I really did intend to hit the ground running in 2010, but the "big freeze" meant that schools were closed and peoples minds were on other things instead of my book. So all my plans were put back a week while I went on a mission to find two sledges for my daughters. After three days of hunting high and low I finally managed to get some and then the remainder of the week was spent chaperoning Arisha and Maya around the snow covered hills in the area, and making vats of soup to keep them warm.
Finally the schools did reopen and I was back on the telephones ringing around and "bigging myself up". Having exhausted the schools in Stockport, it was now time to lead an assault on the Manchester LEA, but rather disappointingly only a handful responded to my emails offering the chance of a "real author" to visit and give readings to the pupils.
Its a bit of a catch 22 situation - The Hairy Plug Monster is a relative newcomer (even though Twitter Followers and Facebook Friends are probably fatigued with it by now). The word hasn't filtered down to the schools yet, and the only way we can get to inform the kids ( who will hopefully then go and tell their parents about the book) is to visit their schools and give readings and basically perform the poems so it leaves an imprint.
However, if the schools don't know who you are, they are less inclined to invite you in the first place.....
"Leighroy Who? , never heard of you !!".
With this in mind I have decided to put 110% into the schools that have invited me, and have been working on my performance skills ( I have a CSE in Drama .....don't you know).
The results of my labours became apparent this week when I visited Lisburne Lane School and Reddish North Primary. Having read The Hairy Plug Monster, I then move on to Golden Arm, which is fast becoming a favourite, but I warn the pupils that it is a ghost story, so they must promise not to jump....
Naturally, because of the way that it is written and delivered - they jump, despite my warnings to them. I have also started to hide my face just as I get to the line,
"Then the cupboard doors open, and he screamed......."
Before thrusting my head forward through the pages ( as if they were doors) and shouting
" YOU'VE GOT IT",
Simple, but really effective. As yet, I haven't come across a poem that literally makes the audience jump and I have to admit it is gratifying to see its effect.