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Archive for October, 2011

Shop window shock!

October 21, 2011 Leave a comment

Yesterday I was in Eyemouth, doing the usual kind of holiday stuff – eating fish and chips on the sea-front, buying ice-creams for the kids (I don’t know anywhere else you can get blue ice-cream with green sprinkles), looking at the seals in the harbour.  And one of the things we always do when we’re in Eyemouth is go to the wonderful bookshop, Crossing the Bar.  It’s small, but perfectly formed, and I always find lots of books I want to read in there. Well, what a thrill!  The Wishcatchers was there on display in the window! Thank you so much, Crossing the Bar, for making one of my dreams come true.  It really made my day.

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Superheroes, villains and lots of wishes

October 14, 2011 Leave a comment

I had a brilliant time with the P4 classes at Carrick Knowe Primary yesterday.  They got to have a sneak preview of the next Wishcatchers book – and they had very interesting  ideas as to why the wishes were not coming true any more.  It’s just as well that I know the answer, or I might have been tempted to use some of those ideas instead!

We moved from wishes to superhero agents and everyone had a chance to invent their own superhero or baddie and make up a fact file for them.  Some extremely intriguing characters emerged – how do you fancy meeting Poo-boy? (I don’t need to explain to you what his weapon is, do I?) Or the evil Mr Wood with his splinter gun?  I loved the idea of the superhero whose weapon was a huge fire-shield – and also the idea of a Supergirl whose powers are to make everything clean and tidy. ( I could certainly do with Supergirl in my house!)  There were loads and loads of fabulous heroes and villains being invented in Carrick Knowe yesterday.  I hope they don’t just stay in their fact files but get to go out and cause mayhem in some stories.

At the end of the session, everyone got a chance to make a wish and I’ve been reading through them this morning.  There’s a prize for the best one in each class and it’s always so hard to choose a winner, but I’ve just about managed it. The wishes were absolutely brilliant and show how thoughtful, funny and profound children are.  Thank you P4A and P4B at Carrick Knowe for a wonderful afternoon!

Hi ho, hi ho…

October 13, 2011 1 comment

…it’s off to Carrick Knowe Primary School I go.  I’ve signed lots of postcards, packed up my props and books, all ready to go to visit the P4s at Carrick Knowe Primary School this afternoon. 

It’s going to be a slightly different school visit for me, because this is the first time I’ll be doing an event where the audience has all read my book. (P4 at Carrick Knowe have been reading The Wishcatchers as their class novel.)  So I’ve been working out some new things to do on my visit – hopefully they will turn out to be fun!  It will be interesting to find out if I have different kinds of questions too.

The vexed question of book signing

October 6, 2011 2 comments

I’ve just read Oliver Pritchett’s highly amusing article on book signing etiquette in the current issue of Slightly Foxed – he has lots of good advice, including what to do when your author friend finds a copy of the book he signed for you in the local charity shop and whether it is permissible to sign another author’s book.  If you think these are dilemmas you might face, you would do well to read the article…

It got me thinking about the whole vexed question of book signing.  Until very recently, I never used to bother about getting books signed.  I’d go to a reading, buy the book and then head on home without joining the signing queue.  It’s really my children who have changed my tune on this – they are so keen to have their books signed, largely, I think, to have a chance to speak directly to their favourite authors.

And since March, of course, I’ve been asked to sign books of my own, so the whole question has taken on a new meaning.  I have seen authors in the past sitting sadly at a signing table, with nobody in their queue, just waiting all alone, because, presumably, they have been told to sit there for a specific length of time. Before my book was even out, I was practising how to deal with this in my head.  How to look nonchalant and unconcerned. How to stop blushing and getting twitchy.  How to pass the time.   Could I take my knitting along, I wondered.  Or perhaps I could write erudite thoughts in my notebook and look like I was working.  (By the way, Oliver Pritchett has some splendid advice on how to deal with such a situation.)

So far, I’ve not had to face that hurdle.  I’ve only done a family and friends launch and some school events so the situation has not arisen.  (Perhaps this is a good time to mention that I am, of course,  happy to do book festivals, bookshop readings, or any other events which might require some kind of writerly presence…) 

But I have come across other challenges in my book signing so far.  Such as, what to write.  Just my name seems a bit stingy, but “best wishes” seems awfully formal and “love” is definitely too much the other way.  One friend (she knows who she is!) asked me to write something suitably insulting.  You can imagine how hard that was, to come up with something acceptably acerbic on the spur of the moment.  You might not be surprised to find that I was judged not to have come up to the mark.  I’ve not quite solved the “what to write” question yet.  All suggestions would be gratefully received. 

Another issue is where, exactly, to write.  I’ve been writing on the first inside page, the one that only has the title on it (there’s probably a technical publishing term for it, but I’m afraid I don’t know what it is).  I’ve been writing there, because it’s the first page I come to and because there’s more room there – and my writing, particularly after signing for a while, is quite big.  A scientific survey of books in my collection signed by other authors seems to point this up as an unusual practice.  Everyone else seems to sign on the next page, the one with the title and author name and usually the publisher’s name as well.   That put me in a bit of a panic – is that something that “proper authors” just know is the right thing to do?  Is there some kind of rule that nobody has told me?  Am I getting it all wrong?  Who knows.  And really, once I’d calmed down, do I really care?  I’ll stick to my page, unless someone gives me a good reason not to, and keep on happily signing whenever I’m asked.