Sunday, 20 June 2010

The Hairy Plug Monster is now very popular in Bury and the surrounding areas

Typically everything seems to happen all at once, and by the time I get chance to write about it - it seems that a few weeks have gone by and some of the information doesn't seem that relevant.

Firstly, The Magic Sponge's Do it Again in 2010 didn't make it through to the XFM final three and wasn't chosen to be the official England World Cup song for the radio which meant that there wan't going to be an opportunity to mention the book.  Personally I think that there was some "Eurovision"style voting going on although I have to admit that the song that eventually won wasn't that bad - (even though it had none of the football jingoism that The Magic Sponge seem to ooze with each verse)......

never mind there is always next time.

On the 3rd of June ( which does seem a long time ago now)  I was invited to Radcliffe to perform a reading for the newly opened children's centre on Coronation Road.  The team there, led by the lovely Norma made me feel really welcome, and plied me with endless cups of tea and some rather good homemade soup.

It was the first time I have done an outdoor reading - and despite having to contend with the passing traffic, the stories went down really well.

During one of the tea brakes, I started talking to Norma about the other projects on the go such as Spooky Stories and the animation.  I couldn't believe it when she said that she had heard of "Zombelina" and that her son was involved.

It turned out that her son was the actor Steve Garry who had lent his voice to the reading of Zombelina earlier this year.....(fancy that)

During the reading we were joined by Tim Power from the neighbouring Radcliffe Primary School who also seemed to like the stories, so there may be a good chance of a return visit on the horizon.  All in all it was quite a successful day with quite a few mothers and carers buying a copy of The Hairy Plug Monster of me and the centre taking another 10.

On the following Saturday, Bury Waterstones were holding an event called " Big Kids Day" and invited myself, and four other children's authors to appear throughh out the day.

Diane Shaw   aauthor of  the Septimus Smythe Spectre Detectives  series

Nick Webb  author of the recently published Lyme Hall

Joseph Delaney author of the Spooks Apprentice
I embarrassed myself by not knowing who he was - but it seems he is just about to be shot into the stratosphere by Hollywood and has had gazillions of books published over the last few years.)

Their was another author present who I must apologise to because I have lost his contact details that he gave me and can only remember him as Nick - never the less he was a  children's poet like myself who has had two of his books published.

My individual reading was at 10.30 in the morning and yet again there seemed to be a severe shortage of kids to read to.  In fact the only audience I got was when Nick turned up at 11.30 and allowed me to read to his kids.  I was feeling a bit unloved and unwanted when Nick threw me off the table(no, not literally)  when his slot arrived and I was in two minds whether to go home or not.  Instead, I opted to hang out at the back of the store with my book in a bid to catch some passing trade - as the shop was starting to fill up a bit.

Diane came and introduced herself to me, so we spent the next hour "talking like authors do" I suppose.  It was coming up to 1 o'clock and after only selling 2 books I decided it was time to call It a day.  Rachel the event coordinator asked the three of us if we wanted to take a table outside the shop with some books and see if we could sell more that way.

I have to say, what a brilliant idea, between the four of us, we covered all the age groups from 2 - 13 and I sold 17 books within the next hour - leaving the shop with only one.  It seems like another avenue I should entertain especially as none of us were standing on the toes of the others.  It seemed a lot more sociable as well. 

Oops there I go again I have told you my life story and about how much people have enjoyed the Hairy Plug Monster, and forgot to mention how humongously entertaining it is for a young child to have It read to them, over and over and over again. 

It is now available in over 40 Waterstones stores, and if the one near you doesn't stock it then demand to know why....... if you still cant find a copy visit where you can buy a personally signed copy.

Saturday, 5 June 2010

Me and the Children's Laureate

I got a rare glimpse of  a superstar this week as Stockport art gallery played host to Anthony Browne - the Children's Laureate.  I was quite excited at the prospect of meeting one of the leading figures in young children's literature, and even more so with the possibility of thrusting one of my books at him. 

It was quite an exciting evening, especially as the girls got really involved, asking questions and taking part in the "shape game" ( the game where somebody draws a shape, then another person tries to turn it into a picture)... At one point Maya interrupted Anthony in mid flow to say.

" Actually, my daddy is a writer as well, and he's written The Hairy Plug Monster, Golden Arm and Zombelina",

And then she turned round to me with a big smile as if to say " there you go dad. your in there now."

At the end of the night, I grabbed an opportunity to speak not only to Anthony and give him a book, but also his publicist and a few of the officials from the library service.  While I was hob-nobbing with the "hoy-poloy" Arisha and Maya were getting there photo's taken for the council...All in all a good PR exercise for the Marsh's