys. Group 3 was told to play the piano for the same period of time. At the end of the week, brain scans showed the same development in the areas of the brain for the piano players and those who had imagined playing the piano! Just shows how simply by imagining we can increase our brain power.

I sat on a panel event with fellow debut authors;

S.C Ransom with her book one of a trilogy, Small Blue Thing
Irfan Masters with his book, A Beautiful Lie
Chris Westwood with his book, The Ministry of Pandemonium

The talk was led by librarian, Matt Imrie who kept the conversation relaxed and informal. The books were all very different, from London based paranormal romance, to historical partition of India and Pakistan, to ghostly paranormal. It was interesting to hear other authors' routes to publication and their writing process  and what inspired them to write too.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Wild Wings...aka Sky Hawk in America!

I was really chuffed to hear from my US editor of Wild Wings (the US title for Sky Hawk) that Wild Wings has been chosen as one of 10 middle grade novels by the American Booksellers Association for the ABC New Voices project.

Also the Stow Munroe Falls Public Library has produced a fantastic utube trailer of Wild Wings...

I've had some great emails from US kids too. It's brilliant to hear from so many children interested in wildlife.

Friday, 16 September 2011

White Dolphin Proof

Just received the uncorrected proof copy of White Dolphin. I love this part of the publishing process, seeing the story that has grown in my head and on my computer as an ACTUAL REAL book to hold in my hand!! It'll be another 9 or 10 months until White Dolphin comes out on the bookshelves. It will have a final cover illustration too, of course. 

But in the mean time, I love the plain white of the proof copy, the reflective blue title and the words below...

The truth lies deep beneath the waves....

Because it is a story about dolphins, but much more that, it is a story about one girl's search for her mother intertwined with the on going, but hidden destruction of our most precious resource...our oceans.

White Dolphin proof, next to my photo of common dolphins seen off the coast of Wales this summer

Also more exciting news, I received the audio version of Sky Hawk, published by Oak Hill publishing. 

The Actor Martin Clark reads it brilliantly. I could listen to his voice all day...a sort of young Sean Connery voice!